Calling all Educators!

15th November 2012 by

Do you care about social justice? The environment? Young people having a voice and taking positive action for a fairer world? 

You can bring something new to your school, youth club or Prince’s Trust group by inviting the Otesha team to work with your students. Otesha has worked with groups in London for over three years facilitating young people to set up their own active citizenship projects.

Active citizenship projects, what does that mean?

Otesha’s active citizenship project model helps young people to set up their own projects to create change in their communities and the wider world.  The key thing is that the groups we work with decide what matters to them, and design a project that they’re passionate about.  We’ve found that when young people get to choose their project for themselves, they are more committed to it, and their project is more successful.

What sort of things do young people do?

Young people’s projects have ranged from going for Fairtrade status for their school to planting trees and vegetables in community spaces to doing energy audits to see where energy could be saved, and so reducing the school’s carbon footprint! If there’s already a group who want to work on something specific, we can facilitate the group to design a great project. Alternatively we can start from scratch, introducing the group to a range of themes to help them explore what they really care about.

What skills do the young people gain?

Young people will develop their skills in: teamwork, listening and communication, facilitating discussion, public speaking, project design and implementation,  setting achievable goals, entrepreneurship, research skills and consulting, and possibly mentoring younger students too. They also gain practical leadership experience and everything they learn is fantastic preparation both for the world of work and further education. (Loads!)

How many people can you work with?

Groups of around 12-15 work brilliantly.

What are the people like?

Each project will be co-facilitated by one of our permanent staff members, alongside a highly trained lead facilitator. All our lead facilitators have participated in our Cycle Tour programme – an intensive training week and up to 8 weeks on the road, living as a sustainable community and facilitating workshops in schools and youth clubs across the country. This experience, alongside our in-house training creates unique, fantastic facilitators who are excellent role models to the young people we work with.  All facilitators will have an enhanced CRB check.

What do I need to commit?

All we need is you, a group of young people, and a time we can all meet regularly – this could be during curriculum time, at lunch, or after-school.  We like to work with a group for at least six hours, e.g. once a week for a half-term – but we’re pretty flexible so we can work intensively over a week, or several days, and the longer the project, the more the young people can take ownership and achieve results!

“You guys have been a great addition to the programme and we really appreciated your input…you have really managed to open some eyes and hopefully touched some of the young people to think more sustainably about their actions and their impact on the world.” – Sandra Jarzeskba, London Youth

I want a taster, how would that work?

Well, funny you should ask. We have a range of workshops designed to introduce young people to a variety of environmental and social issues.  They’re great as stand-alone workshops, or can be the beginning of something bigger.

Sounds interesting, I want more info!

If you’ve got any questions, you can give Iona or Edd a call on 020 7377 2109 or drop us an email to either or

You can also read more about how it all works, and past projects by clicking here. 


Living Under One (very hot) Sun

6th June 2012 by

For the last two weeks the Otesha Change Projects team has been enjoying an exciting new project working with St Aidan’s Primary School in Haringey, and a wonderful community project based in Tottenham.  Living Under One Sun works to build community leadership through healthy eating and food growing projects. They invited St Aidan’s and Otesha to come together at their community growing site in East Hale Allotments to create a Keyhole Garden.

Together we created a project, in which each class would visit the allotments to help build and plant the garden.  Every class which came to the allotment built a bit more of the garden, and the older year groups helped to document the process through words, photographs, and interviews – so they could pass on the story and the garden to the rest of the school.

Each day was jam packed! The classes were split into three groups, and rotated around the activities. One group started on our ‘Grow Your Own’ workshop – looking at where food comes from; when, where, and how it grows; planting seeds; and there was, of course, a healthy dose of games too! Another group talked about what sustainability and community really mean, before planning how to document, and actually documenting, the work the other group of children were doing to build the garden. When you ask children of that age “what do you need to have a good life?” the near unanimous response only includes the very basic necessities and a few things that do really matter: friends, family, education. Working with most people above that age, things like mobile phones, computers, and any other luxuries tend to come up much more quickly!



Three year groups have helped build the garden now – the first two on some of those very hot, hazy days of summer (wherever that season’s disappeared off to!). The garden is growing, a little more soil, a few more bricks, and in a couple of weeks the last group will be able to transplant some seedlings – then we can watch our garden flourish.

My story telling isn’t as good as the children’s, so read some of the letters they’ve sent us here:

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