Strengthening the Networks: CLIPS training in Hungary

While last year the arrival of spring was celebrated in Torri Superiore in Italy practising the beloved CLIPS, this year the spring training was held in Hungary!

Community Learning Incubator Programme for Sustainability (CLIPS) was held between the 15th and 20th of April 2024. A study group of 24 enthusiastic participants from Hungary, Ukraine, Serbia, Czech Republic, Sweden and Romania met in Etyek, a small town near Budapest where the Szatyor Egyesület association runs its educational activities. This community journey was led by two skilful CLIPS facilitators: Manja Vrenko, GEN Europe’s coordinator and Monique Wijn, a member of GEN Europe’s Council with support of Fanni Sall and Daniel Zimmerman of Nyimi Öko Közösség.

This partnership had yet another purpose: it aimed to strengthen SEEEN, a transnational ecovillage network that emerged in Southeastern  Europe. CLIPS, the solution-oriented programme to guide community-led projects in their initial steps, was born from the collaboration of facilitators from various European Ecovillages, to provide a connection platform for the Ecovillage network. It was developed within the GEN Europe network in the last decade, to empower dozens of organizations, groups, and communities all around Europe to build and maintain healthy relationships, based on common intention, and understanding that together we are more resilient. And, resilience is a luxury in the changing society we live in.

Participants in the training were youth workers from diverse organisations around Europe who shared their ongoing occupations and their dreams and hopes for the future to come.   Through the CLIPS model, they got immersed into the processes of group dynamics through 5 interwoven layers: Individual, community, intention, structure, and practice. This structure helped the participants to recognize in which layer their challenges reside and how to address them appropriately. As the training itself is highly interactive and easy to apply in any group process, the theory and practical exercises were kept in a tuned balance.

Another CLIPS training was accomplished, building alliances, nurturing connections and staying present with all of the challenges and perks community life offers. And how did the participants find this experience? Let’s hear it from their own words.

Reflections from the participants

“Coming from Serbia where the ecovillage culture is taking its first baby steps, it was an incredible experience for me to spend a week alongside both seasoned members and fellow newcomers. Our facilitators did an amazing job of putting abstract concepts into practical use, and showing us how to navigate common pitfalls and challenges of building communities. The CLIPS model is an exceptionally well thought-out tool, and I’m honored to present it to my community back home.”

– Katarina Escobar Dobrijević

“Would honestly say this was a pivoting point in my adult life, bonding with people of different cultures, ages and backgrounds in less than 5 days was extremely amazing. The trainers/facilitators made it all possible by giving us the space and the courage to deeply share our fears and hopes, and for that I will forever be grateful.”

– Cristian Perl

“The CLIPS Community Learning Incubator Program for Sustainability training broadened my horizons and opened up a new perspective on how to build and maintain a healthy community, whether it involves two people or many. The exceptional instructors educated us through theoretical frameworks, followed by practical exercises on how to apply these theories to create a solid foundation, achieve common goals through collective values, and select and establish a structure that increases a community’s chances for growth and survival. Everyone who was part of this training, facilitators, trainees and our hosts at the Szatyor Association, we are all still connected and as we created a strong bond and new network, for which I am very grateful, we continued to communicate and strengthen the ecovillage communities we are building.”

– Nataša Gvozdić

All of the photographs were kindly provided by one of the participants of the training, Sofija Stojanović.
The whole CLIPS photo album is available here.

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