For years, many of our members have connected and supported each other, through events, projects, and knowledge exchange. The practice of “Twinning” within GEN emerged from the desire to more actively facilitate special friendships and collaborations, and to enhance cross-cultural appreciation as well as learning.
Originally, these partnerships were mostly in-person exchanges between the Global North and South and evolved based on mutual bonds between partners.
In 2020, GEN applied the learnings from previous experiences to systematise the process, focusing more on the needs and interests of the twin partners. The project also adjusted to the challenges and limited international travel caused by COVID-19, resulting in partners collaborating virtually to support work both on the ground and online. We overcame challenges such as money, geography, and the pandemic, remaining driven by the desire to work together and support each other from afar.
“Our relation isn’t that of beneficiary and benefactor or that of teacher and student, but rather of partners on eye level who learn and practice solidarity together.”
The 2020 Twins represent each region and worked in different areas of regeneration. The projects of the twins are outlined below. GEN will feature a different twin every month in 2021.
La Bolina (Spain) and Ecovillage Centre Des Hommes (Togo) are working together on “New Story.” The goal is to improve local quality of life, increase awareness, knowledge & skills, and educate communities to increase self-sufficiency. Through this project, migrants will be more aware of the reality of the living conditions in a European country, local rights, also possibilities, and opportunities to have a better life. To read more about the collaboration of “New Story”, go here.
Peace Valley Bush Retreat (Australia) and Korogonas Ark (Greece) are working together on “Peace Ark.” The goal is to extend the field of work in bringing inner/outer peace and regeneration. They will create programme frameworks for both online and offline events that bring the best of both projects together and can be used in an ongoing way in both countries. This will enrich, strengthen, and deepen their individual offerings and also build resilience into both projects. To read more about the collaboration of “Peace Ark”, go here.
Jacutinga do Caparaó (Brazil) and Catfarm (France) are working together on “Green Rivers .” The goal is to build a water management plan that can be adapted to the different realities of both projects, based on the study of”water planting” technologies. They plan to experiment in practice with various techniques and share the results of research, including reaching out to young people and schools. To read more about the collaboration of “Green Rivers”, go here.
Govardhan Ecovillage (India) and Kibbutz Gezer (Israel) are working together on “Engaged community, water, and financial sustainability.” The goal is to engage both communities in economic issues and water resources. They will conduct scientific impact assessments and formulate stronger community visions, sharing the learnings with 78+ tribal villages and the wider scientific community. To read more about the collaboration of “Engaged community, water, and financial sustainability“, go here.
La Aldea (Colombia) and Aduna’m Espace Culturel et Agricole (Senegal) are working together on “Four Winds Spiral.” The goal is to support design techniques and small-scale building projects – clay oven, poultry farming plot, seedbed, & chicken tractor – along with video tutorials as a resource for GEN. This will also strengthen communitary processes through inter-cultural collective learning.
Obrobibini Peace Complex (Ghana) and Instituto Biorregional do Cerrado (Brazil) are working together on “Water is Life.” The goal is to implement two sustainable rainwater harvesting, storage, and filtration systems using natural building materials. After exchanging and documenting learnings in climatic and socio-cultural contexts, the long-term vision is to develop a guide for others in the Global South.
Nuestra Finca Sagrada (Nicaragua) and Familia Feliz (Spain) are working together on “Terra Preta.” The goal is to create a new composting toilet solution, enhancing soil health, and adding resilience to the yields of fruit orchards. They also plan to employ local workers to help and share the experience with the wider community by documenting the process through film and sharing on their websites and social media.
Ecovila nômade (Brazil) and La Rosina (Spain) are working together on “João de Barro Twins, Co-bioconstruindo.” The goal is to improve infrastructure of buildings in the eco learning centres using natural, ecological and low cost (inclusive) construction methods while disseminating information and experiences with local and global (virtual) public. This will include a green roof, finalizing windows, and adding a dry toilet and a shower with a greywater treatment system.
We are also happy to share with you our Twinning Manual 2020, with learnings, insights and tips for forming twinning partnerships.
“We were coming from different cultures and learning from each other. We took common action to face the challenges of climate change.”
If you are interested to be part of the GEN Twinning program in the future, we invite you to fill out this form, to help us understand your project, your needs, and strengths, and find a fruitful match for you, as we hope to continue this project in upcoming years.
In order to be eligible for this project, please check the following criteria:
- You are an ecovillage, traditional or indigenous community, eco-community, eco-project (which includes permaculture farms, learning centers, restoration sites, emergency projects), national ecovillage network, or regional ecovillage network.
- You have an up-to-date profile on the GEN Projects Database – https://ecovillage.org/projects/
- Your ecovillage, community, eco-project, national or regional ecovillage network is interested to share skills and knowledge with your potential twin and develop a joint partnership together.
For all who sign up, our team will do our very best to link you to a partner who seems to fit your wishes well. We will help to set up the initial contacts between the twins. Both of the partners get a chance to meet and double-check whether you might like to foster friendship and work together.
Once both parties feel that this twinning relationship is good enough to try, you are ready to start twinning with each other to your heart’s delight.
Read more about GEN communities pioneering the twinning processes…
Damanhur in Italy and Guede Chantier in Senegal planted 1400 trees and improved social and economic fabric in 15 Senegalese communities; read more here.
RIE in Spain and Portugal twinned with REDES in Senegal, bringing tangible change through the building of water wells and increasing awareness of water solutions and climate change; read more here.
International Peace Initiatives from Kenya and Ecologia Youth Trust from the UK joined forces to support orphaned children and educate 2000 women, thus empowering those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic; read more here.
Comunidad de Paz in Colombia twinned with Tamera in Portugal; as a result of the collaboration, which started when the Comunidad de Paz was confronted with extreme violence, international visibility was brought to the Colombian community, helping them create a sustainable livelihood and a more peaceful environment for community members; read more here.
The Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA) in Ghana has partnered with LOES, the Danish Ecovillage Network. From this partnership, GEN Ghana Network was created. Both held an Ecovillage Design Education course, an Eco-strategies training, and engaged in environmental actions; read more here.
“Part of our community dream was to inspire GEN as a whole to adopt this strategy and support the implementation of nourishing cooperation between north-south, south-south and west-east. Happy to see twinning emerging.”
– Ousmane Pame (Redes: Network for Ecovillage Emergence and Development in the Sahel)