creating traditional games from discarded material

Public Forum on the Environment and Culture

Anna Bucca, Otello Urso and WorldFest

Forum Pubbliku dwar l-Ambjent u l-Kultura

Gillian Bartolo Interviews Eric Van Monckhoven

Context and Motivation - Essential Timetable - Local and Foreign Advisers - Beneficiaries - Impact at Local Level - European Dimension

This is a six-month project (May - October, 2002) run by Inizjamed in collaboration with the EU’s “Youth” Programme and Bay Street. The project is coordinated by Clare Azzopardi and Karsten Xuereb.

Re-Creation” aims to foster the concept of re-using discarded material creatively, in such a way as to encourage sustainability, cooperation and team-spirit among youth and other members of the community.

Most of the activities, including preparatory sessions for the young people running the project, public fora and activities involving the general public (mainly creating and playing the various games) will be held at the Bay Street complex in the heart of the entertainment district of Paceville.

The aims of the project reach well beyond the six-months of its duration, because it aims to actively promote sustainable ways of living, creativity and respect towards and regeneration of local culture.

[Photo: from left, Karsten Xuereb, Otello Urso, Anna Bucca, Clare Azzopardi, Adrian Grima, Vince Caruana at the WorldFest, 4.5.02, St. Michael's School, Pembroke]

Context and Motivation

The “Re-Creation” project arose from the need to address the specific local environmental problem of waste management in a creative way. The method was inspired by one of the project’s advisers; the artistic association Mana Chuma of Italy. A visit to their centre showed us how the idea of re-using discarded material and putting it to a creative use can be put into action. By adapting it to a local context, Inizjamed thinks it can be successful in generating environment-awareness and creative skills among young people.

“Re-Creation” also arose from the need to create a project that empowers young people and shows them that they have a crucial role to play in the solution of “national problems”. The participation of advisers from Italy and Finland will provide the team of youngsters running the project with practical insights and foster a stronger European dimension among Maltese youth. 

Essential Timetable

During May and June, the participants will meet to assess their ongoing research work, to plan and to discuss their work with the advisers. The main public activity in this phase will be a public forum at Bay Street on reusing discarded materials and links between environmentalism and cultural initiatives. Speakers include Belgian environmental activist Eric E. Van Monckhoven, Dr. Paul Pace, an expert on environmental education, and Mr. Chris Ciantar from the Skart Project.

This period will also include a trip to Gozo for the young people running the project and for the advisers. The aim is to offer a direct exercise in appreciating local heritage and allowing it to inspire their initiative.

The project will be presented in public during July and August. The activities include open sessions in which the general public will be encouraged to engage with the idea of putting discarded material to creative use and to become more aware of Maltese traditional games.

In September and October the participants will carry out an overall evaluation of the project and discuss ways to continue the process begun by the project both as a group and in their everyday lives.

Local and Foreign Advisers

A number of local and foreign advisers will be offering their expertise and experience in the various areas dealt with in the project. These are Miriam Teuma (youth worker); Stephen Cachia (educator); Raphael Vella (in photo) and Sina Farrugia, both educators and artists; folklorist Ġorġ Mifsud Chircop; Vince Caruana, who has specialized in Environment and Development Education; Anna Bucca and Otello Urso from Arci (Catania); Massimo Barilla from Mana Chuma (Reggio Calabria); and Eric E. Van Monckhoven (Finland).  

Anna Bucca, president of ARCI Catania, and Otello Urso, are highly experienced in the running of creative projects that empower youths in local communities, and their presence will facilitate the Maltese youngsters’ participation in the project while enabling them to reap maximum benefits.

A University graduate in literature, Anna Bucca has turned her attention to the plight of young people in the Sicily and has carried out many concrete projects to develop their full potential. Inizjamed and Arci Catania collaborated on a project called “Al Buio – Per Chi Non Vede l’Arte” funded by the Culture 2000 programme of the EU and coordinated by Otello Urso.  

