I spent eight month of the year 2012 as a member of the long-term community at the Panya Project, a Permaculture Education Centre and Intentional Community near Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. As it was partly my duty to be an educator and Permaculture facilitator as well as a student I decided with my girlfriend Lucie to design our passing-on of Permaculture knowledge.
Besides the usual facilitation of working sessions with the volunteers who came to stay at the Panya Project, the organising of skill shares to become more comfortable in sharing our knowledge and the occasional facilitation of a session on other people’s or community run courses we took the opportunity to organise and run a couple of courses ourselves.
Assessing the skills and experiences we thought that we would both be most comfortable in holding the space for a Yoga Retreat as our first course as main facilitators/teachers. As we’ve got a deep interest in the connection between body, mind, soul as well as our awareness for the Earth and interconnection with other beings we decided to integrate the dimension of Earth awareness into our Retreat. This connection between personal awareness and deep observation of our surroundings links the topic back to the main function of the Panya Project, which is the dissemination of Permaculture and sustainability.
As a second course we combined our passionate interest and experiences in community living and the social change movement to organise a Mini Ecovillage Design Education, inspired by the curriculum of the Global Ecovillage Network’s one month long Ecovillage Design Education which I participated in in August 2011 in Sieben Linden, Germany. We chose to organise this course only after having completed the Yoga Retreat and agreeing that it would be beneficial for us to implement our insights from the first course and act on people’s feedback on our effort.
For this reason I find it helpful, even though these two courses are two separate designs for the Diploma, to see them the second one as a progression of the first one. Acting again after the reflection completes at least one circle of the action learning process (see picture).