Better World Portugal / Mundo Melhor Portugal
There is a growing understanding in the ecological movement that sowing seeds of economic opportunity today for youth can greatly improve human welfare and environmental benefits tomorrow. This is why intentional communities such as ecovillages allow for innovation and experimentation, from where best practices, ideas, and solutions within communities and networks emerge.
Intentional communities equally strengthen participatory governance of natural resources in the landscapes and ecosystems, thereby bringing forth a sustainable development of people, especially the youth within these communities, and above all an equal distribution of wealth.
In the wake of social depression due to the genocidal war in Cameroon and other hotspots in Africa:
- What can a young person do to feel relevant?
- How can he/she be the change he/she desires for society?
- What does it take to dream again when life’s storms throw the youth off its course?
- How do we transcend the circumstances of a government military junta perpetrating gross human rights violations on the youth we consider the future? (According to the UN High Commission for Refugees [see report here], there are 50,000 Cameroonian young refugees in Nigeria and over 500,000 internally displaced people [IDPs], 10,000 were killed and extra judiciary killings are going on a daily basis.)
These and many other questions are the reasons behind the stifling economic decline, not only in Cameroon but in the entire African continent. These youth keep looking to the West for pathways to a future or solutions to problems they believe their home countries can’t offer them.
The questions we are seeking to answer are, therefore:
- How can youth around the world with socio-political handicaps, collaborate and create meaningful change out of small opportunities, like the one being offered by Better World?
- How can they achieve their ultimate potential whilst feeling useful?
- How can they connect with other young people and together build skill sets and gain knowledge about impact-creating activities?
- Above all, How can they see themselves as being inclusive to the challenge and not being passive; by feeling responsible on all levels, towards offering different solutions to the different challenges?
We envision the project to be based on an Intercultural Platform for Youth, set up to provide a space for young experts from different fields and regions across the world, to connect with their colleagues in the Global South. With this, we intend to widen their knowledge and to have them share their expertise in sustainable and regenerative lifestyles.
This platform is modelled after our BWC and Tamera hands-on learning programs respectively, designed to :
- Align Better World’s culture of reconnecting youth to the land in support of Tamera’s operational and strategic objective of Living Biotopes;
- Develop a uniquely tailored curriculum which consists of programs that fulfill the needs of both the young people from the Global North and those of the Global South;
- Reshaping young people’s understanding of Regenerative Education and Sustainability.
The goal is to empower the youth to not only realize the importance of combining Indigenous Knowledge Systems with modern technology, but also to acknowledge them as necessary tools for learning and creating the connections/networks which are necessary to their emancipation as young entrepreneurs and Bio-Regional Social Innovators.
Furthermore, we see the possibility of artistic professionals playing a major role in the dissemination and widespread adoption of our concept. Young artists, in a general sense, have been known to be the trendsetters and often the trailblazers of new concepts and movements. Young artists can also play a big part in strengthening the evidence-based implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Our program will help to narrow the gap between the risk of poverty and unemployment.
In addition, the platform aims to promote capacity building through Mentoring programs. In practice, these are Business Incubation Hubs designed to showcase the use of Innovative Volunteering as a tool towards the acquisition and learning of new ideas and skills, as well as the development of innate talent.
In this way, our program will go a long way to provide opportunities for these young experts to showcase their research and valuable contributions to self-employment and its potential in the creation of Social Entrepreneurial projects and Green Businesses. Thus, the platform is designed so as to trigger international, interdisciplinary and inter-generational collaboration among youth, as well as with other professional institutions and experts working in the field of Sustainable Development.
Basically, we are dragon dreaming a young entrepreneurship road map to enhance our BWC Youth Entrepreneurship and Green Technologies Ecovillage concept as a Salvation Plan of Refugees and IDPs. With this, it is our goal to advocate the contribution of African youth and the Diaspora towards the reality of the ‘Utopian Goal Culture’, which directly falls in line with Better World’s framework of “Permaculture the African Way”, courses and programs.
An example of this is our Youth Eco-entrepreneurship programme which has been successfully carried out and, on its way, propelled a team of Better World budding entrepreneurs unto the local scene. That happened before the escalation of the genocidal war between French Cameroun and Ambazonia.
Our long-term vision is to grow and eventually become a Cross-Cultural Summer School in the form of University of Light, Bafut. We are therefore designing this platform to be an integral part of the Eco-Social Relief Activities of BWC Tamera and of Social Innovation organizations willing to join us in this period of crisis. Our plan is to provide this team with a Training of Trainers (TOT) program as a means of empowering other young change agents in the Global South to start looking beyond the destruction, suffering, pain, anguish, and agony which they have been going through since the Berlin Conference.
We have been working for over two years now on Bafut Healing Biotope and Youth Resettlement Centre as a replicable concept. This is because we are well too aware of the staggering number of young people displaced, both internally and externally, by the crisis in Cameroon and the other hotspots in Africa. They all need a healthy, safe and nurturing environment to return to if we manage to end the current crisis in Africa.
This program and many more centres to be created would be those places where they can begin to heal from the trauma and to look into the future with hope, human dignity and enthusiasm.
Better World Portugal’s primary goal is to serve as Ndanifor’s SDGs implementation portal, using the established Sustainable Development Goals as a guideline to create growth in African villages and communities.
Grassroots community projects in Africa are often framed in very narrow and specific ways. Alongside our Partners, we designed (and constantly revise) our ‘Transitioning African Villages to Resilience’ programme with an open mind and an open heart. We keep looking broadly for more cooperation partners, with the wish to establish partnerships with all corners of the world.
The SDGs for us contain the essential ingredients for ethical business and provides our youth leaders with a concise yet comprehensive overview of:
- What the SDGs are
- Why they are so important in Sustainable Development
- The role that ‘Permaculture the African Way’ has to play in realizing them
- The opportunities that the SDGs represent for South-North Partnerships
- How individuals and civil society can get more involved
Successful engagement of the youth and women empowerment are sacred targets for us to successfully scale up our efforts of transitioning Ndanifor Permaculture to Bafut Ecovillage, during the critical decade ahead of us.
Our first step is, therefore, to be available to mentorship from project sympathizers, who will then seek for appropriate Partners, Mentors and other Human Resources who share the same worldview as us – that despite the borders that may separate us, we are essentially human beings who need love in order to thrive and make the world a better place for all that lives.
This is where we see International Development Agencies, Humanitarian Relief and Sustainability platforms plugging into our Peace Villages concept. They have already shared with us this vision in the past. This time we place more emphasis on the reintegration of refugees into a functional society. The skills these people will acquire through this peacebuilding platform will inevitably empower them to become the respectable human beings they are meant to be.
What this means for the platform could be that constituent members and Mundo Melhor become a kind of founding consortium members of the network. And, thereafter, decide if membership to the platform should be made open to any interested young persons, social innovators, artists, scientists and institutions interested in regenerative education, or what the general requirements for adhesion should be.
We are starting 2020 with renewed commitment that our bold ambition to create eco-entrepreneurs in Africa will meet the expectations of the international community. We envisage start-ups of African youth Agencies in Europe & North America that provide non-formal education learning resources for youth workers and organize Training of Trainers (ToTs) programs and contact-making activities to support South-North Cooperation.
Joshua Konkankoh and Koh Herman