On the May 7th, the KickOff Meeting of SAAM - Supporting Alliance for African Mobility took place during an online conference.
SAAM is a pilot project founded by the European Commission and led by Asociación Mundus. It is an alliance between African and European countries and it is composed by 19 African organizations from 16 different countries and 17 organizations from different 8 European countries.
The objective of SAAM is to create an exchange of knowledge and tools within the framework of VET in both continents. Moreover, the educational fields of SAAM are: agriculture, hospitality and tourism, engineering and manufacturing
The Kick Off Meetingm, which initially was planned to be in Nairobi (Kenya), took place virtually. In times of crisis, creativity is the best asset: so it was an alternative KickOff Meeting that allowed the partners get to know each other and explain all the essential aspects of the project.
More than 80 people were connected through the video-conference platform Zoom, from different countries of Africa and Europe. The meeting started with a quick presentation of the partners and organisations and then a virtual photo all together represented the beginning of the conference.
The SAAM journey
SAAM was born from the leadership of Mundus, together with Centro San Viator –the applicant–. Quique Miana (Mundus’ director) and Beatrice Bellet (Mundus’ International Chief Officer), where two of the speakers in the SAAM Kick-off meeting. They both highlighted the importance of building a partnership between Europe and Africa with the aim of creating capacity building in the field of education and vocational training.
“SAAM is a long and wonderful project” Sergio Lagarde began his speech with this phrase. The technician of the project used the metaphor of the journey to explain the steps of the project that will take place from now until 2023. The first SAAM meeting took place last February in Brussels, “Meeting Zero”, but on the other hand, three steps are planned for the next years:
- Phase 1 will consist of the study and observation of vocational training systems in Africa
- Phase 2 provides for an exchange of knowledge between Africa and Europe to create capacity building in the field of international mobility
- Phase 3 consists of the implementation of mobility projects for African students in Europe.
SAAM’s journey has different protagonists: together with Mundus and Centro San Viator there are EfVET, EvBB, Yes Forum, Bosco Tech Africa, Scuola Centrale Formazione, CNOSFAP, ESMP and ANESPO, organisations that at some point in the project will coordinate part of the workpackages foreseen in the project.
Alfredo Garmendia from the Centro San Viator – the project’s applicant – explained the aim of the project: to create a bridge between different countries to improve and communicate good practices in VET field.
Later, Deirdre Lennan, head of the International Cooperation Unit of the European Commission, expressed how important are projects like SAAM to empower youth to be able to create and find jobs.
What are the next steps?
For the near future, it will be important creating a template for evaluating and writing a report on VET systems in Africa. The next step will take place with online meetings with the aim to initiate an exchange of information and a peer-to-peer connection between schools and specifically teachers for an action plan for international mobility.
The SAAM unique journey has just begun, and Mundus is there to lead it.