Wongsanit EDE Report
1 / 11
Wongsanit EDE Report
The EDE at Wongsanit begins with its famous canal crossing, a rite of passage all participants must navigate. With a step of faith onto what seems, initially, a very unstable raft, they pull themselves across, by an assortment of ropes and pulleys, to the welcoming trees, water lily ponds, traditional wooden accommodations and the gracefully roofed adobe class room of Wongsanit Ashram.
From 17 January, twenty participants made that crossing, two for the 4 week EDE, a few for the 5 weeks that includes the Design Studio, but most for the full 7 week journey of the Thailand EDE ? The EDE, Design Studio (DS) and two weeks of Training of Trainers (TOT).
The Thai EDE is unique in that throughout the programme it addresses the eco-village conundrum both from the perspective of designing intentional western style ecovillages and building on the wisdom of traditional / indigenous communities. The design studio that incorporates both principles of permaculture and a PAR approach epitomises this by demonstrating methodologies that respect the local knowledge of the people, the land and innovative technology.
Throughout the training approach was participatory and experiential making a lively and engaged learning community. The final TOT weeks shares the skills, attitudes and concepts that support this style of training and challenged participants to participants to practice.
The diversity of countries and cultures represented was beautiful, a networking of minds, hearts and hands that under other circumstances might never have happened. With different views on life, coming together to realise that the differences are mostly skin deep, and once you scrape away that skin of social conditioning, basic human needs and the heart are all the same... Cambodia, Scotland, India, England, Indonesia, China, Canada, Thailand, South Africa, Bangladesh and later, Nepal. Indigenous friends from Orissa, India, and the Karen people, northern Thailand.
2 / 11
Wongsanit EDE Report
Bangladesh, Cambodia and India were present as part of a South-South exchange programme
The 2011 facilitation team included Project Co-ordinator Narumon Paiboonsittikun (Mon), Pracha Hutanuwatr, Sunisa Jamwiset (Om), Jane Rasbash, Ratawit Ouaprachanon (Mo) and Paola Vidulich.
Mon, Mo and Paola held the energy of the group over the full four weeks of the EDE. Mo joined the participants as a student in the Design Studio, after which he left, while Mon and Paola remained with the group until the end of the TOT. With 3 people in this core group, each had support and time to take breaks, ensuring good energy levels and peaceful co-ordination.
Jane held weekly supervision meetings with the entire team, ensuring a smooth flow of communication and holding a supportive container for all.
The below resource people deepened the learning and added new energy, variety and diversity to the overall process:
May East - Transition Towns & Models of Change
Tanida Dithsayabud - Compassionate and non-violent communication
3 / 11
Wongsanit EDE Report
Tom Radzienda - Personal and planetary healing
Witoon Permpongsacharoen - Macro & micro level impact of energy planning in the Mekong Region
Jo (Thana Uthaipattrakoon) - Design Studio
Max Lindegger - Design Studio, permaculture principles
Sulak Sivaraksa - Socially engaged spirituality
Narong Hutanuwatr - Local economies
Nuntiya Hutanuwatr - Local economies
Meditation & Chi Kung
The mornings began with group meditation led by a facilitator, helping to ground the participants in the practice of mindfulness and spiritual awareness. Some found a full hour too much sitting so the choice of 30 minutes sitting followed by a more active Chi Gung or Thai Chi was agreed on. As the weeks progressed, this engaged spiritual practice became second nature to many participants, to stay with them long after the course had finished.
4 / 11
Wongsanit EDE Report
Design GroupsÂ & Presentations
With a view to Design Studio, a section of the EDE unique to Thailand?s program, groups where formed early on in the EDE course, selected so as to create a good cross section of gender and nationality, a choosing game was played. These groups then became a little family where ideas flowed and the challenges of conflict and facilitation where learnt and resolved.
Through Participatory Action Research the participants learnt the importance of drawing on indigenous wisdom of the community they were designing for. Understanding the land, where the springs are and the maybe unnoticed assets of the land. This information is of great importance when doing a comprehensive plan, as people who live year in year out on the land have a deeper understanding and connection to the place than those who come in for a limited time.Â Â When the time came to present, many of the participants felt they had learnt a great deal and formed stronger bonds with each other. Some people where more creative while others where better organisers, while others learnt of skills they never knew they had. The combination of all these skills created divers and comprehensive designs that were well received by the community at Bo Nok.
