MEGA Annual Report 2014

Page 1

Summary Why MEGA? 4 MEGA Vision and Mission 5 Projects 6 Services 10 Events 14 Recognitions and Awards 16 Media Appearances 16 Finance 16 Partners & Friends 17 Next Steps 17 References 17

Dear friends, It has been one year since we established the Moldovan Environmental Governance Academy (MEGA). One year of valuable environmental projects, interesting educational activities, exciting adventures, exotic travels, difficult challenges, great successes, and positive change in society and the surrounding environment. During the year we successfully came together as a MEGA Team, received funding to start the first projects, launched national initiatives with high social and environmental impact, conducted meaningful research, presented at international conferences, and brought together our friends and partners to scale our efforts and results. This Annual Report summarizes all the key activities, achievements, and impacts of MEGA and our friends and partners during the 2013-2014 period. We invite you to relive the past year's MEGA adventures with us. We also hope you will join us this coming year to move forward in creating a sustainable world and MAKING IT MEGA TOGETHER!

With great respect and gratitude, Alexander Iscenco Ruxanda Vihrest Maria Movila Johnathan Li Natalia Ursu


Why did we establish MEGA? Why does it exist now? MEGA represents an innovative solution to the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues, such as inefficient natural resource management, pollution, loss of biodiversity, climate change, etc. It is evident that the global community faces a degrading environment and a shortage of passionate and experienced professionals to address this issue. In terms of the degrading environment, our research on waste management in the Republic of Moldova shows that 1.4 M tons of waste is generated annually where only 2% of this waste is recycled and/or reused (Let’s Do It!, 2013). 97% of the waste is dumped to more than 1900 open dumps and landfills occupying a total territory of 1415 ha (Iscenco, 2011). In addressing the shortage of professionals the current theory-based education system does not provide fun and accessible opportunities for youth to become environmental leaders, entrepreneurs, and change agents. Our feasibility study on Moldovan environmental education demonstrates that young people have a strong interest in launching social or environmental projects and startups. However, they lack knowledge, skills, practical experience, and relevant contacts to actually realize these aspirations (Li, 2014). Thus, the problem MEGA addresses has three dimensions: 1) Inadequate and impractical educational systems that do not meet the needs, demands, and criteria of this interconnected and technological world; 2) A lack of passionate and experienced professionals in environmental protection and social welfare enhancement. This results in a shortage of talent within the green economy trend; 3) Unsustainable environmental practices leading to environmental pollution and the decreasing quality and quantity of environmental resources.


Our MEGA vision is a sustainable world where every person lives an eco-friendly life, has open access to practical learning opportunities, and is able to create positive social and environmental impact in a fun way anywhere in the world. Therefore our general mission is to make people’s green dreams come true. We achieve our mission and contribute to making the vision come true through the use of gamification, a concept of applying game design and mechanics to a non-game context (Iscenco and Li, 2014). Gamification is incorporated into environmental and entrepreneurial education and eco-innovation development through our projects and the Game with Impact – a unique on-line global community that nurtures eco-friendly lifestyles and creates positive social and environmental impact through collaborations between players and organizations. Our key innovation integrates a virtual gamified platform with real world initiatives and results. The Game serves as an interactive connection between the virtual world and the real word and between seriousness and fun.

MEGA Vision and Mission

The following positive societal and environmental changes are generated from the Game: + Young, experienced environmental professionals and change agents working in companies, organizations, and institutions to contribute to the protection of the environment; + Environmental education accessible to all interested youth and the possibility to practice knowledge and create real positive impact; + Research and impact project results that can be used for real world applications; + Improvement of the environment in Moldova, other countries, and ultimately the world.



Our website

We now have the “face” of the organization represented by our website The web development and design were done by Pavel Popovciuc and Oleg Musteata from the MEGA partner company Bright Games. The website allows you to learn about MEGA, our team and partners, explore our past and present projects, find out about our latest activities and their outcomes, and subscribe for the launch of our innovative gamified platform.

GREEN G.R.E.E.N. (Garbage Recycling and Environmental Education Nationwide) was an environmental project organized by MEGA and our partner organization, Medium. It aimed to deliver an innovative model of environmental education for youth in Moldova based on gamification with a focus on the topic of proper waste management and green entrepreneurship. The results of the project are as follows: 300 pupils from 3 schools in Chisinau, Balti, and Comrat engaged in environment protection; • 70 of them accomplished all missions and obtained the G.R.E.E.N. Agent status; • 7 teams of these G.R.E.E.N. Agents organized their own environmental initiatives; • Sets of 3 different containers for separate waste collection were installed in 3 schools; • Overall, 35 tons of waste was reduced / recycled due to project and Agents’ activities. G.R.E.EN. was supported by REC / SECTOR and the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Moldova.


CURIOS Moldova was a unique excursion that includes an exploration of natural and historic monuments of Moldova and the creation of positive environmental impact through on-site practical learning. The main goal of the initiative was to offer young people a learning experience on environmental protection and management through excursions to important natural locations, ecosystems, archaeological sites, and cultural places with unique history and traditions. The results of the project are as follows:

CURIOS Moldova 2014

• 20 young people from Moldova, Canada, and the US learned about the history of Moldova, its natural heritage, and environmental issues in different locations of the country; • They also explored sustainable solutions and eco-innovations implemented in Moldova; • Young participants developed their competencies in environmental leadership and entrepreneurship through a programme of practical trainings and workshops. CURIOS Moldova was supported by Ashoka ChangemakerXchange and Robert Bosch Stiftung.

MEGA Game Book 8

MEGA Game Book is a compendium of educational games (on-line games, activity games, and board games) on the topics of environmental protection, management, and governance from around the world. Its purpose is to help environmental organizations and educators to enhance their education and learning practice through play, entertainment, and fun. MEGA Game Book is accessible on-line at the MEGA website. Currently it is used by environmental organizations in Moldova, Japan, Vietnam, and other states.


