What is Life-Link
What is the purpose of the Life-Link programme
The Life-Link Friendship-Schools programme is developed to engage young people worldwide, at and around their schools, in positive and affirmative local actions related to the theme of my Peace, my Health, my Behavior towards Nature; in summary: my Sustainable Lifestyle, as explained through the ethics of Care for Myself – Care for Others – Care for Nature.
This independent peace education programme was initiated 1987 as a Medical Doctor's "antidote" to the pessimism documented among children in response to the prospect of nuclear war and environmental degradation. Today we have as proof the rich experience from students, teachers and schools worldwide that this programme can bring inspiration, hope and optimism for the future into the school's curriculum.
Preferably lower and upper secondary school students (ages 12-19). Educators at primary schools have also found the programme useful for their young students.
This education programme offers a list of 62 optional two-hour peace/care actions. Any preferred action can be performed with a minimum of 10 students, or preferably with several classes together, in cooperation with teachers, parents and community members. The practices can take place in the classroom, in school gardens established through the programme, and also in connection with the nearby community. This programme has also been organized through youth clubs. Although the actions are designed to take place in a two-hour period, some can be organized for one hour only or extended to several days. Participating students as well as teachers will gain Project Management skills while planning – performing – reporting their preferred actions.
Schools submit short online reports on their experience with the performed actions to www.life-link.org Schools & Actions. Once a school submits its first report, it is automatically registered within the international Life-Link Friendship-Schools network. Each school has full control and responsibility on how the local actions and reporting are performed; Life-Link with small administration staff in Sweden performs no "on site" inspections or audits at participating schools. The school can at the same time belong to other networks of schools.
The Life-Link Friendship-Schools programme is today recognized by United Nations as a good practice programme on how to promote Education for Sustainable Development, a Sustainable Lifestyle, a RRR Reduce-Reuse-Recycle behaviour, as well as education on Water for Life.
Value-base and Ethics
The actions connect to the three interdependent sustainable lifestyle themes: Care for Myself (Health, Human Responsibilities and Rights); Care for Others (Conflict resolution and Constructive collaboration); and Care for Nature (RRR Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, Environmental sustainability). The Life-Link Friendship-Schools programme includes peace actions that specifically touch upon student responsibilities, as well as the rights of the child and the topics of gender, persons with disabilities, and harassment.<>/p
This peace education programme is also included in a Compendium of Good Practice: Human rights Education in the School Systems of Europe, Central Asia and North America, 2009.
The programme is based on natural and social sciences with a certain flavour of health and medicine. If I do not behave friendly and constructively towards Myself - Others – Nature, health deterioration will result, sooner rather than later.
The programme website contains a rich assortment of information on the actions carried out by classrooms and schools, including reports, campaigns and a photo gallery. Support materials include a manual and supplements, such as diplomas that can be given to students after the completion of projects, logos, blogs and opportunity to provide feedback on the suggestions actions. A 60-page Life-Link manual for teachers and facilitators includes brief guidelines for organizing the actions and for actively engaging with the network offered by Life-Link. Translations are available in Russian, Arabic and Spanish.
As one example, in Uppsala, Sweden approximately 75 schools perform an annual three-hour Clean Up campaign in May, entitled Clean Up-sala. This activity is integrated within the schools' curriculum (e.g. Biology, Social Studies and Physical Education) and participating schools are recognized with certificated by both Life-Link and the local community organizations.
Another example is how UNESCO Associated schools in Russia now integrate the Life-Link ethics and core actions into the regular curriculum.
Since 2000, more than 4878 actions have been systematically registered on the programme website, coming from over 786 schools in 92 countries. It is estimated that approximately 25.000 students, 2.000 teachers, 10.000 parents and an unknown number of community experts are involved in the practice each year. In 2007, the practice affiliated with UNESCO ASPnet. In 2009 UNESCO lead agency on Education for Sustainable Development recommended the Life-Link initiated Earth Care Campaign 2010-2014.
Earth Care Campaign 2010-2014
In order to inspire schools world-wide to join a schools' "planet saving campaign", Life-Link has formulated and structured this campaign based on three advanced actions: Culture of Care, Water for Life, RRR / Sustainable Lifestyle.
Your school is welcome to join this first time ever in history campaign, but we first recommend that a "basic" Life-Link action should be performed in order to have your school registered and recognized on www.life-link.org Schools & Actions.
Learn more at earthcare.life-link.org.
The conceptual framework: this peace education programme links Care for Self, Others and the Environment/Nature in a nurturing and affirmative manner. There is a wide assortment of short actions that can be undertaken.
International networking and communication: through use of the Internet, the practice introduced the additional benefit of being able to post actions publicly and to feel connected to a large, international network of schools, teachers and students with shared interests.
Adoptability: the proposed peace/care actions are simple and the manual provides guidelines rather than prescriptive steps for carrying out each project. This peace education programme is already in use in over 92 countries, suggesting that the actions are highly adaptable.
Availability: this website contains complete information about the programme in English, including the Life-Link Friendship-Schools manual. Translations into Arabic, Spanish and Russian are also available, with portions also translated into French.
No money transfer: Life-Link charges no fee from participating schools, and does not support the schools with any money. Most work within the Life-Link Friendship-Schools programme is on voluntary base, and participating schools cover their action expenditures from school's budget or from action fundraising.
Delegations from active and interested school can apply for annual or biannual Life-Link conferences.