GEN Africa is the African ecovillage association, promoting social resilience, environmental protection and restoration of nature through the concept of ecovillages as models for sustainable human settlements. We actively support the development of ecovillages and networks in all parts of Africa.
GEN Africa is a membership organisation that emerged with the support of GEN Europe founded in 1996, and open to a wide range of projects regardless of their political, religious or cultural backgrounds.
GEN Africa forms part of GEN International, an NGO with consultative status at the UN-Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) commission, and a partner of United Nations Institute for Training and Research, UNITAR.
GEN Africa is managed by a council elected in December 2012 in Egypt that involves 5 members, in addition to 3 coordinators of the youth network NextGEN and a five member Advisory Council.
Vision, Mission and Values of GEN Africa
We envision the re-emergence of a sustainable and abundant Africa growing out of an alliance of self-empowered and resilient communities.
As a solution based alliance, GEN Africa makes visible examples of best practices, and develops educational tools to inspire societal transition to resilience.
- Faith in the inherent goodwill in mankind
- Unity through diversity, without discrimination
- Basic human and earth rights and equitable access to resources
- Equal opportunity and justice for all
- Balance between cooperation and competition
- Good governance
- Care of the Earth and people
We work within the following thematic areas:
Education & capacity building
Promoting the development of curricula derived from good practice within ecovillages (Gaia Education, grown out of GEN has created valuable educational materials freely downloadable from www.gaiaeducation.org)
Model ecovillages and training centers
Model ecovillages provide holistic designs for urban and rural communities for sustainable living environment. Training centres provide education, training and research to achieve order to pass on knowledge, methods and skills for sustainable living.
Promoting policies and practices that will make for a more just, sustainable and equitable society.
Africa being the cradle of Civilizations, GEN Africa will strive to apply the ecovillage movement profoundly based on the diversity of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Africa.
Healing and reconciliation
The basis of GEN Africa values lies in the success of authentic healing and reconciliation. The pains we carry on an individual level are reflected in our current economic, social and ecological realities and vice versa.
Gen Africa promotes African communities that are self reliant, independent and enjoy abundance of a diversity of indigenous foods that result from creative use of local resources.
Natural resources and restoration
To support, promote and document the work of every community in becoming a model for energy autonomy, reforestation, regenerative water cycles, healthy soils, and mutually beneficial relationship with wildlife.
Ethical business and fair trade
GEN Africa must assure self-reliant and interdependent communities by providing a progressive ecovillage business model in the existing destructive mainstream market. Overcome poverty and regenerate natural resources investment.
Communication and information technology
GEN Africa through IT will facilitate effective and efficient communication also makes information available and accessible to everybody interested in GEN Africa activities.
What we do:
The African Ecovillage Network assists, educates and supports villages and communities towards self sufficiency, through social entrepreneurship and development of grassroots projects, while building solidarity and cooperation between people.
We encourage, advise and teach communities to use clean energy, water purification and desalination processes, and actively encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Regarding the land and food, we promote organic farming and permaculture. For example growing local medicinal plants, planting trees as windbreaks, saving endangered species of plants and crops, growing fruit trees, composting with zero waste, use of bio-digesters. Hand in hand with this we share the importance of the conservation of ecosystems.
Regarding building and construction we promote building with natural local materials, using both tried and tested traditional methods and crafts, combined with modern design and building techniques.
For the people we offer new paradigms in schooling, medicine, ecotourism, eco-farm retreats, and much more.
In addition GEN Africa exists to :
1. Makes visible to the world the dynamic and impressive work already being done on the ground to develop sustainable community solutions all over Africa
2. Empower African indigenous projects and the people involved by connecting them to each other and to like-minded individuals and organisations worldwide
3. Facilitate South-South and South-North exchange of inspiration, information and training amongst ecovillages and related projects in Africa and the world
4. Invite traditional village networks into the ecovillage network on the basis of deep respect for the wisdom they still hold
5. Hold a special focus on and acknowledgement of the need for North-South reconciliation work
Within GEN Africa, we experiment in re-knitting trustful relationships and honouring low impact life styles. Our strength lies in co-developing and co-designing economic, social, cultural and ecologic solutions that support local ownership of sustainable futures. Honestly sharing the questions we face in this process is as important as sharing any answers we find. Making visible people’s projects that deeply care for local community while embracing global community is a vibrant tool for empowerment.
GEN Africa is not prioritizing the replication of ‘the ecovillage model‘ as a whole and the creation of more and more ‘green islands’ out in the countryside. The demonstration sites we have are invaluable and we can certainly do with more. But the focus has long moved on. Today we need every village to become an ecovillage and every city to become an ecocity. The whole of society needs to transition to a low-impact lifestyle in order to survive. All social networks need to reintegrate values of solidarity and mutual trust in order to become resilient enough to face the future creatively. The focus of GEN has shifted to sharing best practice – ecovillage-patterns that work!
GEN consists of a constantly expanding network of intentional communities and ecovillages bridging all cultures and continents.
GEN envisions the emergence of a diverse yet shared global pool of wisdom for sustainable living.
GEN believes that the most underutilized resource we have is the good intentions and creativity of citizens and our willingness to make a difference.
GEN promotes the building of community and solidarity as core to transition to resilience.
GEN promotes the development of sustainable settlements in all of Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
You can download the Report of GEN Africa in 2009 here.