Photo credit: Ciska van Stuijvenberg
For the article at its original source, please visit Marc’s blog @ https://eco-villages.eu/en/2018/10/03/when-the-next-generation-of-the-ecovillages-play-the-game-of-the-talanoa-dialogue/
Jake, Clara, Lara, Lars, and Riccardo are members of the core group of NextGEN Europe, the youth arm of the Global Ecovillage Network in Europe (GEN Europe). They recently took the time to experiment a Talanoa Dialogue, a method based on the Pacific concept of “talanoa” – storytelling that leads to consensus-building and decision-making.
The process is designed to allow for participants to share their stories in an open and inclusive environment, devoid of blame, in the hopes that others can learn and benefit from their ideas and experiences. Read their inspiring answers for three simple but structuring questions:
Where are we?
“For me, NextGEN in Europe is at a very exciting time. As often with excitement, there is some strong fear present. I am filled with a lot of joy as I see more and more young people doing fantastic projects who are interested in, and see the benefit of networks – seeking to collaborate more; I see progress being made on where to work from a place of volunteering and service, and when to heal our relationship with money and pay people for the work they put in. I also see a growing recognition of the importance of fully integrated young people into the wider GEN network. At the same time, it is a scary and often difficult process to find ways to properly welcome in new people to the team, turning ‘our’ project into ‘OUR’ project, broadening the sense of ownership. Also pretty hard to work out who should get paid and who shouldn’t.”
“We are in a moment of transformation and expansion. Building up the network from the grassroots, reaching young people from many different backgrounds, creating spaces for sharing and creativity. New relations are starting and there is a lot of potentials.
“We are in the moment where it is becoming more and more evident that we can create a different world by connecting and sharing. Although we see many symptoms of destruction we also see amazing examples of collaboration, empathy, and hope. The same is happening for NextGEN as more and more people can reach out to us and find their place in our network. “
“At a time that poses both opportunities and challenges. The network is expanding, more and more young people experience life in ecovillages and are interested in joining organizations that are supporting the ecovillage/permaculture movement. Young pioneers choose for sustainable/regenerative solutions for our current financial/social/environmental crises. NextGEN provides a platform for the young minds to gather and share their information on the monthly online meetings as well as during youth projects and the yearly GEN Conference gathering. Through NextGEN, they can connect with each other by being present in the network, they can share their information and inspiration of their big and small life choices, opportunities and challenges that youth share in a caring environment.“
“I feel we are in a very dynamic moment. Past history has been shared with new members, old difficulties resolved, and a new wave of enthusiasm has entered the field. We are at a stage of bonding, seeking inner realization as much as outer efficiency through our work together, aiding our Will to work voluntarily for the wellbeing of the planet, ourselves and society. We are understanding structures, their benefits and their limits, our member’s real needs and how each of us can uniquely be of service to the whole.
Once the group will be strong enough, well bonded, and with an agreed and well-understood structure and direction, all of our talents combined will give shape to something bigger, and more evolutionary, than the sum of its parts.”
Where do we want to go?
“I would like to see NextGEN Europe actively supporting the wider Ecovillage movement, and individual ecovillages themselves to be more accessible to young people. I would like to see NextGEN Europe receiving recognition outside of the GEN Networks for the work it does. I would like to see a strong, paid core group of people working part-time to support NextGEN in its support of others; with clear agreements on how the team works in collaboration with the other NextGEN and GEN Regions, offices, Councils etc.”
“From my perspective, we are walking towards being a solid network of young people interested in sustainability and social change around the ecovillages, a social movement where people from all over Europe can connect to others that are in the same path. Create new projects and connect and support the existing ones. I think we walk towards supporting the next generation to find their place in their world, their relation towards nature through training them and creating spaces for them to empowered and feel part of a greater whole.”
“We would like to grow in our capacity to embrace everybody who reaches out to us and support and empower this person by using the resources that are available not only within NextGEN but the whole GEN network.”
“We want to grow into a stable Network organization, continue to expand our outreach to motivate and inspire a change in culture from competitiveness and individuality to collaboration and community, that is healing the individuals as well as the natural environments they are in touch with, by sharing the tools and experience that is present in ecovillages. Another goal is to remain organized as a network in the coming years also after the financial support of Gaia Trust dries up in a couple of years.”
“Expand the national networks and remain an active member of the global GEN. Reaching youth that might be interested in ecovillages but currently in university and has not had the chance of getting in contact with the ecovillage movement.”
“We want to show that young people care, engage and face difficulties when they arise, in a united way. We will be one of those groups that show how work duties and fun activities can go hand-in-hand, and that everyone, even the least ‘trained’ people, can be of paramount importance once part of a well-running team.
On the practical side, we are aiming at providing great opportunities for youth who have the world in their heart, through different educational opportunities, by connecting them with real change-makers in our network, so that their personal growth may develop along their activism, slowly taking more responsibility toward the well-being of all.”
How do we get there?
“To make use of the wide variety of skills within the existing team to upskill and train new members. We need to clarify areas of accountability within the organisation, including roles and circles. We need to draw up clear partnership agreements covering our collaborations with GEN Europe, GEN, and the other NextGEN Regions. We need to fully integrate a few fringe projects into the organisational structure, broadening a sense of ownership from the existing core people to include those working in these specific areas.”
“We get there by building sustainable and meaningful relations among young people from different places in Europe. Friendship and companionship are our key and most solid way to stay connected. We share the love for this planet and the will to take care of it. This glue makes us friends and inspires us to keep working together. Also, through Youth Exchanges in ecovillages and rural projects in Europe, using social media to stay connected and showcasing our projects to others so people can see that dreams can become true.”
“Relationships in the network are a key. We will continue to meet, online and face to face, to not only work together but also get to know each other and seek the possibilities to sense in what is it that we can do at the moment that supports us all. We are always happy when new projects emerge and take place. This is where we see the most energy for the continuation of the work comes from. In that sense, we are keen to learn about new funding opportunities for the creation of projects and events where the real magic among people can happen.”
“By being present in the online environments that youth is present as we can grow into a stable network. Stimulate the National Networks to have quarterly/yearly gatherings. Reaching youth that might be interested in ecovillages, by establishing a partnership with university or student groups that already have a focus on climate/environment.”
“Mainly by staying connected, exploring our individual vulnerabilities in a safe space and learning how best to communicate. By changing the notion of work into a fun one, where the economic incentive is not the centrepiece, but the intent of the group has risen above it. Patience, care, and especially self-responsibility are the quality we ought to learn to achieve our goals, as much as discovering and fostering the development of our inner talents.”
Want to join the team?
Contact them Facebook or email at ngen.europe[at]ecovillage.org