Nektarina Non Profit celebrates its 7th foundation anniversary!

Written by Aina on . Posted in General Information, News, News & Updates

We have prepared this blog entry because today is a very special day for our organization Nektarina Non Profit as we celebrate our 7th birthday.

Every 12th of August for the past 7 years has been a very meaningful day to our organization. Each year we realize how fortunate we have been to keep working in what we believe and love, in spite of any of the difficulties we have encountered along our way.

We feel so proud of all the hard work our organization has taken since its foundation back in 2009 that we want to share with you in this article just a little about what we have been doing ever since.

Nektarina Non Profit was founded in Croatia 7 years ago with one broad idea in mind: highlighting the issues that affect us all globally as a part of the big Earth community. Highlighting them by raising awareness and inspiring action, but most importantly by educating and sharing knowledge about them.

Ever since, the projects we have implemented and collaborated with, have lead us to work mainly on sustainability in its three dimensions: social, environmental, and economic. Specially we have focused to target the younger generations. Not only because they are one of the most affected groups by our unsustainable ways, but because of their potential to shift our world towards a sustainable future.

One of the most relevant examples of our work were the “European Citizens’ Initiatives Youth Forums” organized during 2011 and 2012 across different countries in Central, Eastern and South East Europe, Russia, the Mediterranean and Central Asia. The forums gathered teenagers, students and young professionals to learn, share ideas, knowledge, and inspire action on climate change, sustainable consumption, carbon footprint, renewable energy, and other related topics. The forums were delivered in partnership with the international organizations of the Earth Day Network, 10:10, and the Global Campaign for Climate Action – TckTckTck.

In 2011 we published our first cookbook, “Low Carbon and Delicious”, which shares over 50 recipes accompanied by beautiful pictures from 17 countries around the Mediterranean, providing a simple insight of what “low carbon food” means and how anyone can make a positive impact on the environment from their own kitchen and diet. Don’t miss checking out this colorful, inspiring and simple-to-use cookbook with a low carbon twist here.

Also at the end of that busy year of 2011, we were able to put into practice one of the fundamental pillars of our organization with the Education for Sustainability project. The project emerged from our belief that education is the most important way to bring a fundamental shift in how we think and act towards one another and our planet. Therefore we designed the project with one broad aim: putting sustainability in the curricula of every school.

The implementation of the project has not always been easy but we are proud to say that although the challenges we have faced, Education for Sustainability as of today, is the most important project of our organization. We will continue to put all our efforts to keep it that way and to work towards our goal in the years to come.

If you want to find more about our organization or the Education for Sustainability project, you can find additional information in our websites. We also invite you to get in touch with us if you have any questions or ideas you would like to share with us. Nektarina non Profit and Education for Sustainability are also present in Facebook and Twitter. Stay in touch and up-to-date with our latest work and news following our social networks.

Twitter @nektarina and @edu4sustain

Facebook @nektarinanonprofit  and @Edu4Sustainability

Finally we would like to thank all the people and organizations that have supported or collaborated with us during all these years. We hope to keep connecting with new and past organizations, volunteers, colleagues, students, teachers, etc. But most of all, we hope we keep inspiring one another in our work towards a sustainable world.

Note: Nektarina Non Profit, now based in the UK, is the initiator and leading organization of the Education for Sustainability project.

logoNektarina

DIWALI COLLAGE COMPETITION

Written by Aina on . Posted in General Information, India

This past autumn, during the last Diwali Holiday, (Festival of Lights) in India, we launched a collage competition among students of schools in the Pune region.

The main goal of this contest was to gather the maximum number possible of children and youths to raise awareness on environmental problems and possible solutions; demonstrate how they can be more sustainable in their daily lives; and facilitate an exchange of ideas between them.

Letters were sent to schools to inform them about the competition, and many students participated. The response in general was very much positive: 13 schools in the Pune region participated, with around 1,500 students from 5th to 10th grade, (10 to 17 years old), divided in two groups.

Children and youths were very enthusiastic and did beautiful and original creations. More pictures of their work are available in our photo gallery. Teachers’ cooperation was crucial and they did also enjoy taking part in the initiative.

