Actívate+ / Aktibatu+
Organisation : Plan de Acción Global para la Tierra (GAP España) , Spain

The Actívate+ project was launched in The Basque Country, by GAP España in conjunction with the local provincial government of Bizkaia and 6 other local partners. 

The aim was to enable local communities to transform through "actions", hence the name "Actívate+". The strategy was to engage local schools, the parents of the children and finally the rest of the community by offering various programmes to encourage change in relation to sustainability.  

Two GAP programmes were implemented: one aimed at reducing energy & waste in school buildings and the other at minimizing daily negative habits,  using the household as the focal point.

Agendas addressed
DecarbonisationUrban mobilityWater resources and air quality
Climate change
Pathways followed
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Encourage local private and civic engagement
  • Wisely select and apply smart technologies
  • Guarantee equal access to information & digital services
GAP Spain / Winning school, San Antonio Santa Rita

Between 2013-14, the Actívate+ project was implemented in the regions of Arratia & Nerbioi-Ibaizabal which included 20 municipalities.

The aim was to reduce energy use in 7 schools while another 8 schools took on the waste programme and aimed to reduce their production of waste. Both energy use and waste reduction were 2 areas the local authorities were keen to work on, in particular as the programme involved both children and teachers. The targets in the two programmes were as follows:

• 5% reduction in energy use

• 10% reduction in waste

In relation to households, the authorities wanted to reduce waste and encourage citizens to reduce their impact in 3 other areas: water, energy & mobility. Specifically the aims were as follows:

• 5% reduction in water use

• An increase of 12% in the use of recycling containers

• A reduction of 7% in CO2 emissions in mobility

In Action
GAP Spain / Home page of web platform for the households

The approach taken was recruiting local schools interested in taking the programme on as either an extra activity, or part of the curriculum. The local education department offered the opportunity via its communication channels and 15 schools signed up.

To attract the local community, apart from promoting the Household programme to the parents associations, the rest of the community was informed using the facilities provided by the local municipalities (posters, leaflets in public places, local media, etc.). The programme was kicked off by a press conference where the local dignitaries were present and where the organizers outlined the programmes objectives. The press release encouraged participation and the impact in the local media was significant. The aim of all the communications campaign was to encourage interested citizens to register on a web platform, where the programme was delivered over a course of 12 weeks. Programme launch:

A series of talks were arranged and run by the public & private organizations that formed part of the Actívate+ programme: Eroski (Mondragon co-operative supermarket chain), EVE (Basque Government Energy Institute), CTB (Bizkaia Transport Authority), Garbiker (Bizkaia Waste Corporation) & Aguas de Bilbao (Bilbao Water Authority). The 8 talks that took place in local community centres attracted over 150 participants. Talk programme:

This resulted in 470 households registering in the Household web platform.

In addition, Actívate+ formed part of Green Week and was one of the 61 initiatives chosen by the EU to highlight local activities. The one day event on June 5 took place in 7 participating schools where the results of the “waste” programme were exhibited. Green Week:

At the end of the programme, one school was selected as a winner. Winning school:

GAP Spain / Green Week at a local school

In the schools programme the results were as follows.
• 5.723 school children and 785 teachers
• 20% savings in energy use (equivalent to 21 Tonnes of CO2)

The results for the household programme were as follows:
• Estimated number of households in 20 municipalities: 40.632
• Number of households registered in programme: 470 (1.16%)
• Energy saved: 6.2% (equivalent to 9,5 tonnes petrol)
• Water saved: 2.7% (annual savings of 500.000 litres)
• Waste saved: 2,0% (annual saving of 4,7 tonnes of waste) 
• Mobility reduced by 1,8% (equivalent to annual saving of 2.1 tonnes petrol)

Quote from one of the schools involved - Instituto Elorrio: "The project complemented the existing work we are undertaking to make the school more sustainable. The children enjoyed the project, especially when their work was made known and they received acknowledgement from a wider audience" 


The impact from a qualitative perspective was noted:
• In the schools, the teachers were impressed with the methodology which was easy to follow and best of all inspired the children to act and take responsibility. 
• In the community, the local authorities were pleased with the impact as it had a knock on effect where friends, families & neighbours began to follow the examples taken by those who had participated

The impact from a quantitative aspect has been documented. Actívate+ was designed to measure results. This assisted the implementation as local authorities were very interested to evaluate the programme based on results.

This was the second year the programme was run. The first year was a pilot project which assessed the methodolgy and impact, as well as other areas such as communication, web platform, registration procedure, etc.

As a result of the prgramme which ran in the regions of Arratia & Nerbioi-Ibaizabal, the Diputación Foral Bizkaia decided to continue with the initiative and it has been implemented in the rest of the province, with the final year taking place in 2018 in the City of Bilbao.

Up to June 2017 the overall results of the 4 phases are as follows:
• savings of 55 tonnes of CO2 in 37 schools
• 10.385 electrical appliances in the 37 schools have been the focus energy saving methods 
• 1.964 households have partaken in the progranme

As a result of the lessons learnt and continual improvement of the programme,  the final phase in Bilbao is expected to have significant impact, with the addition of a "Green Week" to extend the message throughout the City.

Challenges and lessons learned
GAP Spain / Talk programme, leaflet distributed to local community

The main challenges encountered were:

- In the schools: many centres do not have access to electricity or gas meters and have no concept of usage. Often meters were hard to find. In future projects, attention was given to helping teachers locate meters and interpret readings

- The household programme is built on a web platform and access is needed via the mobile. 

- Municiplaities need tools to continue with this initiative and not leave it without a follow-up. A challenge would be for the municipalities to keep the web platform open and promote it to their citizens



ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
European Secretariat

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79098 Freiburg

Tel.: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 0
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