The Association of participants Àgora is a Non-governmental organization in the field of education and training. The activities are addressed to adults who do not have academic degree, especially those people from vulnerable groups who are at risk of social exclusion. The association was created in 1986 to cover the educational and cultural needs in the neighbourhood. In 1999, Harvard Educational Review published the article “La Verneda-Sant Martí, a school where people dare to dream”, the unique Spanish educational experience into adult education published by this review. Authors such as John Comings (Harvard University), Barbara Merril (Warwick University), Carol D. Lee (Northwestern University and vice-president of the American Educational Research Association) or Courtney Cazden (Harvard University) have visited the school and association highlighting the impact of the school results and work.
Àgora provides an educational setting for about 2400 participants and has more than 150 volunteers. It offers a wide range of activities, including language learning, basic literacy, ICT training groups and dialogic gathering in Literature, Mathematics, Arts and Science among many other activities. Àgora has an extensive opening time from 9am to 22pm seven days a week, and all activities are free.
The main goal of Àgora is to achieve educational success and social participation through democratic principles, opening all decision-making processes to all the people involved in the organization. The education provided is based on the dialogic learning (Flecha, 2005), in which the egalitarian dialogue, transformation and solidarity are three of the key principles to contribute to overcome inequalities. In addition, the association aims to give voice to those who are more excluded from the public debates and social participation, fostering and promoting their inclusion in all social fields and helping them being involved in the community and being able to share their points of view. Àgora also works with young adults, giving courses on basic competences to improve their social inclusion. The organization has experience in the establishment of participative processes.
Different awards recognize the work done in promoting internal democracy in the organization and contributting to overcome inequalities: "Solidarity Award" awarded by the Institut de Drets Humans de Catalunya in 2007, "Premi Compromís Democràtic" warded by Generalitat de Catalunya in 2013 and " X Premi Barcelona Associacions" by the Ajuntament de Barcelona in 2010. Also, Agora received, by Spain’s National Agency (SEPIE), the 2017 award for the quality of Erasmus+ projects in the field of adult education.
Agora has experience co-ordinating European successful projects under Erasmus+, Grundtvig Multilateral Project Lifelong Learning programme, among others, such as EDUFIN (2014-2016), which was recognized as a good practice. As a partner, Agora can contribute their extensive experience in adult education and particularly dialogic learning, as an association that manages a school for adults that has been active for 40 years (the School for Adults at La Verneda-Sant Martí), and having participated in European projects in the fieald of adult education for more than 20 years. In addition, Agora has expereience co-ordinating research tasks and on working with the Communicative Methodology, which international institutions such as the European Commission have recognized as an approach particularly appropriate to work with vulnerable groups in order to achieve a social impact of transformation that helps to overcome social inequalities.