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Ukraine – Sweden Project

EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ACTION 2010–2015 This is the story of a project that has brought change to everyday life in Ukraine. Thousands of students and teachers, children and adults, have learnt the basics of sustainability and have adopted new lifestyles, saving huge amounts of resources (eg water, electricity) and taking local initiatives to re-invent their own style of sustainable community development.



his major Ukrainian-Swedish educational project has engaged around 184 thousand families as well as thousands of teachers and other educators. Initially aimed at the public school sector, it has reached about 1000 schools and 450 kindergartens across the country. The main objectives have been to introduce the concept of sustainable lifestyle, thus reducing environmental footprint and improving social sustainability, while testing a possible new role for schools as hubs for community development. The Ukrainian NGO Teachers for Democracy and Partnership implemented the project in cooperation with Global Action Plan International (Sweden) with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, a Swedish government agency. It started with school lessons – and pedagogy. In phase 1, 2010 – 2012, a new integrated and action-oriented school subject was developed: Lessons for Sustainable Development was introduced initially in Grade 8, building on an innovative “pedagogy of empowerment” later documented as a book, ESD Dialogues. By the end of phase 2, in 2015, textbooks and teacher guides were in use for all grades from kindergarten to grade 10.

All teaching materials have been approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. Lessons for Sustainable Development may optionally be part of the curriculum, as well as a subject for extracurricular activities such as elective courses, hobby groups, after-school clubs. Enrolments to date total about 180,000. In addition to free distribution of more than 97,500 books published by the project, the materials are all available in Ukrainian on the project web site Sustainable schools! As the numbers of students grew, some participating schools began to develop a «wholeschool» approach to sustainable development. Thus was born the idea of a national Sustainable School award. Criteria were developed, inspired by input from the Swedish National Agency for Education, and awards were made at national conferences in 2014 and 2015. The awards, and accompanying national publicity, are encouraging more Ukrainian schools to broaden their ESD approach – also reaching out to their communities..

Quite apart from its outstanding results, this project is for me a powerful illustration of how to tackle three issues that are currently part of the global discourse. 1. How can foreign aid be effectively delivered with full respect for the recipient culture? 2. How can civil society be effectively engaged in support of social goals? 3. How can Education for Sustainable Development be organized for rapid scaling? Is there  a role for special Lessons for Sustainable Development? We return to these points on page 35. In addition we identify several generally applicable approaches, including: Development of effective educational and social programs benefits from the use of systematic methods for the cultural adaptation of existing materials from other countries, a finding that has been separately documented An integrated media strategy, implemented by a dedicated person, can pay big dividends when it comes to disseminating a behaviour-change program The ESDA experience has already, with support from Sida, been transferred to Vietnam. We have high hopes that other countries will be enabled to follow suit. Parents and other adults team up. Initially as a result of requests from parents, a new element was introduced in 2013, when study-circle materials for adults were developed on the basis of the EcoTeam program that is widely used by other member organizations of Global Action Plan International. Results exceeded expectations, by a wide margin.

General Secretary, Global Action Plan International


And those results? Easiest to monitor are reductions in resource use. Water use is down by 12‑17 % in participating households, electricity 14‑18 %, solid waste 16‑28 %. National and international studies show that these savings are not ephemeral but are maintained as new habits. Less quantifiable but perhaps even more important are the social gains: studies show that participants improve their social relationships, and experience increased competence and inclination to be a part of sustainable community development.

As early as 2005 we began to explore how to introduce ESD into Ukraine, starting with just 5 classes in the city of Cherkassy, in a school that still successfully teaches Lessons for Sustainable Development and some of the Cherkassy schools maintained their Sustainable School title. There is every reason to celebrate, with more than 5,000 creative teachers now engaged, as well as hundreds of thousands of children. We created a distinct innovative pedagogical model. The water saved annually represents some sizeable lakes; many people’s lives have changed and are changing as a result of this project. Looking back, we can identify several success factors: Quality innovative educational materials adapted for integration in the state education system The ability to provide students and teachers with timely teaching aids

The head of the project, director of Teachers for Democracy and Partnership


An ongoing process of understanding and adapting best domestic and foreign practi­ ces on education for sustainable development Systematic attention to training teachers, providing them with free access to all edu­ cational materials and new developments through the project website, conferences and seminars, and an educational magazine Strong and effective cooperation at the international level, especially our ten-year partnership with Global Action Plan International Ideas about sustainable development are owned by all project participants, who worked creatively and conscientiously to spread these ideas, often voluntarily There is plenty of food for thought and further development in this rich experience! I want to thank everyone who contributed to this success. I am sure that our children and grandchildren will continue to benefit from the future to which we have committed.








