Smartfood initiative and ADELE project win 2024 EAEA Grundtvig Awards

Adult learning holds the potential not only to equip individuals with new skills but also to reshape perspectives and be a catalyst for societal change. Grounded in principles of openness, social inclusion, and justice, EAEA 2024 Grundtvig Award theme underscores the profound impact adult learning can have on individuals and the broader community. The winners of the award were selected in two categories: local/regional/national initiatives and transnational initiatives.

Engaging citizens in food diversity

“We live in times of transformation and change. Our task as adult educators is to prepare our people for the change,” said EAEA President Uwe Gartenschlaeger opening the Grundtvig Award ceremony. We also heard from Maria Sarkkinen, who welcomed the participants on behalf of City of Helsinki.

SmartFood: Engaging citizens in food diversity in cities won the Grundtvig Award in the national category. The SmartFood project has contributed to the reduction of the environmental footprint by presenting a model for self-produced food, thereby reducing food transportation. The project began in Warsaw, installing 20 hydrophonic cabinets in a residential block, allowing residents to grow vegetables in shared spaces. The project successfully fostered community integration and involved local stakeholders in the process of co-creating an educational model for shaping pro-environmental behaviors.

Maria Grzegorzewska University was responsible for adult education issues in the project, explains Ewa Duda, who received the award on behalf of the project team. 

“Winning this prestigious award shows that our efforts to strengthen lifelong learning for a green transformation are recognised and needed. Secondly, the award will increase the visibility of our project and allow us to contribute to the dissemination of innovative ways of greening cities, strengthening food security, and raising awareness among city dwellers about sustainable food consumption and production patterns based on healthy eating habits and social networks. We are very grateful for this recognition,” says Duda.

The Grundtvig Award jury appreciated the holistic approach of the project and the connection to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ewa Duda receiving the award from Uwe Gartenschlaeger
Lauri Tuomi and Anja Vallittu congratulating Elisabetta Mei

ADELE tool helps libraries to improve their digital services

Advancing Digital Empowerment of Libraries in Europe – ADELE won the Grundtvig Award in the category of transnational projects. Run by the European Grants International Academy (eGina) in Italy, ADELE project offered a free self-evaluation tool and training opportunities to help libraries reflect on how they use, and where they can further integrate digital technologies to improve their services. The partnership involved 100 libraries first in the validation and testing of the ADELE tool and later in the capacity-building activities.

“This recognition will amplify the project reach and impact at the international level, allowing more libraries and organisations to get familiar with the ADELE self assessment tool and the educational materials,” said Elisabetta Mei from eGina. “We hope our resources can empower library staff and managers, helping them to drive change within their organisations. Finally, I’d like to thank the ADELE European network of libraries and all the library experts, staff and managers who helped us shape the tool and contributed to the development of the project resources. This network represents the very strength of the ADELE project.”

The jury appreciated the capacity building aspect of the project and the focus on libraries, which are often underappreciated. 

There were also two highly commendable projects selected in both categories. Men2Men project by Vestifex Adult Learning Centre in Estonia received a highly commendable certificate in the national category, while CAXATO project by European Grants International Academy in Italy received a highly commendable certificate in the transnational category.

The Awards were handed over by EAEA President Uwe Gartenschlaeger, Lauri Tuomi, CEO of the Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation, and Anja Vallittu, Senior Adviser to the Mayor at City of Helsinki. The Award Ceremony was held at the Old City Hall (Bock’s house) in Helsinki, Finland 11 June 2024 and supported by the City of Helsinki.

Ahjo Ensemble choir sang at the ceremony
Participants of the ceremony hosted by City of Helsinki at the Old City Hall


The EAEA Grundtvig Award was launched in 2003 by EAEA in order to recognise and celebrate excellence in adult education. It highlights project results that produce new ideas, new partnerships, new methodologies, and a new understanding of how we can work in adult learning. 

The 2024 jury consisted of EAEA Executive Board members Anna Skocz, NGO Trainer’s Association/Stowarzyszenie Trenerskie Organizacji Pozarządowych sTOP (Poland), Marta Jendeková, Association of Adult Education Institutions in the Slovak Republic (Slovakia), and Balázs Németh, University of Pécs (Hungary).

Contact information / EAEA

Gina Ebner
+32 (0)2 893 25 24

Contact information / SmartFood project

Ewa Duda
Maria Grzegorzewska University
Partners: RIC Pro-Akademia (coordinator), Maria Grzegorzewska University, Cracow University of Technology, Western Norway Research Institute, Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), and Norwegian Business School. 

Contact information / ADELE project

Elisabetta Mei
European Grants International Academy
Partners: European Grants International Academy (Italy), Libraries Development, Local Government Management Agency (Ireland), Public Libraries 2030 (Italy), The Central Institute for the Union Catalogue of Italian Libraries and Bibliographic Information (Italy), The Global Libraries – Bulgaria Foundation (Bulgaria).