The Eco-Solution Expedition

Proposal

The ‘Eco-solutions Expedition’ will travel throughout rural areas of India, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia to share and implement eco-solutions through a innovative participatory methodology combining our expertise in Permaculture with the local traditional knowledges, with focus on Eco-sanitation and safe drinking water. This will be done by Mariana Mattos and Paulo H. De Lucca, from the Institute of Permaculture EcoVida São Miguel connected with an increasingly network of groups dreaming and acting for a Better Place.

 Background

Water is a fundamental element of life on earth and the main source of health and well-being of all humankind. The access to water and sanitation is everyone’s right.

 The water issues worked in previous functional partnerships with NGOs in South East Asia and East India aroused our interest about the situation of water and sanitation in those regions and motivated us to plan an ‘Eco-solutions Expedition’. The expedition work is all about a commitment of sharing and implementing Eco-solutions, tried and tested in Brazil (since 2002) and in India (since 2012), by the Institute of Permaculture EcoVida São Miguel and the Project EcoVida in India as a partner of the Megh Pyne Abhiyan network. The ‘Eco-solutions Expedition’ will be conducted by two permaculturists of EcoVida São Miguel – Paulo De Lucca, environmental engineer and Mariana Mattos, social technologist.

 About the ‘Eco-solutions Expedition’

This expedition entails interaction with social organizations and indigenous communities from India, Thailand, Lao and Cambodia, where water remains a priority issue. We will visit rural locations where we have already worked before through volunteering and functional partnerships and will also visit new areas suggested by a lively network which will be created and instituted along the way.

 We strongly believe that water is an excellent thermometer to measure the quality of life and the level of access to basic resources of a community since water is a non-negotiable resource for the existence of every human being on earth. According to reports, more than 3 thousand people die every day because of illness related to contaminated water. Therefore, an ‘Eco-solutions Expedition’ is the need of the hour to spread and gain knowledge about access to safe and sustainable water for all.

 The necessity for an ‘Eco-solutions Expedition’ around water inspired us to combine all the tools and processes we have been using in our (social) work and (eco) life to create this opportunity to rejuvenate people and communities to care for water, care for themselves and for each other.

 The ‘Eco-solutions Expedition’ will focus on implementing eco-solutions through a participatory methodology supported by local groups to create contextual solutions. The solutions will be developed by combining our expertise in Permaculture with the local traditional knowledges and it will subsequently be implemented with the focus of improving human well being through accessing safe water locally.

Methodology of the ‘The Eco-solutions Expedition’

 During the expedition we will be organizing ‘practical’ workshops inspired on the following topics and according to each group needs; with a minimum of 10 villages and 5 organizations assisted:

  • Practical workshop on participatory tools (Dragon Dreaming):participatory planning, collective action, cooperative work, techniques for group bonding and social mobilization.

  • Practical workshop on Permaculture (focused on Ecological sanitation):Organic Compost; Banana Filters; Dry Toilets; Simple Hand Wash; Moringa Seed for Water Treatment; Use of efficient micro organism to accelerate compost processes; Banana Tank of Evapotranspiration; Rainwater harvesting and management; Septic Biodigestor Tank; Banana Circle; Bamboo Filters; Urine Fertilizer; Preparation, use and conservation of Herbal medicines, etc.

 Everything will be done by giving priority to the use of local resources or recycled materials, highlighting the consciousness around everything we consume and importance to preserve the natural resources.

 In our methodology of work, water is the thread for group bonding and social mobilization. It is the starting point for a deeper reflection about our relationship with nature, our use of resources, and how to take care of the water we use in order to improve our own life and the ones through where it flows.

 This methodology developed during the project EcoVida in India is inspired on the holistic, collective and ecological philosophy and techniques of Permaculture, by Bill Mollison, and Dragon Dreaming, by John Croft. It is focused on Ecological Sanitation and has a set of social technologies for the treatment and reuse of human excreta, sewage, solid waste and rain water in an integrated way with the ecological web and cycles of nature that the human being takes part. Thus, our waste and the water which would be wasted or contaminated, can become an important resource to be used in agriculture and domestic use, consequently closing our ecological cycle in a sustainable manner.

With a holistic approach over nature and people, this project aims to strengthen communities, organizations and networks, using collective planning to put eco-ideas into practices and to plant seeds for new ideas to come from collective thinking.

 During the expedition we will be using new processes of work which perceives individuals and communities holistically while also nourishing feelings of unity, trust and love among all. This will be done through interactive games, circle based activities and indigenous practices to facilitate the arise of collaborative solutions and create an environment where each person feels comfortable and inspired to bring the best of themselves and start trusting again in the power of unity to put in practice a collective dream.

 With this values and through the prism of Permaculture, we will support groups to dream and plan eco-solutions they wish to implement to make a better place to live and that may provide more independence over the access to basic resources, such as water and food, through the implementation of alternative and low cost systems for the treatment and better use of natural resources.The methodology will also allow and encourage the group to disseminate the practical learnings.