Each day a ?Home Group? presented the previous days recap, not only did this keep everyone up to speed on the process of the learning, it also showed facilitators how much had been absorbed. The creativity of participants was encouraged to flow, with an open style; whether you tell it like a story, or draw it like a ?mind map? that is up to you, so long as the relevant information is understood.
Another important part of the EDE learning process is how to deepen the learning, this process offered a space for everyone to share their own knowledge or opinion on the subject, through this open forum type discussion new insights where learnt and understanding deepened.
5 / 11
Wongsanit EDE Report
A time of breaking down barriers, sharing values and building trust. A time of creating community and airing the skills and tools needed to
support its continued, peaceful evolution. Shared experiences included group challenges and games, celebrations and ritual, meals and mediation.
Starting with expectations of what the EDE had to offer, the goals of Gaia Education in the expansion of world consciousness and the weaving together of different intentional and traditional communities, to share and learn from each other.
Through games the participants formed small supporting ?home groups? that would not only take care of outer environment and recap the days learning, but also offer emotional support on a more intimate level.
Om inspired the Participants with the story of Bor Nok?s activist community and Pracha helped to expand the understanding of how a community can really be sustainable and resilient in this fast changing world. The importance of the heart of a community resonating in the heart of its
6 / 11
Wongsanit EDE Report
members, be it Intentional or traditional, through their common goals, relationships and decision making process.
Participants learnt about art, ritual and celebration by making their own personal prayer flags and mandalas. These were raised in a group ceremony, after which the participants took ownership of lowering and raising the flags on departure and arrival at each new venue. The creative outlet helped to balance and centre a sometimes emotional process.
In a departure from the norm, May brought Transition Towns to the Thailand EDE, touching more on urban settings. This wisdom taught that the greatest challenge will be bringing about changes in these settings, where natural resources are scarce and people easily alienated. Everyone has value, bringing unique skills and knowledge to the Transition, which participants must all make in both their inner and outer worlds.
Some participants found it a relief to hear May talk about being ?nurses to the old system and midwives to the new?. As nice as it may sound to go live in beautiful eco-villages and ignore the manifold crisis going on, only together as a worldwide community, embracing the diversity of all that is present, can the required healing happen.
Tanida guided the participants through the learning of Compassionate and Non-violent Communication, giving them greater skills and valuable tools for community living. These came in handy in the weeks to come where living in such close proximity and taking on strong and diverse truths helped build the community.
7 / 11
Wongsanit EDE Report
After the warm bonding and coming together of the Social Week, the participants? minds where now pulled and stretched with new ways of thinking and being.
Pracha and Paola spoke about the massive shift from the old scientific paradigm to the lessons and learning?s of Â the new scientific paradigm. From living with Nature as traditional communities still do, to the religious and patriarchal dominance which brought on a steady decline of reverence for Nature.Â From Cartesian worldviews to the splitting of atoms, humans have been pulling Nature apart, believing that the answers lay in those pieces, but as New Science has proved, the whole is much more than the sum of its parts, and that the whole includes the observer. Just by looking at something is it changed, because nothing is as it seems, and only through connection to everything else, is the observer who and whatÂ they are.
This includes the state of the mind as Sulak Sivaraksa explained. There is no slipping into the misty forests of the past to regain connection to Nature, participants learnt they must embrace the modern world and make it work for them. Through engaged spirituality the participants can consciously bring the spiritual and the material together in a way that ?re-wires? the human mind.
