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Ecovillage Design Education in Auroville


The Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) is to be offered as a 5 week course for a mixed youth group consisting of half Aurovillian/bioregional youth and the other half from intentional communities and alternative learning spaces in India and abroad. Heavily subsidised, it will be an offering to the Auroville community with the manifestation of a few projects at the end of the course that could affect real solutions in the community and the bioregion.

Looking at Auroville and the bioregion through the lens of Ecology, Economy, Social and Worldview dimensions the EDE will enable experiential learning through community building activities, reflection and meditative practices, site visits and facilitated discussions. The 5 week course to be hosted in Pitchandikulam Forest will culminate in a week specifically dedicated to design.

In a rapidly transforming world, we as humans are being constantly challenged to grow in both thought and action in this universe. Climate change due to environmental degradation including rampant deforestation, depletion of aquifers and fisheries, loss of habitat and extinction of species, the increasing disparity in wealth, the poverty and exploitation, the disintegration of community and family, unrestrained urbanisation resulting in increased alienation, displacement and disconnection with nature and the looming possible conflict over limited energy resources are just some of the issues we face today, both globally and in India. The question becomes: How do we behave in relation to these immense challenges?

The Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) curriculum was developed by the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) and Gaia Education as a response to this question, in recognition of the immense potential for growth in human consciousness and behaviour. Recognised by UNESCO, the EDE was specifically designed to enable people and communities coming together to reclaim responsibility for their living situations - at local and regional levels. A universal framework, adaptable to the local environment, the EDE offers an education with a detailed assessment of the current state of the planet and local area followed by place-based solutions relevant to the local community. It offers tools and knowledge to prepare the way for a conscious existence on this planet.

One of the key purposes of the GEN desk Auroville currently based in Pitchandikulam Forest is to develop an effective and relevant curriculum for an EDE training course in different contexts whether rural or urban but particularly for Global South challenges, using Auroville and bioregional experiences as tools for transformation. This is being done working with other organizations and training initiatives in and around Auroville such as the Youth Link, and the Sustainable Livelihood institute. We are also reaching out to Auroville Campus Initiative and CIRHU (Centre for International Research on Human Unity) members to envision together how this may contribute to the larger Unending Education topic. The EDE has been held in Auroville a few times before, the last one in 2007, and also had an avatar in the Living Routes program.

The EDE currently being designed has evolved from the recognition of the need to engage youth in Auroville and its bioregion in uncovering their purpose and engage in meaningful work. It has emerged after the mini-EDE 2 day workshop held in Pitchandikulam in early January 2016 where the participants identified key issues facing Auroville and rural Tamil nadu, expressing their wish to feel more empowered to act in face of these immense challenges.

The tools of the EDE will enable the emergence of a holistic design that would enable projects to manifest. Some of the projects we are already thinking of include designing an alternative economy for the Youth Hive space that is going to begin construction this year, looking at security in Auroville and proposing an action plan, designing a curriculum that is relevant to rural communities here, building a temporary, experimental housing structure and many more.

From the 30th of January 2017 until the 4th of February we are offering a Training of Trainers (TOT) additional program to add to your EDE experience.

The aim of the EDE Training of Trainers is first and foremost to help the participants deepen their experience in how to teach, facilitate and train people by enabling collaboration and participation among a community of learners. In addition we support and hope to inspire the participants with what they may want to teach and most importantly with why this kind of education is so critically important for the future of life on Earth.

For those who have completed an EDE and are interested in becoming facilitators, designing their own curriculums or want tools to work with groups, this EDE ToT will be highly helpful.

Our vision is this: the December 2016 EDE is the first of many building capacity and creating trainers in Auroville. The EDE is a flexible curriculum. It could be localised to suit a purely Tamil speaking group, or adapted as part of the core program for apprenticeship program that is currently being designed for Auroville Youth. It could also be adapted to suit bioregional ‘Paalam Project’ members needs, or cater to the re-design of our Newcomer Aspiration Program/Savi Volunteer program. The potential for empowering young people in the educational landscape of Auroville is encouraging. With this pilot course held in December, we hope to inspire the design of future courses engaging all those interested in higher/unending education in our community. Auroville’s 2018 50th Anniversary celebrations include a suggestion for a Conference on several topics, including Unending Education. We feel this course could help inspire the much needed community conversation on the topic, to build up the ground work needed to later host such a conference.

#education #global #communitybuilding #events #Auroville

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