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24 Alternatives to University and Design School in Africa and Australasia

(Updated January 2014)

WORLDWIDE

Ecovillage Design Education
Gaia Education “helps people become designers and agents of transformation in their existing communities, institutions and neighbourhoods”. A variety of site-specific and virtual courses is offered in different parts of the world. See also their Facebook page.

AFRICA

The Grail Centre, Cape Town, South Africa
Training for Transformation is designed for community development workers. The programme links local and national initiatives to the global civic movement. and draws on Paulo Freire’s theory of adult education with other critical thinkers in the same field such as Rivo Tivo.

Kufunda Learning Village, Zimbabwe
Participants undertake a personal leadership journey and gain an overview of practical skills for sustainable living based on Kufunda’s expertise in the areas of organic farming, health and wellness (growing and processing herbs), eco-building, and the basics of renewable energy. See also this article. 

Living Routes – study abroad in ecovillages
Ecovillages are ecological communities that provide ideal campuses for students to learn about real-world issues including sustainable development, green building, organic agriculture and women’s empowerment. Partner ecovillages that host Living Routes programs are: EcoYoff (Senegal) Ecoversidade (Brazil) Huehuecoyotl (Mexico) Kibbutz Lotan (Israel) Oroverde (Peru) Sadhana Forest (India)  Sirius Community (USA) .

Agroecology Training In Africa
Masvingo District, Zimbabwe: “We are 47 people from 22 organizations in 18 countries (Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Central African Republic, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Portugal, USA, France, and Germany)”. Farmers and staff represent member organizations of La Via Campesina and its allies.

Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch, South Africa
An international living and learning centre with a focus on “studies and experience in ecology, community and spirit. Associated with Lynedoch EcoVillage; an emerging ecologically designed socially mixed community.

Makerere University Institute of Environment and Natural Resources
In Kampala, Uganda. Its mission is to build capacity through training and research for environmental and natural resources management responsive to national and global needs.

SOUTH ASIA

India, Centre for Environment Education [CEE]
Created in recognition of the importance of environmental education in India’s overall environment and development strategy. CEE was established as a Centre of Excellence in 1984, and has developed and produced over 450 educational resources for a variety of target groups, and in more than 20 languages.

Barefoot College
Established in 1972, the Barefoot College is a non-government organisation that has provides basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities, with the objective of making them self-sufficient and sustainable. These ‘Barefoot solutions’ can be broadly categorised into solar energy, water, education, health care, rural handicrafts, people’s action, communication, women’s empowerment and wasteland development.

Auroville (near Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, Southern India)
Auroville Volunteering, Internships & Studies programme welcomes the participation of students and volunteers from around the world.

Navdanya (Dehradun, Uttaranchal, India)
Educational initiative Bija Vidyapeeth, at the Navdanya Organic Farm, offers a unique opportunity to explore and practise the art and science of sustainability based on the principles of sustainability and diversity, in the peaceful, pollution- free setting of Doon Valley. Navdanya means nine crops that represent India’s collective source of food security. Navdanya started as a program of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), a participatory research initiative founded by world-renowned scientist and environmentalist Dr. Vandana Shiva, to provide direction and support to environmental activism”.

Phillipines

Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences
Silliman University Marine Laboratory (SUML) was established as a research facility of the University in 1974. Its basic concern is the marine environment and its resources and users. Researches in taxonomy, biology, conservation, management, and feasible mariculture are conducted.

South Korea 

Global Academy For Future Civilizations
The Academy aims to achieve a human-centered Global Cooperation Society and a future-oriented Global Common Society. Systematic research, education, and practice based on universal values of freedom, equality, peace, and mutual prosperity.

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

Urmadic University
I’m not 100% sure whether this entity is place-based – but it has Australian roots, so here it is. The website promises that “travellers will confront trials to the body and soul, the wrath of the deep, the seduction of images, conflict with the un-makers and the ravages of nihilism, as well as the discovery of new pleasures and friendships”.

Crystal Waters College
A small indepenent holistic design college situated within a multi-award-winning ecovillage – Crystal Waters Permaculture Village. It enables people to become part of the solution. Short residential programs for all age groups.

Oases for Transformative Learning, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia
Accredited Integrative and Transformative Studies based on the whole person in their whole world. Unique for learning models that embody and support self awareness and relationship as prerequisites for transformative living.

School of Social Ecology and Lifelong Learning, Sydney
A transdisciplinary school at University of Western Sydney offering a MA in Social Ecology that explores the dynamic interrelationships between the personal, social, environmental and ‘spiritual’. Unique for offering education for cultural action, transformative learning and applied spirituality, within the university.

Griffith School of Environment, Nathan, Queensland
A pioneer in Australia of undergraduate environmental studies based on the integration of bio-physical and social sciences.Interdisciplinary approach and the problem-solving methods are used in teaching, together with skills development in communication, computing, quantitative methods and natural and social sciences.

Ethos Foundation http://www.ethosfoundation.org/Australia
A sustainability learning and earthcare organisation with the mission to cultivate effective new thinking, values and action for positive, ecologically sustainable futures. Education and learning programs across the local community and bioregion.

Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES) Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
CERES is located on 4.5 hectares on the banks of the Merri Creek, in East Brunswick, close to Melbourne’s centre. CERES runs on renewable energy, is a 55 tonne carbon sink, conserves and recycles its water and waste, grows organic food, and teaches diverse audiences about more just and environmentally friendly ways of living.

School of Social Ecology and Lifelong Learning, University of Western Sydney
This transdisciplinary Master of Arts (Social Ecology) explores the dynamic interrelationships between the personal, social, environmental and spiritual. Key theme areas include cultural action, sustainability education, ethical leadership, organisational development, transformative learning and applied spirituality.

Social and Sacred Ecology Centre, Queensland
An “elders’ service” that includes being mentor, coach, facilitator, listener, assessor, enabler and truth-teller or shaman. Jointly facilitated groups and workshops, drawing from the fields of ecopsychology, personal development and team and relationship-building. We are resident members of the Moora Moora Cooperative community which we co founded in 1972.

The Change Agency, West End, Queensland
Training and facilitation programs and resources to hundreds of community groups working for social and environmental justice and thousands of individual community activists.

New Zealand

Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin
The Centre for Sustainable Practice serves as an incubator for sustainable practice education, provides consultancy services, conducts research into sustainable products and services and host seminars and events including the What’s Best? Expo.   

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