This thesis takes global learning out of the formal setting of a Northern classroom to a rural community setting in the Global South as a social learning process. It begins with a critical reflection of a large EU project to develop a global learning programme as a Global North South initiative. The focus narrows to Zanzibar, a small island state, to critically reflect on the delivery of the programme. And then further to focus on the global social learning and change that occurred in a rural community setting in the north of the island. Through participatory action research, I investigate the relevance of global learning as a social learning process, how norms and rules are shaped within a community setting and how these enable social change towards sustainable livelihoods. The thesis splices the intersection between critical and social theories of learning and engagement, to include critical social theories of Habermas (1984) and Wals (2007); critical race theories of Giroux (1997) and Said (1994) and distributive justice and entitlements theories of Sen (1997) and Moser (1998). It demonstrates the importance of dissonance and a safe space for deliberative dialogue, to be able to consider the global pressures and forces on local realities as the precursor to social change towards sustainability. I conclude by relating the learning from this small island state to the wider world and the current discourse on quality of education in a community development context.
Keywords:Capabilities; Sustainable Livelihoods; Dissonance; Global Learning; Critical theory; Communicative action; Social learning.