GEN International Newsletter September 2014

Posted in Blog


Dear Friends of the Global Ecovillage Network!

Is there a more crucial, more powerful and more challenging moment in a lifetime than giving birth? The way that we are born into this world, the way our parents conceive, give birth, and raise us, forms and influences us our whole lives.
In previous times, women passed the knowledge about midwifery from generation to generation. However, the knowledge and the right to choose the way to give birth was taken from women a long time ago. In the name of ‘modernization’ and ‘security’, it was felt that women should give birth in a hospital, attended by doctors. Many mothers benefitted from the progress of medical science, but numerous casualties also occurred through misunderstandings and, in general, birth-giving became a cold and sterile process.
It is obvious that this is not about choosing one method over the other. We have to find a way for mothers to give birth in a powerful, gentle and self-chosen way – AND with the background of modern medical support, if needed. Some ecovillages have taken on this challenge – providing knowledge, experience, and expertise to make the birth process, once more, an experience of female power. Ecovillages and sustainable settlements help to embed the whole process from love, conception, pregnancy, birth, and child raising in a community. They are even teaching this wisdom in other parts of the world, and offering the possibility of a natural birth for families in their regions.
I was overwhelmed by the many experiences and stories shared by the mothers, fathers, and midwives of our network. And, once more, I envision these stories and wisdom to be in a full colour magazine, with beautiful photos to share with the wider world.

Let´s keep holding and living this dream!

We wish you great inspiration! The Newsletter starts with the general articles to be followed by the ones about birth-giving.

Kosha Anja Joubert, President GEN International
Leila Dregger, Jenefer Marquis, editors

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Youth projects are Flourishing and Taking Shape

It has been a repeated pattern in NextGEN that, after being highly inspired in events, the level of inspiration and commitment then slowly decreases over time after the young people return to the reality of their daily lives. However, so far it seems that this time the team has crossed the borderline to change this pattern. Ewa Clausen and Arturs Polis report.Read more

GEN International

Ecovillage Excellency Award, 2014, Goes to Taneeb Farm, Palestine, and Aurora Community, Romania

Since this year the Ecovillage Excellency award is split into a European and an international project, with each of the projects receiving 1500 Euros. The international part of the award will be given at the Ecovillage Summit in December, in Senegal, Africa. The audience of the GEN Europe conference this year decided to award the European prize to the Taneeb Farm in Palestine, and Aida Shibli´s initiatives for the Global Campus, Palestine. However, since the fresh and thriving Aurora community in Romania came a very close second, Ruth Andrade donated the same amount of money from Paulo Mellet´s legacy. So we can say that this year we have two awarded projects in Europe. Read more:
About Taneeb Farm / Palestine
About Aurora / Romania

Video with some Impressions on the GEN Europe conferencehere

GEN´s Friend and Cooperation Partner Paulo Mellett Changes Dimension

After a malaria infection from his last trip to Ghana, and four months in intensive care in his last home place in Brazil, Paulo Mellett died on June 23rd 2014. For all people who knew and cooperated with him it is very sad to have lost this amazing person, global peace worker and friend. Read more.

ENA – Ecovillages North America

Three “Organized Urban Neighborhood” Ecovillages

Diana Leafe Christian reports about intentional communities in North American cities. She believes creating community in your existing neighborhood is a growing trend. In a few years we may have more organized-neighborhood projects to report on. Read more

GEN International: Announcements and Events:

Oct 31 – Nov 7: Global Ecovillage Network Oceania & Asia (GENOA) International Conferenceand
Global Ecovillage Summit, 10 – 14 December 2014, Senegal, Africa
Read more

GEN Europe

The Mikro-Biogas Wave – an Offer to European Ecovillages by Thomas Culhane

In 2012, Thomas Culhane was invited to Tamera to teach the building of small scale biogas digesters to participants of the Global Campus. Since then, the digester in Tamera has been used throughout the years, to provide energy every day for cooking for a large part of the community. The enthusiasm for biogas has spread to other places throughout the world.  Now, TH made an amazing offer: he will donate the Puxin biogas steel mold system to be used in all interested ecovillages – firstly within Europe. It will begin with a teaching session, possibly in the spring of 2015. Read more