183 544

Students and preschool children

180 544

Rivne Kyiv

Lviv Khmelnytskyi Ternopil Vinnitsa Ivano-Frankivsk

(from 5 years old to Grade 9)


Teachers and educators trained Teacher training workshops


TEACHER AND STUDENT MATERIALS Student books and teacher’s guides printed and distributed to schools

97 500

In addition to school Lessons for Sustainable Development, an EcoTeam program for adults was carried out during 2014 and 2015 in Ivano‑Frankivsk. Households involved:

3 000

QUANTITATIVE OUTCOMES Presently the families of students studying Lessons for Sustainable Development save every week:

After the 8-week EcoTeam program its participants save:

2010–2015 PARTNERSHIP Partner organizations, projects and activities



State educational authorities and institutions: Cherkasy

Lugansk Dnipropetrovsk Donetsk

The Institute of Pedagogy of the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, education authorities at different levels, regional In-Service Teacher Training Institutes, pedagogical universities, the Institute of Innovative Technologies and Education Content of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

NGOs: Green Dossier, MAMA-86, Living Planet, DIM Ravlyk, Aarhus Information and Training Center


Projects: Green Pack Ukraine, OSCE; Transforming the Market for Efficient Lighting, UNDP.

International partnerships: NGOs Action For The City and Reading Сlub, Vietnam; CELLS project (Community Environmental Learning Laboratories for Sustainability), Hungary, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Ireland.

Other organizations: Joint project with Watsons Ukraine «Eco-Challenge», finalist in the prestigious EMEA Sabre Awards.

Contributions to activities and festivals:

MEDIA Local Nation-wide International TV spots


Radio programs


Original publications


GogolFest; Greencubator; Docudays UA; America House Kyiv; Ukrainian Library Association; Molododiya; PROmisto; Ukrainian Youth Climate Association; Green School. Energy camps: Eco-club (Rivne), National Ecological Centre of Ukraine, Searching4Opportunities and others.

LESSONS FOR LIFE The Lessons for Sustainable Development in Ukrainian schools are designed to empower action. Grades 1–4: • elective courses, 17 hours per year; Grades 5–7: • organized extracurricular activities, 10 hours per year Grades 8–9 (or 10): • elective courses, 35 hours per year For each grade there is a teaching kit: course syllabus, textbook for students, manual for teachers. All are based on an innovative educational model designed around an empowerment pedagogy and including critical thinking, project activities, interactive and online learning.

On the poster: We close the tap when brushing our teeth. Try it – it’s easy! The objective is to equip students to increasingly choose their own lifestyles, based on insights into the nature of sustainability. The main elements of the lessons are: Context: the students in their family and community Students research and document their own lifestyle Small groups learn and practice collaborative methods Self-study through practical activities Planned and documented actions by students, groups, classes and schools Understanding of independent decisions in everyday life

GRADES 1–4 In grades 1–2 pupils work with School Friends of the Planet, and continue in grades 3–4 with My Happy Planet. The courses convey a basic under­standing of planetary as well as local challenges, and of the pupils’ scope for personal action. The topics reflect key areas of sustainable development: Social: relations with others, good deeds, happiness, personal health Economic: caring for things, and avoiding unnecessary purchases Environmental: energy, plants, water, waste The structure and content of these courses are age-appropriate. The materials offer simple, brief texts using fairy stories, and provide for easy self-exploration (audits) and actions, cooperation with parents, study visits. During lessons students work interactively to carry out small joint projects.

GRADES 5–7 New habits that contribute to the sustainable development of Ukraine, and humanity as a whole, continue to be developed in elementary school. Extracurricular Lessons for Sustainable Development are held during the school year at any time. They may be included as a complete set of 10 lessons or as separate blocks. In grade 5 the lessons are based on role-play – a journey to the planet Tellus. They work on the concept of ecological footprint and the themes waste, water, energy, and everyday habits. In grades 6-7 sessions extend understanding of students on sustainable development and possible actions in such topics as food, home safety, hosting at school, better communications, living together.

GRADES 8 & 9 (10) A special course of Lessons for Sustainable Development takes place once a week. Students unite in teams researching various aspects of their own lifestyles, e.g. weighing the garbage produced by their own families over a week, measuring water use, etc., and choosing actions that help to reduce resource waste, improve relationships, and introduce more intelligent consumption habits. To secure on-going teacher training after completion of the project in 2015, the project has cooperated with institutes of postgraduate teacher training and pedagogical universities and inter alia published a guide called Preparing teachers to teach sustainable development: Educational materials.

Some topics were obvious, like Energy, Water, and Waste, but then we got to study other aspects of sustainable development: A balanced economy: how to optimize our consumption, How can we act for a healthy body and healthy society, Lifelong learning, Why society needs a sustainable culture of relations – and others. Moving from research to action, students can see meaningful changes in their homes as a result of simple actions by them and their family members: reduced waste, water, electricity. Savings are published on the project website. Dar’ya Yurchenko, Grade 9 When we started Lessons for Sustainable Development I knew about turning off lights to save energy... but I  didn’t see the  whole  picture. At first I didn’t understand why we were given homework to weigh garbage, measure water or electricity per week. But then we weighed again and realized that it saves money! My sister goes to another school where they don’t have these lessons, but I taught her. Now we also teach our parents and make sure they follow these new rules. Kostya Shokalo, Grade 11 I was in the project since Grade 7. Unfortunately, in Grade 11 we don’t have these lessons – for sure, they should be in all classes. This subject teaches how to make life on the planet sustainable. In our family we saved resources, especially electricity – and money. We calculated that the practical tips from the project helped us to save about 32-38 USD in one year just on electricity bills. Well, the best is that our parents spent the money on us instead of electricity. Now I’m writing a scientific paper based on  the project – the rational use of electricity.

