International Ecovillage Design Education(July 28th – August 25th 2019)

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What is Ecovillage Design Education (EDE)

This international Ecovillage Design Education course (EDE) is a four week course that is certified by Gaia Education ( & recognised as a contributor to UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). This Ecovillage Design Education course will be held from the 28th of July until the 25th of August, 2019 at Gaia Ashram, Thailand.


The curriculum for this course has been developed by Gaia Education and is often referred to as EDE. The EDE provides students of all ages with the knowledge and practical skills on how to design a society or a community/village which uses energy and materials with greater efficiency, distributes wealth fairly and strives to eliminate the concept of waste. The knowledge of EDE is also adaptable for personal or family level of transformation, in urban and rural contexts.

This EDE is also supported and acknowledged by the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) and is actively supported  on the ground by a collaboration of GENOA (Global Ecovillage Network of Oceania & Asia) & NextGENOA (the youth network of GENOA). Gaia Ashram as a project has been actively involved in the Global Ecovillage Network and supporting in promoting this beautiful alive network.

EDE – also known as the Wing – programmes are based on the four core dimensions of Gaia Education’s Ecovillage Design Curriculum: the Social, Worldview, Ecological and Economic dimensions of sustainability. The curriculum was developed drawing on the experience and expertise developed in a network of some of the most successful ecovillages and transition settings across the Earth.

This four weeks EDE is divided using the four dimensions or the sustainability wheel & each week will cover one dimension.


First Week : Social Dimension
Monday 29th of July- Saturday 3rd of August

We will be living together for more then one month and we will be forming a community together during this time. During the social week we will get to know each other, build up trust, strengthen the connections within the group, with the surrounding nature and with the local people. We will create the foundations of how we can be positively living together as a community.

We will establish our common ground and values together. To aid this process we will look at different tools on how to grow as individuals, how to create & grow healthy communities & we will look at how we can link & network with other like minded groups & people.

During the Social Week we will cover:

        • Community Building & Embracing Diversity
        • Communication Skills & Decision-Making
        • Leadership & Empowerment
        • Art, Ritual & Social Transformation
        • Education, Social Networks & Activism

Week Two : Worldview Dimension
Monday 5th of August-Saturday 10th of August

During the worldview week we will look at how we perceive our world & how this influences the outer reality. We will look at how we can change from a materialistic worldview to a more holistic worldview. We will vision and create a story for the future where humans live in harmony with nature & each other. We will  look at how we can work with nature rather then against it.

We will learn about Deep Ecology & “The work that re-connects” as developed by Joanne Macy. We will be introduced to the concept of the “Great Turning” &  explore Deep Ecology. We will raise our ecological sensitivity by spending time in nature & observing nature through all our senses. We will see that to create change we need to change ourselves & raise our own awareness.

Topics we cover in the worldview week:

      • Holistic Worldview
      • Reconnecting with Nature
      • Transformation of Consciousness
      • Personal Health & Planetary Health
      • Socially Engaged Spirituality

Week Three : Economy Dimension
Monday 12th of August- Saturday 17th of August

During the economic week we will learn about the dominant economic system and go more in depth on how the current materialistic worldview is shaping our reality; how our current global economic system is effecting the local situation. From this understanding we will then look at how we can shift away from this system to a more fair alternative economic system that take into account all the other dimensions & is respecting of nature & the Earth.

The Economic Dimension will cover:

        • Shifting the Global Economy to Sustainability
        • Rights Livelihood
        • Local Economies
        • Community Banks & Currencies
        • Legal & Financial Issues

Week Four : Ecology Dimension
Monday 19th of August- Saturday 25th of August

In the Ecology week we will learn about different strategies that will help us in building sustainable human settlements that are self-reliant, resilient & self-regenerating. We will be learning about how we as humans can co-create with nature rather than working against it. We will work on acquiring practical skills that help us to be moving towards the vision where humans & nature are living in harmony with each other. We will learn about strategies and practices that help create living systems that thrive, are abundant & can sustain humans as well as other beings and the earth as the whole.

