Hamburg hosted a one-day Stakeholder Workshop “Making communities climate-fit” on 5 June 2018. A diverse range of actors engaged in climate protection and climate adaptation, as well as government representatives at the federal, state and municipal levels, were invited to attend. The goal of the workshop was to discuss options for advancing and refining the climate-fit (klimafit) course. Additional objectives included developing a more hands-on course concept and further approaches to achieve greater acceptance of climate protection and climate adaptation measures among the citizenry.
In the context of defining goals for the workshop, four ‘topic tables’ were created, providing a basis for discussing how the course could be developed further. The four tables focused on the following aspects:
1. teaching the course, quality of the course,
2. attracting participants and training them to be multipliers,
3. planning reliability and financing options for continuing the course, as well as
4. networking participants and encouraging them to take action.
Using a selection of stereotypical sample figures (‘personas’), these four aspects were discussed. The personas were developed on the basis of lessons learned from the climate-fit (klimafit) courses offered in Southwest Germany.
These personas represent a cross-section of ‘climate-fit’ (‘klimafit’) participants and can help to develop the course further: by putting themselves in the different personas’ ‘shoes’, participants had the chance to approach and work on several aspects, like how the course is taught and how it can be continued, from various perspectives.
The groups subsequently presented their findings with the help of sample figures, and using props as needed. The entire workshop was recorded in the form of several visual protocols (“graphical recordings”).
Part 1 of the Workshop
The first part of the workshop focused on an introduction to the project, sharing lessons learned, and evaluation.
Part 2 of the Workshop
Topic Table 1 – Teaching the Course / Quality of the Course
Cluster 1 – Course Leaders
What profile should course leaders fit?
Based on the outcomes of the workshop, course leaders should have a certain level of expertise and previous experience in adult education. In addition, the workshop participants felt that both academics and ‘non-academics’ could serve as course leaders. They also felt that having ties to the local community was important, in order to help meet the goal of networking the course participants.
You can see the requirements profile for climate-fit (klimafit) course leaders (status 2018), developed by the climate-fit (klimafit) project team, here.
How can we find new course leaders? Which target groups should be used for recruiting?
Educators, freelance academics, biologists and geographers could serve as course leaders. The search for suitable course leaders could also draw on the respective community college’s regional talent pool. Local environmental protection networks could also be contacted.
What resources do course leaders need?
Based on the courses offered in Southwest Germany last year, course leaders should expect teaching a ‘climate-fit’ (‘klimafit’) course to take roughly 40 working hours. In addition, the possibility of using a ‘train the trainer’ workshop for course leaders was discussed. The project team will offer this workshop for all new course leaders.
Cluster 2 – Course Concept
How do you rate the following elements: the course’s adaptation to the respective region; the content, format etc.; and the balance between global, regional and local topics?
The participants discussed whether or not the ‘climate-fit’ (‘klimafit’) course could be classified as educational leave. In addition, they talked about potentially supplementing the course concept with field trips or individual guest talks by academics. Another suggestion was that the talks should not be ‘too academic’ in nature. However, the extent to which these suggestions will be implemented must still be decided by the project team.
Topic Table 2 – Attracting Participants / Training Them to be Multipliers
Cluster 1 – Motivating Participants
What reasons are there for joining the ‘climate-fit’ (‘klimafit’) course?
This group discussed the motivation to make a difference, and to take on an active role, using the personas to do so. Both aspects are important reasons for taking part in the ‘climate-fit’ (‘klimafit’) course. They also cited the opportunity “to take personal responsibility” and “be among likeminded individuals” as important reasons for joining.
In addition, more specific reasons for participating were identified, which are the product of individual personalities, experiences and interests, and cannot be generally applied.
The following motivations were (e.g. from the standpoints of the personas) cited:
- the exploration of new technologies and technical possibilities and the corresponding market exploration through new business areas as a future prospect,
- the chance to gain and share new knowledge – also for the sake of the participants’ own mental flexibility,
- the chance to meet with likeminded individuals, who for emotional, idealistic or political-strategic reasons want to help safeguard the future,
- the opportunity to network with people who share the same goals,
- the low requirements for being able to take part and the diversity of the course content, which represent an open format,
- the intergenerational dissemination of information and the chance for exchanges between generations,
- the social aspect of being able to make a difference in the community through civic engagement – and without ‘bureaucratic red tape’, as well as
- the chance for participants to expand their soft skills, and to complete the course with an official certificate.
