Marrakech Task Forces
Sustainable Lifestyles (led by Sweden)

Smart Start Up: Introducing sustainable lifestyles and sustainable entrepreneurship into African universities and colleges

Lead organization: UNEP/Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP)


Universities in Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Mauritius are combining sustainable lifestyle education with business development skills to promote successful, sustainable entrepreneurship.

To motivate the next generation of African entrepreneurs to seize the sustainable business opportunities that are available to them. Introducing them to the concept of sustainable consumption and production as an approach to business development and encouraging sustainable lifestyles in particular.

The story
Informal educational activities (interactive and experimental learning) are integrated with more traditional formal education to create training sessions, run in ten universities across five African countries.

Five teaching modules have been produced. They cover issues like turning sustainable lifestyles into business ideas, pitching ideas, running a business, and support networks for businesses working on sustainable lifestyles.

The project is split into two phases:

Phase 1:
The pilot stage of the training was delivered in three Mauritian universities and technology institutes sustainable lifestyles taskforce: case study 41 in August 2009. This enabled the organizers to refine the training packages for the next stage.

Phase 2: The second phase (starting in April 2010 in Germany), is in the form of workshops called "Educate the Educators". Participants will be drawn from the ten universities. These workshops will build scale, so the impact of the project is not constrained by the lead organization's resources.

The pilot phase of the project was very successful and gave the opportunity to refine materials, to be as effective as possible. The training in Mauritius was covered in local newspapers and the project presented at conferences and forums. The project received a great deal of positive feedback from the academic and political communities within the pilot countries and beyond.

The project provides a number of lessons for those looking to engage people on sustainable lifestyles:

  • Build partnerships
    Developing and building partnerships with universities was essential for the success of the project. The project team found developing a number of contacts within one organisation was the most effective way to build relationships. Involving government ministries and Ministers encouraged university chancellors and professors to support the project.
  • Education is key
    To encourage more sustainable lifestyles we must provide the knowledge and skills that enable individuals and groups to become actors of change striving towards more sustainable consumption.

Mr Fisseha Tessema -

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