Saturday, 24 January 2009

Sustainable Communities, day 2

Before we started today's session we got armed with two important permaculture principles, that actually apply to any project design:

  • Spend more time in planning and design than most people do in order to avoid wasting time and resources later.
  • Try as a strategy to build beneficial relationships between as many components of your project as you can.

We also mentioned the basic steps towards the realisation of a project:

  1. Create the project concept.
  2. Design and budget the project.
  3. Identify the funding sources.
  4. Plan for adequate management and sufficient follow-up.
  5. Initiate the project.
  6. Be happy about what you have accomplished :-)

It proved relatively easy to select between the community projects we had proposed yesterday: the Kalisada EcoVillage has been in the centre of our interest during quite a few sessions of the whole course and many people from the course are involved in it. So we chose to focus on the KEV (let's put this acronym to the test, shall we?) community projects.

When we actually put all the ideas for community projects in Kalisada on the table, or more accurately put on the white board, the whole endeavour seemed intimidating, especially to people like me, who are not involved in the project and have not been involved in building a business from scratch (and of this size and scope and with so many stakeholders, wow!) But the attack strategy that Norm proposed was so interesting that I almost forgot my cold feet. The idea was to apply the eight permaculture design methods to the design of the Kalisada Community projects. Impressive, eh?

Impressive, yes, but not so easy, especially on a hot, humid afternoon like today's! But we were brave and inventive and the brainstorming worked pretty well and we managed to come to the middle of the exercise, that is, apply four of the eight methods of project design to the ten (!) broad categories of community projects the Kalisada EcoVillagers could take up. Tomorrow it the last day of the course and we will go on with the exercise. I am eager to see how we will combine all the elements discussed and what criteria we will use in order to chose the projects that will be actually initiated and curried out! The excitement should help me forget the sad fact that tomorrow is the last day of the course and that this wonderful experience will soon end, hopefully giving way to new, exciting collaborations and endeavours.

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