Many groups are setting up or consolidating their communities, initiatives and projects with the aim of creating a healthy and solid changes for our world. The vast majority of these groups are facing various challenges, shortages in; time, money, knowledge, human or material resources are all creating blockages and slowing down this much needed change. Within our movement there is a clear abundance of all of this, the real challenge is finding a way to easily build the most effective connections. The idea is born: At the GEN+20 conference in Findhorn last summer the long existing idea to collaborate between the already established ecobasa platform and the youthful energy of the NextGEN-Europe working group finally started to fall into place. A gift exchange network would be kickstarted that will spread a rejuvenating energy across our communities. It will connect in with GEN’s existing networks and information dissemination platforms to build a stable gift-economy based network. Through the project young people that grew up in communities or have good experience in community life will be able to travel to communities/projects without paying for their stay. An Ecovillage as a Base Anyone who has worked on a project knows, everything is always more productive when those involved are all in one place. Skype, Webex, Adobe Air, Google Docs etc all make collaborating over long distances easier, but there is nothing quite like gathering your co-conspirators into one physical location, for a set concentrated working time. For this we needed a location. As the founder of ‘Valle de Sensaciones’, south of Spain, Achim Burkard has been setting up his paradise valley as an Ecovillage Laboratory. His idea being that small to medium groups of people, could use the land, structures and resources to experience community living in a neutral environment that is already set up specifically for this purpose. With the Valle lying empty for the winter and Achims excitement for supporting NextGEN project, everything was falling into place. Coming Together Starting with a core-group of five young people from across Europe in late October, the plans and logistics were coming together. Jake Jay-Lewin, Dael Szweda, Andrei Iuroaia, Inti Reiss and Johanna Pfab started forming the aims, principles and core ideas behind their winter community experiment/working space. With the dates of 8th January - 19th March set, a closed Facebook group was created. We started about the task of inviting friends and co-workers, who we believed would have an interest in working on the project with us, or at the very least have similar and complementing projects in the name of synergie. With Andrei’s experience in using and teaching Sociocracy 3.0 and Participatory Facilitation and other core-team members having been trained in and/or have experience in using/been lead in various practices such as; Possibility Management, NVC, Dragon Dreaming and Deep Democracy, Process Work and with core-team members having completed EDE’s and PDC’s, we felt confident that our time in Valle would be productive and we were well equipped to hold whatever space was needed when the inevitable challenges of community living arose. So here we go! Thanks to a tremendous amount of work by Arne Bollinger (founder and project manager of ecobasa) over the past few years, already exists and is working up to full functionality (we would recommend checking out the amazing map in particular). Over the past two summers there have been a number of successful community-tours using the platform and the feedback coming back (from both the communities and the tours) has been very positive. Communities/projects reported energy boosts from the visiting tours, travellers found long-term connections and commitments with communities/projects, and skills and knowledge were gifted. Our Goal A network of communities and projects using the gift economy model to share and exchange; information, knowledge and both human and material resources. Communities/projects and individuals will be able to establish and support each other through their current stages of development. Through using the practices of gift-. We will collect them and work closely with the communities gift ambassadors to implement things like gift-shops and gift-markets in the communities and to effectively coordinate the volunteers. Call to Action Under the title of ‘Gift Ambassadors’ we are looking for people willing to be the visible connection between their community/project and the wider network. They should: Be well settled within their community/project. Have good English speaking and writing skills. Have tangible support in their community/project to represent it in the growing network. The community/project should understand the Ambassador will be working to build a culture of collaboration through gift-economy, both inside of their community/project and within the network as a whole. Have reliable internet and phone connection. Be willing to commit between 5-20 hours per month. Also if you feel or think you have other skills etc that can help us in our journey please don’t hesitate to contact us to offer your support. e.g of helpful skills: Web or graphics design Social media outreach experience Video Editing Creative/journalistic writing skills Use your imagination!! Financial support and donations are needed and very welcome. Any money donated will go towards supporting the internet platform development and/or directly supporting the team. The team are currently donating all of their time and even paying out of their own pocket while working on the project, in Valle de Sensaciones and otherwise. Achim is supporting us himself by reducing the costs of being in Valle to a bare minimum. Through a combination of work-exchange and the spirit of gift-economy he has worked to make our stay as affordable as possible. Contact us Johanna Pfab looks after our communications, you can contact her on Facebook or email her at More info: For more information on ecobasa please visit and Like! us on Facebook at For information on Valle de Sensaciones please visit or email Written by: Jake Jay-Lewin and Johanna Pfab