A former Gaia Education student’s path to becoming a changemaker


Meet Monica Picavêa – a former Gaia Education graduate who is following her path as a change agent. This Brazilian EDE Graduate sets up prize-winning B-Corp and is nominated Rockefeller Foundation Social Innovation Fellow.

Changing the World one Community at a Time

Monica Picavêa has been volunteering in social and humanitarian projects since 1989, monitoring the development of traditional and low income communities. Monica is a Journalism and Marketing post-graduate with a MBus from Baldwin Wallace, Ohio – USA. In 2008, Monica attended a Gaia Education Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) course, in São Paulo, and later that year, participated on the Training of Trainers in Findhorn, Scotland. Since 2010 Monica Picavêa has been facilitating the social and economic dimensions of Gaia Education certified programmes in Brazil.

Ever since I took my EDE, Gaia Education became one of the most special roots of my work. Especially the social dimension. Gaia Education has helped me to see both the world and interventions in a more systemic way, it added much value to my work. I believe that Gaia Education brings more than skills – it helps us to tap into the wisdom of our ancestors, and the methodological approaches to support us to make the knowledge applicable to our own reality.

Today Monica is a change agent and sustainability designer. Her company Oficina da Sustentabilidade works with Education for Sustainability and development of social and environmental programmes for companies and vulnerable communities. Oficina da Sustentabilidade aims to help businesses, communities and the society as a whole to reinvent themselves in collaboration. All the profits are invested back into low income communities.

We help people and companies to have a better relationship and to create more meaningful relations with each other and with the environment.

Monica is also the founder and president of the Brazilian Institute of Transition Studies (IBEST), which manages the Brazilian hub of the Transition Town Movement. IBEST provides support in strengthening environmental and social resilience in cities and provides support for groups who wish to start a transition process. Subsequently, she has been working as a Coordinator in a Reconomy Project, currently running in 12 countries, which maps companies supporting the transition to a more sustainable economy.

Monica has developed her own methodologies for social and environmental programmes, particularly adapted to Brazil, which have been recognised by Transition Towns Network as a contribution for resilience of poor communities. She is an official trainer of the International Transition Towns Movement, capable of training people to start the resilience processes and programmes in their own geographical areas.

Due to all this incredible work she has carried out and the positive ripple effect she helped to create in Brazil, Monica was chosen as a Fellow for ‘The Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Program on Social Innovation 2016’. The objective of the Fellowship program is to help entrepreneurs to have greater impact and give them an opportunity to scale-up their action in their native countries.

I believe that being a company that creates a better world and makes a difference in people’s lives is something that fulfills the heart. I am involved in many projects with the objective of creating resilience and support for a new way of living, with less impact, more collaboration, more purpose in life and relations. These are the big objectives of my life.

Check out photos of Monica’s inspirational work here.


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