Amina Bohtur, 5 year-old I saved water! Mom was doing the dishes when her friend called, she left everything and went to talk. And the water was just running and running. I ran and turned off the tap.

KINDERGARTEN The program of preschool education for sustainable development creates conditions for children aged 5-6 to adopt more sustainable daily habits. It is designed to take place over six months, covering three topics: Communication, Resources, and Gifts. Each of the proposed actions are repetitive behaviours. They practice more sustainable habits for two weeks in kindergarten and at home. For example, turning the tap off when cleaning teeth, or making good use of paper. All actions are designed so that children can do them even without the help of parents. But at the same time, the program focuses on gradual changes in lifestyle, not only for children but for the whole household.

Illustrations in teaching materials for preschoolers

Diagrams from the ESDA project web site. Before and after: saved liters of water, kWh of electricity and kilograms of garbage after the Lessons for Sustainable Development.

Training participants share their impressions:

TEACHER TRAINING A major success factor was to train teachers in the use of the unique pedagogy developed for Lessons for Sustainable Development. A team of 35 teacher-trainers consisting of higher education instructors and methods specialists from all over Ukraine was created, and now each region has the competence and capacity to train teachers from different disciplines. In the six years of ESDA1 & 2 the team conducted 221 training sessions by 5,520 teachers.

The result of the training was to improve my skills with students in the classroom, establish a common positive atmosphere for the lessons.

I decided that I will always give in-class lessons for sustainable development. I realized that it is important to support students to choose their own actions, and not impose them.

Olena Zarichna

Galina Nikishyna

Deputy school director in Ternopil and member of the  training team for both teachers and the household EcoTeam program coaches:

Kyiv municipality methods specialist for kindergartens and special schools.

I no longer see myself as ‘just’ a biology and chemistry teacher. Now I can teach other teachers; this work is a real pleasure. I’m in love with the pedagogy of empowerment – this is my main tool in training and educational activities. The project has changed me as a teacher and as a person. Lessons for Sustainable Development is a uni­ que course, as  empowered children find solutions to their own problems (an essential life skill), while in other lessons there is always a ‘right answer’. Teachers learn to act more as coaches, which is appreciated by colleagues and students alike. Also, I have learned to create a positive atmosphere and to stimulate project work. Participation in the project was a small pebble that caused big ripples. My students and I successfully realize many projects. Thank you for the opportunity!

There was a good combination of theory and practice. We learned to rise to the level of the student, to link education to motivation and action. Now my view of the future is to live for sustainable development.

A year ago my life changed radically: because of the conflicts in Eastern Ukraine I moved from Lugansk to Kyiv. It was a period of confusion and uncertainty; but it passed quickly, because the ESDA project became part of my life. Not least the secret at the heart of the project: the pedagogy of empowerment. I first felt the change in my circle of communication – now I’m surrounded by active and purposeful people deliberately changing their lifestyle for continuous personal development. My pedagogical toolbox acquired new forms and methods of work with children’s groups, with a team of educators and teachers, as well as with the parent community. Often my colleagues express gratitude: Thank you for producing ideas, for having opened a new space for children’s activities, for building closer relations with the families of pupils. The project helped the school to work with parents in ways that were previously only dreamed of. The  changes affected me  and my  family directly, inspiring new behaviour patterns in preserving resources and intelligent consumption.

I got acquainted with innovative teaching methods. The training was interesting, innovative, active. I learned a lot of new and useful things, and finally got experience with a really practical pedagogy.

Regional coordinators of the project

Training for project trainers

Annual meeting with GAP partners. Learning for Change training in Spain, 2014

Teacher training: teachers are learning the skills to deliver the Lessons for Sustainable Development

Teacher training

National conference on education for sustainable development in Lviv

Regional trainers of the project

Training for project trainers

National conference on education for sustainable development in Lviv

Teacher training: teachers are learning the skills to deliver the Lessons for Sustainable Development

LUDMILA PYLYPCHATINA Project coordinator and trainer in the Kharkiv region, teacher of Lessons for Sustainable Development, co‑author of the teaching kits Today it’s difficult to say when the idea of sustainable development captured my heart. Maybe it was in 2005 when TDP introduced us to the philosophy of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, and we started working on our first textbook for Grades 7(8). I can confidently say that everything we suggested to the students in the pages of Lessons for Sustainable Development, I personally have tried. I like the project team, I’m proud of the results and inspired by the idea of sustainable development. I believe every person can do something to save the world.

