The second week of the EsF Assembly began with breakfast and welcoming of new participants. Pearls from Saturday were shared and then groups went their separate ways to do their morning community work.

Hombakazi and Primadonna opened the morning session with a song and then AMI President, Philip O’Brien lead the morning presentation on Working Towards a Sustainable Future. Philip began his presentation by asking participants to answer a 13 question survey with multiple choice answers. Upon answering these questions, the answers were given. To the surprise of many of the participants, the answers were more positive and less dire than they originally seemed. Successes that have been achieved are a reduction in extreme poverty; undernourishment; primary school enrolment rate, the fight against HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, the under 5 mortality, maternity mortality and access to sanitation and water. With these successes, the gap between the richer and poorer however, has grown bigger. The gaps in literacy and economics continue to grow. Out of 264 million children who are not in school, girls are half of the amount. In the primary level, there are more girls out of school and when it come to post primary schooling, there are more boys out of school. In Sub-Saharan Africa, girls are at a higher disadvantage when it come to schooling. Philip spoke about the action plan for the future. Eradicating poverty was discussed, with some views that poverty is relative. Eradicating poverty remains a huge concept. We reviewed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals were designed to complete what was not achieved, particularly when it come to the most valuable. One of the topics raised was that the youth are disillusioned about democracy and are therefore stepping away from it. In order for sustainability to be achieved, the three dimensions of the SDG’s need to meld together and be harmonised. These dimensions are social, economic and environmental. The consensus is that by fulfilling the 4th SDG, the other 16 could be achieved. The goal to ensure inclusive education, quality education and to promote lifelong learning for all is the key that holds together the other 16 goals. Through education, poverty and mortality can be reduced. Gender Equality will result in 1.5 million less child marriages and through education, nutrition awareness could result in up to 40% less stunted growth for children. Although accountability starts with the government, we are all accountable. Our role is to hold government accountable in education particularly. Ways to hold the government accountable is through elections, social movements and dissemination of information on education. Philip ended his presentation by urging each participant to take up their role in making a difference, with a change being a simple as picking up a piece of plastic bag and not being wasteful with food. He closed off with the statement that our Montessori voice is not heard frequently or loudly enough and we are the ones that need to change that. Lynne then added that waste of human potential  is the biggest waste of all. Our children are the agents of change and we are their advocates.

Participants broke into their reading groups and discussions, followed by lunch. After lunch concluded, participants could choose between a selection of workshops to attend.

Dr Alain Tschudin gave a presentation on Urbanisation, titled The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Alain started by showing a video depicting Mega-cities and urbanisation. In a sense, urbanisation can be looked at as a type of poverty due to the effects that it has culturally, socially and economically. Life in the mega-cities happen at a more fragile rate, with much hustling and a different sense of energy. Some of the challenges faced are infrastructure, overpopulation, poor leadership and poor service delivery. The gap between the richer and poorer citizens of a mega-city were raised. On the one side transport, water access and sanitation are easily available whilst on the other side, there is an imbalance of service delivery, poor access to water especially in the informal settlements. Following the video, a discussion was held on the effects of urbanisation. Some serious questions were raised. Some questions raised were on the control of influx, displacement, lack of family units, infrastructure, family support, access to water and the challenges facing social workers and educators in urban communities.

Lynne led participants to give feedback on insights and questions from the late morning readings and discussions and then one of the participants, Mariana van Niekerk read a poem in her mother tongue to the assembly entitled ‘Winter Nag’ by the poet Eugene Marais. Participants were invited to take part in a yoga session before dinner, with the end of the first day of the second week drawing to a close.