Dear ASPnet community,
Dear National Coordinators,
Dear teachers, students and parents,

Capture.PNGWhat better way to start the New Year 2021 than with good news and a burst of enthusiasm! Despite the many difficulties of 2020, which have had real consequences for teachers and students all over the world, the ASPnet community remains a source of energy and engagement as proven by the huge success of the webinar held on 29 January 2021 to launch the Trash Hack campaign in collaboration with the section for Education for Sustainable Development and a UNESCO partner Foundation for Environmental Education. The webinar, which exists in English, French and Spanish, brought together students, teachers, youth leaders and people from all over the world keen to know more about how they could Trash Hack their lives and has, so far, been watched more than 4,000 times. Among the good practices shared at the webinar, I was deeply moved by the talent of the students of ASPnet school in Indonesia who composed and wrote the song "Let's Change for the World" (see photo).     

And that's why in this issue of the newsletter we take an in-depth look at the Trash Hack campaign, and the UNESCO guide, Trash Hack: Action learning for sustainable development, which makes reducing global waste easy for teachers and students both in the classroom and at home. The great thing about Trash Hacking is that everyone can do it everywhere every day in their own style. For instance, I bring my own lunch box with reusable chopsticks to reduce throwing away containers and utensils.    

So, share with us how you do your trash hacking. If we all put in place one small change by the end of today, the planet's annual waste mountain will be reduced, and we all move closer to achieving the ambitious aims of the Sustainable Development Goals. UNESCO will play its part by taking forward the ideas and Trash Hacks shared to the World Conference on Education and Development (ESD) to be held in May. In this regard, I am happy to receive a special message from Mr Alexander Leicht, the Section Chief of Education for Sustainable Development.

We also have great news on the two competitions in which ASPnet was mobilized for the first time. In the "Conversation with the Little Prince" writing competition, awarded during the celebration of International Education Day on January 25, 2021, 18 students were among the 60 finalists. For the Week of Sound competition, a school from Portugal for the children with special needs received a special mention.

Note: Our Online Tool for Associated Schools (OTA) is currently offline for maintenance and technical upgrades and temporarily unavailable. We are sorry for the inconvenience and are working to restore it as quickly as possible. We will keep you posted.

Stay safe. Stay CONNECTed!
Julie Saito, ASPnet International Coordinator

Special Message from Alexander Leicht, Chief of the Education for Sustainable Development Section

alexander.PNG'Trash Hack encourages young people to make "hacks" - small steps to reduce our waste, increase our understanding and start to be part
of transforming the world.'

Watch the video message

Become a Trash Hacker to make small changes towards a huge goal

Every year human beings generate more than 2 billion tonnes of trash. Trash is clogging up the planet from streets to cities to oceans affecting animals and humans alike. But there is action to be taken that works. Trash Hacks are small achievable changes that everyone can make every day to reduce waste and help achieve global sustainability goals. That's why UNESCO is harnessing the power of schools around the world with its Trash Hack campaign.

Becoming a Trash Hacker means observing and reflecting on what waste is doing to the planet, acting on that knowledge to tackle the problem, bring about real change and inspire others to do the same, and celebrating your successes. There are hundreds of ways to get involved, keep informed and share successes including a website with blog, inbox updates and a #TrashHack hashtag.

ASPnet jointly launched Trash Hack Campaign with 4000 viewers  

On January 29, 2021, more than 4000 viewers, mainly teachers, school leaders and youth trainers, from all over the world witnessed the UNESCO's Trash Hack Launch webinar with guest speakers. At the heart of the  campaign is Trash Hack: Action learning for sustainable development, a teacher's guide to how to Trash Hack the classroom by taking action against waste, and how to celebrate and share those successes. 

Webinar participants put their own Trash Hacks on display

wallace.PNGBrothers Josh and Max Kamalarajah, pupils at The Wallace High School in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, presented a video in the style of a breaking news TV show about the 'crime' of global waste.

As part of the greening of her school Lilis Musyarropah, an English teacher from the SMP Labschool in Kebayoran, Jakarta, Indonesia worked with her students to produce a song as their Trash Hack which reveals the effects of waste and offers recycling ideas.

