The Doughnut of Change: A Journey of Youth

Once upon a time in an European town, a vibrant community of students and teachers embarked on a transformative journey

Once upon a time in a bustling European town, a vibrant community of students and teachers embarked on a transformative journey with MasterPeace Ro through the project ACT as a Doughnut, 2021-1-NLo1-KA220-SCH-000034265. This unique initiative, inspired by the Doughnut Theory, aimed to foster common values, civic engagement, and participation among young minds while addressing some of the most pressing priorities of our time.

The ACT as a Doughnut project was not just another educational program. It was a beacon of hope and change, focusing on environmental sustainability and the fight against climate change. The students were introduced to the Doughnut Theory, a framework for sustainable development that emphasizes the balance between essential human needs and planetary boundaries. This innovative approach resonated deeply with the young participants, sparking their creativity and passion for change.

Under the guidance of their dedicated teachers and ICT support, the students embarked on a series of community projects designed to promote social inclusion. They utilized blended learning methods, combining traditional classroom activities with digital tools to enhance their learning experience. The feedback loop between students and teachers was a crucial element of this process, ensuring continuous improvement and adaptation of their projects.

As the students worked on their initiatives, they became active participants in an ecosystem of co-creation with their community and local government. This collaboration aimed to bring about sustainable changes that would benefit everyone. The students' enthusiasm and innovative ideas acted as accelerators, driving forward the community's efforts toward a more inclusive and sustainable future.

The project also had a transnational dimension, piloting the Doughnut Theory across various EU countries. This international collaboration allowed for the sharing of lessons learned and best practices on a local, national, and global level. The network of the five cities involved in the project grew stronger as representatives from these cities and schools came together to share their experiences and insights.

Additionally, the Erasmus+ ACT project aimed to expand the network of arts for social change via education. Partner organizations like CAN and Bridge47 played a crucial role in this effort, providing valuable support and resources. The integration of creativity, arts, and culture into the project not only enriched the students' learning experience but also highlighted the importance of these elements in fostering social change.

Through their participation in the Erasmus+ ACT project, the students of MasterPeace Ro became empowered advocates for democracy and inclusive democratic participation. They created new, innovative curricula and courses that reflected their commitment to making a difference in their communities. Their journey was a testament to the power of education in shaping a better, more sustainable future for all.

In the heart of Ploiești, a vibrant city in Romania, the Erasmus+ ACT as a Doughnut project found fertile ground to flourish. Asociația MasterPeace Ro proudly hosted the Romanian mobility of the project, 2021-1-NLo1-KA220-SCH-000034265, involving local partners such as Liceul 1 Mai Ploiești and Liceul Lazar Edeleanu. This initiative brought together two dedicated teachers and sixty enthusiastic students and volunteers to address pressing community issues through innovative projects.

One of the standout projects was "Cleaner School, Cleaner City," aimed at tackling the pervasive problem of waste management in Ploiești. The city had long struggled with inadequate waste disposal facilities, insufficient selective collection, and a general lack of awareness about proper waste management practices. Recognizing the critical role of education in driving change, the students from Liceul 1 Mai and Liceul Lazar Edeleanu launched a campaign to set a positive example within their schools.

During an extracurricular activities week, the students organized a comprehensive cleanup of their schoolyards. Despite initial reluctance from some peers, the young volunteers persevered and successfully cleaned the school premises, inspiring others to join their cause. They emphasized the importance of authorities playing a more active role in waste management by suggesting several key measures.

The first measure was to increase selective waste collection points. The students noted that existing containers quickly overflowed, leading to litter around them. They proposed installing more collection points, coupled with surveillance cameras and regular patrolling by local police to ensure compliance.

The second measure involved implementing selective waste bins in schools. To instill the habit of recycling from a young age, the students recommended placing color-coded bins in school corridors and schoolyards.

The third measure was to launch educational campaigns. They advocated for sustained educational campaigns targeting pupils, students, and citizens. Utilizing local press and social media, these campaigns would promote the benefits of recycling and proper waste disposal.

The project didn’t stop there. Students from "1 Mai" Technological High School also tackled broader community issues. They focused on the rehabilitation of iconic monuments like the Clock Tower of the Central Market, addressing pollution from local industrial plants such as the Petrotel LUKOIL Refinery, managing the crow infestation along the main boulevard, and alleviating congestion in public transportation.

Their proposed solutions included urging the city administration to invest in repairing and preserving historical landmarks, advocating for stricter penalties for companies violating environmental laws, suggesting the removal of bird nests from infested areas to improve sanitation and aesthetics, and recommending an increase in the number of buses during peak hours to reduce overcrowding.

In a significant milestone, a group of students participating in the ACT as a Doughnut project was received by Anca Popa, the Vice Mayor of Ploiești. The meeting was a resounding success, with the students presenting their manifesto outlining the community projects and solutions they had developed. Vice Mayor Popa expressed her admiration for their initiative and her eagerness to collaborate with the young activists. She emphasized the importance of youth involvement in local governance and assured them of her support in addressing the city's challenges.

Through their dedication and innovative spirit, the students of Ploiești not only contributed to a cleaner and better city but also demonstrated the profound impact of civic engagement and participatory education. Their efforts under the Erasmus+ ACT as a Doughnut project left a lasting legacy, inspiring future generations to take an active role in shaping their communities for the better.





    Natalia van der Wee

    Utrecht, The Netherlands

    I'm here to find, test, use and share great ideas and tools to help transformation to innovative and sustainable education.


    Join the DEAL Community!

    Get inspired, connect with others and become part of the movement. No matter how big or small your contribution is, you’re welcome to join!