Facilitators of community-led change from around Europe recently gathered in Brussels to share skills and build collaboration in their efforts to help meet global climate and sustainability goals.
A two-day skillshare organised by ECOLISE as part of its Sustainable Communities Programme was designed to stimulate sharing across initiatives, movements, regions and countries of examples and approaches that help catalyse translocal transitions.
Participants came from Scotland, Romania, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Belgium, Ireland & the Netherlands to share their insights and stories. These included Marcel Van Meesche of 21 Solutions who discussed the Brussels Sustainable Neighbourhood Programme; Isabel Carlisle from the Bioregional Learning Centre in South Devon, England; and Thomas Meier from Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) Germany who introduced the Living in Sustainable Villages Project.
The workshop was one of the hundreds of events organised to mark the European Day of Sustainable Communities 2019.
Many of those present also attended the launch meeting of Ecovillage Transition in Action, a new Erasmus+ project focussed on supporting collaboration between municipal authorities and community-led initiatives (CLIs). Led by GEN in partnership with ECOLISE, GEN-Germany, the Norwegian ecovillage Stiftelsen Kilden Økosamfunn and the University of St Andrews, Scotland it aims to grow the capacity of educators, local initiatives, local authorities, citizens and and community organisers to facilitate this crucial but complicated collaboration.
Specifically the project will:-
– provide accessible and transferable educational tools, trainings, curricula, and methods for bringing together CLIs and local government actors.
– Create and prototype a set of replicable trainings that support the acquisition of key competencies and skills for ‘Ecovillage Transition’ – a process where municipal authorities and local citizens work together to develop alternative pathways to local development, based on a holistic framework of social, cultural, economic and ecological regeneration.
– Through an inventory of good practice, successful examples and challenges in collaboration between local governments and community-led initiatives in rural locations, create an Ecovillage Transition Toolkit integrating practical experience and research – designed to foster partnership, engagement and participatory, holistic local development.
A central element of the project is the development of new curricula for Ecovillage Transition, as well as a Training of Trainers module – both providing innovative materials and pedagogies for CLIs, local authorities, educators and active citizens to work together for positive impact.
Finally, the Ecovillage Transition Tracker will combine elements of impact assessment, design thinking and participatory monitoring and evaluation.