Education, generally understood as a life long process, is delivered through several channels that are interdependent and complimentary. UNESCO defines formal education as the hierarchically structured, chronologically graded, educational system running from primary through to tertiary institutions. Informal education is the process whereby every individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience, such as from family, friends, peer groups, the media and other influences and factors in the person’s environment.
Non-formal education (NFE) is an organised educational activity outside the established formal system that is intended to serve an identifiable learning clientele with identifiable learning objectives. Non-formal education can be delivered by governments, UN agencies, trade unions, sports clubs and national institutions but the biggest provider of NFE remain youth organizations, especially volunteer-led youth NGOs, which base their educational programmes on equality, diversity and responsible global citizenship. The importance of non-formal education, as generally practised by youth NGOs and other providers, results from the specific characteristics that are intrinsic to it and which are, to a large extent, not present in either formal or informal education.