  DSC_1197_Fotor

With the competition we aimed at raising awareness about the role of children and youths as the hope of the future, and the need to understand from a young age, about the impact that all our activities have in our world. By participating in this competition they were not only able to discuss about their ideas with other children their age; but understand nature should not be harmed, but respected and protected, as it is from nature where all our resources come from.

In this competition we encouraged the participation of more schools from the Municipal section, as these government schools do not have many opportunities to participate in such activities that create awareness about the environment.

At the end of the contest a ceremony was celebrated. The three best collages in each category were awarded with a diploma, writing pads and a diary. The prizes were given by the Principals of the Schools and the Representative Teacher, all in presence of the students who were proud and satisfied by the results of their work.

In the next weeks, an exhibition to show case the best works will be organized in Pune.

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2015 Collage Competition in Pune

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in General Information, India, News & Updates, Upcoming Events

We are going to be sharing the results and winners of our essay competition very soon, but before we do that, we have a new activity to announce!

We are holding a collage competition in Pune. This will be similar to our Best Out of Waste competition, as participants are invited to create a piece of collage art using waste materials.

While the Best Out of Waste competition aimed to demonstrate that much of what we throw away can be used in a practical and useful way, this competition is to demonstrate that art and beauty can also be found in the most unexpected places, and it is possible to create something special out of what people were throwing away.

After the competition is over, we will be arranging an exhibit to show off as many of the entries as we can. This is so the children involved can compare and share ideas, and will encourage cooperation and lateral thinking. It will also be a great experience for them to see their art in a display.

Here are the regulations of the competition:

  • For 5th to 7th std (junior group), the collages can be on any topic the participant wants, from sports to animals or anything between.
  • For 8th To 10th std (senior group), the collages should feature a landscape scene.
  • Collages should be on standard A4 paper/card.
  • We would like children to complete their collages over Diwali holidays. The entries will then be collected when school resumes.

We can’t wait to see what the participants create. If you want any further information, don’t hesitate to contact us – you can email the event organiser, our E4S India Country Manager Suresh, on suresh[at]nektarinanonprofit[dot]com

Bristol – European Green Capital 2015

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in General Information, Green Economy, News, News & Updates

Every year since 2010, a panel of environmental experts has chosen one exceptional city in Europe to be granted the title of ‘European Green Capital of the Year’. This year, 2015, the European Green Capital is Nektarina’s home city of Bristol. The award was envisaged to be a way to reward and recognise cities which are making continual, conscious efforts to improve their environment, become more sustainable, and innovate in green ways.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge (photo credit Gary Newman Low)

The successful bid was led by the Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson. Before getting into politics, Ferguson was an architect, and served two years (2003-2005) as President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, where “he was noted for championing the causes of education, the environment and good urbanism”. In 2012, Ferguson became Bristol’s first elected mayor, but his personal efforts have long had Bristol at their heart. Ferguson’s 1994 purchase and renovation of part of the Imperial Tobacco Factory is not only an laudable example of urban renewal and regeneration, but is also credited with kick-starting the regeneration of the Bedminster region as a whole. He’s known fondly by locals for his love of red trousers.

Although it took three attempts, Bristol has proven itself this year as a Green capital. This means that is has been formally recognised as a city:

  • with demonstrable records of achieving high environmental standards
  • which is committed to ongoing environmental improvement and sustainable development
  • which can act as a role model for other cities, and can inspire them to adopt best practices

As we are based in Bristol, we thought we’d give a brief overview of what makes it a Green Capital.

Bristol is the UK’s city with the lowest per capita emissions of CO2. In 2010, Bristol’s per capita emissions were just 4.7t, compared to 5.6t on average in other major cities, and 6.6t average nationally. This low amount represents a reduction between 2005 and 2010 of 19%.

Bristol has also affected a huge shift in waste management, moving from over 85% of waste being landfilled in 2004-2005 to just 25% of waste being landfilled in 2012-2013. This represents a performance which is now 23% better than the national average, with Bristol producing 378kg household waste per capita, compared to 449kg as a national average.