MIROSLAV ZINKEVICH Project coordinator in the Lviv  region The project is interesting not least because the main goal is not theorizing on sustainable development but concrete action for the effective formation of a new lifestyle, a new perception of the environment. Teachers and students are traditionally taught enough knowledge about ecology, but there is a lack of recipes, techniques, real actions to develop environmentally meaningful skills. Lessons for Sustainable Development help fill this gap. This subject gives rise to changes and changing attitudes to ordinary things that create our environment.

OLGA VYSOTSKA Project coordinator in the Dnipropetrovsk region It was no accident that I joined this project: sustainable development has always interested me. This project drew my attention with its specific objectives, interesting technique, the opportunities that allow you to involve children and their parents, teachers and the community to promote the idea of sustainability. Over the past two years, we have created an extensive network of schools, bigger than in any other region of Ukraine, teaching Lessons for Sustainable Development.

TAISIYA SMAGINA Project coordinator in the Zhytomyr region We work with ESDA since 2005, with all stages of Lessons for Sustainable Development, including the new preschool program tested and implemented in our region. The project captured our attention: Lessons for Sustainable Development are now taught in almost all schools in the region. And in 2013 this resulted in our own regional experiment, reported as “Formation of social competence of pupils by means of education for sustainable development in an educational institutional setting”.

SUSTAINABLE SCHOOLS WHOLE-SCHOOL PROMOTION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT By 2014 many schools had more than four years successfully working with ESDA, and we saw that the ESDA principles were taking root and spreading in some of them: a wholeschool approach was emerging spontaneously. To further encourage this development we introduced the national Sustainable School Award. Awards have now been made twice, in 2014 and 2015. They were announced nation-wide and endorsed by the Ministry of Education. Over 150 secondary schools entered, some of which were part of the ESDA project and some not. And 50 awards have been made. The award process met multiple needs: monitoring and evaluating the ESD achievements of schools, assessing and encouraging the active involvement of all teachers, taking into account schools’ outreach to the community, and expanding the national network of sustainable schools.

To receive an award, a school must be able to document that it meets certain criteria: • Several years’ experience of edu­cation for sustainable development • Interdisciplinary connections between subjects relevant for sustainable development • Focus of educational activities on the formation of a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle in the household, school and local community. • Active monitoring and reduction of the school’s own ecological footprint e.g. in energy and water use, other resources, and garbage. Such monitoring is the starting point for actions to lower the school’s pressure on the environment. The award process revealed a strong impact on the work of individual schools – the use of education for sustainable development as whole-school approach, much discussed as the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development drew to a close in 2014.

SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL: A CASE STUDY THE EXPERIENCE OF A TERNOPIL SCHOOL School no. 24 is one of the largest in the city of Ternopil. “We first heard about TDP’s ESD project in 2008,” says the headmaster Igor Karaziya. “At that time we had 560 students. Now we have 1,350. And this project played a role in bringing in more students.” Lessons for Sustainable Development are currently used in Grades 1–4 and 8, a total of 21 classes. “This school has almost no truancy: the pupils are curious to learn and often spend leisure time in the school buildings,” says Elena Zarichna, the deputy head. “During holidays the buildings are full of school children, although nobody forces them to come. So ESD is not only a part of the curriculum: there are also many leisure-time groups, for example, I have a group of environmental design, in which the pupils implement one of the ESD lessons: give a second life to things.” The school has initiated and carried out numerous actions in support of sustainable development both within the school and in the city. Including a street action replacing cigarettes with candies, an anti-litter campaign, and a movement for healthy lifestyle. Senior pupils take responsibility for coaching their juniors, for example ensuring that they wash their hands before going to the canteen, and schedule patrols to make sure that electricity is not wasted. Among recent initiatives students organized collection of waste batteries and conducted a street action to spread awareness of the ecological footprint. The school saves paper – using electronic communications as much as possible and using paper, if possible, on both sides. Waste  paper is recycled. The school continuously monitors its own ecological footprint. Igor Karaziya said that the project is achieving concrete results in  terms of saved resources and money. They have measurements from 2008, before the project started. For example:

RESEARCH: HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THESE LESSONS? The ESDA project has conducted ongoing results monitoring, which in 2014 was supplemented with an independent survey by the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences. The study involved six project regions, about a thousand respondents: students, parents, teachers, school directors and regional coordinators. The majority had participated

in some way in ESDA but there was also a control group who had not. The survey was anonymous. The results showed the effectiveness of the program in raising awareness and readiness to take action; and positive opinions concerning the pedagogy.


Those who have not studied Lessons for Sustainable Development are significantly less aware than those who have.

Students engaged in LSD course

Students who did not take part

READINESS TO TAKE SUSTAINABILITY ACTION There is a big difference in the willingness to take action between participating and non‑participating students. Also, where Lessons for Sustainable Development were taught for a number of years, such readiness to act does not decline in Grade 10–11 after students finished learning this subject.

