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Village Earth

A Different Way of Thinking About Development, Praxis and Humanization

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Around the world, wealth is measured in many ways. There is  a diversity of  definitions of what it means to be well-off, for example, the country of Bhutan has a measurement of Gross National  Happiness as opposed to the usual Gross Domestic Product as a measurement of how well a country is doing.  Development always entails looking at other worlds in terms of what they lack, and obstructs the wealth of indigenous alternatives. Instead of the never-ending concept of “development”, many of the indigenous movements of Latin America have adopted an Aymara concept called suma qamaña–living well, not better.

So then what is development when we at Village Earth use the phrase?  We see development as a process of humanization, a part of the decolonization process outlined by great thinkers like Fanon, Escobar, and Freire. It is not a paternalistic ‘we feel sorry for you’. And through a Community Praxis Model we practice “reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it”. Oftentimes, do-gooders are the elite in themselves defining development and it’s their dialogue.  So how do we encourage and promote the dialogue of local indigenous conceptions of development? Through community-based solutions and social movements.

If you would like to learn more about these concepts, please join us for upcoming courses such as Community Mobilization, Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation, and Participatory Water Resource Management. 

Upcoming Courses in the Village Earth/CSU Online Certificate Program in Community-Based Development

Summer I Session

GSLL 1524 – Social Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development

This course will examine entrepreneurship and enterprise generation as a key foundation of the development of both economic and social capital, as well as individual and community empowerment. Its main emphasis will be the exploration of entrepreneurship with an imperative to drive social change and build sustainable ventures.

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Spring II Session

GSLL 1507 – Tourism and Development

This course will explore successful tourism initiatives as well as problematic initiatives. We will critically examine the nature of tourism, its impacts on communities and considerations that must be taken into account in order for a tourism project to have the desired impact of pursuing a local vision for development without destroying.

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Spring II Session

GSLL 1517 – Community-Based Organizing

Taking a practical “hands-on” perspective, this course will explore the theories, tools, styles and challenges of community-based organizing. It will discuss practical strategies for developing community leadership and working with marginalized communities, exploring the ideas and examples from Evo Morales, Paulo Freire, Saul Alinsky, Sub-Comandante Marcos, the Bridge Immigrant Rights experiment and Martin Heidegger.

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