Environment and sustainability


A students-lead campaign for waste prevention in the Simeto Valley


Who is behind this?

Medea Ferrigno

Presidio Partecipativo del Patto di Fiume Simeto (Participatory Presidium of the Simeto River Agreement)




Idea pitch

#Student4Simeto campaign will be exciting, challenging, and educational. Young people will partner with the Participatory Presidium to learn about the problem of waste, get involved in the prevention campaign, and take an active role in improving their community. Through peer education, young people will become ambassadors to their communities and catalyze further public awareness of waste prevention. #Students4Simeto will be the opportunity to engage young people in active citizenry practices.

Where will your project idea take place?

#Students4Simeto will take place in eastern Sicily, in an inner area known as Simeto River Valley.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Since 2002, citizens have launched a protest campaign against the construction of an incinerator, active citizens of the community of the Simeto river valley have mobilized to promote a new model of local development inspired by the principles of environmental sustainability and social solidarity. This model produced a strategic plan for development in the form of a river contract called the Simeto River Agreement, but the problem of waste in the Simeto valley remains unsolved. Again, in 2015 the proposal to build an incinerator in Motta Sant'Anastasia and in 2018 a proposal for a landfill in Centuripe. Although the community has blocked the construction of these plants, it is now necessary to start an educational campaign on the importance of waste prevention to move from words to action.

Who are you doing it for?

#Student4Simeto campaign on waste prevention will be conducted directly on social media involving young people, a category often difficult to involve in active citizenship practices. Under the coordination of the participatory presidium, a group of n. 150 young people between 16 and 19 years of age (direct target) from 5 schools in the Simeto Valley will have the opportunity experience civic engagement and, thanks to peer education, they will become ambassadors of waste prevention, indirectly involving their peers and families. This action allows to stimulate an educational path for young people on the topic of waste prevention, directly connected to the Friday4Future world movement, and to stimulate the participation of young people and their engagement with the non-profit organisations.

How do you plan to get there?

During 1-2 months, a coordination group will be set up consisting of the project coordinator (participatory Presidium member) and one person for each association involved: Mamme in Comune (Paternò), Cultura &' Progresso (Santa Maria di Licodia) and La Locomotiva (Adrano). The coordination group will take care of stipulating the protocols of understanding with the 5 schools and to plan the activities in detail.
From month 3 to month 10, workshops will take place with the boys to start the awareness campaign in collaboration with the responsible for communication activities. During the campaign will be organised n.5 public meetings in order to involve people and share project’s results.
From month 3 to month 10 will be organised the final event will be organized and future actions planned

What are the expected results?

The expected results of this project are twofold. On the one hand, the direct target will have acquired multimedia, graphic and communication skills, such as video editing and image composition, and will have created campaign material to support waste prevention. In addition, students will be aware of the importance of civic commitment and participation, guaranteeing a generational change of non-profit organizations in the Simeto Valley thanks to this experience.
On the other hand, citizens will become aware of the presence of waste and the need to reduce it with the help of the student-led social campaign. Students will be responsible for the effective dissemination of information in order to reach more users with the waste prevention message.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The active citizenship practices that started in 2002 and are still active today have strengthened a shared governance through the direct involvement of the local community. These practices has produced a strategic plan for development in the form of a river contract called the Simeto River Agreement. It was officially adopted in 2015 by ten municipalities, the University of Catania and an umbrella organization – collecting dozens of active groups and associations based in the Valley – named Participatory Presidium of the Simeto River Agreement. Over the years, it has played a dual role: coordinating the initiatives and stimulating cohesion and collaboration between the various actors in the Valley to implement always new projects. The issue of waste and its prevention is always central.

Why is this idea important to you?

Behind the idea of ​​#Students4Simeto there is the intention to involve more and more young people in our path. Addressing one of the problematic situations for which we were born, the waste issue, is an opportunity for us to move from the protest to the co-construction of the proposal and, finally, to a concrete action.
The feeling of resignation and the idea that things cannot be changed are common among Sicilians in general and our community in particular. We drastically want to change these opinions and we want to do it starting from the young people. We want to involve many younger people in our organisation because they have the energy and enthusiasm to change our context. We want them to experiment the method of participation and the joy of collaboration to achieve a common goal.

€ 40000,-

Total budget

€ 40000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Personnel cost (educators for laboratory and workshop, project coordinator, communication expert): €31.200,00
Services (organisation of public meetings): € 3.600,00
Other (consumables,social media sponsorship): € 5.200,00

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would like to receive feedback from other organisations and other people about the tools and methods proposed for the idea #Students4Simeto. Understand if these allow us to achieve our objectives and if these are clear and in line with European priorities.





Carmelo Caruso

Idea created on May 27, 2020

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