Espoir Pour Tous/Hope For All Ecovillage – “When we work with communities, we help them identify their problems and give them tools to strategize solutions and adopt projects based on concrete solutions. We are solving problems and changing lives.”
I began the dream of helping communities of villages make the transition to ecovillages using the holistic approach employed by the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) and Gaia Education that I learned during an ecovillage design education (EDE) course at Sieben Linden in 2011.
In 2012, with friends from GEN and Gaia, I organized the first annual EDE workshop in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). So far we have worked with three villages:
- Adrime Ecovillage, 25 kilometers west of the capital city of Kinshasa
- Mampu Project, 180 kilometers from Kinshasa
- Ibi Village, 145 kilometers west of Kinshasa
Adrime Ecovillage works with people from 13 villages, from Kimwenza to Njdili, in the fields of agroforestry, fish culture, and farming. How does it help the people of these villages progress? The creative imagination of people can create miracles.
Here is some of the ways we have made progress since the 2015 EDE:
- Six months after the EDE, the communities built a small bridge over the river, connecting villages that had previously been separated
- More than 7,500 trees were planted in different villages and farms
- Compost techniques were adapted
- Communities started to build and use rocket stoves
When we work with communities, we help them identify their problems and give them tools to strategize solutions and adopt projects based on concrete solutions. People frequently ask how we can do this without help and support? In the end, we are solving problems and changing conditions.
Event Report: Second Annual EDE (2015)
In 2015, the DRC held its second EDE in Ibi Village in Plateaux de Bateke. Ibi is a village recognized by the United Nations for its environmental work in planting trees and capping carbon emissions. It is the first project in the DRC registered through the proper mechanisms of the United Nations.
I would like to express my admiration for this project and tell you about the deep impact it has had. This EDE was really wonderful and mixed people from the Ibi Village, students from the Institut Facultaire Pour le Developpment, and Belgian students studying at Ibi Village.
The most important practices we have drawn from this EDE are composting, agroforestry, development of green spaces, and society-building techniques. We are also engaging in deep thinking about discovering the self and others, and communicating differently amongst each other.
Third Annual EDE: June 2016
The third annual Congolese EDE will take place from June 13th-25th, 2016, again in Ibi Village.
We will meet and work with a new community of people, coming from universities, villages, NGOs, and more. In these 11 days, we will explore the path to transitioning traditional villages to ecovillages. We will teach the general theory of ecovillage strategy, and will dig deep into pragmatic strategies and exchanges within our communities.
Ibi Village offers a good model for this work as it is well advanced on the path from a transition to ecovillage, now working on developing the social dimensions of this process.
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