Teacher Mr Philip Odeka from Nairobi International School, Kenya led a Litterless Campaign to remove waste dumped near the school. The school recycled the litter, such as water container tops, as lampshades for the assembly room and plant holders.

The webinar, organized by ASPnet and the Foundation for Environmental Education, introduced people to the idea of Trash Hacking and gave a detailed presentation of the easy-to-use guide before hearing from young people who have already come up with inventive and effective Trash Hacks of their own.  

UNESCO's ideas-packed Trash Hack guide

'We, as humans, need to urgently reorientate out relationship with the natural world. This shift starts with education which has a huge capacity for changing society.' - Director of UNESCO's Division for Peace and Sustainable Development, Vibeke Jensen, opening the webinar.

UNESCO's Trash Hack guide which is aimed at (lower-)secondary education teachers, school administrators, and staff and informal educators, is packed with engaging presentations of key facts and statistics and easy-to-follow Trash Hack exercises which engage learners and communities around trash, waste management and, more widely, education for sustainable development. ​

The guide takes educator and student through the key facts about the effect of waste on the planet under the broad headings of Life of Land and Life under Water, all within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, before setting out a range of activities from creating artwork from trash, making a tote bag from a tee-shirt to analysing how waste breaks down. All activities are easily and cheaply achieved and can be adapted for student age. 

Recent and upcoming UNESCO activities

January 14 - UNESCO and France join hands to tackle climate change education

UNESCO has signed an agreement with the French Ministry of Education to establish the Office for Climate Education (OCE) as a UNESCO Category 2 Centre in order to work together to strengthen climate change education around the world. Established in 2018, the OCE aims to boost international cooperation among scientific bodies, NGOs and educational institutions to educate present and future generations about climate change. It also aims to equip younger generations with tools for understanding in line with UNESCO's global programme on Education for Sustainable Development. >> More

Recent and upcoming UNESCO activities

January 14 - UNESCO and France join hands to tackle climate change education

UNESCO has signed an agreement with the French Ministry of Education to establish the Office for Climate Education (OCE) as a UNESCO Category 2 Centre in order to work together to strengthen climate change education around the world. Established in 2018, the OCE aims to boost international cooperation among scientific bodies, NGOs and educational institutions to educate present and future generations about climate change. It also aims to equip younger generations with tools for understanding in line with UNESCO's global programme on Education for Sustainable Development. >> More

January 24 - UNESCO holds virtual celebration for third International Day of Education 2021
UNESCO marked International Day of Education under the theme ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’. The global event emphasized the power and necessity of international collaboration to place education and lifelong learning at the centre of the recovery and was organized in partnership with the UNESCO New York Office, UNHQ, the Global Partnership for Education and the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CRI) and feature the participation of partners from the Global Education Coalition. More

Message from the Director-General

Download the complete message from the Director- General:
English - Français Español Русский العربية 中文

Catch up on the event here:

"At the peak of the pandemic, schools were actually closed for 91% of learners, or 1.5 billion pupils and students... On this International Day of Education, UNESCO invites you to promote education as a fundamental right and the most powerful aid to development that we have. Defending the future of this right means defending the right to the future." 

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

February 10 - Education for sustainable development and the climate emergency: 'Bending the curve for climate change'

How can Education for Sustainable Development contribute to urgent action to build green and sustainable societies in light of the climate emergency? This workshop is part of a series in preparation for the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, and addressed the question looking at examples from youth action and from formal education using recent data. More  

February 12 - Challenge4ClimateAction conference, Challenge and Datathon
Challenge4ClimateAction hosted a free virtual conference for students, educators, and environmentalists to learn more about climate issues and what action we can each take to reduce our impact. More information is available on the website. Further ahead, a Challenge and Datathon will be held on 5-14 March with cash prizes for winners. To learn more and register online for that please visit the website and for all updates follow Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram and #Challenge4ClimateAction.

