Outreach activities


What does the future hold for our universities? From talent engines to tech literacy (Helsinki, Finland)

Universities are increasingly entrepreneurial, working with partners across borders while navigating ever-more-complex international, national and regional policies. In an ideal world, universities would lead the “ecosystem of knowledge” in which researchers, business leaders and policymakers come together to tackle an array of complex issues – issues like the circular economy and green technology, equal opportunity for decent work and quality education, and city resilience and sustainable urban development. The question is, how far from the reins of power are universities – and why?

Find the answers given at University Industry Interaction Conference in Helsiniki here


Make Sustainability Yours! (Maastricht, the Netherlands)

SDR Lab @UNU-MERIT and SITE4Society @UNU-MERIT held an interactive workshop, as part of the Precious Plastic Maastricht’s sustainability festival, on Saturday 15/06. Participants exchanged ideas on how they make responsible choices, in accordance with sustainability principles, in all possible aspects of their life, like housing, transportation, clothing, eating, travelling, entertainment, studying, consuming, etc.  In the end, participants came up with ideas on how to make sustainability an ongoing, every day, local and global reality.

Read more about this day here and find out a brief summary of the sustainable choices we can make all day long in Maastricht!


SDG Global Festival of Action (Bonn, Germany)

More than 1,700 participants from over 100 countries came together to the third edition of the Global Festival, to make new connections, build partnerships and exchange solutions, ideas, tools and approaches to make the impossible possible, together, creating a step-change in behaviour to catalyze collective action around the Goals. The overarching theme of the Festival was to move from information and awareness to commitment and action on the Sustainable Development Goals, with citizen engagement as an essential driver. SITE4Society was also present, delivering it’s 6th event, on Circular Economy.

Watch this 1′ video to get an idea of the 3 days of the Festival and read our blog for some more insights on our event and interaction with the participants.


Where will the Circular Economy drive Europe and the world? (Brussels, Belgium)

Our researchers regularly meet and interact with policymakers, not only in New York and Geneva at UN level but also in Brussels for EU events. In March 2019, Maria Tomai joined an event on the Circular Economy, where she was able to brief EU policymakers on the work done at UNU-MERIT, particularly the SITE4Society initiative.

The Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference, led by the European Commission and European Economic and Social Committee, gathers researchers and policymakers every year to discuss the state of play of the eponymous Action Plan, including major trends and transitional policy options for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Read more about the main points raised in the conference and in the talks with policymakers here


Re:thinking / Re:working higher education: SDG Conference (Bergen, Norway)

During the first week of February, the University of Bergen in Norway hosted the 2nd National SDG Conference. Over two days, national and international speakers from academia, government, civil society, activism and the United Nations system, explored the roles of research and education in creating new approaches for shared commitments towards a sustainable global future. The conference aimed to mobilise participants to re:think the development path SDGs are calling us to follow and re:work  the tools and knowledge we need to achieve them.

Read more about the highlights and key outcomes of the conference here


Steering the course of innovation – towards sustainable development (Brussels, Belgium)

From entertainment to healthcare, innovation is everywhere. Yet, what is the end goal of all these new products and processes — and what should be the EU’s policy priorities? Should ‘we’ improve sustainability among rich consumers or better apply innovation for the poor, both at home and abroad? The basic answer is both, according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed by world leaders back in September 2015.

Read more here.


SITE4Society@FIN Trust in Tema! – What we did in Ghana this time (Tema, Ghana)

On Monday, 22th of October, we (i.e. Dr. Sanae Okamoto, Prof. Ramani and myself, Maria) had the honour and pleasure to visit St. Nicholas Charity Foundation School in Tema, about 28km away from Accra, the capital of Ghana. We were out there to make friends and see how the work being done in Kameshwaram and in India – could further be strengthened through knowledge sharing!

Read more about what we did in Tema here

FIN @Tema! – What we did in Accra this time!

FIN @Tema! – What we did in Accra this time!On Monday, 22th of October, we (i.e. Dr. Sanae Okamoto, Prof. Ramani and myself, Maria) had the honour and pleasure to visit St. Nicholas Charity Foundation School in Tema, about 28km away from Accra, the capital of Ghana. We were out there to make friends and see how the work being done in Kameshwaram and in India – could further be strengthened through knowledge sharing! Our day in Tema started early in the morning, with a warm welcome from the Chief of Tema, New Town, Nii Osangaa Adjei Kraku Ii, along with his elders, who kindly invited us to their palace. The elders explained us the sanitation challenges of their community and the importance for collaborative partnerships and exchange of knowledge with other regions, to tackle this situation. The Chief accepted with pleasure a traditional Indian shawl given by Prof Ramani and gave us the permission to visit the slums.Exploring Bankuman, a small community of Tema, counting about 1000 inhabitants, made us understand very quickly the living situation of the people there, a harsh reality similar to the one people in many places around India need to tackle daily as well. Houses encircled by heaps of garbage, improvised cooking spots built next to mud puddles and surrounded by flies, lack of fresh air to inhale and no clean water to drink. In the slums, houses lack sanitation facilities, while the use of public toilets comes with a fee of 0.5 Ghanaian Cedis (less than 0.10 Euros), an amount that is not affordable for the majority of the population there. These images were devastating but the smiles of the children in St. Nicholas School filled us with happiness and optimism again! In the middle of nowhere, a vivid community of 140 students and 25 teachers and staff, reminded us how miracles can come true. Founded by a Greek shipping company, as a charity project, the school is like an oasis for the children, giving them a chance to education and a better childhood, that they wouldn’t have in other circumstances. Accompanied by Mrs. Deborah Eleazar (Trustee of St. Nicholas Charity Foundation) we had a wonderful interaction with the children, discussing what bothers them most in the environment they live, singing about proper hand-washing and playing games about segregating different types of waste. Then, a presentation and a workshop were giving to the staff and other local authorities, where our delegation presented the story and mission of FIN, followed by the participants working in groups and highlighting the challenges and priorities of WASH in their community. All these are important outcomes of our visit to the school, that would allow us to build the tools necessary to support the ‘’green’’ development of the school, in partnership with a school in the village of Kameshwaram, in India.The few hours we spent in St. Nicholas schools were certainly not enough, but the joy and smiles the children shared with us, will definitely accompany us, until the next time we meet them. A big thanks to Mrs. Deborah Eleazar, and the teachers and staff of St. Nicholas Charity Foundation School for their warm hospitality!! And if you want to read a visual narrative of that day see this video they sent us – Thank you, Deborah!

Geplaatst door Friend In Need India op Maandag 12 november 2018



A global nudge for sustainable development: Globelics 2018 (Accra, Ghana)

Yes, technology and innovation can speed up economic growth and inclusive development, but they are clearly NOT enough. What’s missing, say Prof. Shyama V. Ramani and Dr. Sanae Okamoto of UNU-MERIT and SITE4Society, are conscious efforts to gain real stakeholder engagement – in other words, getting local populations on board. To explore how this could be done, they organised a special session at this year’s ‘Global Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation, and Competence Building Systems’ (aka Globelics) in Accra, Ghana. Their session looked at ‘solution designs’ based on behavioural science, also known as ‘nudge strategies’, for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Read more here


A day with Trashy Bags (Accra, Ghana)

It is estimated that in Ghana, waste produced from plastic packaging amounts to 270 tonnes per day; most of it non-biodegradable.  That adds up to over 22,000 tons of plastic in one year.

As part of our research in Ghana, we met with Trashy Bags, a social enterprise that makes recycled eco-friendly bags and gifts from plastic trash. Interested to learn more about their mission and impact? Then watch the interview they gave to our researcher, Maria Tomai, here.