On 17 May 2018, the Belgian platforms Be-cause health and Educaid.be jointly organised an international conference on the intersection between health and education in international cooperation.
Better learning outcomes lead to improved health outcomes and vice versa. This is particularly true for women and girls. Ensuring quality education for all is central to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically the goals that ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all, at all ages. At the same time, learning outcomes are also critically dependent on the health and nutrition of the individual learner.
But to what extent does international cooperation link health and education? Which examples of collaboration between the two sectors exist? What are the needs and principal barriers? What are the conditions for making collaboration effective?
This conference aimed to highlight the links between health and education as global public goods, and explore common challenges as well as learning opportunities. It thereby focused on investments in three main areas:
- Health workforce development
- Safe and healthy school environments
- Community engagement/awareness-raising for health and education
The conference was opened by a representative of Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal services, followed by a keynote address which will provided a helicopter view of the intersection between health and education. Subsequently, an expert panel made the case for investing in education and health and highlight international priorities for this crucial interplay. In the afternoon, four parallel sessions focused on innovative practices and examples of collaboration between a wide range of development actors – international and Belgian – working on education and/or health
The annual conferences of Be-cause health and Educaid.be aim to enrich discussion on respectively health and education issues within international cooperation by giving the floor to academics and researchers, policy makers and practitioners from all over the world. With this joint conference, both platforms aim to trigger critical reflection on the roles of international development actors in combining education and health.