Gaia Jovem: harnessing the power and vitality of youth

Gaia Jovem is the pilot project for implementing the Gaia Education pedagogy with youth in Brazil.

By Aline Satyan, facilitator of Gaia Jovem Brazil |

young man behind hand crafted larket stall

In the transition from mere ‘sustainability’ to a ‘regenerative culture’ perspective, youth is a key factor. The future is for them and we, as facilitators, need to be led and directed by the inspirations and drivers of young people of the world.

The Gaia Jovem project emerged from the Ecovillage Design Education programme, through the work of a group of experienced, committed and sensitive educators who adapted GE’s 4D curriculum content to suit how youth sees and articulates their world.

During 2017 we discovered a whole universe of possibilities for how to apply Gaia Education’s principles beyond the 4D curriculum itself, edging closer to youth’s own objectives. This method is what we call a ‘permaculture methodology’, based on observation of, and interaction with, what the field revealed to us. Thus, the new Gaia Jovem programme emerged before our eyes as an integrated cycle: Learning (EDE, Gaia Jovem University) – Action (Gaia Jovem in Action, Gaia Jovem on the Road) – Reconnection (Yearly Festival, Weekly Pulse).

By understanding these new the pedagogic possibilities, we recognise that Gaia Jovem is no longer a programme, but a space held for youth to simply ‘be’. Finally, rather than giving them the responsibility of fixing a world whose destruction was not their fault, what these young people expect from us is simply to be there, to host a field for their own solutions to emerge.

As an EDE aimed particularly at young people, the design project, during which the youth could apply abilities and skills gained during the programme, was one of the most important tools for learning. Running projects in their own communities was not only a way to practise design for sustainability but also a means to anchor Gaia’s ‘fire’ deep within them during the weeks between the immersive modules. We observed that it also created a sense of place, of belonging – not only to the wonderful world of Gaia, but also to their communities, where they could make a difference after the programme finishes.

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