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Kids4Future: The Rainmakers concept

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Europe and the rest of the world are faced with unprecedented energy challenges. We believe that our children are one of the most important target groups to secure a sustainable energy future. The Rainmakers concept is designed to help them make the right choices when they meet the energy challenges we leave behind.
The overall objective of the action has been to contribute to increased energy knowledge by addressing the world’s most important target group – namely our children. They will meet the climate and energy supply challenges when they become adults. The work done with the Kids4Future project can be valuable to give European children both the knowledge and the engagement to contribute to a sustainable future. At the core of the action are a joint visual profile and one brand. The platform is a universal energy story, called the story of the Rainmakers. The hypothesis was that a strong brand will facilitate recall and strengthen recognition across channels, activities and countries. Ten partners in ten European countries have launched the Rainmakers concept under the same visual profile – branding the message of energy efficiency and sustainability towards the world’s most important target group.

The Kids4Future project started in January 2007 and ended in December 2009. Based on the Rainmaker story as a common platform, the project has launched a suit of pillars with versatile activities using the same visual profile. The project pillars constitute the arenas children seek and operate in their everyday life - school, TV, events and web. All tools and activities are parts of one integrated concept.

The Rainmakers story
  • All partners have translated and distributed all three volumes of the story of the Rainmakers.
  • Like in the story of Donald Duck, the Rainmakers have different names in each country – all being the name of the story and the whole concept.
  • The books were well received by both teachers and children in all 10 countries as stated in two evaluation reports.
  • More than 40,000 children in Europe have read the story.
  • 90% of teachers rated the learning value of the story with regard to energy efficiency to be high.
  • Teachers are committed to continue to use the books cross curricular
  • Value and contents of global relevance according to teachers.
  • Low cost per reader – approximately 40 EUR per child.

The Rainmakers schools
  • A web based toolbox has been developed based on existing material adapted to the Rainmakers concept.
  • 245 pilot schools have been involved from 2007-2009, reading the books, using the toolbox, visited the website and participated at events.
  • 69 training courses involving more than 600 schools and well over 1,300 teachers have been arranged and proved to be highly motivating.
  • Education on energy and sustainability is in demand among teachers. The project had good timing in this regards offering readymade material.

The Rainmakers on TV
This WP has, as expected, been the most challenging. The ground has been better paved for future energy broadcasting for children, but so far few major results have been achieved. Some partners have succeeded to get TV coverage in some areas. Beside Enova and Motiva that had different starting points, there has mostly been news coverage of activities in school and from the Rainmakers event. 7 partners have translated the Ruben films to national languages and they have been offered to TV stations with little luck so far. The films are educational, featuring one of the Rainmaker characters trying out energy efficiency measures in his home. The films can be found on the national Rainmakers websites. TV possibilities for the future have been suggested in a pan-European strategy report.

The Rainmakers events
All partners have prepared and implemented a Rainmakers event. There has been 42 Rainmakers events with more than 15,000 participants held for school children. The events range from local Rainmakers days on pilot schools to national events with larger number of participants. All events had fun and engaging activities like theatre plays, competitions, model making, dancing, shows and much more. Along with the Rainmakers story, many of the partners have reported this activity to be one of the most successful parts of the project. The reason is that it had great learning value for the participating children and at the same time scored very high on likability from both teachers and students. Thus it created a very positive engagement and will to work with the energy subject both as preparation to the event and as follow up activities after the events.

The Rainmakers websites (www.rainmakers-eu.eu)
All 10 partners have launched a national Rainmakers website for children containing among others; the story of the Rainmakers, the educational and fun web game “The Rainmakers House”, the Rainmakers toolbox, The Ruben films, club-rooms, quizzes, games, pictures, downloads and screensavers. The national websites have been successful in binding all tools and activities together. They have also provided access to Rainmakers material for non-pilot schools and other interested parties. Website statistics tracking (early 2008 to November 2009 for 8 of 10 partners) shows a total of 318,019 visits.