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Development of GEN-Africa 2011

Congo Conference

How to develop a sustainable society in the Democratic Republic of Congo? The conference was held from the 11th until the 13th of May 2011, in Kinshasa, addressing issues of sustainable development and permaculture in the DR Congo. This conference brought together representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of communications and media. 

Also in attendance were representatives from the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), civil society including indigenous Pygmee leaders, international NGOs, local NGOs, the United Nations and international experts. 

North Africa Project

This is a project financed by the German foreign Ministry under the title ‘Supporting the emergence of ecovillage strategies for climate change adaptation and stability in the region’. This comes as an important recognition of the work of GEN. Ecovillage strategies, which involve the transition to resilience of large networks of traditional villages, can inspire whole regions or countries to work with civil engagement for human security and environmental protection.

The project will run from May to December 2011 and involves support for the set-up of a GEN-Africa website with an updated database of projects and resources, funding for 10 participants from Northern Africa to travel to an Ecovillage Design Education  taking place in Senegal in October/November 2011 and funding for an Ecovillage Conference to be held in Sekem, Egypt in November 2011. GEN-Europe is receiving 69.000,00 € for this work.

New Website Launched

A new website has been launched and is available at http://gen-africa.org/.

This is another step in the process of the emergence of GEN-Africa as an independent national network, supported by GEN-Europe.

Michael Kigozi as the webmaster is collecting and publishing ecovillage news from the continent and can be contacted at contact@gen-africa.org

EDE Sieben Linden

The EDE in Sieben Linden has always served as an event for international networking and exchange, with a special focus on inviting experienced grassroots activists from Africa. This year was one of celebration, as the German Foreign Ministry stepped in to fund the participation of 14 Africans. Many follow-up projects are emerging across Africa. 

Egypt Conference at Sekem

On the weekend of 18-22 November, 2011 over sixty Africans from many different countries and backgrounds, gathered at the farm site of SEKEM, a model for sustainable business development located about sixty kilometers from Cairo, Egypt. 

The Ecovillage Conference, subtitled “Empowering Communities for Sustainable Development in Northern Africa” was sponsored by the German Foreign Ministry as part of the Northern Africa project. Most conference attendees came from the targeted Northern African countries and received full funding to attend, including their flights to Egypt.

The conference consisted of a tour of SEKEM, presentations from a range of attendees about existing initiatives in Africa and a variety of workshops. Themes ranged from growing the GEN Africa network, to a tour and examination of subsurface soil irrigation practices at SEKEM. The conference concluded with a joyous celebration of music and dance performed by attendees, representing the cultural traditions of their respective countries. 

Overall, the Ecovillage Conference appears to have been a great success, with both the conference facilitators and the host site of SEKEM receiving a great amount of appreciation.

For the full article, click here.

EDE Senegal

The EDE in Senegal finally took place from November 23 to December 22, 2011. Congratulations to the Senegalese team for setting up the first EDE in Africa!! 25 participants came from Senegal, the neighbouring countries (Burkina Faso and Gambia), but also from Ghana, Congo, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. The course visited both ecovillages that have been part of GEN-Senegal for many years, and one of the villages newly developed as part of the Senegalese government’s strategy to transition 14 000 traditional villages to ecovillages. So far, the government agency have worked with 3 villages, 25 more villages are being started on in 2012. The strategy is an interesting one, which brings up many questions around the fruitful marriage of top-down and bottom-up approaches. Kosha Joubert had the interesting opportunity to meet with the Minister of Ecovillages. 

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