Throughout the network, GENOA members are working to transition hundreds of traditional villages to ecovillages. The essence of this movement is honouring what exists in traditional villages and supporting them to learn and implement sustainable practices in all Areas of Regeneration (social, culture, ecology and economy), using whole systems approaches. Ecovillage Transition programs are being implemented by organisations that act as ecovillage hubs in various countries in the region, and not carried out by the GENOA Operations or Project Circles. Here are a few case studies from the region.
Bangladesh Association of Sustainable Development (BASD) is a local NGO in Bangladesh that has been addressing climate change issues for more than six years. BASD have successfully implemented climate change adaptation, food security and livelihood projects in 60 villages in Bagerhat, Mongla and Khulna districts, in partnership with Cifal Scotland and Gaia Education, funded by the Scottish Government where more than 1000 farmers, women, leaders, teachers, students and NGO personnel are trained and implementing the learning. These villages are now successfully transitioning towards becoming ecovillages.
Bangladesh is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world. The low-lying coastal districts of Khulna and Bagerhat are particularly vulnerable where cyclones, tidal surge, and extreme flooding have devastated agriculture and food production, increased mortality rates, and destroyed the livelihoods of many communities.
BASD is also more recently working in one of the Rohingya refugee camps that now line the Myanmar Bangladesh border. They have been delivering permaculture workshops, with the support of Rosemary Marrow and Permaculture 4 Refugees (P4R), in 30 locations of the Rohingya Refugee Camp. In collaboration with Rohingya women and youth, they have started permaculture gardens in more than 2000 houses in the refugee Camp 19, Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazaar. BASD has also been able to initiate cross-collaboration between 15 host Bengali communities and refugees.
Visit their website
Team for Human Resource Education and Action for Development (THREAD) in Odisha works directly with 54 tribal women’s organisations from over 2600 indigenous villages, supporting them to take leadership roles in their communities, and has been instrumental in the formation and growth of Odisha Nari Samaj (ONS), the indigenous women’s federation. Through consistent training and support, the women from these villages have had the strength and confidence to speak out against issues such as deforestation and genetically modified mustard in Odisha. THREAD recognises that these villages are already in transition to ecovillages, as many community systems and culture are still in tack. They have been able to identify over the years where the gaps are and work with the villages primarily on food security and self-reliance.
Odisha occupies a unique position in the ethnographic map of India for having the largest variety of tribal communities. THREAD has set up a model ecovillage, Siddharth Village, in Kakirigumma, that is committed to raising awareness of India’s indigenous population as well as working towards achieving ecological balance and individual and community empowerment. This is a successful example of eco and tribal tourism, that ensures a regenerative cycle, for the communities and travelers, both.
THREAD continues to host Back to Basics design courses for children, inspired by the Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) and adapted for younger ages and the local culture. It started in 2014 and has now become well-established with a documented syllabus. As of 2017, it is now called the World We Want Design Education course.
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The Integrated Sustainable Energy and Ecological Development Association (INSEDA) implemented Eco-Village Development (EVD) program in over six traditional villages of Ranichauri district in Sub Himalaya region, a cold climate zone of Northern India. The Programme involved capacity-building activities and installation of appropriate, affordable, low carbon, green technology for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The EVD concept includes household-sized biogas plants, HEERA hybrid multipurpose improved cookstoves, solar-energy technology, and solar-powered food drying units. It also includes organic farming, rooftop rainwater harvesting, and other solutions. INSEDA trained over 400 women to take up organic agriculture and kitchen gardens in their small lands.
Recently INSEDA conducted feasibility study of the EVD concept in six tribal villages of Margul Panchayat, Bajna Block, Ratlam district falling in the tribal belt of Madhyanchal region, a subtropical humid climate zone of Madhya Pradesh. The tribal communities of the region remain the deprived groups despite various schemes of the government available for their upliftment while living closer to unexploited natural environment. INSEDA has now initiated Eco Village Development in the six villages of Margul Panchayat and is developing Margul as model EVD village comprising EVD solutions viz., Heera hybrid multipurpose improved cookstoves, Grameenbandhu Biogas plant, Solar streetlight, Solar LED lantern, Solar dryer, Vermi-compost, Bamboo compost basket, Poly Greenhouse, Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting Unit, Kitchen Garden, Day & night Indoor Solar Cooker, Energy plantation, Horticulture with income generation activities.
Visit their website here.
Ecovillage Transition Asia, Thailand
Ecovillage Transition Asia (ETA) is an initiative by a small group of like-minded people, promoting a transition to redesigned rural and urban environments and coexisting with nature harmoniously with the intention that it will lead to a more conscientious, empowered and spiritually rooted Asian society.
ETA is a network consolidating the ecovillage initiatives in South East Asia, such as the Grassroots Leadership Training (GLT) program in Myanmar under Spirit in Education Movement (SEM); the Awakening Leadership Training (ALT) program under Wongsanit Ashram; and the Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) trainings in China, with a vision for sustainable human settlements in the region.
Ecovillage Transition Asia (ETA) brings together eco-social activism and business management in the face of the ecological, social and spiritual crisis that people are facing today. ETA has been supporting the transition process of Ontai (11 hamlets) and Chiang Maia in Thailand, using intensive consultations to pave the way, using participatory action research (PAR), well known in South East Asia as a process to empower villagers with full inclusion in development interventions. The villagers themselves have put their substantial knowledge into seasonal calendars, bioregional mapping, cause and effect flow charts and so on. The PAR process is used with the support of Thai experts and fed into a community master plan outlining the ecovillage design.
ETA also partners with Wongsanit Ashram and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), to facilitate a 6-month learning journey, Awakening Leadership Training (ALT). This program is developed in partnership with Gaia Education and is considered to be an advanced EDE (Ecovillage Design Education). ETA also worked with GENOA to support national ecovillage networks in the region to emerge, by identifying key change makers from various countries in the region to attend the ALT. It is hoped that through attending the ALT, participants will increase their capacities, which will foster and promote holistic examples of just and regenerative transition. ETA also continues to support the ecovillage network in Myanmar, China and surrounding countries in South-East Asia.
Visit the website and Facebook of the ALT.
Interested to know more? Read our Ecovillage Development Program Brochure 2018