Teacher’s guide

Human Development in Africa is essential as development is about people. To be effective, development strategies must be people-oriented and development aid must empower people. The European Union leads the way in development cooperation partners in Africa. In October 2005, the European Commission approved a new “Strategy for Africa”, with a firm commitment to do “more, better and faster”.


Did you know that:

  • Africa is the world’s second continent in terms of size and population
  • 18 of the 20 poorest nations in the world are in Africa
  • The EU is the biggest provider of development aid to Africa
  • The EU is Africa’s most important trading partner
  • EU Aid to Africa will increase by two-thirds from approx. 17 billion € in 2003 to a total of approx. 25 billion €/year in 2010.

This pedagogical guide aims to highlight some of the main issues the EU and other development partners address in Africa. It proposes some lessons and methodologies and highlights the Development Youth Prize’s themes of Gender equality, Children and Youth and Cultural diversity.
Organising the lessons
Pupils of this age group (16-18) usually have a strong sense of injustice and equality, therefore the focus on Humanitarian Development in Africa will be highly interesting and have a deep emotional impact on them at the same time.

Before starting the art work pupils need to get as much information on the chosen theme(s) to really understand the challenges, and what is being done about them. The issues can be quite complex, but a thorough understanding is necessary to be able to create a suitable message.

  • Collect information on the theme and discuss them in class. What are the most important issues for your pupils?
  • Think of the various factors that cause the problems. Where do the vicious circles begin?
  • Think of the work to improve the situation in Africa. What can organisations and individuals in Europe do to help?
  • If you make your own suggestions, think of the possible side-effects.

Planning your entry

  • Aim to create an artwork that is simple, smart and synchronised with its message. Here are some key questions and issues.
  • What exactly do you want to highlight? Try to keep a strong focus and avoid being too overambitious.
  • How do you arrange the graphical elements? 
  • Do you opt for symbolic images or a more literal meaning?
  • Raise awareness. What does someone gain from seeing your entry?
  • The message must be very short. Make sure it’s clear and fits well with the graphical part of your entry.
  • Be positive. Aim to highlight not only the challenges but how they are addressed, and the progress that is being made.
  • Try to be original. How does your entry stand out?

Gender Equality

  • Speaking about gender equality implies that genders are not treated equally and that there is a need to raise awareness and help the weaker ones, in general girls and women, to have fair living conditions.
  • Gender inequality and poverty are closely related. Women do not only have lower incomes and are less wealthy, their poverty in the narrow financial sense is compounded by their lack of political power and unequal access to: basic human rights, employment, information, social services, infrastructure and natural resources.
  • Girls and women are particularly vulnerable to abuse, sexual violence and human rights infringements.

Children and Youth

  • Children make up half the population in developing countries. Every year over 10 million die before they reach the age of 5, lacking even the most basic healthcare.
    In Sub-Saharan Africa around one in three children are engaged in child labour, representing 69 million children.
  • Millions of children are engaged in hazardous situations or conditions, such as working in mines, working with chemicals and pesticides in agriculture or working with dangerous machinery. 
  • Children are often unprotected and easy victims of violence, including sexual violence.
  • Young people are affected by armed conflicts. Many boys and girls are recruited as soldiers to defend their countries in times of war. Others have lost their parents in a war and cannot attend school but rather have to work to support their brothers and sisters.
  • Many children do not have access to primary education.

Cultural diversity

  • Cultural diversity refers to the cultural differences that exist between people. These differences can show in language, dress and traditions, and the way societies organize themselves, their conception of morality and religion, and the way they interact with the environment.
  • Africa is rich in cultural diversity and cultural heritage. We have to preserve both, living culture and cultural heritage.
  • In times of globalization it is easy to take over new habits and ways of living, but the protection of culture is essential for the cultural identity of people.


Pedagogical Kit

DG Development

Europe cares

EU Press Pack: Strategy for Africa (EN, FR, DE)

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals

Millennium Development Project Report 2005

Human development

Facts about African Countries


Gender equality

2007 Commission Communication on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Development Cooperation and the related Council conclusions.


Children and Youth

EU development Consensus

Towards an EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child

A Special Place for Children in EU External Action

EU Action Plan on Children's Rights in External Action


Cultural diversity

UNESCO's cultural diversity convention (2005)

European Consensus on Development (2005)

European agenda for culture in a globalising world (2007)