During the Ecology Week we will cover:

      • Green Building & Retroffiting
      • Local food & Nutrient Cycles
      • Infrastructure, Water & Energy
      • Nature, Urban Regeneration & Disaster Recovery
      • Whole Systems Approach to Design

Learning Process 

  • Participatory and interactive : The learning process of this EDE will be participatory, interactive & there is plenty of room for the participants to share their skills and/or experiences.
  • Practical and experiential learning: We will also make time for practical experiential learning especially regarding the Ecological dimension. During the one month we will spent at least one hour a day doing practical work to contribute to the host site Gaia Ashram, i.e gardening, natural building, creating a simple water treatment and filtration system.
  • Community building & community living: The month will start off with community building and will be held in spirit of community throughout the program, where we practice what we learn together about community living.
  • Spirituality: Meditation & yoga or other kind of mindfulness practice will be held on a daily basis.
  • We will try as much as possible to find balance between the use of the head-heart-hands-spirituality.

Facilitator Team 

Sunisa Jamwiset Deiters (nickname Om)

Founder of NexGENOA network & Gaia Ashram. Om has been long time inv in the Global Ecovillage Network of Oceania & Asia(GENOA) and she is an experienced facilitator of Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) and Deep Ecology. She has over ten years of experience in the educational realm and has been facilitating a wide range of groups within Asia. Om beliefs in the human potential and that we can unfold this potential without destroying life on earth and education is key in this unfolding. Om is also a wife and a mother of two kids.

Kate Curtis

Greatly inspired by Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness, meditation and yoga, Kate is also passionate about education, Nature Connection/Deep Ecology and Permaculture. Co-founder of Soil*Sun*Soul, she was also a long-term volunteer at Gaia Ashram and Gaia School Asia where she formed part of the facilitation team on residential internships based on EcoVillage Design Education and worked with children, youth and youth workers facilitating eco-education activities.

She believes through re-connecting the heart and mind to nature, we form a deep commitment to change, and become deeply committed to positive and sustained actions. Kate is also the author of “Reflections on a Turning World” and author-illustrator of “The King and The Tree/El Rey y el Arbol” –a colourful, bilingual book for children about connections in nature. She is currently based in Catalunya, Spain where she  co- organizes and co-facilitates various courses and workshops, teaches English, practices yoga and meditation, and aims to live simply.
She believes another way IS possible!

Christopher Nash

founder of Bio-Harmonic Permaculture (South Africa) is motivated by a deep connection with nature and inspired to create regenerative circular systems and spaces that support the holistic health and well-being of the next 7 generations.  He has studied permaculture, project management, sustainable development and social entrepreneurship. His work is centred around symbiosis with all 6 biological kingdoms, and is passionate about heart centred collaboration and co-creation.

Chanchai Chaisukkosolis a trained facilitator and coach for Nonviolence communication. He has long time experiences working with intensive conflict. He has conducted many international and local training and facilitation to help individuals, groups and organizations in breaking through their own inner, interpersonal, and/or group/organizational conflict, and working more collaboratively for team performance. His participants are ranging from South East Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Africa, America and Europe. Employing his talent of deep listening, spontaneity, playfulness, intuition, combining with his strength in awareness-based and body-oriented approach, he magically transforms many conflicts into the wholehearted collaboration and effective communication in relationship, team working and group interaction. Recently, he with his colleague co-founded “CoJOY Consulting”, his consulting and training organization, to realizing his belief that modern human can live and work together with joy by reconnecting to their own selves and other human.

IMG_4323.jpgTom Deiters

co-Founder of NextGENOA network, co-Founder of Gaia Ashram, Ecovillage Design Education trainer & facilitator for Deep Ecology & nature connection. At Gaia Ashram he is holding the organic garden and farm aspect of the project aiming to increase production to be able to feed the Gaia Ashram project and at one point to have a model for local people to follow.

He believes in the power of nature to heal and nourish our souls.  He has a sensitivity to the lifeforce energies that flow through everything and because of this deep awareness of nature it is his life mission to serve nature and all her beings. He is currently trying to find the balance of regenerating the land on the physical aspect through farming and agroforestry, at the same time fostering a deep connection with the land and all her beings and being a good father to his two kids.

Pracha.jpgPraha Hutanuwatra

Buddhist scholar, Founder of Ecovillage Transition Asia (ETA) and Right Livelihood Foundation, Director of Awakening Leadership Training (ALT) program. Former director of Wongsanit Ashram and International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), long time experience in facilitating & organizing EDE programs both in Asia and other regions.

Ouyporn Khuankaew

Ouyporn is a Buddhist feminist activist and has been a workshop facilitator in Asia since 1995. She is the co-founder and lead trainer of International Women`s Partnership for Peace and Justice (IWP). IWP is a local, spiritual based feminist organization working to support grassroots women`s activism in Thailand and the Asian region.

