GEN’s newsletter, 21th March 2014

Posted in Blog

GEN Newsletter 21st March 2014
“Ecovillages Empowering Women”

Dear Friends of Ecovillages Worldwide,

“Ecovillages Empowering Women” is the theme of this GEN Newsletter. The situation of women worldwide still can make us cry when we think of it. Cry for joy at the courage, strength and determination of women to live life in love and peace. Cry with the shared pain of the many situations that still prevent women and children from living such a life.

Although mothers in the “Two-Thirds-World” have to be strong to raise their children, often in the most difficult situations, they still play the weakest part in patriarchical societies. Poverty, social injustice, climate change, wars always impact upon them the hardest, as they are the ones who cannot go away – in contrast to the men – who often just leave when the pressure becomes too much.

In Western countries, women still struggle for justice; even when the official legislation is behind them, social customs are often different, and ignorance and sexism reaches into all the small situations in everyday life.

In this newsletter we present many women from different continents doing their work, empowering other women, and being empowered by their communities. We will also hear about some of the challenges we still have to face to create a just and humane society. And, of course, we have articles about many other different topics as well.

ecovillages empowering woman “Goddess Victoria, dedicated to success”

We had so many articles about birth giving, that I decided to not publish them now but to have another newsletter especially on the topic of giving birth: both physically and symbolically.

We wish you good reading. Please share this GEN newsletter widely! The rich experiences represented here are an empowering gift, and should be made available for many more people worldwide.

Leila Dregger, editor
Kosha Anja Joubert, president GEN International
Jenefer Marquis, editor

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GEN International

Torn Between Russia and the West – Is There a Third Way for Ukraine?

Imagine a revolutionary group would spread a message around Maidan Square and over the Internet calling out to the youth and students, workers and activists, “Let’s continue fighting on the streets, comrades! But above all, let’s move to the countryside and start building the new culture.” By Martin Winiecki Read more


How are you Empowering the Women in your Community?

Together with sociologist and feminist Nina Kovoets, we sent out a little questionnaire to the general GEN Europe list to get some data about the situation of women in the ecovillages – at least in Europe. We received 18 replies – which is probably not very representative but gives a taste of what people in the movements feel about women’s empowerment and gender roles. Thank you to all who took the time to reply. Read more

Ecofeminism: The Connection of the Domination of Nature and Women

In this article, Nina Koevots shares with us what she has been learning about ecofeminism in order to raise a discussion amongst people who are interested in social change. While many environmentalists have explained the interrelatedness of continuous economic growth, the expansion of the free market and alarming environmental damage, they have not yet explained that connection with the under-privileging of women. Understanding the links between the exploitation of women and nature can possibly give a better understanding that helps to find solutions to both. This her attempt, within the limitations of a short article. Read more

GENTLE POWER – Thoughts on a New Women’s Movement Based on Communities

Worldwide women are struggling for power and emancipation. For a world in which women can take their place without positioning themselves either above, or below, the man; without fighting or having to imitate him. A culture of partnership where the genders, as equally strong poles, complement and love each other. A world in which violence against women can no longer happen. One in which women can come together and cooperate for the well being of all creatures on this planet – and for a new love towards men. How can this vision become a reality? By Leila Dregger. Read more

Examples of Women in Ecovillages Worldwide
woman NextGEN: Is there Justice in Acting and Speaking in GEN

Words and actions between people of different colour, gender, or religion are often charged with unconscious racism or sexism. GEN is creating communication tools to become aware of old patterns to be able to change them. Some people are our helpers by making us aware of our automatic prejudices. One of them is Elena Ball from Next GEN. Read more

Margrit For Margrit

Margrit Kennedy, German architect and ecovillage pioneer, ecologist, writer, financial expert, and a visionary of an interest free economy system, died on December 28th at the age of 74. Her Norwegian student, Frederica Miller, remembers her. Read more

CASA – GEN Latin America

Ecuador: Women’s Empowerment by Weaving with Native Cactus Fiber

Asociación Mujer y Medio Ambiente, or the Women and the Environment Association, is a group of women who produce ‘cabuya’ handicrafts as a way of generating income and sustainable tourism in Plaza Gutierrez, a mountain village in the Intag region of Ecuador. Letícia Regatti and Ryan Luckey visited them on one of their EcoCaravan Journeys. Read more