Massimo Barilla’s experience in conceiving and developing Mana Chuma’s research centre for traditional games and toys in Reggio Calabria is essential to the “Re-Creation” project, since his input will be crucial to the overall vision and direction the project will finally take.

Massimo Barilla completed his post-graduate studies in Torino for Coordinators of Cultural Projects with a dissertation "Vox Terrae - Istituzione di un Centro di produzione e di formazione teatrale". He is a co-founder of the artistic association Mana Chuma of Reggio Calabria in Italy. In 2000 Massimo Barilla was one of the main performers in Inizjamed’s production Kitbiet mill-Mediterran held at the University of Malta (Evenings on Campus)

Eric E. Van Monckhoven is a environmental consultant and activist. His main areas of interest are crosscultural understanding, agroecology, natural and sustainable eco-living, appropriate technology and social economy.

His key qualifications include community-based sustainable development, environment, and international cooperation. He collaborates with a large number of non-governmental and grass-roots organisations struggling for local regeneration and sustainability. These include: “Aborigin”, a not-for-profit organisation aiming at promoting native, aboriginal, indigenous cultures and traditions; “Ecolandia”, an educational and environmental centre in Calabria (Southern Italy); “LIFE/Environment”, a project of Local Agenda XXI in the suburban area of Messina (Southern Italy); “Mediterranean 2000”, an educational campaign aiming at promoting sustainable practices for local regeneration in the Mediterranean; and “MedPark 2001” (Aspromonte, Southern Italy), a special event to enhance partnership between National Parks and protected areas in the Mediterranean. 


The main beneficiaries of this project are:

§        The general public that will play the games created by the participants and become more aware of the need to respect the environment and to explore sustainable ways of living

§        The participants’ families

§        The schools the participants attend  

Impact at Local Level

§        Raising environmental awareness through the re-use of discarded material.

§        Involving the beneficiaries in the chosen games, learning about Maltese traditions and interacting with young participants.

§        Generating originality and creativity.

§        Encouraging sustainability at local level.


European Dimension

The “Re-Creation” project run by mainly young people addresses a number of important European concerns and offers concrete action:

The Directive on Waste (75/442/EEC) requires Member States to take all necessary steps to prevent waste generation, to encourage reuse and to ensure safe waste disposal. This project aims to fulfil such strategies. Articles 40 and 41 of the Directive are particularly inspiring:

·        Art. 40 Recovery of waste is at the core of any sustainable waste management policy. Therefore, where the generation of waste cannot be avoided, it should be reused or recovered for its material or energy.

·        Art. 41 Re-use of a product should, where environmentally sound, be further encouraged, since it helps to avoid waste generation (our emphasis). Waste can otherwise be recovered mainly by means of material recovery, which means that some or all materials contained in the waste are reprocessed in order to make new products, or by energy recovery operations, where the energy is extracted by the use of the waste as a fuel.

In view of the serious situation regarding waste mismanagement in Malta, this project aims at contributing to the process of rectifying past negligence by empowering local young people in accordance with European strategies of sustainability. 

Both the issue of marginalization and the fostering and promotion of cultural diversity are profoundly European issues. This project aims to bring those who have been marginalized by circumstances back to the centre of society, where we all belong. The main “instrument” here is that of “creativity” and “play”.

In accordance with the European Commision’s policy on fair trade, this project also proposes to contribute to the building of the games by resorting and making full use of local access to games and toys made of recycled material (wood and metal) and fairly traded in order to inspire and help build these games. Therefore, part of the budget is earmarked to purchase such games from L-Arka, and in so doing strengthen and support fair trade movement (as established by the European Commission’s Communication on fair trade IP/99/937 – Brussels, 2 December 1999).

The methods proposed in this project have been adopted by many European NGOs working in the fields of youth marginilisation, cultural regeneration and creativity. In this sense, the working method proposed here is a European working method. Team-work, youth empowerment, the internet, use of the media and the sharing of methods and information with the local community and the public in general are ways in which many European NGOs have achieved good results.



Clare Azzopardi, Karsten Xuereb


May, 2002



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