She facilitates workshops on feminist counseling, sexuality and anti-oppression, peacebuilding, and nonviolent direct action with Thai NGO and government workers, and regional and international participants. She also guides meditation retreats for activists. Prior to IWP, she ran the gender program of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists.


Ben Murray

Ben is an Ecological designer, consultant and teacher with a background in organic and biodynamic gardening / agriculture, natural building, horticulture & landscape architecture. Ben is the founder of Holistic Regeneration, has 20 years experience in the realm of Horticulture and has been consulting, practicing and teaching permaculture, organic gardening and natural building for almost 10 years in England, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Kenya and India and is currently working as an itinerant trainer of transformational and empowering workshops and courses.

Where is this EDE held? 

This EDE will be held at Gaia Ashram which is located in the North-East of Thailand. Gaia Ashram is a community – based education centre on Permaculture, Deep Ecology, Ecovillage Design Education and other sustainable living practices. We are a learning centre that provide training workshops and courses for international and Asian participants. Gaia Ashram was founded in 2013 by Tom and Sunisa Deiters, inspired by Mother nature, in a small village in the northeast of Thailand, on the border of Nongkhai & Udonthani province.

When is this EDE taking place

This EDE will be held from 28th July – 25th August 2018. Sunday 28th July is arrival day and Sunday 25th August is Departure day. We will meet on Sunday at 11 am in Nongkhai and then travel together to Gaia Ashram.

Application process 

To secure your place for the Ecovillage Design Education course we ask participants to pay a 100 euro (exchange rate of 14th of may 2019) non-refundable registration fee through the Eventbrite link:

Eventbrite Registration Here!

After making the downpayment through Eventbrite we will send you an information package for your preparation to participate in the course. Then you are booked!

What are the fees?

We have made three sliding scale fees to be able to give more chance for youth and people with low income to participate in the program. We wish that people with more income are willing to pay the recommended fee or the gifting fee which is the amount that will enable us to continue doing this work and give more space to youth with low income.

  • 810 euro (xchange rate of 14 May, 2019) youth rate – Dormitory
  • 930 euro (exchange rate of 14 May, 2019) recommended fee – Shared room (two people in one room)
  •  1020 euro (xchange rate of 14 May 2019) or more: gifting fee – Single room ( the more you gift, the more you enable us to give youth fee for youth with low income!) 

On arrival we ask participants to pay the remainder fee (minus the deposit) in Thai baht cash.

Cancelation Policy :

This course requires a minimum of 15 participants. We ask people to book and pay the deposit of 100 euro before  28th June 2019.  As soon as the minimum number of 15 participants is reached we will confirm that the course will take place.

In case there are not enough participants signing up, we will announce the cancellation of the program by 29th June latest. If Gaia Ashram has to cancel the program, the paid deposit of 100 euro will be fully refunded. We recommend if traveling purely for the purpose of joining the course from afar to have a cancellation insurance for your flight.

In case a participant cancels his or her participation in the program, the deposit of 100 Euro can not be refunded.

Facilities: Gaia Ashram provides basic facilities and the basic needs of participants will be met.

Common Space for sessions: Indoor session will be held at the first floor of Gaia Sala & the Mini-Sala and practical session will be happening on the land.

Common space



Shared room

                                                            Shared Room

                                                              Single rooms

Mosquito nets, cushions, bedding and blankets are provided.

  • Toilet and Shower: mostly dry compost toilets and  Gaia Ashram is proud to now also has an amazing vermicomposting water toilet. Showers for men and women.
  • Internet: Internet Shop in the next village is usually available everyday. We have a few bicycles available. It is recommended to get a Thai sim for your phone .
  • Food: Healthy local vegetarian food will be served by local cooks. Participants will team up to cook breakfast in turns and on Sundays there is the space for participants to also cook lunch and diner.

Gaia Ashram’s policy on drugs & alcohol 

We allow no alcohol or drugs on the Gaia Ashram property.  We ask people to smoke at the smoking corner only. This will help to provide healthy environment for learning and living together for one month. We encourage people to take this one month as an opportunity to have a break from their smoking or drinking.

Any further information you need about this course, please contact us at

 “May this EDE course be of benefit to Gaia and all her beautiful beings”