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University’s European ClimACT project celebrates achievements at Lisbon conference

ClimACT is a European Union funded project which supports activities fostering education for sustainable development.

It collaborates internationally with partner institutions and schools in Gibraltar, France, Portugal and Spain. The University of Gibraltar manages the project locally, underpinned by a partnership with both the Department of Education and the Department of the Environment.

Over the past years, the local ClimACT tripartite has facilitated a series of workshops for teachers in order to discuss and exchange ideas around the topic of Education for Sustainable Development.

Teachers have engaged in a participatory process and have taken ownership of this. Because of these seminars, teachers themselves have shaped the aim, the structure and operation of the framework for Gibraltar, this being the inception of Sustainable Schools Gibraltar.

Following the successful seminar held in September 2018 in Gibraltar, where international delegates took part in workshops relating to schools’ role in sustainable development, partners have celebrated the completion of the three-year project by holding an international conference on May 9 and 10 in Lisbon, Portugal. The two-day conference comprised a variety of seminars and activities.

In recognition of the progress and achievements made in Gibraltar, the ClimACT conference welcomed the participation of local delegates to showcase their success stories around the topic of sustainability and education.

The group also incorporated student representatives of the Young Enterprise (“YE”) programme, which has seen a significant increase in environmentally themed projects over the years.

Amaia Fernandez, from the University of Gibraltar, updated the audience on how the ClimACT methodology has inspired local schools, the progress made and its legacy. Accompanying video footage illustrated the local impact of this initiative.

She said: “This event has emphasised the significant progress made in Gibraltar. Teachers have built their support network and students and ancillary staff are now an active part in achieving Sustainable Schools. The credit goes to schools, for their ambition towards making a change in Gibraltar”.

The YE students brought ‘The Ambient Project’ and ‘Compass Direct’ companies to Lisbon and presented their products to the international audience: the Betty bee book to teach young children about the environment and Walkit, a chemical-free formula to wash away dog faeces, respectively.

The groups performed international sales following their presentations. The programme also saw stage performances by students including dance, music and acting disciplines, through which they expressed the impacts of climate change and actions to reduce the carbon footprint at schools.

Students representing the YE groups found this experience rewarding and fulfilling. Kristina Hewitt from Westside School said “it was such a great experience” and Finley Bradford from The College said “thanks for the opportunity, it was class and you made it all qualify”.

Teachers attending the conference were determined to engage beyond ClimACT and hope to continue their international network in the future.

Schools are delivering activities that impact on both the curricula and ethos, developing critical thinking and emphasising the learning outcomes behind each action.

Teachers are reinforcing their professional competences and empowering other colleagues. Jackie Linares, Education Adviser attending the conference said: “students have represented Gibraltar in an international forum. I hope they are inspired to keep up the campaigning to stop climate change and to encourage people to live their lives in a way that will allow future generations to also have a good quality of life.”

“Us adults have also learnt a lot and have brought back ideas to share. We have strengthened our ties with other like-minded educationalists from France, Spain and Portugal. Young Enterprise students have helped us to do this. We are very proud of our young ambassadors,” she added.

ClimACT has facilitated a support network to assist the framework for Sustainable Schools Gibraltar.

The partnership with both the Department of Education and the Department of the Environment has been instrumental in achieving the success of the initiative in our community. As a result, meeting and working dynamics with schools, which are now secured and normalised, are expected to continue beyond the project’s lifespan.

Find out more about ClimACT:

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