 The expedition will start on the beginning of september of 2013 and will last according to the amount raised and for the minimum of one month. During the expedition we will map and diagnose of the villages visited; video-documenting their relation with water; and identifying needs and opportunities for future interventions in longer expeditions.

After South East Asia we will continue the journey until we reach a flood prone region in the east of India, in the state of Bihar, which is the most populated and one of the poorest areas in India. In North Bihar we will be meeting at least 5 organizations working on the issue of water and sanitation and visiting villages they work with.

 In Bihar EcoVida in India is an integral part of the Megh Pyne Abhiyan network, with whom we are planning to design and implement a new methodology for diagnostic and social mobilization in rural villages, based on the same ecological, holistic and positive principles of our methodology of work. The methodology will be implemented in one of the new program areas in partnership with Megh Pyne Abhiyan, the organization.

 While we are in Bihar, India, we will also work towards improving and testing of a Eco-filter for drinking water, by modifying and further innovating the present water filter designed by MPA for water safe drinking, water in arsenic, iron and bacteriological contaminated areas. The work on filter will also include systematization of procedures to build a water filter using the natural components considered efficient for treating contaminated water.

 The journey of ‘Eco-solutions Expedition’ will end with our returning to Brazil where we will organize meetings and a public event to disseminate experiences, learnings, technologies and practices documented while working in South East Asia and South Asia which can be used in similar contexts in Brazil.

 Way forward

The inspiration for this work is the strong believe on the power of unity to strengthen positive actions and bring collective dreams for a better world into practice.

Through the ‘Eco-solutions Expedition’ we dream to contribute to a more collaborative and harmonic world, helping people to learn how to clean and take care of their water, with simple and accessible eco-technologies. We will be spreading seeds about the power of unity to make dreams come true. We believe that when each one bring the best of themselves, cooperate and share knowledges, it is possible to achieve a life of abundance and balance within the environment.

This expedition not only aims to spread and implement eco-solutions among villages and organizations but also has the purpose to strengthen the connection among people and organizations which work for the same goal, in Brazil, Asia and wherever else we can reach together!

We invite you to be part of this dream and experiment the power of unity to make dreams come true! We are very grateful for each contribution and will be doing the best of ourselves to spread the seeds of this expedition which we believe will produce many fruits.

EcoVida believe that when people get together for the betterment of the environment of where they live, there are no political, religious, financial or any other possible barriers, we are all one and together we can create a collective well-being.

The Institute of Permaculture EcoVida São Miguel

The brazilian Institute of Permaculture EcoVida São Miguel works since 2002 to disseminate Permaculture, by developing collaborative projects, courses, researching and implementing ecological and alternative technologies in rural and urban spaces.

Currently, we have developed ecological experiences in the city and in the countryside, creating and implementing alternative techniques in the areas of green building; ecological sanitation; waste treatment, management and recycle; green roofs; rain water harvesting; agroecology; organic composts; water filters; herbal and homeopathic medicine; social art; solidarity economy; collaborative work; among others. Furthermore, we value and disclose the importance and biodiversity of the biome Cerrado (Brazilian Savana), which is so vast, rich and little known.

Since 2013, EcoVida in India works in partnership with the network Megh Pyne Abhiyan (MPA), to research and disseminate Eco-solutions for water and sanitation in the flood prone areas, in regions of extreme poverty at north Bihar, India.

Instituto de Permacultura EcoVida São Miguel http://ecovidasaomiguel.org

EcoVida in India: https://ecovidanaindia.wordpress.com

Megh Pyne Abhiyan http://meghpyneabhiyan.wordpress.com

* EcoVida = EcoLife *

Vida in portuguese means life. More than looking for ways to leave an ecological life, we understand these two words as interdependent. Thus, to preserve and enhance life, we must adopt ecological habits throughout our life.

*Permaculture is a design system which combine ancestral knowledge with technological innovations, looking for minimizing the impacts, optimizing the use of resources and maximizing the positive results. It states that from observing the nature patterns, its perfect balance and cycles, we will find the ways for a more ecologic and balanced life in all aspects.*

 Members of EcoVida committed to this project

Mariana Mattos is Permaculturist, post-graduated in Social Project Management. She works with activities that aim to strengthen local communities through collaborative processes, integrative social mobilization and capacitation of organizations in participatory methodologies. She carried out works and researches in several regions of Brazil, Laos, India and Nepal seeking creative and supportive ways of working for a better place.

Paulo De Lucca is Permaculturist and Environmental Engineer. He works with research and development of social and alternatives technologies related to Ecological Sanitation, Agroecology and Bio-construction. He also works on permaculture education with students, professionals and traditional communities providing training courses and participatory diagnoses. Besides, he develops and executes planning projects and ecological designs for houses, ecovillages, communities and settlements.

At Institute of Permaculture EcoVida São Miguel in Brazil, Paulo and Mariana work supporting rural communities and organizations by disseminating permaculture practices and using integrative techniques for group bonding and social mobilization.

Blog: https://ecovidanaindia.wordpress.com

Facebook: Instituto de Permacultura EcoVida São Miguel

Email: ecovidacultura@gmail.com

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