”You never change the existing reality by fighting it. Instead, create a new model that makes the old one obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller
Ecovillage Development Programmes
For the past 20 years the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) and its regional affiliate, GEN Africa, have been developing a transformative model, using an integrated, community-based approach to create sustainable and resilient ecovillage communities.
The Ecovillage Development Program is designed to radically reform current development practices and put communities, sustainability, and wealth creation at the heart of the development process. The full and inclusive participation of communities on the ground in the conception and implementation of activities, together with the sharing and transferring of expertise and grounded experience is fundamental to this process.
GEN catalyzes the power of community for the national implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreements. Building on 20 successful years of global networking, sustainable development, and education, GEN is ready to scale up its partnerships with governments, NGOs, and donors to implement policies and solutions at local, regional, and international levels.The Ecovillage Development Program is the initiative to bring this intention to fruition.
Step 1: Inviting and Participating
Invite strong, inspiring communities within a country or region to learn more about the ecovillage movement, explaining the process of ecovillage design, sharing inspirational examples from around the world, showing how ecovillage is a process, not an outcome. Communities decide whether they wish to join and consciously start to design their own pathway into a sustainable and regenerative future.
Step 2: Planning and Integrating
Facilitate an Ecovillage Development Training for local stakeholders in each of the pilot villages to support the identification of their needs, assets and leverage points (using the Ecovillage Playing Cards). The community formulates the first phase of their Ecovillage Development Plan. This includes developing a fundraising strategy and building alliances with local and national authorities, NGO’s and social enterprises to support implementation of the Development Plan.
Step 3. Training and Implementing
Facilitate further more demand driven trainings to prepare and share skills for implementation. All stakeholders implement Phase 1 of the Ecovillage Development Plan
Step 4. Measuring and Evaluating
Measure and evaluate the outcomes to see what works and what needs to be improved. Share inspiration and change stories to celebrate wins and gather feedback.
Step 5. Refining and Scaling
Refine the Plan, continuing with implementation. Now that this ecovillage is up and running and regenerative ecovillage development is well underway, we identify the next round of villages for the programme and start the process again.
Experience and Impact
GEN has successfully coordinated the ecovillage development programmes of thousands of ecovillages around the world. Demand for Gaia Education’s EDE’s is rising rapidly and GEN is increasingly recognised as a force in the development of sustainability policies, educational programmes and practical implementation.
The “four pillars” of sustainability (Ecology, Economy, Culture and Social) are well understood as reliable indicators against which to measure progress towards ecovillage recognition. Building on this groundbreaking, grassroots work GEN now plans to scale up its work to include influencing decision makers at all levels in society. This strategy will be developed and implemented over the next ten years.
In various countries and regions ecovillage transition strategies have been scaled up in close collaboration with governments over the past decade. The government of Senegal has adopted a radical national program to transition 14,000 traditional villages as ecovillages and this process is well underway. Religious organisations in Senegal have also recognised the value that ecovillage transition brings in terms of maintenance of religious and spiritual values and to the health of the local people, the environment and the biodiversity of the area.
Other countries are waking up to the benefits to be derived from involving local populations in large-scale community-led sustainable development.
The DR Congo is considering setting up a Ministry of Ecovillages. Regional authorities in Thailand are, similarly, supporting large scale ecovillage development, in order to transition whole provinces to eco-provinces. Large scale ecovillage developments are also taking place in India, Bangladesh and Burma.
GEN’s “big solution” is empowering the millions of small solutions — people and projects within communities working for a healthy planet and vibrant future for our children and all life.
Write to us at [email protected] to start the conversation or find out how you can get involved with the Ecovillage Development program.