Youngsters downscaling the Doughnut in the Hague

Using arts and the doughnut economy model youngsters become agents of change.

Youngsters downscaling the Doughnut 

In September 2022 we started on a challenging journey to transform the area of  Zuid-West in the city of the Hague into a thriving, inclusive, and sustainable place by involving youth as active citizens and co-creators of their future. See

Now, 21 months later, we are proud of the growth we see in the knowledge and skills of the youngsters. They feel more self-empowered and are co-creators of their future.

Photo exhibition on healthy food

Doughnut economics for youth 

The city of the Hague strongly believes in the power of the Doughnut economy model to strive towards an inclusive and sustainable city.  Since MasterPeace has knowledge and experience in how to engage youngsters, both parties started this journey together. To engage the youngsters in the local community, using the principles of the Doughnut economy. 

In collaboration with MasterPeace franchises in 4 other countries (Germany, Romania, Slovakia, and Poland) and support of the Erasmus+ program MasterPeace developed a program with 5 key elements: 

  • Training of trainers in how to engage youngsters using creativity and arts; and specifically their competence of how to teach their students on social inclusion within the boundaries of our planet;
  • Engage local youngsters to start community projects for social inclusion.
  • Build an ecosystem with the youngsters as an accelerator in co-creation with their community and local government for sustainable change.

While doing so, we got the opportunity to Pilot the Doughnut theory not only on a local level but also transnational in the EU via our collaboration. 

We are proud of the results of the involved trainers and youth workers, and most of all of the youngsters in the city of the Hague. 

Community Engagement and Empowerment 

Over the last 21 months, the Zuid-West transformation initiative has achieved significant milestones in engaging and empowering the local community, especially the youth. All in all 55 youngsters participated, implementing 7 community projects involving other residents and peers.

All participating youngsters followed a series of workshops that covered every step of our methodology, including artivism, Doughnut Theory, and community projects. The integration of various art forms—rap music, visual arts, and photography—proved effective in engaging the youth and allowing them to express their ideas creatively and powerfully.

The youngsters completed workshops that enhanced their understanding of personal talents, the significance of values, and the global challenges addressed by the SDGs. This boosts their self-esteem and fosters a sense of belonging and importance within their community and the world.

Now that they are inspired by what they want to change, we challenge them to come up with a project idea based on the doughnut economy model. To downscale the doughnut economy model we used different interactive games and videos. We let them choose a topic they find interesting and ask them whether this is within or outside the doughnut circle. 

Empowering Future Leaders The empowerment phase has provided youth with tools to take actionable steps toward positive change. 

The youngsters developed several community projects on which they advised the local government what to change for a better future. The youngsters created a mural painting, a rap song expressing their feelings. Another group developed five community projects related to health, culminating in a photo exhibition that showcased their work and raised awareness about local health issues. They are really local change-makers that are now committed to sustain the change.

These activities helped bridge cultural gaps, fostering unity and shared purpose among residents.

Presenting advice to local stakeholders

Strengthening Community Connections 

We strongly believe a local eco-system of changemakers is necessary for a sustainable future. That’s why we invested in creating local networks with diverse stakeholders. They met each other during the course of the program and have a better understanding of each others’s perspectives, including that of the youngsters. All groups have a greater sense of unity. The stakeholders are committed to continue working together for social change in the future. 

Ensuring Sustainable Impact To ensure the sustainability of the initiative's impact, we implemented a "train the trainer" model, which has been highly effective. 10 teachers, 5 youth workers, and active citizens have been trained to perpetuate the initiative’s methodologies. Blended learning approaches and the dissemination of educational materials have further facilitated the sustainability goal.

Looking Ahead

1. Scaling Up and Sharing Success The success in Zuid-West has attracted interest from other regions. We plan to scale the initiative to more neighborhoods within The Hague and potentially to other cities in the Netherlands. The methodologies and learnings are being shared with partner countries in Germany, Romania, Slovakia, and Poland, aiming for a broader impact. The next phase includes expanding the digital platform for wider accessibility and engagement.

2. Strengthening Partnerships We continue to strengthen partnerships with local stakeholders, such as housing corporations, city police, and local artists. These collaborations are crucial for maintaining momentum and expanding the initiative’s reach. 


Almost 2 years after the start of the Zuid-West transformation initiative, substantial progress has been made toward creating a thriving, inclusive community. The combined efforts of local authorities, the MasterPeace Foundation, and the community itself are paving the way for a brighter, more sustainable future for Zuid-West and beyond. The initiative's success stories and measurable impacts demonstrate its potential as a model for urban transformation, inspiring hope and action in similar communities worldwide.




    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.


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