Giving Birth in Community

CASA – GEN South America

Brazil: The Natural Miracle of Birth-Giving in the Ecovillage Arca Verde

In Bruna Barella´s rural community, Arca Verde, 11 women have gone into labor and 10 babies have been born. Countless female, personal, family and community rebirths have been witnessed at the ecovillage. They consider childbirth to be a natural miracle, a spiritual event that promotes deep healing on all levels. Read more

Chile: Ecology of Birth – in the Hurricane of Hormones

A fundamental part of a peaceful culture is to have peaceful women, peaceful wombs and peaceful births. The “Círculo Matríztico” is a large women’s network in Chile – and the World – that was founded by women who wanted to celebrate being connected to the feminine power of the moon. Read more

ENA – Ecovillages North America

The Farm Midwives – 30 Years of Teaching Natural Births

Even before there was a place called The Farm, the seeds of community began to grow when the first babies were brought into the world by the women – later to become known as The Farm Midwives. The Farm member, Douglas Stevenson, wrote several books about the Midwifery Project, and also contributed this article. Read more


Portugal: Regaining Lost Power – The Parents´ and Birth School in Tamera

Birth-giving is about opening. And opening is a process of trust. In Tamera, some mothers have founded a school for parents in order to use knowledge, transparency, awareness and experience to strengthen the forces of trust of parents, children and the community. While Leila Dregger was writing the article, a new child was born to the community and the happy parents: Read more

Italy: Giving Birth in Damanhur: The Community as a Social-Spiritual Uterus

Birthing can take a woman out of her physical and psychological balance. The capacity to hold her in this condition, and be her ‘social-spiritual uterus’, is a valuable skill that communities can develop. Damanhur is composed of about 20 so called ‘Nucleos’, core families of 10-30 people. Capra Carruba gave birth to her first daughter 6 years ago, and now she waits for her second child to be born. Read more

Germany: Giving Birth in the “Tribe of the Likatians”

The Tribe of the Likatians (“Der Stamm der Likatier”), is a intentional community of some hundred people in the city of Füssen in Southern Germany. Due to their philosophy, the love between mother and child is a role model for all relations amongst people, and in the community. This is why birth- giving, and the raising of children, is regarded as the most significant event in tribal life. Read more

Denmark: With Huge Help from my Friends – my Ecovillage Homebirth Experience

The Danish ECO-village, Fri og Fro, was established in Egebjerg in 2004, and the plots contain 16 very different houses as well as a common house. The houses are constructed from sustainable materials such as recycled wood, straw, clay and shells. The village also has its own willow, wastewater treatment. This is the place where single mother, Poula-Line Schmidt, experienced the help of her community. Read more


Birth of a New Woman: Giving Birth in the Holy Land

As a Palestinian woman from the Westbank, Dina Awwad faced the two layers of occupation: from Israel and – as a woman – from the patriarchal society. However, Dina discovered that there is indeed something holy in the Holy Land: the sheer force of a woman during birthgiving, when she is supported by her community. Read more

GENOA – GEN Oceania and Asia

Philipines: Sound as the Only Midwife

Daniw, performed two unassisted water Lotus births in their own home, in the midst of community, without the need of a midwife, a doctor, hospitals and medical apparatus. Pi Vallarazza from the Maia Earth ecovillage in the Philippines reports. Read more
Watch also the amazing birth video here

Japan: The Spirituality of Birth Giving

In the ecovillage Konohana Family, in Japan, women give birth to children in their homes, in maternity centers, or in the hospital at the Konohana Family, depending on their wishes, physical condition, and advice from other members. They consider all the children as their own and raise them as the children of the society. Yoko Oki shares the basic philosophy of creating new life. Read more

GEN Africa

Kenya: 57 Year Old Woman Quits 35 Year Long Service as TBA (Traditional Birth Attendant) for Skilled Delivery Advocacy.

This newsletter is full of praise for natural birth, outside of hospitals, in the protecting atmosphere of family or community. However, in Africa, facing many risks, governments, and NGOs are trying to stop home deliveries by encouraging the Traditional Birth Attendants to quit their work. Victor Odula, program officer of the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), describes the successful work of Mama Penina, an experienced TBA, and how she was convinced to stop her work. Read more

Birth-giving in the Global Community: Putting a Footstep into a New Era.

Soraya El Hag from Egypt compares the transition process in the Middle East with the birth-giving of a baby. The principles needed during these, often, painful times of change are the same that are applied in the founding process of an ecovillage. Read more