Case Study: Sustainability Barcamp Bonn with Engagement Global

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June 17, 2020
Digital Facilitation

The 25th of September 2020 was a very special day for us. After weeks of preparation together with Engagement Global and we hosted the 5th Sustainability Barcamp in Bonn; and the first digital one! 130 motivated change agents from across Germany came together to exchange, share ideas and team up.

Engagement Global’s mission is to offer specific competences and services to everyone who stands up for sustainable development, both in Germany and at a global level. To achieve this, Engagement Global provides information on current projects and initiatives in Germany and around the world, advises individuals and groups on development policy projects and provides financial support. 

With the SustainabilityCamp Bonn (original: NachhaltigkeitsCamp Bonn), Engagement Global offers a networking opportunity to all those who want to make their environment more livable, sustainable and fair. The event quickly became known for its highly interactive character, the special venue it took place in (BaseCamp Bonn) and for being the “homecoming” for the sustainability scene in Bonn and the region. 

Impressions of one barcamp session

At the 2019 edition of the event, the Unity Effect team had carried out a live social network mapping of the participants. Individuals were able to create profiles in our platform and use the map to connect with others working in the same or complementing fields, to support the spirit of co-creation at the event. You can see the public version of the map (with limited search criteria) by clicking here.

In 2020, our role shifted towards supporting the Engagement Global team to digitise the event. Following the Barcamp format, the conference agenda is co-created by the participants, creating an engaging, active and relevant event. Our intention was to carry the spirit of the in person event into the digital environment. Among others, Unity Effect’s contribution was to: 

  • Develop supportive guidelines for digital facilitation and how to host efficient and engaging online sessions
  • Provide interactive exercises and formats for the moderators 
  • Develop relevant polling questions and set them up digitally (using mentimeter) 
  • Document and harvest the outcomes of the Barcamp sessions (using Mural) 

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On the day of the event itself, four people from our team were present to support session hosts and carry out the documentation. 

Documentation of individual sessions

And what can we say? The collaborative spirit and encouraging atmosphere of the barcamp has stayed with us ever since. 130 motivated change agents got together, offered 17 different sessions on topics around sustainable textiles and finances, Zero Waste, youth and civic participation. Most importantly, people teamed up in times when physical gatherings are difficult - yet connecting is more important than ever. 

"Our first digital NachhaltigkeitsCamp Bonn was an experiment for us. We wanted to organize an event that can align with our goal to create a space for interaction, inspiration and progress. Unity Effect was a strong partner during our learning journey and we appreciated the pleasant working atmosphere they created. Their mindful approach to groups, the many fresh ideas to work and interact with the participants and the support during the event contributed to a successful NachhaltigkeitsCamp. And granted us many happy faces."
Annika Manz & Jana Jagalski, leads of the organising team of the NachhaltigkeitsCamp Bonn 2020

You can watch a video about the event here (in German).

A short reflection is available here (in German).

We would like to thank Engagement Global and all of the people and organisations who were involved for the opportunity to be part of it! 

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