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College for International Cooperation and Development, England

 Lockdown Life At CICD

One of our learning centres – College for International Cooperation and Development (CICD) is located in rural England. Despite the constraints of the lockdown they managed to keep high spirits and remain active during the pandemic. Their approach of being “divided together” is inspiring for all of us.

 

The community at the school is a living example of how adapting to circumstances and preserving a positive and creative mindset can make a huge difference during a crisis. They also remind us of the important lessons this pandemic is giving to humanity and how a sustainable lifestyle can benefit our future.

Divided Together

In a time of a global pandemic a small community like CICD is truly privileged. The learning centre is situated in a rural area with plenty of space for indoors and outdoors activities. It is safe and self-sufficient.

To minimize the risk of the virus sticking them the people at the school organized themselves into three separate groups to limit social interaction but still stay together. There is enough space in the park around the school for all of them to be able to conduct activities and keep working while being “divided together”.

The three groups feature 1) The Development Instructors (volunteers in training and teachers), 2) The Gaia Team group (the scholarship team and teachers), and 3) the people who are not part of teams.

Life Goes On

The people at CICD have their daily life and meals together but each group has separate facilities for their tasks and a schedule for using the gym and community areas.

Training and preparation are still in progress – classes, practical action, workshops, gardening, etc. still need to be done on a regular basis. What has changed is that investigations, field trips, as well as Open Days at the school have been cancelled until travelling and large gatherings are safe again.

Naturally, it is not certain when projects in Africa and India for Humana People to People will resume again but the teams are actively preparing for whenever this happens.

Keeping High Spirits

The community at CICD is not allowing the pandemic to destroy their lifestyle and stop them from enjoying life at the learning centre. They are an example that we can adapt to circumstances and find ways to stay productive and also have fun.

Last weekend there was a cosy bonfire night – the big enough space around the school allowed the community to designate three separate areas so social distancing protocol can still be followed but everyone could enjoy their time together.

Learned Lessons

The global crisis has been a disastrous phenomenon but it also taught humanity a lot of valuable lessons. Hopefully, we will learn from what we have experienced and once the virus outbreak is under control we can make a positive change in our lifestyle instead of rushing to our old ways. The damage we are doing to our only home will soon take its toll on us unless we do something to improve the situation.

We have all seen the positive effects isolation and the pause of global mass production in factories has had on the environment – the cleaner air in most countries and the flourishing of flora and fauna free from our pollution and exploitation say a lot.

The takeaways that the people at CICD have made also show us important findings. Our society is organized in a very unsustainable way putting our world in misbalance.

We are so dependent on different goods and foods (sadly, mostly filled with chemicals and preservatives) transported between all parts of the world. As much as this is “making the world connected and available” for everyone it is also strongly impacting the environment, speeding up the climate catastrophe, and also making people vulnerable and dependent on unstainable approaches.

These vulnerability and dependence are evident when a crisis like the COVID-19 hits us.

Sustainability As A Necessary Alternative

At CICD students and teachers adopt sustainable lifestyle principles and use the big garden farm and park to learn how to grow their own food and minimize waste. They also follow recycling protocol, conscious consumption, and eco-friendly everyday lifestyle.

Of course, not all of us have a big gardening space and the possibility to grow our own food. But that is why local and small scale food production exists – it provides organic, healthy, and nature-friendly production that does not harm the environment or people’s health. Agroecology and permaculture present a better alternative to monoculture and mass production. The latter is only a temporary solution bringing lots of profit at the cost of environmental destruction and toxic chemicals and fertilizers entering our bodies.

As CICD puts it – “To grow food is to believe in the future”. The key is finding the right way to utilize space, soil, and resources in a sustainable way.

College for International Cooperation and Development, England

To grow food is to believe in the future

Where the quality of life goes down for the environment, the quality of life goes down for humans. 

– George Holland

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College for International Cooperation and Development, England

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