Willingness to act (Grades 5 & 9)

Students who studied LSD course

Students who did not study LSD course

Willingness to act (Grades 9 & 10/11)

Students who studied LSD course in the previous year

Students who studied LSD course 2 or 3 years before


TEACHERS SAY ALL TEACHERS CONFIRM THAT THEY HAVE CHANGED THEIR OWN LIFESTYLES AND HAVE BECOME MORE SUSTAINABLE AND ECO-FRIENDLY Teachers emphasize that their experi­ence with Lessons for Sustainable Development is bringing chan­ges in teaching methods across the board, including:

group work;

interactive methods;

practical exercises;

practical homework;

study tours;

research in the home and in the community.

100 % of teachers noted improvements in relationships with children, mentioning that they become more: Helpful and friendly; Democratic, open, frank; Understanding of why Lessons for Sustainable Development are important; They also show greater respect for the teacher.


There appears to be greater mutual trust

Students become more attentive to each other and their surroundings

Students are better able to understand each other


The analysis showed that the vast majority of parents are happy that their children attend Lessons for Sustainable Development. 81 % noticed greater attention to use of water and/or electricity 63 % report diligence in sorting garbage 77 % are positive about the new subject 46 % report a more positive attitude to learning in children after participating in the program 40 % said the lessons made it easier to discuss and solve problems with their children

The classroom atmosphere is more friendly

NEW HABITS IN THE FAMILY 72 % of parents whose children had Lessons for Sustainable Development confirmed change in the daily habits of the family in a more sustainable direction. This shows the real effect of social teaching. SPECIFIC CHANGES IN THE BEHAVIOUR OF CHILDREN MENTIONED BY PARENTS: ✓ Saving water and energy ✓ Collecting waste paper ✓ Sorting garbage ✓ Savings when shopping ✓ Careful choice of products

✓ Avoiding the use of disposable tableware and unnecessary packaging ✓ Interest in resource saving, the condition of plumbing fixtures, etc; ✓ The habit of not littering


✓ Has become more responsible

✓ Less in conflict, easier to solve problems

✓ Become more diligent in learning

✓ Behaves better with friends

CHILDREN SAY… 82 % of students surveyed enjoy their Lessons for Sustainable Development and find them interesting and good fun 58 % said that they like to work in their classroom EcoTeams >50 % say they find the homework inspiring 50 % say they feel free to express their opinions in the classroom discussions

MODEL IMPLEMENTATION Whole-school approach in education for sustainable development The essence of a whole-school approach to ESD encompasses educational, environmental and social management components, which together contribute to changing behaviour by all in the educational process in a more sustainable direction. These studies have shown Lessons for Sustainable Development to be an effective means to that end.


courses, extra-curricular activity


relations between staff ties with parents work in community

Shift in the behavior of all stakeholders of the educational process to the one focused on sustainable development.

ECOLOGICAL resource-saving planting health-saving



Kyiv, preschool program

Our children are becoming real stewards: they insist we should repair things rather than throw them away, keep the flowers watered, turn off the taps…

Once Nicoletta came home from kindergarten and did a home audit of who is turning off the lights. She measured how much water flows from the  tap, and now cleans her teeth with the tap off. It changed our attitude to public utilities – we stopped pouring the bath tub full of water, ‘till your ears’, just a half of it – ‘till the tummy’.

Ivano-Frankivsk Previously my daughter was not interested in our use of utilities. Now with me she always counts, files receipts and monitors month by month. In addition, she told all children in our part of the building about the project and now they have a new hobby: each month they compete to see who managed to save the most.

Ternopil Sometimes funny situations happen, for example, when our Dad or another adult in the family is shaving, the children knock on the door and ask why the water has been running for so long. Our son decided to investigate how much water is lost through a leaking tap at home. He collected the dripping water in a spoon. He counted 56 drops a mi­ nute, then calculated litres per day and per month. He showed his calculations to his father, and he had to fix the tap.

A story by Tetyana Kitchak, mother of one of the students, posted on Facebook.




any participating schools extend their activities to resi­dents of their cities, towns, villages for sustainable development. In addition, Lessons for Sustainable Development propose mini projects in which children carry out various actions in their community.

UKRAINIAN EARTH DAY ACTION 22 April is Earth Day. In 2015 schools were invited to participate in the action Movement for Sustainable Development. Over 80 schools and kindergartens took up the challenge, and carried Earth Day actions to the streets of their cities, towns and villages. For instance: children took to the streets to teach adults to save resources – electricity, gas, water – reduce waste,

and adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle; all of which they themselves have learnt in their Lessons for Sustainable Development. In addition to communicating with pedestrians, children collected and recycled paper, plastic, glass, batteries, and invited others to do join them.

A schoolin Dnipropetrovsk organized a rally near the local supermarket, with posters and leaflets inviting neighbourhood residents to give up plastic bags in favor of reusable bags. And most importantly –they distributed free 100 hand-sewn shopping bags.

Rivne kindergarten; joint action with parents and educators

Cherkassy school

Kindergarten / specialized school in Kyiv

School in Berdychiv

School in Kryvyi Rih

Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region: children put on a fair in the courtyard of their kindergarten, selling products made from recycled materials by the children together with their parents. All local residents could bring in waste paper and exchange it for products.

