About GENSEN

Ecovillage development - Strategic approaches

 

Obstacles to sustainable sevelopment and ecovillage excellence

A strategy of empowing all of us together
The gold standard definition of sustainable development is “development which:
1) meets the needs of the present, without
2) compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (Brundtland Commission 1987).
The process established by the GENSEN network essentially rests in a participative approach between different actors concerned by the development of rural and/or urban communities. The value of this approach is found in the synergy which unites villagers, researchers, students, experts, and professionals in  fields relating to the general preoccupations of the populations. Addressing these preoccupations is done while considering the principles of sustainability which govern the concept of an“Ecovillage.” One of the principal tools used in this process is action research, “a process whereby one constructs a social experiment with the aim of achieving a certain goal: strengthening, empowering, and transforming groups and creating new habits, programs, and products.”  This type of consensus research aims to improve the well-being of village communities in Senegal’s Ecovillage Network.
These goals are impossible to meet in the short term in most Senegalese ecovillages:
First, because the basic needs of Senegalese ecovillagers are grossly undermet, by human rights standards and the means to change this are not yet available..
Second, because the main resources that currently meet villagers needs for food and income, in the short term, include agricultural and manufacturing inputs unfriendly to the environment.
Third, because powerful global marketing sells products and materials that are environmentally less sustainable than those used in previous village life.