February 21 - UNESCO celebrates multilingualism on International Mother Language Day

Each year UNESCO celebrates the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity for sustainable societies. Globally linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened with more and more languages disappearing and 40 per cent of the population without access to an education in a language they speak or understand. This year's theme is 'Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society,' and recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals' focus on leaving no one behind. More 

News from ASPnet

If the Little Prince came back during lockdown what would he tell us?

draw-litle-prince.PNGEighteen students from UNESCO Associated Schools were among the 60 finalists in the "Conversation with the Little Prince" writing competition during the celebration of International Education Day on January 25, 2021.

All the students in the network were invited to be inspired by the adventures of the Little Prince, reconnect with the poet and philosopher Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and imagine and write a conversation with an isolated young girl during COVID-19 lockdown.

Congratulations to our finalists and we will soon be sharing these creative, stimulating and inspiring stories with all members online – In the meantime, check out the video of the event.

ASPnet school recognized at UNESCO's Week of Sound competition

week-of-sound.PNGPrizewinners of the Sound Week International School Competition of the Week of Sound, 'When Sound Creates Image 2021', were awarded at a special ceremony at UNESCO on 22 January 2021. The competition asked students to create a film based on an original soundtrack by film music composer Philippe Rombi.
Among the 70 participants were four Associated Schools (2 from Portugal and 2 from Argentina). President of the Week of Sound, Christian Hugonnet, made special note of the artistic work of the Alexandre Herculano Associated Secondary School in Porto, Portugal. The school offers bilingual education to deaf students and has a structured teaching unit for students with autistic disorders. It is part of the Alexandre Herculano School Group (Agrupamento de Escolas Alexandre Herculano) which includes nine educational institutions.

Congratulations to all our associated schools who took part and we strongly encourage you to participate in the next 2021 competition coming up in March or April. We will keep you informed. In the meantime, have a look at the prizewinning films here and all the entries here

Eighteen Teacher Education and Training Institutions gathered to create a global learning community

On 3 February 2021, the ASPnet International Coordination Unit organized the third webinar of the global initiative: "Teacher Education & Training Institutions (TEIs) for Global Citizenship Education for Sustainable Development", supported by the Hainan Provincial People´s Government.

Deans, teacher educators and student teachers of the respective TEIs are building the core group of a "community of practice" to take forward change for SDG 4.7. They are supported in their efforts by experts on GCED, ESD and teacher education and training, ASPnet National Coordinators and UNESCO Headquarters, Regional Bureaus, Field Offices and Institutes and Centres - which all joined again for the third webinar.

The objectives were to set out the roadmap for 2021 and to start reflecting on opportunities for change. In small breakout groups, participants exchanged on their main questions relating to GCED and ESD, challenges and opportunities for change in their institutions and communities and explored ideas for collaborative projects. Participants left the meeting, feeling inspired, connected and motivated to collaborate and co-create as a global learning community.

In April 2021, the global community of practice will meet again for a 5-day-online-meeting to share good practices and engage in discussions on how teacher education and training for more just, peaceful and sustainable societies can be re-imagined.  

Celebration of International Day of Mathematics, 14 March 2021

mathematic-day.PNGThe International Day of Mathematics aims to convey the love of mathematics to young people along with the message that mathematics is everywhere and is both useful and beautiful. In pandemic times the theme chosen is: Mathematics for a Better World. ASPnet schools around the world are invited to promote celebrations in their classrooms. Teachers are invited to work with their students to explore and learn more about Mathematics Day; carry out classroom enrichment activities proposed in several languages and share them on the website; share photos or videos and participate in a Poster Challenge by creating your own and submitting it here.

We will share more information through the National Coordinators mailing list – stay tuned!

We encourage you to send us your messages of solidarity and other contributions, in words, pictures, videos and art works in order to build and strengthen our network, encourage and take care of each other.

We would also like to hear from you about your experiences and innovative ways to learn, in and out of school and within your families.

Please send your contributions to Please attach the consent form.

The ASPnet Team

Julie Saito, Melanie Seto, Fouzia Belhami, Katja Anger, Simon Wanda, Erik Eschweiler, Helene Darne, Kangni Chen, Apolonia Torres, Mary de Sousa
Get connected:
Contact us: