Yosser, that was really interesting to read! Also interesting: Is this the beginning of a larger trend towards communal spaces in MENA region countries? We have come across several early-stage initiatives over the last weeks … maybe the timing is right for this type of community organizing / community self-management now.
At Edgeryders, we’d certainly welcome it As Hazem mentioned, we are pushing some ideas around for a network of “OpenVillage houses” – all independent spaces of different kinds and with different names, all managing their own economic sustainability, but also supporting each other in the network.
Not sure how relevant / attractive this sounds for your initiative, but let me make a guess: Medenine probably suffers from brain drain as many of the young folks who go to college in the north will stay there, or even go abroad. Though on a different scale, it’s the same problem draining rural areas of young people, all drawn to big city life. But then, big city life is not what it seems either: lots of pollution, traffic, high expenses compared to earnings etc… So what an international support network of communal spaces could do is, to become a way for making rural life and life in smaller cities attractive again, countering the brain drain. In addition it could help in cross-cultural understanding through frequent visits.
I don’t imagine it would be that hard:
- All communal spaces in the network agree on a simple way how people from the OpenVillage network can visit other communal spaces. Ideally, no rent has to be paid for guest rooms, as all spaces would agree to host people in return. A free and open source, web based resource scheduling software can be used for the whole network to “book” a place as a visitor. Of course, some kind of reputation system is needed to manage trust between people who never met.
- Create and tune instructions for “effortless travel” between the different OpenVillage houses, including tips and tricks for obtaining visa, templates for visa invitation letters, lists of low-cost travel options, ride sharing coordination.
- Actively look for groups of people with interesting initiatives (both cultural, tech and entrepreneurial) who want to work from varying places in the network in a way that provides a good amount of engagement with locals.
- Develop a manual, including instructions for tools to build, for “creating your own decent life”. I like your vision to make the feeling of the space “home-like”, and whatever contributes to that could be documented to let others achieve the same. In addition, tips for events etc. to “create your own fun” where it’s not provided by the living environment.
But maybe I’m just naive, since I’m not a city dweller anyway. So, feedback welcome!