Preparation for Social Action

In response to interest in adopting SAT by a growing number of organizations around the world, FUNDAEC modified some of the curriculum, and organized it in an education for development program called "Preparation for Social Action (PSA)." It is offered as non-formal education.

For FUNDAEC, the term "education for development" is understood as a process that enables young people to participate in generating and applying knowledge as protagonists of the progress of their communities. PSA is a program that equips young people with the necessary skills to become promoters of community well-being. For FUNDAEC, a promoter of community well-being is an identity that the program tries to foster, and that can increase cooperation among people, whatever their profession.


At present, around 1,000 young people in Colombia are applying their capacities in actions to improve the health of their regions’ ecosystems, support the education of pre-school children, as well as conduct action-research to promote sustainable agricultural production projects.

The first experience with the program in Colombia was with local communities and institutions on the Caribbean Coast in 2005. PSA has gradually expanded with great success in this region, demonstrating the possibility of establishing it in other regions of the country. Currently, a global network of about 10 organizations in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific are implementing the PSA program in several countries. To support the initial development of this network, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation approved a three-year financing project for FUNDAEC in 2007, to transfer the learning obtained with PSA in Colombia to the African context. In 2013, FUNDAEC received another grant from the Luxembourg Government Agency for Cooperation and Development, to strengthen the implementation of the PSA on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia.

Program Components

The pedagogical relationships are not traditional, but rather involve a group of people who work together to achieve a common goal. Together, the students and the tutor tackle concrete problems with a meeting style that fosters self-learning. Learning to dialogue is both an educational objective and a means of training in the group.

Promoter of Community Well-being

In any locality, numerous individuals serve their communities in different ways: as students, teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, social workers, farmers, and many more. In addition to the knowledge and skills they possess in their specific fields or will acquire later as students, the program helps these motivated individuals to gain a deeper understanding of a set of concepts, and strengthen certain qualities, attitudes and skills that will allow them to serve their communities more effectively, and thus promote the well-being of their people. This includes the ability to integrate knowledge from different areas related to the challenges they will have to overcome in order to act on their social reality.

Promoters of Community Well-being have diverse backgrounds and are not satisfied with passive values where the motto is to live your life without harming others. They realize that the prosperity of their own families and the well-being of their communities are interdependent. They firmly believe that the spiritual and material progress of a people is a responsibility shared by all. They actively collaborate with local institutions in systematic action that helps the community overcome its challenges.


The PSA curriculum

The PSA curriculum consists of 24 texts aimed at developing the participants’ capacities in language, mathematics, science and community life processes, which encompasses community service as well as the development and the use of appropriate technologies. In many cases, it has been useful to study units of the Ruhí Institute in this curriculum, which greatly enhances the training of promoters.

Study blocks organize the study of the units of the curriculum. These blocks are sets of study units that are studied in a specific order; the units of the first blocks helps participants understand concepts and develop skills that will be useful in more advanced blocks. Study blocks are not inherent to the program, but rather are a way of organizing content.

To study the units, PSA groups ideally meet 12 to 15 hours a week in a suitable place chosen by the students, which can be as simple as a backyard or the shade of a tree, as long as it permits concentration in a suitable environment. Under those conditions, the program should last approximately two and a half years.


In addition to studying the texts, groups also participate in acts of service, investigation, community meetings, and productive projects in the community. These aspects of the program help students become true promoters of community well-being. Some of these elements are part of the curriculum itself and others are initiatives of the groups and their tutors.



The program is organized administratively into what is called a PSA unit. A unit consists of 10 to 15 groups and their tutors, supported by a coordinator. The coordinator, in turn, has two tutors who assist with accompanying the groups. A unit has approximately 150 to 200 active students.


A number of activities also take place in a unit to help maintain an active work dynamic. These include the following:

Student meetings

Student meetings are organized by each PSA unit. One of the main objectives is to strengthen the identity of promoters of community well-being. They also create and strengthen ties of friendship between program participants who share the same desire to be trained and work for the well-being of their communities and society in general. PSA group students, tutors, the program coordinator, and parents participate, as well as some invited community members.

Reinforcement and advancement meetings

Reinforcement and advancement meetings are where the tutors meet to consult and prepare for the following week’s activities. The meetings are held weekly or biweekly, according to the needs of the unit.

Tutors’ meetings

Tutors' meetings are held each month and all tutors attend. Part of the time is used to study additional materials to increase their understanding of the program and the elements of its implementation.