Young people are the future. Before you judge us for spewing clichés at you, these are words that have been used by Dame Jane Goodall. Primatologist, environmental activist and a regular at Dopper team meetings. OK, that last part is just wishful thinking. The point is, she's right. That's why education has been part of Dopper since the very beginning. The goal? Providing young people with the tools they need to create a better, cleaner world for themselves.
After a huge success in the Netherlands in 2018, our education team was ready to rock the 2020 edition of the Dopper Changemaker Challenge Junior (CMCJ) – our very fun yet educational design competition that challenges 8- to 12-year-olds to design their solution to plastic pollution. In 2020, the competition was going to go global, with participants from the Netherlands, Nepal, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom, and a grand international finale.
Then, the world went into lockdown due to COVID-19.
With schools closing, in March the CMCJ team decided to make sure kids could participate – regardless of lockdowns. Classroom materials on the plastic pollution problem and the design process were restructured, so that students could use them individually online at home. Communications with teachers made way for communications with parents and the finale event was moved online entirely.
It also meant facing challenges like 'how do you make an online jury deliberation fun and interesting?' or 'how can we celebrate the winners without being able to physically celebrate with them?' But while the team at times struggled with the new online reality, the kids seemed to be totally unfazed by this shift.
"If there’s one thing we learned over the past year, it’s that kids are able to express their creativity and knowledge through a wide variety of ways.
Make a video to present their idea to the online jury? No problem. Some kids were even able to create their own online animations to showcase their idea!”
- Anneke Hendriks, manager impact investment, education and partnerships
Designed their solution to plastic pollution during the challenge.
The challenge was open to kids from the Netherlands, Nepal, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom.
Nearly 31,000 kids participated in the 2020 edition. With ideas that blew us out of the water. Deciding on an overall global winner was really hard. Which is why we left that to a jury. They selected Elliana from the UK with her Solar Powered Balloon.
Proving that hard work pays off, our Dopper Changemaker Challenge Junior won the 2020 BeyondPlastic Bronze Award in the category 'Most practical impact on our goal to reduce the use of plastics'. We are beyond proud. Here’s to inspiring even more kids to come up with solutions against single-use plastic. Next year, Gold Award?
In 2019, Roos Kolkman won the Dutch edition of the Dopper Changemaker Challenge - our thesis award aimed at accelerating smart ideas that have a big impact on plastic and water related problems around the world.
Students who take part gain valuable experience, connections, stage time, and up to €5,000 in funding for the winning idea. In 2020, Roos put some of that money to good use for her winning idea: Unplastic. An organisation that exists to educate, engage and empower. After all, "it's high time plastic pollution becomes a regular topic of conversation in schools." Well said, Roos.
While young people may be the future, you’re never too old to learn. Especially when it comes to the ever-evolving world of sustainability. And so in 2020, we took it upon ourselves to create the best thing since TEDx. We created: Dopper Deep Dives.
A digital talk series with a twist, designed to both feed inspiration and spark curiosity. (The digital part was a last-minute adjustment. Because you know, 2020.) During 15-minute rapid talks, a wide variety of speakers takes the virtual stage to share their ideas on building a better future. Without having all the answers.
The series exists as a platform to think out loud and out of the box. For creatives, thought leaders, sustainable entrepreneurs and other professionals to put their cards on the table. So, together, we can rethink topics such as transparency, change and radical solutions. Creating a wave of impact. One conversation at a time.
In 2020, Deep Dives attendees tuned in to hear from:
As the events of 2020 brought uncertainty and disconnect, we decided to dip into another community we’re part of: the B Corp community. We put our heads together with Dutch B Corporations Tony’s Chocolonely, MUD Jeans, and innocent drinks who all strive for change, to talk about how it’s done. How we grow. What we find challenging. How it really works when you’ve committed to using your business as a force for good.
The goal? An unpolished, undirected and educational conversation – not just with each other, but with consumers, other entrepreneurs, policy makers, and more - broadcast as a livestream on YouTube. A conversation allowing participants and listeners alike to learn about the practicalities and realities of change: the B together talks.