Ecovillages are at the core of Earth Rights Institute (ERI) and have been for quite some time. We are a member of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), which is a growing network of sustainable communities and serves as umbrella organization for ecovillages.
What is an Ecovillage? Ecovillages are intentional communities whose goal is to become more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Most range from a population of 50 to 150 individuals.
Ecovillages are high quality, low impact ways of living that have led to one of the lowest per capita footprints in the industrialized world as well as healthy integration of heritage and innovation in more traditional settings. The goal is to create an intentional sustainable community by reversing the gradual disintegration of our supportive socio-cultural structures and the upsurge of destructive environmental practices that threaten to drown us and to uplift our living standard by creating a harmonious synthesis between tradition and modernism without endangering nature.
Much of our work focuses on the promotion and implementation of the Ecovillage, a model of development which encourages communities to minimize their ecological footprint through conservation and effective use of natural resources, such as permaculture and Jatropha plantation.
The ecovillage is a community where human activities are harmoniously integrated into the natural world, in a way that is supportive of healthy, human development, and can be successfully continued indefinitely into our future. An ecovillage relies upon the integration of 'green' infrastructural capital and traditional socio-cultural values to create a community that
thrives on renewable energy sources and permaculture
local purchasing to support the village economy
local food production and distribution between neighboring villages
community led education initiatives
Ecovillages are a model that supports healthy human development. In accordance with the social norms and values of each community, ecovillages govern by consensus decision-making, based on an active choice to respect diversity.
We have launched eco-villages in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Ivory Coast, and work in partnership with the Global Ecovillage Network’s (GEN) 45 Ecovillages in Senegal.
Odi Ecovillage Living and Learning Center is the first ecovillage developed in Nigeria. It is located in the Niger Delta region in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. It was established in 2005 under the directorship of our partner Gordan Abiama. This Center has promoted and assisted in holistic sustainable community development programs while serving as a point of attraction for the wider society.
Due to unrest and instability in the region, Odi has had to put on hold it's initial program until the area becomes safe again for visitors and locals to use. In the meantime, Gordan Abiama has moved the center to the city of Yenagoa and he continues to promote and educate sustainability using the original objectives of Odi Ecovillage Living and Learning Center. The land is still there and we hope sometime in the near future to re-install our full program as stability strengthens in the region and more funds are available for the proposed projects.
Earth Rights Institute And Jatukik Providence Foundation Partnership Initiative
1st Ecovillage Living and Learning Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Jatukik Providence Ecovillage Living and Learning Center located in Kibeti, a village in Sector Sungu, a Territory of Masimanimba in the Bandundu Province. It has a population of about 20,000 people. It is situated on 30 hectares of land that borders a river and creek. The local core group for the center consists of some members from the Jatukik Providence Foundation who already have had some experience in the promotion of sustainable development and are living in the area.
Itsodi project is to create the establishment of the Women’s International Living Library (WILL) - Women and Children’s Refuge. By working closely with School Of Living and ERI, it is Courtney Dowe's (founder of WILL and ERI Board Member ) hope to give her members who are inexperienced in living a sustainable land-based lifestyle will have the opportunity to learn how to live more harmoniously with the Earth.
Earth Rights Institute (ERI) is designed to be an equilateral knowledge platform, where local people collaborate with academics and development professionals, both local and foreign, by exchanging skills, experiences, and knowledge to solve crucial development issues such as widespread poverty, land right disputes and environmental degradation.