Cluster 2 – Attracting Participants
Who do we want to reach, and which information channels do we need to use? Who is our target group? Are there other target groups we should also consider?
In terms of finding interested participants, the group discussed the option of using tried and proven municipal channels that can reach a great number of people. These include the “new citizen’s handbook”, which provides information on the city or municipality for new residents.
Citizens can also be reached by putting out course information at regional government offices or district administration offices.
Regional clubs and associations could also promote the course.
In addition, the group emphasised that, generally speaking, potential participants need to be actively approached, and that offering alternative course sites or field trips would be a major plus for the ‘climate-fit’ (‘klimafit’)course.
The following channels could also be used to promote the course:
- career-oriented websites and magazines
- putting up notices / flyers in local stores or clubs (e.g. home improvement stores or gardening clubs)
- the local press, e.g. weekly gazettes or church newsletters
- personal networks and social media
- the internal email distribution lists of local and university initiatives or clubs (e.g. student groups, Green Offices)
- taking part in campaigns and conferences
- promoting the course as educational leave
- promoting the course via a collaboration with the region-specific “climate savings book’’ published by oekom Verlag
Topic Table 3 – Planning Reliability, Financing and Continuing the Course
Cluster 1 – Continuing the Course
What do we need from our partners, e.g. the community colleges, municipalities and the federal government, so that we can offer the course nationwide for the next four years?
With regard to offering the course nationwide, one important project goal for the next several years is the continuation of the course and reinforcing partners’ readiness to support it.
In this respect, the participants felt that follow-up activities after the course were important, and that certificates could also be an incentive.
In this process, actively promoting the course and the certificate will play an important part.
Cluster 2 – Financing
What resources does “klimafit” need for a nationwide rollout?
Which resources can be made available by the municipalities, the federal states, and the federal government (via national support programmes, e.g. NKI); the participants (e.g. through their willingness to pay a course fee); further sponsors, e.g. regional foundations; or by the community colleges (e.g. via their social function, and/or provided via the VHS-Cloud)?
With regard to financing the course, the participants generally considered institutional support to be the best option for a long-term collaboration with the community colleges.
Topic Table 4 – Networking Participants & Encouraging Them to Take Action
Cluster 1 – Activating Participants
How can we equip participants to take on a more active role? How can we bring them together with local activities? Which formats need to be developed for this purpose?
The discussion largely focused on how much information is required to encourage participants to take action. The group agreed that information alone would not suffice to ‘activate’ them. Here, concrete contexts and scenarios are called for, so that they can apply what they’ve learned and practise new techniques. In addition, the group agreed that it would be most effective if participants could see that they can actually make a difference, e.g. by implementing and successfully completing projects.
During the course, this can be supported by inviting active individuals (and project representatives) from the local region to speak to the group. An important aspect of the course that doesn’t seem to be very well integrated at this point is learning how to ‘intervene’ in order to help influence municipal decision-making processes.
The group also discussed which additional formats or ‘iterations’ could be used to make the topic more appealing. In this regard, they felt that e.g. regional competitions could be helpful, as well as applying the topic of climate change to concrete aspects of participant’s day-to-day lives (e.g. health and extreme heat, protecting buildings, and heavy rains).
Cluster 2 – Networking the Course Sites
How can we promote networking?
Networking the course sites is intended to foster networking among the multipliers. In this regard, two specific networks / initiatives were presented, including Netzwerk 21, which offers not only regular conferences but also information products, e.g. an interactive map of regional activities concerning sustainability. A second initiative, based in Eckernförde, was also discussed: Mok Wi is still in development, and is based on the previous exchange platform ‘We Change’.
At the moment, the plan is to highlight various local projects that offer participants the chance to join in directly. The group also considered the use (and with it, the further dissemination) of content via the VHS-Cloud to be a good way of sharing ‘climate-fit’ (‘klimafit’) topics with the public and making the course content available.
Cluster 3 – Follow-up
How can we help ensure that the participants remain active multipliers?Lastly, the ‘follow-up’ on the course was discussed. One important outcome of this cluster was the conclusion that the continuing support of one or more ‘carers’ after the end of the course would be sensible. Then regular meetings of the participants could be organised by regional partners, giving them to chance to exchange notes, share their ideas, and continue to meet as a ‘peer group’. In this regard, integrating regional clubs and initiatives (see Cluster 1) would make good sense. Here, shared activities could help to bring the group closer together and allow them to share new experiences and successes.