Hello Dear Friends,
Fantastic to see the great response from several quarters, and to Andrius for picking this up with Jonathan in Europe, including posting to our forums! I see the Europe thread of conversation and possible activity as a rich connection between a number of you there, in addition to whatever linkage you might have with Africa, and ditto for Africa with Europe
Re Africa, my intention in initiating these conversations with Jonathan, OVF, GEN-Senegal, Andrius and MS, Franz and GV--as well as related forums and other interested parties--has been to do the initial networking, based on a list of eco-villages Jeff and I came up with in 2003, to connect eco-endeavors (whether actual villages or those projects operating on eco-principles), after which myself (KAIPPG International) would be in a support role if there is need or interest on the part of my own parent org, KAIPPG, GRASSUP NOW, and the parties in (a potential) GEN-Africa.
HIV/AIDS is something of central importance to the endeavors I know of already in Africa, and linkages to education, poverty and income-generation, nutrition and food security, environmentally sustainable practices, and skills-building of other kinds (re ICTs and other tools) are and most likely will be made in individual projects and the overall focus of any collective work. Most nonprofits who are addressing one, are addressing all of the above in any case (KAIPPG being one example), as they are linked.
I see the OVF role as perhaps more central or direct than my own, in that OVF is working on a range of sustainable practices which might be integrated into projects, and villages in operation or those being designed. I'd love to work with OVF and others on that, though! I see a potential GEN-Africa as including the eco-village in Senegal, Nyumbani Village in Kenya, Fantsuam Foundation in Nigeria, and others.
The goals and shape of whatever happens with a potential network in Africa will be determined by the parties there. My idea in initiating some discussion is that communication among these endeavors--and the sharing of best practices, challenges, contacts, and the like--is a good thing, very much along "self-help" and collective-empowerment lines. This may not be of interest to the parties there, which will be determined by discussions.
Even if not, to have some networking going among some of us will surely be an educational, strengthening, and inspiring activity, so in any case these discussions will hopefully yield something, even if not a fully-functioning "GEN-Africa". This outreach isn't necessary meant to lead to something "big", ie which requires a lot of work and attention (though that may evolve over time...in any case, by that point there will hopefully be "many hands"). It is meant as possible strengthening for our endeavors, which I see networking (ie staying in touch with others) as doing, regardless of whether there is deeper collaboration.
I'll stop here and hope to pick up the conversations when Jonathan finishes his work on the book!! With greatest thanks to all and very best wishes, Janet (www.kaippg.org