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ZAAO successfully launches new educational program on Circular Economy

19.06.2024

Ltd. "ZAAO" (hereinafter – ZAAO) has successfully implemented the first module of a non-formal adult education program titled “Effective Communication and Public Relations: Public Information, Engagement, and Campaign Development on Circular Economy and Environmental Sustainability” at the Regional Circular Economy Education and Competence Center “Daibe.” This program is specifically designed for public relations specialists to enhance their ability to effectively promote environmental sustainability topics in society.

In May and June, 26 public relations specialists and other interested parties from Vidzeme region municipalities, educational institutions, and businesses attended the non-formal education program sessions. The program included theoretical and practical lessons over four days, culminating in an in-person session at the Circular Economy Center “Daibe.”

Participants acquired and improved green skills - knowledge and competencies in effectively and responsibly using resources to reduce negative environmental impact. The educational program covers various areas, such as energy efficiency, waste management, water resource management, transportation, green building, infrastructure, sustainable agriculture, and food.

Program director Ieva Freimane-Mihailova emphasizes: “Our goal is to raise awareness of the importance of the circular economy and the environment, as well as to provide practical skills for public relations specialists to effectively communicate these complex issues. Educating and involving the public is a crucial step toward achieving real change and promoting sustainable development.”

The educational program includes seven main thematic modules covering a wide range of topics - from the basics of the circular economy to waste management and effective communication strategies.

The lessons were conducted by experienced professionals specializing in environmental science, education, and communication:

• Ieva Freimane-Mihailova, Head of the Environmental Education Department at ZAAO's Environmental Sustainability Services Division. She has implemented several environmental education projects (e.g., “Create Without Waste,” “Circular Wardrobe,” etc.) for both children and adults;

• Maksis Apinis. Works on climate change, energy transition, and European Union funds issues. He has been working in the non-governmental sector since 2017, focusing on advocacy at both national and EU levels within the association “Green Liberty,” aiming to influence public funding utilization to reduce environmental pollution and biodiversity loss;

• Santa Krastiņa. Has been working in the non-governmental sector for over 14 years. She has implemented public educational activities about sustainable, environmentally friendly lifestyles, encouraging responsibility and involvement in improving one's environment. She is a non-formal education trainer with a special focus on youth audiences;

• Agita Pusvilka. Has been actively involved in environmental communication since 2011, initially with the association “homoecos:” and since 2019 with “Green Liberty.” She has led public education and information campaigns on zero-waste lifestyles (e.g., “Attention #WasteBerg!”), climate change mitigation (e.g., “Climate at the End?”), and responsible food consumption;

• Līga Bieziņa. Deputy Head of the Development Department at Valmiera Municipality Development Administration, development planner. Her doctoral research focuses on environmental communication as a tool for environmental management to ensure sustainable development;

• Nauris Svika, an expert in leadership and team development topics with 22 years of team management experience.

Freimane-Mihailova adds:“Participants in this program not only gain valuable knowledge and skills but also ensure positive changes in their communities by becoming environmental advocates and leaders. Our task is to provide them with all the necessary tools to achieve this.”

All participants received a certificate for completing the non-formal education program, licensed by the Cēsis Municipality. The next training sessions are scheduled for September 2024.

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