Empowering a circular future: innovative online course drive sustainable change

In a world grappling with environmental challenges, initiatives that foster sustainable practices and empower individuals to embrace circular economy principles are crucial. One such initiative is the “Green Skills for Circular Economy” project, which won the Grundtvig Award 2023 in the category of transnational initiatives.

Aiming for change

Green Skills for Circular Economy is a transformative project aimed at enlightening and engaging young adults in the principles of a circular lifestyle.

The project has developed an online course designed to raise awareness about circular economy principles. Furthermore, this course aims to motivate participants to adopt a circular lifestyle. It utilises non-formal learning methodologies to engage learners effectively. These methods include incorporating inspirational videos, interviews with local community members, and sustainable recreational activities. Some examples of these activities are visiting flea markets and participating in boat trips aimed at cleaning up plastic trash.

Fostering the green transition

Until now, the project has directly reached over a thousand participants,” says Anna Fenko from Fenan Consulting, the coordinator of the project.

This project extends beyond a closed circle of participants and actively utilises social media platforms. Such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok to share their activities and results, spreading awareness about the course. According to Fenko, over 8,000 people have been informed about the project’s achievements and ongoing efforts through these platforms.

Furthermore, the project engages adult educators and various stakeholders in discussions, workshops, and evaluative sessions. These stakeholders include adult education organisations, municipalities, NGOs, research institutions, environmental protection associations, and vocational education and training (VET) schools. Collaboration with these entities aims to promote the principles of circular economy, facilitate behavioural change, and integrate circular skills into everyday life. Together, to advance the transition towards a circular economy and promote inclusivity by actively involving socially disadvantaged groups such as senior citizens, people from remote rural areas and migrants and refugees as informal educators.

A lesson in inclusivity

“The transition to a circular economy can only succeed when all stakeholders and social groups work together,” says Fenko. The best practice of the project is involving people from socially disadvantaged groups as informal educators. 

Fenan Consulting invites these groups to share their knowledge with young adults living in urban areas. They often possess circular skills that more privileged segments of society have overlooked. By involving them as adult educators, the project aimed to encourage their social participation. The project aimed at increasing their social recognition and respect. These individuals inspire and share their circular practices, such as reusing and repairing. They also promote recycling and upcycling products and materials.

Examples of involvement include video interviews, where migrants discuss their circular practices, sustainable food preparation methods, and other activities. These videos showcase the circular skills of seniors and those from rural areas.

“Participants from disadvantaged social groups have reported increased social participation, recognition, respect, and self-esteem as a result of their involvement in the project,” says Fenko.

Text: EAEA / Fenan Consulting. Photos: Fenan Consulting


Building green skills for the circular economy

Category: Transnational initiatives

Coordinator:  Fenan Consulting

Country: Netherlands

Focus: Circular economy and resilience for refugees

Contact: Anna Fenko, fenan.consulting@gmail.com

Link: Green skills for circular economy

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