Development cooperation
© CHanGEmakers 2018, UCOS

UCOS receives a GENE Global Education Award for its CHanGE project, which is funded by the Brussels-Capital Region

On 26 May 2021, the UCOS University Centre for Development Cooperation received a GENE Global Education Award for its CHanGE (Campaign for sexual Health & Gender Equality) project. Each year the project, which is financed by the Brussels-Capital Region, gives young people the opportunity to develop a gender equality campaign, drawing on projects in developing countries for inspiration.

Since 2017, Brussels International has launched an annual call for projects to raise awareness among young people in Brussels to the interdependence between North/South and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Brussels-Capital Region (BCR) is thus contributing to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The CHanGE project, which is overseen by the UCOS University Centre for Development Cooperation, was selected after the various rounds of this call for projects. It aims to support the global fight for gender equality as well as equitable access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.


Raising awareness about gender equality through an inspiring look at what the rest of the world is doing

Since the launch of the CHanGE project in 2017, 12 higher education students – the CHanGEmakers – have participated in the project each year. After an intensive preparation in Belgium, they leave on a field trip to a country in the South, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Uganda, Cuba, Lebanon or Morocco.

© CHanGEmakers 2018, UCOS

There the CHanGEmakers exchange ideas with local organisations fighting for more rights, better access to information, or better gender equality and sexual health policies. Upon their return, they develop a campaign designed to raise the awareness of people in Belgium regarding these issues. This campaign draws on the actions and projects that they discovered during their stay for inspiration.

Vine Pads (Ouganda) © Lotte Hauben

For the autumn 2020 campaign, the young participants chose to draw attention to the dominant gender binary model and the prevailing male/female thinking that is so prevalent in our societies.


The GENE Awards: rewarding education that promotes global citizenship and solidarity

On 19 May 2021, UCOS received a 2020-2021 GENE Global Education Award for its CHanGE project.

This award recognised seven European initiatives in the field of education for global citizenship and solidarity. Each of the laureates received a certificate of excellence and a cheque to the amount of 10,000 euros to be used for the further development of their respective projects. The GENE Global Education Award also provides access to a platform for the exchange of knowledge and inspiration with policy-makers and various organisations.