Action x Change Madrid, Spain

In July 2014 we contributed to Action x Change (AxC), a 15-day bilingual (English/Spanish) residential summer programme organized by the UWC Spanish Committee Foundation (UWC Espa単a) near Madrid, Spain. We delivered a workshop on green / social entrepreneurship for 40 young people aged 15-17 from different countries. The whole learning process was designed and delivered as a game by using the concept of gamification and incorporating LEGO bricks. The outcome of our workshop was the increased capability of 40 young people to address social issues in an entrepreneurial way, organize effective social projects, and ultimately establish sustainable social businesses. The delivery of the workshop for AxC was supported by Ashoka ChangemakerXchange and Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Smart Busness Play Day Chisinau, Moldova In August 2014 MEGA joined the organization JCI Moldova in hosting the Smart Business Play Day, which aimed to educate young entrepreneurs on making smart business decisions in a fun and entertaining way. To do that we allowed interested participants to play the game called UN Global Compact Dilemma Game. This resulted in the players obtaining a better understanding of the intricacies in entrepreneurial activities in relation to social wellbeing, gender equality, environmental protection, etc.


Research on Cooperative Sustainability Berlin, Germany

In August–November 2014, in collaboration with the Institute of Ecologic Economy Research (IÖW), we conducted a research study entitled “Collaborative Sustainability in Open Workshops: The Potential of Cocreation Spaces to Contribute to Sustainable Development in the Case of Berlin” in Berlin, Germany. The key research question to be answered was: “How can collaborative innovation and common-based peer production in open workshops be linked to sustainable development of a city in the case of Berlin?”. The main results of the research were: • The article “Collaborative Sustainability in Open Workshops” was submitted for publication to the IÖW scientific journal “Ökologisches Wirtschaften”. • An open-source map of all open workshops in Berlin and Germany as a whole was created and is accessible online. • Articles on the research topic available on the Postwachstum and Beahrs ELP blogs. • Scientific event “Collaborative Sustainability and Eco-Innovation” organized in Berlin. The research was supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany through the Green Talents programme.

Diamond Challenge Moldova Chisinau, Moldova 12

In October 2014 we contributed to the success of Diamond Challenge Moldova, a real world business concept competition with an educational purpose. Participating high school students worked in teams of 2–4 people to prepare and submit a written concept for a business or social enterprise. Our contribution to the competition was represented by an interactive training ”License to Impact” on starting a green / social venture. Due to the training, around 20 high school students from different regions of Moldova enriched their knowledge on social entrepreneurship, tested their business ideas for meaningful social / environmental impact, and benefitted from valuable advice on their individual business concepts. In December 2014–January 2015 we will also join the jury to evaluate students’ social business ideas.


During the year our team was also active in participating at different events on environment-oriented topics, contributing to their success, and presenting MEGA and our research. The main events are as follows: Master Class on Green Economy, organized by Regional Environmental Center in Moldova. Together with other participants we learned what green economy is and how we can contribute to its establishment in Moldova. Youth Social Entrepreneur Summit, organized by Ashoka ChangemakerXchange in Germany. At this event we delivered a session on gamification in social entrepreneurship. Young Environmental Leaders (YEL!) programme, organized by Regional Environmental Center in Hungary and Estonia. We enriched our knowledge in environmental protection, established new contacts, and paid a visit to Greenpeace in Hungary. World Resources Forum in Peru. At this conference we presented our research article entitled “The Game with Impact: Gamification in Environmental Education and Entrepreneurship�, as well as our key innovation. Youth Conference and World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) organized by UNESCO in Japan. We showcased MEGA as one of the most innovative approaches to ESD and made our contribution to the Youth Statement on ESD. This is now available on the UNESCO website in several languages.


Recognitions and Awards

MEGA has received a number of recognitions and awards for proposing gamification as a way to creating social and environmental impact and for the results we have achieved. The most prominent ones are: The Promising Project Award at Dell Education Challenge 2013 Global Pacesetter at Re-imagine Learning Challenge 2014 National Top 5 Winner at Creative Business Cup 2014 competition Semi-finalist at GIST Tech-I Competition 2014 Semi-finalist at Verizon Powerful Answers Award

In 2013-2014 MEGA raised a total of 31,451 MDL, or 2,084 USD. All of the funds came from grants and were used to finance the organization of the projects and the development and design of our main innovation. The donors of financial resources were:

Media Appearances



In 2013-2014 there were a total of 13 mass-media articles and TV spots featuring MEGA or one of our projects. The media channels that released them are:

Our next steps for 2014-2015 are to finalize the development and design of our gamified platform for environmental education, test it in Moldova, enrich it with premium features and tools, and release it worldwide for young people to enjoy and organizations to benefit from. We invite you to join us in making this innovation happen and thus contribute to the realization of our vision of a sustainable world. You can subscribe for news, updates, and an invitation to the public launch of the platform at the MEGA website:

Next Steps

Partners & Friends

1. Iscenco, A. 2011. Non-state Cooperation in Environment Protection Area in Developed and Developing Countries: The Case of Waste Management in Moldova. In: Can Agriculture Feed the World? Scientific Student Conference 2011 [Online]. Available at:


2. Iscenco, A. and Li, J. 2014. The Game with Impact: Gamification in Environmental Education and Entrepreneurship. Moldovan Environmental Governance Academy (MEGA) [Online]. Available at: 3. Let’s Do It! 2013. World Waste Status Explorer [Online]. Available at: 4. Li, J. 2014. Moldovan Customer Attributes and Perspectives [Online]. Available at:


Playing for Impact