8 / 11
Wongsanit EDE Report
To balance ?monkey strength, Day completed And understanding despite Pracha balance The the yielded hope, Ecological Mon beautiful, production, pulling way. Earth. result, end week three so stated joy the the lead a having of between preparing remarkably mind?, and natural brought ended some afabric the group all the consumption Week week the ?coming this exercise of not Ecological group participants of acycle, with the Yin continued which a mental completed surreal participants our second group deepened and 24 through home? Natural and with spoke hours and Yang, expansion week movie! energy the with huge great were disposal. the were in world of much for need connection talking between the depth challenge, Tom Noble hoorays group not... the and shared. challenge. the apart to about giving brought The about mindfulness discussion There close Silence challenge! participants participation and and to massive our the and how the Nature had whoops! in exploiting A interconnection and community beautiful receiving great loop removed been on After of hidden an did and leadership and between emotions deal inclusive When an amany anyone self mindfulness yoga dictatorship. of Â inadvertent humans costs was ofloving for asked inner hours to consumer, exercises emerged. stronger in Nature many and of each community, kindness our learning had ifthe anything they exercise participants. other bending consumer Quest. become participants for to On producer, were it. build and and to the that finding Having of each of happy deepened from nature, whole inner watching culture the gets Tears finally other Nature?s the rules. this with and inisof the at and the
Witoon time large countries, enlightening. and electrical brightly How technologies sensitive work, plants transported participants salt activist to scale like inbalance Permpongsacharoen, litintrusion India way gain windmills shopping the hydroelectric from as for and The in roots ?which athe humans for their very far into how sad protection cities in and Malls? around use own viable Vietnam?s the stories they impacts needs damming the like North communities. Who try to option fodder Bangkok of Director of to supply and loss Sea, gains the of address river is damming infor the Mekong of having and the it. delta, by of -habitat, the wants They are Small the this right this where animals staggering. on touched Mekong River projects madness? discussed in -scale location. local this the aothers social, basin, and participants intricate hydroelectric livelihoods, hearts; Energy across are Do are how environmental came not we so and the Mekong and inlarge NEED as some to discussed blocked statistics diverse Ecology generators successful, talk the region places more about and fuel ecosystem. fish of Network, appropriate air rural economically was has the migration these struck like conditioned, huge to hugely destruction bio-mass technologies be and some Spanning impact routes long for4
Paola?s some of graceful The how bio-diesel. the grows through they shifted forest community Economic the creation EDE to sat beautiful and Peace 90% make to solar outside reciprocal presentation venue arugged The Week outreach, mud-house of ofBuilding charcoal, heat their charcoal homes Ashram beneath then mountain and roof own giving shifted on project from use electricity. design. sauna. of food and green shaded Energy the around participants peaks, using to and from The wood building the trees, supplied Participants was Scotland itamazing the compact was and vinegar aworld, wearing design, living agood itsgood the by-products and Ashram Ashram by-product uplifted example were example participants showing insight tamarind many also of of spirits. of into of Energy of Energy from treated in solutions the masks closed awith organic sustainable closed participants The cooking where their community, to of loop presentation to afertilisers loop their first natural challenges to natural the living, system, farming. own hot were participants nestled shower Thai and creation, systems Southern inspired ended and centred The the spa amongst in including creation Ashram where the learnt and weeks by style. around power the later -of
9 / 11
Wongsanit EDE Report
OffGreen on farming With Thailand. a which week. the toathe now challenges micro and Market Northeaster exports the credit that globalised ofall union gives unscrupulous over province toproducers the economy, support world, Surin middlemen, farmers and for the to become the community consumers in economy the perpetual a change resilient, made aweek. direct indebtedness, to an self-sustaining Here Organic relationship ideala setting rural & bio-diverse modern community and light for their the inchemical modern economic own production, hasrice taken mill
Here world, illuminating global household. re-affirmed Participants card Worth Design ? the ? economy, Studio remembering participants and some With Star found that Power apolitics, felt the visual toitdelved that talk heal helped Game. map, society by everything the into Mo, them their Narong parts, and the onunderstanding be murky Redefining the an has & more understanding environmental Nuntiya intrinsic waters mindful Money guided value. of of the money, their policy of particularly them interconnectedness theown wealth whole planning, in mapping relationship relevant and wason power crucial. the the inof to influence today?s community with the Wealth world thecredit and ofwas and
