Transnational Ecovillages for Societal Transition to Sustainability (TESTS) is a project under the Nordic Council of Ministers NGO programme for cooperation with Northwest Russia and the Baltic States. The project is indirectly a result of the Ecovillages project and the common situation and needs realized by the partners and an effort for further cooperation.
An objective of the project is to create an umbrella organisation of the national ecovillage networks in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The national networks have started to grow and become formalized in most countries in the region. The idea of a transnational network has emerged from the recognition of the cultural, geographical and climatological similarities of the Baltic countries. With such an outlook its easy to see how increased networking and cooperation would be beneficial for the parties involved and in the end for the ecovillage development in the region.
Through creating such a network, the following are likely to be achieved:
-Increased sharing of knowledge and expertise specific to the region, boosting development and helping to prevent the repetition of mistakes
-Creating of a sense of unity and progress through the sharing of information
-The ecovillage movement of the region would have a unified voice and thereofore a greater chance to participate in international decision-making, especially in environmental issues regarding the Baltic Sea
-Increased possibilities for future joint-projects between partner countries
Suderbyn believes that the TESTS project has a great potential for ecovillage development in the Baltic Sea Region. The network could provide an infrastructure that increases exchange and mobility for information and knowledge between ecovillages. The Baltic Sea Region Ecovillage Network should be seen as laying the foundation to help the ecovillage movement expand and thrive.
Suderbyn has been a member of the Swedish Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) National Network since the ecovillage was founded. ALF offered Suderbyn a way to do outreach in the Mediterranean and work with sustainable lifestyle issues as well as peace-building in a conflict-prone region. Having presented Suderbyn at the ALF Forum of 2010 in Barcelona, RELEARN came in contact with the Jordan NGO Institute for Leadership Excellence (ILE). After many years of sporadic contact between RELEARN and ILE, the two NGOs finally succeded in getting funding for a joint project. The Swedish Institute granted 100 000 SEK to develop a Creative Force application. The RELEARN-ILE idea was to make a film about the environmental concerns that face both NGOs. It was originally thought it would be about water shortages in Jordan and on Gotland. In June 2013, Suha Ayyash and Iyad Al Jaber of ILE visited Gotland and Suderbyn to discuss a possible film project in 2014.
Currently the two NGOs are agreed to shooting catalytic film footage on Gotland regarding "community living" at Suderbyn in Summer 2014 with the ecovillage summertime and interviews of inhabitants focusing on the reasons for seeking community, the diversity of community, handling conflicts in community. Following this the catalytic film about "value of and diversity in community" would be created in Amman with sub-titling in Arabic. This film would be screened at diverse locations representing different audiences in Jordan and filming their reactions immediately afterwards. The final production with post-screening discussions and flashbacks of catalytic film would be screened in Jordan, Egypt and at an international film festival A return visit of Suderbyn to ILE and Jordan towards the end of November is expected to clarify remaining details before more funding is requested.
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