ZHITOMIR: BOOTS FOR SOLDIERS December 2014, when the army was on alert: school students of Markushi school in Zhytomyr region join with a village community to achieve its «second life of things” action making warm boots for soldiers. One-month harvest: about 100 pairs of boots. The idea came from students in Grades 10-11, combining classroom work on Working Life and Lessons for Sustainable Development. Children from the whole school brought old clothes: coats, woollens. Mothers and grandmothers came to help - they developed a pattern and did the machine sewing. Students from elementary grades helped cut.

LVIV REGION: CAMOUFLAGE NETTING FOR SOLDIERS On International Volunteer Day 5 December 2014 students at Myklashiv school began a week-long campaign to help ‘the soldiers in the east’. In addition to making and selling sweets, which collected funds to help the soldiers, children wove camouflage nets from old clothes. All pupils participated, weaving in breaks and after school. They made two nets, 3 by 10 meters each. The whole school joined in the packaging, together with parents and villagers. The packages – nets, food, warm clothes, angel cookies with words of comfort and gratitude, and great kids’ postcard of «No war!» – were sent to the front for the Day of St. Nicholas.


School in Kryvyi Rih

Kindergarten in Kyiv

8-WEEK ADVENTURE: ECOTEAMS FOR SUSTAINABLE HOUSEHOLDS It became clear that it would be useful to engage more adults, and especially parents, in ESD; partly because parents need to help their children with the homework, and partly because when the whole family is engaged the results per household are better. Thus was born the idea of developing an adult EcoTeam program. The EcoTeam program is an 8-week experiment during which teams of families change their habits, learning to manage their households in more eco-friendly and efficient ways, while saving money. The programs in Ukraine built on the international EcoTeam program, earlier introduced in Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Vietnam, the United States and other countries.

This part of the project surpassed all expectations. Ivano-Frankivsk became a pilot city where the program was developed and tested. We started in 2013 with 20 willing residents, with whom we developed and adapted materials to Ukrainian realities. The tested program was launched in 2014, and by the end of 2015 had counted over 2,000 participating households in the Ivano-Frankivsk region. In addition, the program spread spontaneously to other cities and villages from different regions of Ukraine, engaging another 1,000 households. Overall, the number of families participating was three times more than planned.

HOW DOES THE PROGRAM WORK? There is a training program for those wishing to start and coach an EcoTeam. Graduates recruit 5-6 friends, colleagues or associates to form an EcoTeam. Each member represents one household. The team meets weekly for friendly gatherings to share experiences of participation. With the EcoTeam workbook, each participating family works through advice on different topics: water





safe house

They record their results before and after doing the prog­ ram; for example, kWh of electricity used in a week, litres of water, kilos of garbage.


18 % lower electricity use 17 % less water

28 % less garbage 15 % (at least) savings for the family purse


1 8 7

START Examining our own lifestyle

FINISH Counting results



Safe house









STORIES OF CHANGE: families that participated in the programme

Christina Magas, student of international relations, social activist, encountered the EcoTeam program through her grandmother when she was still at school. It didn’t sound too interesting. And it turned out that this project has changed my life. At first it was difficult to explain why I weigh garbage, put three recycling boxes for paper, glass and plastic, I tell my mother not to throw in one basket organic waste and so on. It was very strange for them. Eventually my family: mom, dad, grand-

Oksana Ivanyuk, chemistry teacher, has two children. She  helped to adapt the EcoTeam program for Ukraine, in a big team of 8 people. Also, Oksana became a real TV star – the largest national and regional channels of Ukraine have repeatedly interviewed her. Oksana knows from experience that change must begin with oneself. “I have a one-bedroom apartment, in which four people live. During July for all utilities we paid only 180 USD – a reduction of over 50 % despite price rises. At the beginning of the program, our family used 6-7 m3 of water a month, and I thought it was a minimum. But now we use only 2! We were impressed that following the EcoTeam program it’s easy to reduce the use of water by 80 %, and we’re very proud of the results. Truly, it wasn’t even difficult.”

parents began to actively build our new lifestyle. We switched to ecological washing and saw that the eco-labelled detergent or dishwashing lasts three times as long as the ordinary one. Dad after my stories about this program started to breed rabbits and chickens. Living ecologically has become my habit, like not using plastic bags in supermarkets. Also, thanks to the program I became a vegetarian, moved to a more healthy lifestyle, ride less and walk more, encourage my friends to do the same. Well that changed not only my life but the life of my inner circle.

New EcoTeam recruiting began in line for admission to the mayor, waiting to resolve an issue concerning repair of municipal housing. In such situations, people are receptive and often become good friends afterwards. At first I was looking for people to join an EcoTeam, but then townspeople began phoning me to learn the secrets of savings. Most of all I wanted to create an EcoTeam in our building to solve problems together. At  first the neighbours were uninterested. However, then we had a burst pipe and had to pay a fortune for water we hadn’t used, and then the neighbours came to me. I also organized a team in my native village. It turned out that the people there not only care about saving money, but also about their own health.