This is an impressive performance, putting Bristol ahead of national targets to reduce emissions despite a growing local economy, a thriving industry, and a popular university.

How has it achieved these excellent levels of reduction?

Bristol City Council has engaged in many schemes to lower emissions and energy use, including:

  • improving municipality buildings to reduce energy usage
  • modernising street lights – so far 10,500 street lamps have been updated to use energy efficient LEDs.
  • an Eco-Schools programme which improves energy performance and promotes climate change awareness in schools. Also involving 32 schools in a solar power project with an installed capacity of 568kWp.
  • a 6MW wind turbine development on council owned land, making Bristol the first UK council to own wind turbines
  • using schemes to promote awareness and alternative transport to reduce council transport emissions by 32%
  • developing 15 new Biomass boilers fed by organic waste from park/street maintenance
  • a £20m investment in improving the cycling and walking infrastructure
  • improving public transport, with 10 new bus routes and new, more efficient vehicles.
  • facilitating a network of over 250 businesses who have pledged to lower their own carbon emissions and make Bristol a low carbon city with a high quality of life.
  • a scheme which has improved the energy efficiency of over 20,000 homes with insulation and improved energy systems
  • providing bespoke and accessible advice to over 100,000 residents to help the community affect positive changes
  • requiring all new developments to have an energy plan and to incorporate on-site renewable energy generation
  • weekly recycling collection services for 14 recyclable materials
  • a network of recycling sites and household waste recycling centres
  • a massive awareness and informational campaign alongside social enterprises to inform and educate people about better waste management and how to lower waste production
  • targeted and specially designed informative communications to encourage the reduction of waste and better waste management habits, including linking recycling to Islamic teaching and practices

This is just a handful of the strategies Bristol City Council have adopted to make sure that Bristol is not only one of the greenest cities in the UK, but also in the whole of Europe, and well deserving of its title of European Green Capital of 2015.

You can find out about events and more info about Bristol’s year as European Green Capital at the website bristol2015.

CCS 2015 – Building the Desired City

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in General Information, News, News & Updates, Venezuela

The country manager in Venezuela for Nektarina’s Education for Sustainability project, Vladimir, attended the first CCS Forum, entitled ‘Building the Desired City’. The forum took place in Caracas early in May and had several high calibre speakers, including Wynn Calder, the eminent director of ULSF (University Leaders for Sustainable Futures) and Sustainable Schools LLC. Wynn is the director of Sustainable Schools LLC, co-director of the Association of University Leaders for Sustainable Futures (ULSF), and the review editor of the Journal of Education for Sustainable Development.

Other speakers included Ann Cooper, a chef and advocate of healthy food for children; Larry Black, an expert in environmentally-friendly and sustainable architecture; historian and anthropologist Joseph Tainter; and Nancy Nowacek, visual artist and designer.Wynn Calder

The forum was inspired by and the ideal of a city which offers quality lives to its citizens and future generations, and aims to create a space for considering sustainability. Sustainability is innately linked to this goal, particularly ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy the quality of life that current citizens have, and so Wynn Calder’s prominence in the lineup was vital to ensure the success of the forum.

Mr Calder gave a fascinating presentation wherein he discussed some of the ways schools he’s worked with have incorporated sustainability into the education of their students. Many schools had in fact gone further than just this and had made sustainability part of the school ethos – a part of the student’s lives rather than just another box they have to tick.

Prominent among them is a rural school which created a garden, which has truly become a part of the school experience for students there. Now incorporating an outdoor classroom, and a produce section much loved by the school’s chef, they have ensured that each student feels a sense of ownership over the project and gets involved with it in some way.

Other tales include schools now involved in a study on Monarch butterflies, schools taking on mass clean-up actions, schools encouraging children to take more of an interest in how their food is produced and how sustainable it is, and many more. Listening to someone talk about such a wide variety of initiatives was extremely useful for Vlad and the rest of the E4S country managers (who were able to see a video of the presentation).