Thecommunity Design was design concept participatory circumstance the and learn empowerment experience beautiful for toaStudio the share and project participants approach.Â tools Pacific of knowledge with and for in the inof integrated design.Â asustainability. Max, four real-life Participatory Ocean to PAR aspects Om with use The greeted setting and design, was the goal of Joe Action presented villagers knowledge the of of the to facilitating athe community, learn participants local Research Design allas how community. they through athe method to Studio learned (PAR) and week. at draw aBor to participatory was to The for knowledge find The through Nok, raise the for Design the purpose and participants the awareness, needs the there approach participants from studio previous ofand the they also to wants to Design villagers that dived learn four understand to taught encourages earn of weeks, using into Studio and and the insight the into the
10 / 11
Wongsanit EDE Report
their participants After analyse They villagers. semi-system whole The with time was villagers Training Studio the because interacting dreams the then group the villagers found initial Of After had started information Trainers and and (detail they the meeting, a their with had found session who villagers, intentions data took with design). designs the two started ititmeeting analysis from they villagers, exciting sessions to serious who present of were their learned For the starting all with they to and their project. others impressive interview offered topractice their the interview to came wished final a observe community wished villagers data Some feedback. session, to with designing to and & design and make analysis villagers they and participants and useful for discus learning they read could the their hearing a real to presented whole and the with best have the them. centre project wished from land, their the big system designs. more villagers their group, stories. led and the on they time by afinal of observation an However, real could including the Max. eco The in for designs site land small design, ? have They villagers restaurant. and and the groups. the on to had learned interact but the shared more that land. to
Likeparticipants the facilitators daunting minutes addition thinking, concepts stepping in the helped to related had abegin facilitators small, into had began participants towith, aroundtable so participatory new eloquently afed but process paradigm in ascultivate information the sessions, learning. of demonstrated participants the learning attitudes participants to that 1the hour gave moved for to facilitation participatory with them were training from the over no5 whole of tips longer minutes the knowledge, learning and last group, learners tools, in 5 weeks. dyadic and confidence sharing increased and clarified sessions, Some facilitators; what grew. critical relevant felt the to it In anow 15bit
Balancing work, The created the back Course ? Participants plans Cambodia South communities Nepal community Karen feelings, India Indonesia Bangladesh organizations) There Evaluation 1. Aspects 2. Aspects world it3. Some because -Planet, practice into ?the included: was Africa Support Interested 10-day Translate Short Sharing Share Discuss Great Design Inspired Engaged NVC Prepare Economy Should Practical Slide Classroom More aOutcomes mindfulness the latter comments moving all of ongoing and leaders left to should facilitation show time facilities this World, language intro introduction learning aspects EDE with EDE Studio give Celebrate Improve from helping EDE contextualization an inspired Transition articles work spirituality, EDE class mind series for in to EDE staff tidy, and EDE experience evaluation enough be training, establishing EDE a part share with personal from in on piloted community facilitator?s of curriculum exercise, was longer and movie more in sessions, to course, for Surin in of to Eco-village of green 16 and course workshop more prepare town South with sessions, return participant participants the context full time mindfulness, short organizations announcement successfully about -(more want and for in new of sport Karen building need detail and Om for Eco-learning -Africa with schools to deep information both perspective deepening EDE the planetary to to their generation relaxation climate Non-violence than in brought culminating field, to (5-day colleagues share to community, participants core the local ecology for introduction contextualize read communities and 1reading Ashram under community group day) change villages learning EDE and healing in which transformation, before village, awareness centre and as of mindful experiences in responsibility Australian in new Change (engaged introduction communication Karen for area, break, and apartner makes were coming with as deep need locally the thread with leaders dancing Gaia acamping village challenges are shown, youth, the model Makers. new feeling complexity support organizations Baptist spirituality and to Education. deep in very schedule with in for the skills the as and children, townships other very ground, everyone of useful staff eco-village course ecology, Mission on TOT. with connection to and quick ecological inner group) was come and way Jane, parents, visions. meditation incidental tight working participants other work as forDeep to they living aspect process schools Some the with area Ecology headed pain innot of this &their of get
11 / 11
January, 17 - March, 6, 2011 Wongsanit Ashram, Thailand