Marichka Fedoruk, an environmental economist, was one of the organizers of the Ivano-Frankivsk Eco Festival. She  is also part of the televised program about EcoTeams. On the balcony of their 9th floor apartment, Marichka’s husband grows tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs; using foodwaste as compost, and watering with rain water. Instead of commercial detergents they use only organic soda, mustard, vinegar and soap. They also switched to dual-tariff electricity and use the night rate for laundry and other heavy electricity uses – saving a lot of money.

Going green is much easier in a group like an EcoTeam. During the meetings we learned a lot about environmental issues, began to understand more deeply the need for a change of habits, and most importantly – we got a lot of practical advice. It wasn’t difficult to get into the habit of doing things like turning off the tap while brushing teeth, or switching off lights when you leave the room, because you already know how this affects the environment. When someone in the EcoTeam tells how easily he was able to give up household chemicals, it turns out that’s really not so difficult either. And then gradually other habits change, almost without thinking about it. You feel good about it – and ashamed when you act in the old ways.

Marichka Fedoruk gave up almost all household chemicals Now she washes dishes and cleans her kitchen using soda, mustard, lye soap, and lemon

Participants measure amount of water flowing in a minute – estimate 6 litres

The young family of Marichka Fedoruk and Igor Stefanyshyn grow vegetables and herbs on the balcony of their 9th floor apartment

Oksana Ivanyuk “By avoiding packaged goods and unnecessary ‘garbage’ shopping, you can save 125 USD a year”

EcoTeam participants weigh their garbage accumulated over a week before and after the program to check the result: how much they have cut down their household waste

Before the program participants complete individual quality survey My lifestyle

Trainings for Ecoteam coaches

Meeting of Ecoteam 

After the program, the family of Oksana Sydor reduced their gas and water consumption almost by half

A MICROCOSM OF A GLOBAL DISCOURSE The ESDA project provides an excellent base for exploring three questions that are currently ‘hot topics’ in the global sustainability discourse: the effectiveness of foreign aid, the role of civil society, and the scaling up of Education for Sustainable Development.



There is no question that the modest Swedish funding of this project has produced outstanding, long-lasting results. We see several reasons for this, including a collegial partnership between an organization in the donor country with methods and tools, and an organization in the recipient country with high competence and an outstanding network; and the consistent use of participatory planning and other tools to ensure true partnership. A strong media strategy also played a role.

During the UN Decade for ESD, international debate for and against integrating ESD into ‘every’ school subject led to a stalemate. This project demonstrates that

CIVIL SOCIETY IN SUPPORT OF SOCIAL GOALS Where there is a tradition of civil society meeting social needs, the form is often open-ended ‘charity’ eg feeding the poor, hospital visits, foster homes for children and youth. There is however a growing need for partnerships between different actors (authorities, civil society, business) to develop new ways to meet new social needs or goals, for example the SDGs. ESDA is an excellent example of the partnership-based model. Not yet solved is the question of how to transfer operational responsibility once the program is fully developed, tested, and running smoothly.

A separate subject, Lessons for SD, works very well (and is finally receiving some recognition also internationally) It can be an  effective route to  a  whole-institution approach, ensuring that all engaged teachers transmit a systemic view of sustainability This approach, via separate lessons, was initially adopted in ESDA as a strategy for reaching many schools quickly, without having to ‘wait’ for teachers of every subject to be trained in ESD; and as a way to ensure transdisciplinarity in ESD teaching. The spontaneous migration by many schools to a whole-school approach – the ‘holy grail’ of ESD – came as a pleasant surprise. Further lessons regarding ESD scaling have been: effective participation by the social services department of Ivano-Frankivsk to include the least privileged social groups; and the run-away success of the complementary adult education program when propagated through teachers and parents, social services, and other local organizations.

LESYA DYKUN The head of the Ivano‑Frankivsk Municipal Social Services Cetnre for Families, Children and Youth, organized trainings under the EcoTeam program for disadvantaged families and became the coach of five Ecoteams. In our Centre 85% of staff took part in the EcoTeam program. My role was to involve disadvantaged frankivian families served by the Centre. Working and communicating with such families is anything but simple, but the EcoTeam strategies helped to make this work more subtle and the families benefitted from it – they learnt to save. With the outbreak of hostilities in the East Ukraine conflict zone, many families had to leave their homes in the east and move to Frankivsk. Typically, they are reluctant to talk, particularly displaced women. However, in the EcoTeam setting these people opened up, started talking and even found mutual understanding. In a way, they returned to normal life with its everyday matters and it helped them survive. I can see a huge potential in the cooperation of the EcoTeam program with social service centres, since both are concerned with a target group that requires education on how to save, not just economize, while maintaining a good quality of life.

