Sieben Linden EDE, Germany: 9 August – 8 September 2010
Kosha Anja Joubert
This year’s EDE course was the third to be hosted in the Ecovillage of Sieben Linden (7Linden). 29 participants from 21 countries (Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Malawi, India, Brazil, Korea, Peru, Mexico and all over Europe) attended.
The course lasted a full 30 days, offering time for community building and personal change processes. Central themes included: embracing diversity, peace communication, global consciousness, North-South reconciliation, co-empowerment, inspirational leadership and participatory pedagogy. With such an international group we additionally enquired into the theme of embracing traditional and indigenous villages as ecovillages, the need to preserve and support their low footprint lifestyles and the use of the EDE as a tool of inspiration and empowerment in these settings. Participants from Africa especially were invited to further this cause.
7Linden’s radically ecological setting, combined with organic meals and the close-knit community that was built, invoked respect and inspiration from the participants. A fair amount of time was allotted to their personal presentations of which the richness of wisdom and experience they shared was astounding. The sharing that goes on between participants is absolutely central to the aims and effects of this course!
A short permaculture course and an introduction to Dragon Dreaming were included. While the latter was highly appreciated, the former could have drawn on the expertise of the 6 permaculture trainers on the course rather than bringing in outsiders.
This year’s design projects were aimed at spreading knowledge about simple, appropriate technologies, useful in a wide range of settings. These included how to work with biochar and Terra Preta, build solar cookers and dryers, clay ovens, water catchment systems and strawbale constructions.
Finally, the registration of the 7Linden EDE as an official course with the European agency for life-long learning continues to be extremely helpful in providing participants from the EU with scholarships, and along with external funding, enables us to fund the participation of people from the South. This year’s course was officially visited by representatives from the German and Belgium national agencies who were especially supportive and impressed by the sense of community that was alive in such a diverse group.
The 7Linden community appreciated the opportunity to share with this diverse group of appreciative individuals!
Core faculty team
• Anja Kosha Jouber – main focaliser
• Robin Alfred & Martin Stengel – over course facilitation
Key resource people
• John Croft - Dragon Dreaming
• Jascha Rohr – permaculture
• Chistian Felber – economic dimension
What went well?
• Building a close-knit community in a very diverse, international group
• Integrating Dragon Dreaming with founder John Croft
• Improving the quality of the economic modules
• Balancing the 4 dimensions
• Balancing process and content
• The ecovillage setting of 7Linden: connection to the broader community, living example & design projects
• Faculty teamwork
• Involving an assistant to support the smooth running of the course
• Health care
• Effects on participants and their engagement
What could have gone better?
• The introduction to permaculture - with 6 experienced permaculture trainers on the course, we lacked the flexibility to draw on their expertise, a learning for next time to perhaps be a little more radical
• Lack of internet connection. Broadband access will be available from 2011
• The invitation process for participants from Southern countries: fate did not seem to be on our side and in the end 4 could not make it.
This placed a challenge on keeping all our spirits up!