One of GAP International’s member organisations, Cork Environmental Fund (CEF), offered us the chance to job shadow with them for six days in August of 2018. We had several meetings with local actors, social workers and public and private stakeholders to learn more on environmental issues and policies and deepen our skills in sustainability.
Our experience with CEF showed us practical applications of the SDGs at the local level. We saw their interdisciplinary approach at all levels of cooperation, from social enterprises to public institutions through the support of local agencies. Their approach helps ensure spillovers at all levels of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental.
We were also able to observe local actors’ capacity to respond to EU environmental policies thanks to the UNESCO Learning City scheme that allows a widespread intervention on education at all levels. The scheme is aimed at engaging people and influencing behaviour change, so we could see the inclusive and diverse learning opportunities provided to whole communities through partnerships and collaborations with programmes like CEF that focus on the sustainable consumption of resources.
Our job shadowing allowed for us to inquire into the potentials of social enterprise toward the development of sustainable local communities. We were able to gain insights into the way CEF partners with others, and have maintained useful contacts with local stakeholders we met through them that could be called on for future partnerships.