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Changemaker Programme

UWCA Changemaker Programme

The Changemaker Programme aims to get out of the head-heavy regular IB Diploma Programme and involve the whole student - head, heart and hand. In order to do this, we are developing courses that are inter-disciplinary, break down the boundary between the academic and co-curricular realm and focus on some of the most pertinent issues we face in the 21st century: our relationship with the environment, with the digital realm and with ever-changing human communities across our globalised world. There is a UWC-wide push to collaborate with the IB and draw more upon our Hahnian roots in experiential education in order to build not only the right aptitudes, but also attitudes in our young people. It is still early days in the project but interest from the IBO and across the UWC movement is very positive.


Photo taken during Reconnecting the Land Changemaker Curriculum 

Building transferable skills in varied fields such as:

  • Project Management
  • Communication
  • Field Science
  • Design and Engineering
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Public Speaking & Argumentation
  • Data Science & Coding

At UWC Atlantic, we believe that a self-empowered person – a changemaker – is someone who has the energy to change things and the inclination to use that energy in the right way and for the common good. It is also somebody who understands and can navigate the complexity of life and who reaches beyond easy answers. The UWC Atlantic Changemaker Curriculum is designed to develop our students as these changemakers, and it is based on the principles of ‘Purpose, Passion and Profession’.

  • Students enable us to try out experiential sessions and develop the curriculum from the ground up with constant feedback on how things are going
  • We select a deliberately diverse group to make sure that what we do is accessible to all
  • Students have input into what assessment might look like in the final product
  • In some units (which are running in their second iteration), students who participated last year now co-facilitate and work as researchers.

Our intention is to develop innovative courses of study that will be interdisciplinary in nature, conceptually rich, and academically rigorous with professional skills integrated through project-oriented learning.

There are 7 units currently under development at UWC Atlantic, some in their second iteration, others brand new. Further units are in the pipeline across the UWC movement. This year, the units run within the co-curricular programme. Students have the option to take one of the units as their service. We are in the prototyping stage - testing things out and refining our concepts over several iterations. We envisage that these units would replace some of the ‘traditional’ IB subjects in the future, so that the students could take a combination of IB and UWC courses to obtain their diploma. To learn more about these Changemaker Units, click here.

Our eventual aim is that each course will be similar in length to an International Baccalaureate (IB) course and a student may choose a combination of IB Certificates and UWC courses during their time at UWC Atlantic. UWC courses will be structured and delivered in a very different way to the IB, through workshops, blended learning, experiential learning engagements and projects. 

The Changemaker Curriculum aspires to provide learning that is NICHE. Our approach signals a significant departure from the current IB Diploma, although both are moving towards the same goal and are therefore complementary: towards a holistic approach that has the potential to deepen learning, develop skills and make sense of interconnectedness in ways that combat the fragmented nature of knowledge, society and self.

Big Data Unit - Photo by Devi Yuliarti, UWCA'22 



Showcased in this video is the latest on the UWC Atlantic Changemaker Programme, and specifically on the following three courses: Taking a Stance - Oral Communication, Ocean Systems and Coastal Management, Dialogue & Peacemaking.