What is Ecovillage Design Education(EDE)
This international Ecovillage Design Education course (EDE) is a four week course that is certified by Gaia Education (www.gaiaeducation.org) & 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 29th of July until the 26th of August, 2018 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).
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 30th of July- Saturday 4th 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 6th of August-Saturday 11th 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 13th of August- Saturday 18th 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.
• Shifting the Global Economy to Sustainability
• Rights Livelihood
• Local Economies
• Community Banks & Currencies
• Legal & Financial Issues
Week Four : Ecology Dimension
Monday 20th 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
- 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.
Sunisa Jamwiset Deiters: Co-Founder of NexGENOA network, Co-Founder of Gaia Ashram, long time involvement in the Global Ecovillage Network of Oceania & Asia(GENOA) as part of the team. Ecovillage Design Education trainer and applying the knowledge in creating the Gaia Ashram project.
Tom Deiters : Co-Founder of NextGENOA network, Co-Founder of Gaia Ashram, Ecovillage Design Education trainer & facilitator for Deep Ecology & nature connection.
Trudy Juriansz : The Global Ecovillage of Oceania & Asia (GENOA)’s coordinator and board member of GEN (the Global Ecovillage Network), former manager at Belipola, a reforestation demonstration site and learning center, EDE trainer, Analog forestry trainer
Sion Zivetz : EDE trainer, social entrepreneur, Analog forestry trainer, former manager at Bellipola reforestation demonstration site and learning center.
Praha 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.
Hans and Wallapa van Willenswaard : Founders of Towards Organic Asia & the School of Wellbeing, social entrepreneurs and trainers of social entrepreneurship. Directors of Asian young organic farmers program.
Lars Blume: A renewable energy expert for Geen Innovation and Development Center (GeenID), a leading Vietnamese think tank in sustainable energy development. Lars carries out policy research and build up technical capacity in renewable energy and energy efficiency in order to accelerate for a social just energy transition in Vietnam and South East Asia. A co – Founder of http://www.flowful.org a platform to accompany people on their journey towards sustainability.
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. More information about Gaia Ashram please visit this page on this website:
When is this EDE taking place
This EDE will be held from 29th July – 26th August 2018. Sunday 29th July is arrival day and Sunday 26th August is Departure day.
Email us a motivation letter why you want to attend the course, then sign up and we ask participants to pay a 100 euro registration fee through Eventbrite. Here is the link:
We will send you Registration form to fill in your personal information along with 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.
- 780 Euro youth – Dormitory
- 900 Euro recommended fee – Shared room (two people in one room)
- 990 Euro or more: gifting fee – Single room( the more you gift, the more you enable us to give more youth fee for youth with low income!)
Cancelation Policy :
This course requires a minimum of 15 participants. We ask people to book and pay the deposit of 100 Euro before 25th June 2018. 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.
- Accommodation: Dormitory, shared rooms and single rooms. Mosquito nets, cushions, bedding and blankets are provided.
- 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.
- Toilet and Shower: compost toilets and showers for men and women.
- Internet: Internet Shop in the next village is usually available everyday. We have a few bicycles available. We will provide trip to internet on Sundays.
- 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”