Learning about the ‘Co’ in Ecovillage!
As part of the Challenging the Crisis campaign the Young Global Advocates (YGAs) normally meet up every few weeks for day-long meetings but with the campaign now well
underway and the end date for the project drawing closer we felt we needed a longer, more intense meeting to go through our ideas and plans. We decided to go for an overnight trip to Cloughjordan Ecovillage where we would also have the opportunity to see Social & Solidarity Economy in action. Over the course of the weekend we did much of what we normally do at our meetings but more of it! We also focused on how to best communicate the message of the campaign as we have felt that it can be hard to make Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) as a concept clear and concise.
On top of that we got a chance to learn about Cloughjordan Ecovillage from Davie Philips of Cultivate, who talked us through how the village came into being and how it functions day-to-day. I found it very interesting to experience an actual living, breathing social and solidarity organisation. I think we, as a group, benefitted from the experience and found it uplifting to see that the concept we have talked so much about in the last year is actually, not only feasible, but existing and functioning successfully. It made it clear to us that our campaign supports what SSE organisations need in terms of awareness-raising and informing people about their existence, so they can flourish and also lead to further growth of SSEs. We don’t need to invent them, we need to promote them so they can grow. Also in the spirit of SSE we did some weeding for the community, which was a nice change of scene from the meeting room. We also got a chance to present to the people living in the village, outlining our campaign for them. Their response was very supportive.
We also got some good news at the weekend. We learned that the Challenging the Crisis project has received funding from Action/2015 (www.action2015.org) to hold public engagement events, across the 6 Project countries, to promote our campaign and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our campaign is most closely linked to goal 8 which is: Promote strong, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all. We see SSE as a way this goal can be achieved because if our economy is run through co-ops, mutual associations etc, this means that the work people have will be more within their control and reliable because the aim of SSE companies isn’t solely profit, it is sustainability and the betterment of society.
We'd like to say a big thank you to the residents who accommodated our stay and everyone at Cultivate and the Resiliance Centre for facilitating our meeting and visit.
About the author:
Méabh Hennelly has been a member of the YGA’s since March 2014. She has also been involved with Amnesty International Ireland and ROSA. She just finished her leaving cert at Newpark Comprehensive School, Blackrock, and hopes to study Politics, Sociology and Philosophy.