The Vital Village Model

I’m very happy that I’ve managed to attend the SensAbility conference. It was a really nice conference, especially because of one amazing workshop. It was called vital village. The vital village project was presented and then discussed. It is one of the best concepts for sustainable business I’ve ever heard about. And it was definitely the most holistic one. The project will start in South and Central America, but the same basic principles apply for every single village community. The main goal of the project is to sustainably improve the life of the native people.

The first and most important point is the involvement principle. Everyone who is interested in the project can invest money in it and can decide how the project will go on. I like this principle of openness. And no matter how much money you will invest and how many shares you will buy, you will always have only one vote. It is because the project is going to function in the legal form of a collective. Important are the shareholders and not the amount of the shares. On the other hand, when you invest, you automatically obtain some land or in the village and can use it for farming or to build a small house. Or you can give the land to someone else who wants to use it. This means that you always have the possibility to not only invest in the project but to be a real part of it and live together with other natives and international shareholders together. So this project is not only local, but also international and enables an enhanced cultural and idea exchange. That’s really important, because as we’ve already heard most innovation and inventions happen in the village. So we actually create not only a village, but a innovation lab.

On the other had the project puts a lot of value on the relationship between the participants. The collective acts as a relationship manager for the whole project and between different similar projects. And on the same time as a service provider for the projects. Thus the synergies between the different projects are used. We have a kind of communication between such villages all over the world which gives the whole project additional value. The collective can use the amount of money it has at some point in different project and give it to different villages who need it at this time. Thus money is optimal used in the collective. I find this notion extremely important because money has no purpose if it only stays somewhere. It must be used there, where it is needed at the moment. At the same time the collective will give some dividends to its investment. This will be not the real return, but just a part of it in order to have enough money to put in new projects and better help and suit the needs of the natives.

I’ve said that the project is sustainable, because it concerns different aspects of the everyday life – personal and cultural transformation, education and life-long learning, renewable energy, optimal use of the resources, traditional and modern healthcare, handcrafts and many more. All of this is needed in the everyday life. The stress is set on the combination of traditional values, techniques and knowledge and some modern technology. Let give you one example. One of the reasons why villages are starving is that they produce only simple good without processing them further. Thus someone else outside the community is making profit by processing the initial products to an end product. In the vital village project the whole or at least the biggest part of the process chain will take place in the village, which will profit directly from it and will enable bigger returns.

As you can see, if you follow some simple rules, you can create some great communities. The simple idea in the project is that you create a whole community and not only a profit orientated organisation.