Eugène Etse and George Odalo Present at CoDeS 2019

Two representatives of the Dianova Network’s member organizations will present academic papers reflecting on their work at CoDeS 2019

CoDes 2019

The Formative Congress of Sustainable Development (CoDes) is a youth initiative pioneered by university students, which aims at offering an alternative, multidisciplinary and innovative education format – source: screenshot from CoDes web page

By Federica Bertacchini – Thanks to the financial contributions of the generous friends of the Dianova Network, Eugène Etse and George Ochieng Odalo will attend the third edition of the Formative Congress on Sustainable Development (CoDes) held at the University Campus of Valladolid (Spain), from 1 to 5 October 2019 (47011 Valladolid).

His name is Yawo, but everybody calls him Eugène. During his workday, he’s acting up as Fundraising, Marketing and Public Relations Officer for the Togolese Red Cross. In his free time, though, he transforms into a theatre performer and, with other volunteers, takes over the streets of Togo to meet local communities and spread messages about health, sanitation and positive cohabitation. Beside his daily job with the Red Cross, Eugène is the founder of GRADH, the Groupe de Reflexion des amis pour le Developpement de l’Humain, (Reflection Group of Friends for Human Development), an associate member of the Dianova Network.

George is the Executive Director and founder of the Slum Child Foundation, an NGO based in Nairobi, Kenya, and also a member of Dianova’s extended family. Born and raised in the slums of Korogocho, George grew up in a family struggling to meet basic needs. After his parents’ separation, he dropped out of school and ended up living on the streets. Thanks to a nun he was introduced to, George got the support he needed to get his life back on track. Recognizing that not every child in the slums of Nairobi is as lucky as he has been, he decided to dedicate his life giving slum children a chance to grow up healthier and safer.

The III Formative Congress of Sustainable Development, or CoDeS is a youth-led, ground-breaking and mind-opening cultural initiative that articulates social cohesion and intercultural understanding in all sustainable development’s dimensions. Organized by medical students from the University of Valladolid, all volunteers, this year’s edition is bringing together pupils, professionals and scholars from all over the world to talk about art, human rights, health and sustainable development in the African continent. A symposium for knowledge-sharing and ideas generation, CoDeS is a unique opportunity for young activists and academia to join forces in thinking about the future of sustainable development.

CoDeS’s organizers and Dianova International’s staff met in April 2019, when CoDeS requested support to apply for a UNESCO international award on education for sustainable development. Seeing the innovative and youth-generated dimension of the project, Dianova did not hesitate to provide encouragement and to recommend the congress for funding. That’s when both organizations realized there was a chance for further collaboration within the academic section of CoDeS, which is at its first edition this year.

Dianova International then developed a crowdfunding campaign, to involve its friends and supporters in giving George and Eugène a chance to present their work at CoDeS, exchange their experiences with other young scholars and bring new learnings back to their countries and communities. Thanks to the generosity of those who shared the campaign on the social media and with their families and friends, and those who contributed financially, Eugène will fly to Valladolid and attend the five-day congress, while George will be presenting his work remotely, via videoconference.

The Activities of CoDeS2019 and the Interventions of our Members

From 1 to 5 October, CoDes 2019 will host many events and workshops (see details of activities in Spanish). George and Eugene will participate in the 1st International Congress of Young Researchers on Africa, which will take place on Friday 4 October at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy. George will present his project at Table 2 (New Educational Perspectives in Africa) and Eugene will discuss his at Table 3 (African Women and Gender Inequalities).

George will be talking about how the Toto Club, a group of children between 6 and 15 years old, support each other to stay away from drug use, and in advocating in favour of healthier lifestyles with their peers and families.

At CoDes 2019, Eugène will be presenting the experience of the Togolese Red Cross’ Mothers’ Clubs, organized groups of women living in rural communities in Togo. Since the project started, Togolese Mothers’ Clubs have empowered women all over Togo to economically participate in the life of their villages, increasing their resilience and involvement in their communities’ decision-making mechanisms.

Read more about Eugène’s experience and follow him throughout CoDeS on our social media starting from Tuesday, 1 October.


Through street-theater, songs and storytelling, the Reflection Group of Friends for Human Development (GRADH) aims at educating the rural population in Togo about good hygiene practices and communicable diseases prevention, with the overall objective of improving community health.

Since 1979 the Togolese Red Cross has been active in the country to uphold human rights and improve the condition of the most vulnerable population in Togo.  Adhering to the principles of the International Red Cross, the Togolese Red Cross operates with impartiality, neutrality and independence, thanks to the work of thousands of local volunteers.

Established in 2008, the Slum Child Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports vulnerable and marginalized children and women living in poor urban settlements, such as the slums of Nairobi, in Kenya.

The Formative Congress of Sustainable Development (CoDes) is a youth initiative pioneered by university students, which aims at offering an alternative, multidisciplinary and innovative education format. Overcoming the traditional master classes’ barriers, such as the vertical and static relationships between teachers and students, CoDeS proposes educational activities based on immersive and inclusive learning.