EXPORTING THE ESDA EXPERIENCE The success of the ESDA projects in Ukraine inspired several member organizations of Global Action Plan International – not least two in Vietnam. In 2009 they began adapting, testing and introducing one of the Ukrainian school programs for 12-14 year olds. So this is a four-way partnership: Action for the City (ACCD), working first in Hanoi and later also in the Da Nang region, in urban schools Centre for Development of Community Initiative and Environment (C&E), working mostly in the Hué region in rural schools Teachers for Democracy & Partnership (TDP) in Ukraine, supplying materials and teacher training GAP International, supplying adaptation training and project support

Vietnamese schools have not found it easy to engage pupils, their families and communities in SD action. There are several reasons, including a lack of good models, limited teachers’ capacity, inadequate resources. Nonetheless, with some financial support from Sweden (Sida) the project successfully met all its goals, the materials continue to be used, and more programs have been developed for other age groups. Additionally, in 2012 an exchange of experience was initiated between the Swedish municipality of Umeå and a school district, Cau Giay, in Hanoi.

Enthusiastic pupils in Cau Giay, May 2013

GLOBAL ACTION PLAN (GAP) INTERNATIONAL GAP International is a charitable association registered in Sweden, with around 30 member organizations and as many personal members around the world. Our speciality is sustainable behaviour change: we carry out action research through cooperative projects, to develop new and improved methods, tools, and materials that

our members can use to empower individuals and groups to live and work increasingly sustainably. One good example of the effective spiral process – from action to research and back to action – comes from ESDA: the book ESD Dialogues, published in 2013/2014 in Russian and English.

Frans Lenglet If you want to get excited and inspired to put education for sustainable devel­ opment into practice, ESD Dialogues is an excellent place to start. The book is a rendition of an ongoing “learning journey” by two highly experienced edu­ cators, coming from quite different traditions and perspectives. In its content and form the book embodies ESD’s strengths and promise. This can be cap­ tured in such keywords as: inviting, energizing, thought­-provoking, empowering, action orientation, collaborative knowledge production, transformation. During the learning journey, horizon­-widening insights and innovative pedagogical ap­ proaches and techniques emerge.

The book speaks to the conditions and concerns of practicing teachers, trainers and instructors who wish to assist young children, students and adults in many different settings to gain and internalize the values, knowledge, skills, and dispositions for actively engaging with the combined environmental, economic and social challenges of our times. Frans Lenglet, October 2013. Director, Swedish international Centre of Education for Sustainable Development (SWEDESD) at Uppsala University. Reviewed in the Learning Teacher Magazine 3–4/2014 The authors contribute an interesting discussion on how to create effective learning environments, a highly topical question in many countries. Society is changing and the role of education needs to be constantly re-examined in order to make the pupils’ attendance meaningful… [This is] the book’s strength as a handbook, offering concrete advice and experience that can support and inspire a teacher to invest the necessary time in an ESD project. The book is well suited for use by a group of teachers for their professional development, including suggestions not only as to process but also content. A basis is offered for evaluating and assessing teaching processes. Ingela Bursjöö, Gothenburg. Lecturer and teacher of natural sciences, mathematics and technology Reviewed in the Journal of Cleaner Production 106 (2015) 330e331 ESD Dialogues offers a timely contribution to the education community – be it for researchers, educators, policy makers, programme developers and NGOs. It is a unique piece by two practitioners with decades of experience, with very different perspectives and socio-economic contexts in dealing with ESD. The authors view their insights as “a work in progress” and openly invite readers to treat their encounter with the book as an adventure – actively contextualising the lessons learnt as they read along. Indeed, it’s a practical, refreshing complement to the academic papers on ESD already available. Zeeda Fatimah Mohamad, Director, UMCares – The Community and Sustainability Centre, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur




This GAP is steward of the legacy of the UN Decade of Edu­ cation for Sustainable Development. GAP International’s and TDP’s methods and programs are in line with the goals and intentions of UNESCO’s GAP.

The 10YFP promotes consumer education and sustainable consumption. GAP International’s food-wise community program is recognized as a Consumer Information Programme under the 10YFP.


+46 70 710 6344

Global Action Plan International


@GAPMarilyn; @GAPAnnika mmehlmann/presentations

TEACHERS FOR DEMOCRACY & PARTNERSHIP Kyiv, Ukraine Organization Teachers for Democracy and Partnership (TDP) started its activities in 2002. Founded in the wake of the social upheaval accompanying the break-up of the Soviet Union, TDP saw its mission in supporting the growth of democratic forms, methods, and institutions through and in education. The organization has great experience and resources for training youth and adults on civic education, human rights, democracy development, leadership and critical thinking.

By now TDP has implemented more than 50 educational projects throughout Ukraine. Education for Sustainable Development became one of the main vectors of our activity during last decade. We empower people, both young and grown up, to change their behavior and mind to more sustainable one using innovative educational practices and tools.

ESD.ORG.UA stale.domogospodarstvo

+380 044 228 8677

Teachers for Democracy & Partnership/TDP:


Education for Sustainable Development in Action  
Education for Sustainable Development in Action