Here is their video about the women´s work:

colombia Colombia: “With a Hope that Open Roads” Daira Quiñones´ Story of Hope and Perseverance

Daira Elsa Quiñones is a beautiful Afro-Columbian woman who has experienced great bereavement in her life. She is a great singer, a dreamer, and a wave of hope. Margarita O. Zethelius, from CASA, shares her story. Read more


Who are we in GEN? Part 3: CASA Representative Margarita Zethelius – Holistic Approach to the Colombian Crisis

In 2013, Margarita O. Zethelius was elected in Colombia to be one the representatives of CASA on the the Global Ecovillage Network board. Michael Buick contributed her profile, edited by Ryan Luckey. Read more

GEN-Africa Women´s Projects against Rural Exodus – The Example of Tiyeda Abalah, Togo

“Africa will become independent when the intellectuals of the continent connect to their roots. When academics, instead of taking a white collar job, share and improve the lives of the people in their home villages.” Following the completion of her studies in Literature at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, 30 years ago, Tiyeda Abalah, (56, from Togo), moved with her husband Séda into his home village Baga. During the last GEN Africa conference, CIDAP in Baga was elected Ecovillage of the Year. Read more

GEN-Africa Namibia: Visolela “Rosa” Namises´ Path from a Freedom Fighter to a Wise Woman: I love the world!

Visolela is a participant of the River of Life project, that was started in the first women’s EDE course in South Africa in 2012. Women support each other to realize their strongest dreams. The story of an impressive woman, by Leila Dregger. Read more

Video GEN Africa:

Watch this wonderful video about the GEN Africa Conference 2013 in Kenya, made by Letícia Regatti:

Middle East
Middle East

Palestine: Between Mona and my Grandmother – Changing the Story of Pain of Women

Women in Palestine are under two types of occupation: occupation by Israel, and occupation by the patriarchal society. Aida Shibli, longterm Palestinian peace and freedom worker in both fields, founding member of GEN Palestine (to come), and the Peace Research Village-Palestine (to come), found that creating ecovillages and autonomy on the land is a way to freedom under both occupations. Read more

Middle East Israel: Rise up My Beloved! The Song of Songs is a Song for Peace

Emma Sham-Ba Ayalon, Israel, is part of a group that holds the vision for building a Peace Research Village in the Middle East. She felt that peace between the genders is a crucial base for peace between the nations and religions. Looking for inspiring wisdom to develop this deep level of peace, she connected to the most erotic text of the bible, the Song of Songs. Read more

GEN Europe
GEN-Europe Basque Country: Amalurra Communities in Basque Country and Spain Based on Feminine Principles

After returning from a trip to the American continent, Irene Goikolea reconnected with the need to awaken to the sacred feminine aspect as an inherent part of the legacy of her people of the Basque country. She was inspired to found the Amalurra communities – which is Basque for Mother Earth – more than 20 years ago. Today, Amalurra has three communities with 150 men and women. In the first part of this article, Irene shares her experience with the female principles; the second part is an overview on the development of the communities. Read more

GEN-Europe News from the East: Spirituality in Shiram

Shiram – is a community in Russia, united by the idea of deep self-exploration. ‘Shi’, which means in Russian “Game Master’s School”, reflects its focus on using Games for transcendence of human beings. ‘Ram’ comes from ‘ashram’. The community has existed since 1990, with places in the urban areas of Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. From 2007, they have been building an eco-village in Tverskaya oblast on a piece of land near a river and wild forest. This article is about Shiram´s understanding of spirituality, by Tatiana Ginzburg. Read more

GENOA – Asia and Oceania
GENOA India: Indigenous Women of Ecovillages in Orissa Assert their Rights

Normally, the voice of the poor and extremely impoverished – in particular indigenous people – is not being heard by government departments, and after 66 years of independence in India, these excluded groups are still struggling for their livelihood. The grass roots democracy and empowerment process of Gram Sabha and Palli sabha is not well recognized, and the planning process has not been put into operation effectively. The benefit packages of the government, under different acts, are not reaching the excluded and marginalized and there is rampant exploitation of the programmes and schemes. Read more

