Something inspiring and powerful is being born. We are building another world with our hands and we are transforming ourselves in the whole process. Education, communication, networking and solidarity are vital elements for our transition to a better state of living, in harmony with nature, ourselves and other fellow humans.
The Contact Making Seminar (CMS) for the setting up of the Sustainability Transition Network (SUSTRANET) was realized on 7-15 September 2017 at Vlachia, Evia, Greece. The networking event was organized at the premises of Stagones (stagones.org) by iliosporoi network (coordinator) and hosted in total 33 youth workers and trainers from seven different counties (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Latvia, Belgium), representing at least 10 organizations.
The CMS had as a primary focus to gather organizations involved in sustainability transition with the core objective to exchange experiences and best practices and set the basis for the establishment of a network of cooperation. In parallel, local trainers organized a thorough programme of learning activities to build the capacity of participants on project development and EU funding issues, as well as, on non-
formal education/ experiential learning methods.
During the course of 8 days, participants jointly carried out a programme of mixed activities (info sessions and presentations, debates, participatory seminars, practical workshops, simulation exercises, energizers, team building exercises, outdoor and social engagement activities) that enhanced their skills and competencies and allowed them to experience a multicultural simulation of living in an ecological
community. Project partners realized a mapping of their capacity and expertise and with the active involvement of their youth workers they will form a pool of trainers on sustainability transition that will transfer the acquired knowledge to other European regions and localities.
The CMS gave project partners the opportunity to engage participants in an intensive and participatory learning process that enabled them to get actively involved in a non-formal educational process for training of sustainability trainers and multipliers at local/ national levels. At the same time gave them necessary knowledge and tools to develop and manage projects, to develop networks of collaboration and undertake deliberative decision making.
Youth workers were able to develop skills and competencies on inter-cultural training for sustainability, including but not limited to: team work, leadership, self-awareness, analytical and creative thinking, visioning and participatory planning, project management and conflict resolution, monitoring and evaluation. In the long run these will contribute to their personal and socio-educational development and
will improve their employment prospects.
The project was carried out as a follow up to the successful implementation of SUSTRARES that was flagged as a best practice by the Greek National Agency.
SUSTRARES (Sustainability, Transition and Resilience) was a 10-day intensive training course for youth workers that focused on self-sufficiency, community building and sustainability transition issues through mostly practical workshops. SUSTRANET CMS focused more on team deliberation and building of concrete project ideas and proposals.
The main deliverables of the SUSTRANET CMS project include a dissemination poster for publicizing the network and attracting new members, a website (https://sustra.net), a short aftermath video (https://youtu.be/zRZpzLxbCxw), a networking reflection stories video (https://youtu.be/n0_I3LrqStQ), and a training report (soon to be published). The main outcome of the project was that participants
as a final exercise they split into two groups and developed two concrete proposals to be submitted in the Erasmus+ programme. One of them is a Youth Worker Mobility on Zero Waste and the second is a Strategic Partnership for the establishment of sustainability transition hubs and an international pool of trainers.
The future is now, the present is ours. We learn how to become self-sufficient and aware, skilled with all the necessary competencies to create our own frugal abundance by developing and implementing a new paradigm and a new imperative of an emancipatory transition to sustainability.
Project partners and SUSTRANET founding organizations:
Iliosporoi Network (Coordinator, Greece), La Fabbrica Del Sole Onlus (FDS) (Italy), Gaia (Portugal), Arci Chieti (Italy), SEYN (Belgium), Agronauten (Germany), Ecobytes (Germany), The Latvial Permaculture Association (Latvia), The School Of The Earth ‘Nea Guinea’ (Greece), Sunseed Desert Technology (Spain). Funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.