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Training Course 'Mystical Sustainable Village'

What: Training Course on Sustainability

When: 12th – 18th July, 2012

Where: Quintandona, Penafiel, Portugal

Who: Organização para Promoção dos Ecoclubes (Portuguese ENGO youth movement working on environmental protection) (YEE Member Organisation)

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An international group of 13 youth environmental volunteers lived in Quintandona, Penafiel, Portugal, 12-18th July 2012 to learn and live on a 'sustainable local living' way.
The group, representing NGOs and environmental organisations from Albania, Latvia, Georgia, Armenia, Czech Republic and Portugal spent 7 days in this preserved small village. Mystical Sustainable Village allowed to reforce the bond between OPE youth volunteers and other YEE member organizations.

Naturally, village rural lifestyle provides a more active and healthy way of being, due to the different practical tasks and direct contact with nature, part of the daily routine of villagers, in addition to all the cultural part that nourishes body and mind (theater, crafts and music).
Mystical Sustainable Village TC was designed to allow participants the opportunity to experience Quintandona traditions and way of being, usual things that survive the modernity of the ages. This course was highlighted by a strong practical component because in all the visits participants could experience the management of the art's typical instruments, always helped by artisans, whose importance of existence played a key role. Sustainability was thus presented as a set of interactions between the arts, their functions and their natural evolution, promoting jobs diversity as an crucial for a sustainable living on the village.
This chosen working method where participants could circulate throughout the village, allowed them to communicate with local people. Several times participants were approached by locals, curious about the work that was being developed.

The whole bound of activities along the training course intensified its practical skills; initially, all countries described their villages, being after invited to mix their perspectives to create a model of a sustainable village. Then, participants had the opportunity to visit different places to learn about diverse village skills. On the last days, the intervention of the various participants in agricultural land, practicing organic farming, allowed them to obtain a more intensive training in some of the village tasks. This practical component has been complemented by a theoretical approach, with discussions on the activities, presentations and partner group's intervention, like the testimony of a member of the Transition Movement of Paredes, nearby region. All this experience allowed participants to base concepts on sustainable living and evaluate benefits and losses of a rural experiences.
This TC was involved by sociocultural activities and team-building dynamics, allowing participants to know each other, share experiences and skills. This was a very important for participants to build and strengthen team spirit and the exchange between cultures.
The knowledge of the region, both geographical and cultural, was secured through site visits included in the Romanesque Route, Penafiel municipal museum and village pathways, as well as activities (theater, traditional nights and bagpipes) by local associations partners, like Associação para o Desenvolvimento de Lagares and the local theater group ComoDEantes.

Mystical Sustainable Village was an excellent promoter off a proactive way of action considering different environmental issues, based on the exploitation of sustainable practices of living in a village on the basis of old knowledge that suffered innovation among the ages. All activities involved a very large and diverse sharing, encouraging a high understanding between all participants coming from different countries. During field labor was evident the commitment of all participants in an attempt to meet with common ancestral origins, which promoted the union of the group. In addition, many new practices experienced, but usefull and valuable worldwide, were only possible to realize with a work of honest cooperation.
This TC fully achieved its main objectives - preservation of traditional wisdom and values, transposition to contemporary living on a new sustainability concept and understand the mystique of a place like Quintandona). Participants showed every day a clear enthusiasm on learning and communicate with craftsmen who still lives and works and this was the way they found to entirely appreciate village itself.
Running this TC on a preserved village in need of new residents was the key for all participans understand the value that villages have anywhere in the world, and how it is important and easy to live and work daily connected to nature.

TC was coordinated by OPE – Organização para Promoção dos Ecoclubes, with the support of the Youth and Environment Europe. It was funded by the European Youth in Action Programme.

Participating organisations:

Participants came from a wide range of organisations including:

  • Balta Daba (Latvia)
  • Stepanavan Youth Center (Armenia)
  • Alliance for Society Advancement (Georgia)
  • EDEN (Albania)
  • Konopa and Hnuti Brontosaurus (Czech Republic)

Impressions from participants:

'I participated in this project as part of the organization team. I really enjoyed the whole dynamic which we developed. I believe that all participants left enhanced by sharing our cultures. The set of activities was well received by all. The goals set for the training course were fulfilled. The exchange of experience was very enriching, I am convinced that everyone was happy. I hope we can repeat similar projects!'
José Araújo, OPE, Portugal

'Training conducted in Quintadona was a very nice experience and also very valuable. We learned many things that we put in practice in our daily life. Creating masks, making hand carpets, bread and building solar oven was very interesting and very attractive for us and using these practical things is funny for children in different activities.
From Quintadiona we left with the best impressions and exceeded our expectations - people were very caring and hospitable. Very dedicated staff. We spent 5 wonderful days and full of new things. Each day was different from the other day. Working in groups was fruitful and participants were more open to new ideas. We remained fascinated by nature and architecture of the houses. I hope that this initiative will not stop here but to continue in having other training like this one we had.'
Albana Bregaj, EDEN Center, Albania


Photos from the project

Financial support:

The project was held in the frame of Youth in Action Programme. We would like to thank the European Commission for the financial support.

Youth in Action EACEA            Youth In Action Logo

Contact person: For more information contact Helena Sousa, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.