GENOA Thailand: I Want to Be a Fertile Seed

Om Sunisa Jamwiset, 34, from Thailand speaks about her path in developing her full potential as a woman and an activist. Read more

GENOA Australia: Robin Clayfield – Heart and Wisewoman of Crystal Waters

Crystal Waters Permaculture Village in Queensland, Australia, was established in 1988, following Permaculture principles and practices. Robin Clayfield has been a member from the beginning, emphasizing the meaning of social permaculture. She believes in community and lives it. Shane Schmidt, GEN Member, Australia, met and talked to her. Read more

ENA – Ecovillages of North America
ENA USA: From Occupy Village to Opportunity Village Eugene – Pioneering New Solutions for the (Formerly) Homeless

When the city of Eugene broke up the Occupy camp in December of 2011, they promised to give the homeless another piece of land. Dan Bryant, a minister who wears a leather jacket and drives a motorcycle; Jean Stacey, a fiery lesbian advocate for the homeless; and Andy Heben, a young urban designer who wrote his thesis on homeless camps that he visited around the country, went around touting the idea of Opportunity Village. Alex Daniell found out that “If you give a homeless person a home then they’re no longer homeless”. This is the opportunity of Opportunity Village. His report was already published in Communities Magazine ( in March 2014. Read more

Three North American Ecovillages Innovate “Ecovillage Zoning”

Many ecovillages overstep regulations with the hope of not being caught out. However, when ecovillages obtain official permission for ecological innovations, similar projects in their areas will benefit, for they create precedents in their countries for other ecovillages to apply to local authorities for permission. Diana Leafe Christian visited three ecovillage projects in North America in which ecovillage founders worked closely with local authorities in the site-planning process and requests for zoning variances in order to create unique new zoning regulations that encourage and support more ecologically sustainable local development. Read more

ENA Same Topic in Portugal: Legislation for Regional Abundance – Tamera Applies for Land Use Change

The region Alentejo, Portugal, is in an economical and ecological crisis. Alternatives are needed to create a way for people to return to the countryside, heal the landscape and create abundance in cooperation with nature. However, the legislation does not support alternatives – yet. In close cooperation with its county municipality, Tamera has started the official process for a land use change. It could be a pioneer process for many other ecological initiatives – in particular for growing ecovillages. The planning group of Tamera is looking for assistance, networking or other resources and experiences. Petra Finkernagel, part of the planning team of Tamera, reports. Read more

More from GEN Europe
GEN Europe Conference GEN Europe Conference, July 9 – 13, 2014, in ZEGG, Germany

The annual GEN Europe Conference is more than a meeting place for GEN Europe members. As the ecovillage movement is merging with other movements for decentralized solutions and applied sustainability – such as Permaculture or Transition Towns – it is a place where the most interesting developments are shared, discussed, further developed, and presented to an interested public, to community seekers, founders, and change makers of all kinds. Read more

GEN Europe Creating Baltic Ecovillage Network (BEN): Baltic Sea Ecovillages Project Has Delivered a Number of Significant Results

The project “Ecovillages for Sustainable Rural Development” financed by the EU’s Baltic Sea Region Programme, 2007–2013, which started in February 2010, is approaching its completion, delivering a number of significant results. Aimed at fostering the development of ecovillages as a more sustainable way of living in rural areas of the Baltic Sea Region, the project has been implemented by project partners from Lithuania (the lead partner), Finland, Latvia, Poland and Sweden. In addition, the project has involved associated partners from Belarus, Finland, Germany, Russia and Sweden. Simona Griškute reports. Read more

GEN Europe Meeting of National Ecovillage Networks of Europe in Torre Superiori, Italy

The first meeting of the national GEN networks in Europe was successfully held last January, with the participation of more than twelve networks. The discussions were conducted and brilliantly facilitated by Lucilla, from the hosting community Torre Superiore. Lucilla has been working in the secretariat of GEN Europe for many years. Alfonso Flaquer Carreras reports. Read more

The Global Ecovillage Network is a registered charity: SC043796 and has consultative status in the UN – ECOSOC.
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GEN – Global Ecovillage Network