As I watched the video, I started to think about the differences and similarities between the projects. More than just things like whether it was an urban or rural school, or what age group was being targeted, I considered the ideas and outcomes of the projects and came to a few conclusions.

Perhaps the most important thing about these projects are that the children were not just taking part in them – they were taking ownership of them. Collecting their own data for research studies, clearing their own playing fields, growing their own plants; these schools were not simply teaching the students about sustainability, but really getting involved with it, making them care about it and helping them realise that if they want their younger sibling, their cousin, their own children to enjoy the world as they do, they must act sustainably.

As well as empowering them to take ownership, these projects inspire the children. Whether they are inspired to picture a beautiful, flourishing garden, to imagine their name on a research paper, to consider how it would feel to meet the cows that produce the milk in their cereal – what exactly doesn’t matter so much as the act of inspiration itself.

These projects have captured the hearts and minds of many hundreds of children, and that is what the E4S project aims to do. The experience and expertise of Wynn Calder has been extremely valuable in this, and we can’t wait to put these principles of ownership and inspiration into practice across the Education for Sustainability project.

Education For Sustainability in Sierra Leone, April 2015

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in General Information, News, News & Updates, Sierra Leone

By George Mansaray, E4S Country Manager, Kiradi Initiatives, Sierra Leone

Introduction

The report under review is specific to the curricular review process and the collaborative efforts of other local organizations in ensuring its success by addressing the actual educational needs of the country.

It also focuses on the new path taken to engage the hundreds of school pupils that became pregnant during the Ebola sit at home ordeal to stay on course.

It further highlights challenges and recommendations for the smooth implementation of the said initiative.

sierra leone

The curricula review process

The review process for April has been fabulous, with lots of interest being shown by national organizations and government departments for the inclusion of sustainability issues in the curricula. The city council, the environmental protection agency and other like-minded groups organized much of the activities. This was a result of several presentations jointly done with local charities arousing their interest on the environmental challenges of the country. The revelations were shocking though and this has prompted further radio debates and community forums on the environment and sustainability.

More so, many organizations are using radio jingles appealing to the government to review the curricula with emphasis on sustainability.

Furthermore, the reopening of schools on April 16 offered the opportunity to use the first two weeks to visit high schools and do presentations on the E4S concept. Fifteen high schools were targeted, two teacher training colleges and ten primary schools.

A strong network has been formed and a proposal to pull resources together to take up the nationwide education campaign for sustainability is being looked into by all participating organizations.

However, the review process has been suspended for the month of May to pay attention to the proper management of schools after missing out for nearly a year.

The education authorities, however, realized that hundreds of young pupils became pregnant during the Ebola sit-at-home campaign. As they number in their hundreds, the girls themselves did not want to miss out in school, and so then the government has proposed an accelerated literacy project for these set of girls across the country. Therefore, a special curriculum will be developed in the month of May to keep these girls in school. The review team is currently working on the task for which I am involved to hammer sustainability to be a direct school subject in the accelerated literacy project.

back to school in sierra leone

The challenges

  • The challenges had been a lack of funds despite the acceptance of the initiative by the government. Lack of funds is not shown to the education authorities; our charity uses miscellaneous funds and salary from Nektarina to keep the initiative afloat.
  • A break in communication across the board
  • Left in suspense with regards the current status of the international office and project implementations across the various projects

Recommendations

  • Prompt response to project activities to enhance work as scheduled
  • Clearer lines of communication for updates to reduce waiting times of country manager and team.

Ebola and What it Revealed in Sierra Leone

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in General Information, News, News & Updates, Sierra Leone

May 2015, Sierra Leone

Ebola became a household name when it unleashed its wrath on the majority of innocent and ignorant inhabitants of Sierra Leone in May of 2014. There was little knowledge about the Ebola virus and its transmission thread, and its symptoms were the same as malaria, typhoid fever, cholera and other common ailments prevalent in the country.

  sierra leone

However, despite warnings from World health organization emphasizing the deadliness of the disease, not much was in place to stop its spread. It overran the country and became uncontrollable, killing thousands of people and leaving some physically challenged and others bearing the brunt of other consequences such as being orphaned, stigmatized, and fleeing their homelands to would-be protected and safe communities where they met their untimely death.

