GEN Europe Staff Members

Genny Carraro (Managing Director, RIVE, Italy) was born in the Venice area (Italy). She lost her sight at the age of two due to a car accident. Her disability, she realised with time, is her biggest enemy as well as my best friend and motivator. She is curious, wants to know, discover, feel; she is an enthusiastic, determined and ironically restless child! Genny graduated in International and Diplomatic relations (Gorizia Italy) as her dream was to work for a better world from inside the institutions. However, they told her she couldn’t serve her country as she doesn't have total physical integrity! So she decided to focus on what had always been in her heart – to give everyone the chance to live a dignified life! Genny attended a Masters in Humanitarian Assistance in Dublin, Ireland and immediately afterwards set up a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to work with street children in the Philippines, acting as P.R. and fundraiser for the European region and liaising with donors and beneficiaries. Amongst the many activities she got involved with whist living in Dublin, she worked in a radio station as a journalist raising awareness about environmental issues, political issues, immigration and integration.

In recent years Genny has focused mainly on environmental issues and facilitation methods, taking several training courses throughout Europe. This gave her the chance to meet lots of inspiring people and visit lots of different exciting places and life styles. In 2013, Genny became part of the founding group of a new intentional community in the Florence area (Italy). She is strongly convinced that only by supporting each other can we really express ourselves at the fullest. She offers workshops and group facilitations combining several techniques. Life experience teaches her every day that she can take care of the planet, of others, of relationships, only if she learns to see and welcome her own light and shadow sides, if she learns to listen and let go. To support herself and others on this path she decided to become founding member of the new-born Italian Process Work and Deep Democracy School and to start up a training group in Sociocracy - two methodologies that she hopes will support inner and outer conflict transformation, group dynamics and a healthy living.

Genny got involved with the Italian Ecovillage Network (RIVE) for which she became the International Relations Representative and took part in several European projects for adult and youth education. In February 2015, Genny was elected to the first Council of ECOLISE – a European network of local initiatives. A few months later she was appointed Managing Director of GEN Europe at the Arterra office in Spain. She thanks everyone for the trust!

Fanny van Hal (Membership Officer, Thedinghsweert, The Netherlands) grew up in an intentional community of 18 households located in the fruit basket region of the Netherlands. She moved to the Arterra Bizimodu community in Spain in 2015. Fanny finished her four-year Bachelor of Management of the Living Environment (BSc) at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences and did her final thesis project with the Council of Sustainable Settlements of Latin America (CASA) and their national network CASA Colombia.

Always having had an interest in ecovillages, Fanny travelled and visited several eco projects around the world, ranging from occupied villages to self-sufficient farms and ecovillages. Through these experiences and growing up in one such community she has come to value living in a communal setting for the ways that diverse individuals promote sharing, working together, organisation, planning, and conflict resolution.

Her position as Membership Officer of GEN Europe is both exciting and fulfilling. Fanny is an entrepreneurial, creative and positively critical person who is passionate about working in international teams facilitating change towards a more green and inclusive world.


Herman Cloete (Project Manager, Arterra Bizimodu, Spain) has worked in the area of systems design and analysis for the past 20 years. He has played many different roles in a wide range of international projects, including configuration specialist, integration manager, software development manager, business solutions analyst, educator and project manager. As diverse as his work experience is, his skills are versatile and ever-changing in tune with his life philosophy that ´school´s never out.´ Herman has lectured IT courses at universities in South Africa and more recently, has started to teach English at a university in Spain. He has also become involved in the alternative economy movement, setting up and managing a community currency in the ecovillage where he lives. There he co-raises his son, plays chess for fun and writes creatively, in the sun!



Angel Matilla is a telecommunications engineer from Barcelona who has lived most of his adult life in Germany. There he studied a masters in Information Technologies and worked for several tech companies for eight years, most of them in the field of the automotive industry. During those years, he developed and integrated embedded software and later managed technical teams.

In 2011 he started developing an interest in the limits of growth, the fossil fuels' peak and the non-sustainable practices of the current society. Since then he has been researching other ways of living life, in more sustainable, self-sufficient, resilient and communal ways.

Back in Spain since early 2016, he has been researching and experiencing these alternative ways full-time, performing several volunteering stays at different eco-villages (GEN conference 2016, 2017, and RIE 2016), attending numerous events about social, solidary, circular and collaborative economy, appropriate technologies, community life, direct democracty, etc and also supporting two main projects which are in synchrony with his beliefs: the Sustainer, a standard shipping container re-designed to provide the basics to rapidly sustain a resilient community focusing on three fundamental interconnected aspects: the people, the plants and the place; and Som Mobilitat, a non-profit cooperative whose vision is to offer services to achieve a more sustainable mobility.

Since November 2017 he joined the GEN Office Team as IT Manager to help strengthen GEN Europe's IT infrastructure. 

 Matthias Bauszus (Financial Administrator, ZEGG, Germany) is a personal sports coach and trainer by profession who became involved in general and financial administration in the past few years after his move to ZEGG ecovillage near Bad Belzig, Germany. He is currently involved in the financial administration of his community and that of GEN Europe. Through his work with GEN Europe he is now involved in the implementation of numerous international projects funded by the EU, the German government and private foundations.  Matthias is enthusiastic about working on good team relations and inner development which his community actively promotes.



Francesca Whitlock (Communications Manager)

"Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing." - Wendell Berry

Francesca's job as communications manager for GEN Europe combines her experience in nonprofit communications with her belief in the power of community to heal ourselves and the planet. Having spent several years working in campaigns and communications in environmental and climate NGOs, she began seeking a lifestyle in tune with her values and discovered the ecovillage movement. Since 2015 she has lived and worked communally - from an urban co-housing in London, to the deserts of Almería, via an agricultural community in New Zealand - and now is a happy resident of Arterra Bizimodu, where GEN Europe has its offices.  When she's not working for GEN, she can usually be found somewhere up the nearest mountain. 



Sarah Friederich (Bloom Communications Officer, Switzerland)

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” - Arundhati Roy

Sarah is passionate about sustainable solutions, community building and co-creating a more beautiful world. She has been living in Schweibenalp community from 2015 to 2018 and is working since May 2018 for GEN Europe as a communications officer for the Bloom project. She has been trained as social anthropologist and environmental scientist and has been working for several NGOs and social movements in Switzerland and Bolivia in the areas of environmental protection and indigenous rights. The questions that drive her are amongst others: how can we grow into a new consciousness of our interconnectedness with the Earth and all its beings? How can we change our consumption habits and economic system in a way that they do no longer destroy and threaten life? Which tools and structures can support this paradigm shift, both on an individual and systemic level?