JlTEGEMEA AS HUMAN AGENCY AND FREEDOM
This sustainability model seeks to equip local leadership to empower local communities towards sustainable action. This process of jitegemea, as perpetuated by the concepts of learner autonomy, becomes a mode of personal and collective agency that leads to freedom.
First, freedom is seen as the opportunity for self-influence. Bandura82 presents that freedom occurs as the result of individual thought, skill, and other tools when choosing an action. Within Arguello’s83 research, leaders demonstrated the ability to use both individual and group thought and skill to change their circumstances and mindsets concerning sustainability practices. Individual agency emerged as leaders individually changed behaviour as the product of adopting beliefs about the value of sustainability. Furthermore, collective agency transpired when group accountability formed as group leaders discussed how to implement selfreliant practices. Both types of agency reflected freedom as self-influence.
Second, in a social sense, freedom represents individual options and rights. “The more behavioral alternatives and prerogatives people have, the greater is their freedom of action.”84
Africans face limitations in perceived freedoms as a consequence of historical antecedents that quelled organic leadership models. Bandura85 synthesizes, “Economic conditions, socioeconomic status, and family structure affect behavior through their impact on people’s sense of efficacy, aspirations, and affective self-regulatory factors rather than directly.”86 Thus, this chapter suggests that within the African context, historical and present social structures that have fostered limited individual options and rights may prohibit learner autonomy and, consequently, sustainability.
The goal, then, would not only be to cultivate learner autonomy but also to increase human agency. “Human agency operatesgeneratively and proactively on social systems not just reactively.”87 If social systems suppress freedom, then cultivating agency at the local level may increase the ability of leaders and communities to initiate and sustain desired change.