The consequences did not stop there; it halted commerce, travel and the operations of extractive industries. Most people lost their jobs, schools and colleges closed for almost a year, farmers ate up seeds reserved for farming, and most foreign nationals had to leave. This in its entirety burst the economy with the inhabitants bearing the dire consequences.

There was seen a national and global complacency in the fight against Ebola. The nationals had ill knowledge about the disease and were generally ill-equipped to tackle the spread of the disease. The global response was very slow. Complacency and traditional beliefs overtook the real fight, disregarding the Ebola preventative messages and manipulating funds for self-gain rather than collectively using the resources to eradicate the virus disease.

However, as it became an international grand challenge, the global alliance to fight the deadly virus had a breakthrough in bringing the spread of Ebola under control. The exercises in achieving this success were very costly to the people of Sierra Leone, however, it had to be done, to save the nation from a catastrophic situation. Proactive local measures also make up part of the larger resilience in the fight against Ebola.

The times are yet challenging as the majority of the citizenry are struggling with daily survival. However, as infection rates dwindle, the government ordered the reopening of all schools and colleges on 16 April 2015 with precautionary measures put in place to protect the teachers and learners.

Learners received news of schools resuming with joy. One can feel and sense their joy as they had since been carrying on without the right to education, association and play. Many parents are still skeptical about the safety of their kids while the virus is still killing people, and every parent or guardian should take the time to remind their kids about Ebola, with messages of avoiding companionship, play and contacts of any nature. Schools hold veronica buckets as a policy for every child to wash his or her hands and go through temperature test to qualify for entry into the school compound.

  learners are happy to get back to school after the ebola crisis

The reopening of schools was not spontaneous, the government in itself was not sure of parents sending their kids to school. A national campaign reassuring parents of the safety measures already put in place by the education, health and the national Ebola response centre was done. However, the first week was unpleasant and even the second week. It gained roots in the first week of May when kids turned out in their thousands to rejoin themselves in learning after a restricted safety period of almost one year.

It is worth seeing the reunification of learners, disregarding all precautionary measures and counsel from parents hugging each other and explaining stories about the devastation of their various communities by the Ebola virus disease. They play football together, smack each other and do their tricks. In the heat, they cluster despite knowledge of avoiding body contact.

However, the first lessons are on Ebola in every school across the country. How to sustain the gains already scored in the fight against Ebola. The kids are now torchbearers at home in the fight against Ebola. They pass on the messages to their parents and other family members. They also watch with keen interest defaulters of the precautionary measures at home. They are also bold enough to tell their parents to wash their hands and even have a shower after any trip to the city centre, market, workplace or whatever.

The outbreak of the Ebola virus exposed the overall inadequacies of the country. It spans from poor health care delivery, high illiteracy rate, over-reliance on tradition over modern wisdom, selfish tendencies, filthiness, poor personal hygiene, ugly environmental decay, corrupt nature to the bones at higher levels, poor educational facilities, poor transportation service, very disgraceful social services specific to children’s welfare, greed at every cadre, unsustainable practices at every cadre of society, and disregard for the rural poor. The list has no end in sight…

The consequences are vivid, suffering of the poor in every human rights perspective. Will lessons be learnt – this remains the million-dollar question.

  sierra leone

There are still plenty of needs, but if charities intervene, will the grants benefit the needy or will it go into private pockets and fabulous reports written with beautiful photos to convince donors whilst the actual beneficiaries continue to languish in squalor – this is a great concern. This is borne out of experience working in a poor country like Sierra Leone…living it, feeling it and seeing it. Action taken in mind of this has been positive – frantically stepping out and making noise about it for a turnaround in the situation…this is one way of several other ways employed by the reporter.

Attention should be paid to direct foreign aid; it is worthwhile to come as volunteers to accomplish your heart’s desires of helping; or seek credible local charities to accomplish such tasks in an honest and transparent manner for the good of humanity.