Start the Change! Project

TheStart the Change! project, active from 2017 to 2020, aimed to raise the awareness of young Europeans on the United Nations 2030 Agenda, the program of action for people, the planet and prosperity signed in September 2015 by governments of 193 UN member countries. Start the Change! is a project co-funded by the European Union.

In particular, the project focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in relation to migratory phenomena and human rights violations through the development of innovative educational paths.

Made in collaboration with teachers and educators, Start the Change! has implemented an innovative educational model in order to increase the involvement of young people within their communities. At the same time, the project strengthened the network between schools, civil society organizations and local authorities.

The global citizenship education paths developed for young people between 15 and 24 years old invited them to explore the environment in which they live, to reflect on the relationship between migration and inequalities and to actively participate in supporting change and sustainable development.

Start the Change! involved 15 partners at European level, 4 of which form the Amnesty International Global Network (Amnesty International Czech Republic, Amnesty International Italy, Amnesty International Poland, Amnesty International Slovenia and Amnesty International Slovakia), in 12 countries and was addressed to 24,000 young people between 15 and 24 years of age and 2,000 teachers and educators. 

Amnesty International Italy

“HEROES OF CHANGE” is a communication campaign, promoted by Amnesty International Italy and realized with the support of the visual artist Ilaria Turba, which has put children at the centre of an educational and artistic journey.

“HEROES OF CHANGE” enhances the power of imagination of students coming from two classes of the Nicolini – Di Giacomo Institute, a Human Rights Friendly Schools, in Naples, enabling them to create new superheroes which carry messages of change in regard to their everyday life.

Young people grow up surrounded by imaginary superheroes who, behind screens or in comic books, perform extraordinary actions in distant or completely imaginary cities. None of these talk about their daily life, their desires and the problems they encounter in their neighborhoods or cities.

Participants begun started analyzing their own desires for change, thanks to a work on the Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations 2030 Agenda, coordinated by the Human Rights Education Unit of Amnesty International Italy, on issues such as poverty, climate change, global inequalities and human rights, reflecting on which changes to make in their own lives regarding the Sustainable Development Goals.

Subsequently, participants created their imaginary superheroes of change thanks to a path that blends photographic portrait, drawing and graphics. Each character has been interpreted and created by the participants coordinated by Ilaria Turba.

The images have been printed and displaced at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, as a temporary installation which in dialogue with the museums permanent collection.

Guido Scarabottolo (illustrator, graphic designer and internationally renowned designer), Anna Ciammitti (cartoonist, illustrator and animator) and Francesco Ceccarelli (founder and creative director of Bunker) composed a jury which chose the final images with the support of Amnesty International Italy.

Amnesty International Poland

In Poland several Local Youth Groups took part in the project organizing actions on the local level. They focused on advocating for migrants’ and refugees’ rights, as well as raising awareness on Sustainable Development Goals and the importance of human rights in relation to the Agenda 2030. Local Youth Group in Cracow organised a conference about LGBTQI rights in relation to (SDGs) 5 and 10. In Gdańsk activists were educating young people from local schools about human rights within the framework of Human Rights Academy. Local Youth Group in Łódź made a partnership with local environmental organisations and launched a few actions raising awareness on sustainable development and human rights.

Project activities weren’t interrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Late October 2020 a nanocourse on Instagram about human rights and climate change was launched and schools from all over Poland have been invited to take the course online but also to work on this topic offline using the lesson plans accompanying the course. Schools have been encouraged to use the content of the course to plan local actions with young people and raise awareness about human rights and climate change. Students produced films, posters exhibitions in their schools. Results have been shared during an online conference in November entitled “Youth in action for human rights and sustainable development”. 

The biggest impact that the project has had on our organization is that it shared the idea of an existence of a link between human rights education and sustainable development education. This was the case for most of our local youth groups, teachers and educators who began to focus on climate change and its consequences for human rights. The project gave us an opportunity (financial resources, human resources, networking, expertise of other partners) to systemically incorporate education for sustainable development into human rights education.

Amnesty International Slovenia

Amnesty International Slovenia run several youth groups in secondary schools. Young people get very enthusiastic about the change they can bring in their community. All groups in different parts of Slovenia organised local events on SDG’s and Human Rights. Young people felt empowered to organise big events with the support of local institutions and the involvement of the local community in helping them to make a change. Young people in Ajdovščina organised a concert for a zero-waste environment. They also made Eco workshops on drawing T-shirt and tree plantation. Young people got involved in the project are confident that they can be the change they want to see in the world.

The 8 steps to be a Changemaker guide!

This guideis the result of what we have learned during the Start The Change educational project which has involved 15 NGOs in 12 European countries from 2017 to 2020. The goal of the project has been to push young people to learn, exchange, and raise awareness in their communities of SDGs, and the link between sustainable development and migration.