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ZAAO will expand environmental education opportunities for adults

09.08.2023

"ZAAO" Ltd. will create the Regional Circular Economy Education and Competence Center in "Daibe", which will provide knowledge on environmental and circular economy issues. Currently, the concept of the Center's operation has been developed, as well as the research of the needs of the target groups and examples of similar European Centers.

The environmental education activities of "ZAAO" have been implemented by Nature and Technology Park "URDA" for five years now, offering various environment-based training, also educating about "ZAAO" services. Considering the growing interest of the population, as well as the need for more extensive knowledge of environmental sustainability issues, ZAAO within the framework of the project “Waste To Resources Latvia - boosting regional sustainability and circularity” (LIFE Waste To Resources IP), in the spring of 2023, began work on the creation of the Regional Circular Economy Education and Competence Center "Daibe".

The project envisages that the Regional Circular Economy Education and Competence Center will start its work in 2024, and it will be developed as part of the already existing Nature and Technology Park “URDA”. The Center's target audience will be adults, municipalities, companies, as well as merchants and organizations related to the waste management industry and their employees. To determine the direction of the Center's concept, a feasibility study was conducted in May and June, including an analysis of the existing situation, regulation of regulatory acts, "ZAAO" operations and internal documents, a summary of adult education options and types, and identifying potential cooperation partners for the implementation of the Center's programs.

Through market research on similar Centers and initiatives in Europe, proposals from seven different organizations were analysed. In June, a study of the target groups and their needs was also carried out by surveying 246 respondents, ascertaining the current level of knowledge on environmental issues, as well as the desired topics and form of training.

When studying the target group of adults, it was concluded that the respondents highly valued both their knowledge of environmental sustainability and the circular economy, as well as the compliance of the represented households and organizations with the principles of the circular economy and green thinking. The self-initiative of adults to engage in lifelong learning is low.

However, the respondents also indicate that they would prefer training at the workplace or as part of various corporate events. Many also find other ways of acquiring knowledge interesting - consultations, informative events, development of organizational strategies - therefore, the range of services of the Center is planned to be made wider. Based on the conclusions reached during the feasibility study, the experts evaluated and developed in detail three scenarios (business models) for the operation of the Center, which will be considered during the implementation of the Center's concept.

The developers of the concept of the Center were selected as part of an open competition, and the concept was prepared by the "Valmiera Development Agency".

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