Launch and Thrive project kicks off to activate ecovillage networks
From France to Finland, from Spain to Sweden, national and bioregional ecovillage networks have long played a hugely important role in GEN Europe. These networks gather ecovillages and projects with cultural and linguistic commonalities, host local, national and regional events in close proximity to their communities, and are able to more effectively network with like-minded national organisations and campaign on local and national issues. It’s clear that national ecovillage networks bring many benefits, and one of the goals of GEN Europe is to build capacity and support the development of national ecovillage networks to support ecovillages across Europe . So we’ve been asking ourselves: why do some networks thrive, while others are dormant? And what can we do to support new and existing networks?
Inspired by ecovillage networks in Ghana and Ukraine, The Launch & Thrive project, funded by the Erasmus+ scheme, has been devised to discover how we can support new and inactive National Networks, exchanging best practice and mutual learning between networks. While our focus is on ecovillage networks, we believe our learnings will provide valuable inputs for community networks of any kind.
Partners from Germany, Spain, Ukraine, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark and the Baltic Ecovillage Network are taking part in the project, to share best practice (such as the lessons from rapid growth and success of GEN Ukraine) and strengthen their own networks.
The project will create a manual, web platform and online learning package for both existing and national networks, while a mentoring and ‘twinning’ scheme will bring more and less successful networks together to develop collaborative relationships and foster peer learning. Video resources and testimonials from successful networks will offer supporting material for those looking to dive deeper into how to launch a network, and how to make it thrive.
The project kicked off directly after the European Ecovillage Gathering, where we witnessed first hand the value of flourishing national networks like GEN Ukraine, who have been able to thrive even in hard times. Members of all participating networks gathered in Ananda Gaorii, Denmark, where we spend three days getting to know one another and diving into a deeper shared understanding of the project – while also managing to enjoy a tour of a local ecovillage to inspire us.
Over the next 18 months, partners will be working together to gather stories, case studies, best practices and concrete tools and examples to create a range of materials that will help national networks thrive. Stay tuned for more news!
Photo credits: Stefania Bosso/CESURA.