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Ecovillage “Oko Wa”

Building up an ecovillage for returnees in Nigeria (Africa) to provide information on the consequences and dangers of migration.

Photo of burkhard pranke
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Written by

What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Lack of access to both modern methods of farming and the competition with the market of the European Union have discouraged young people from farming in countries like Nigeria. The result is a shortage of food in rural areas and an increase in the number of young people migrating from the rural areas to the urban cities in search of white collar jobs which are not available. Many of these young people end up in the streets of big cities and make up their minds to follow the advice of human traffickers to seek for better lives in Europe. Depending on clients the human traffickers use any lie, like getting jobs easily in Europe, to persuade them. The refugees ask families and friends for financial contributions to be able to pay for the travel. Most of them end up becoming stranded on their way to Europe and some face deportation as soon as they arrive in countries like Germany without proper documents. Others become slaves in Lybia or die in the Sahara desert or the Mediterranean Sea (acc. to major news outlets app. 20000 in the last seven years). Those who manage to get to their destination end up in refugee camps, after applying for asylum. The process in which this application is been dealt with by governmental agencies may take years. Some refugees have the chance to learn the local language or even get other training, some don't. Women often end up as prostitutes, men often work without papers illegally. Despite seeing their search for a better life as a failure, they sent as much money home as they are able to and report back home that everything works well for them. This and the persuasion tacticts of the human traffickers lead to a vicious circle with refugees risking their live to come to Europe over and over again. Returnees shall share their experience about being refugees, i.e. about how they got into leaving their home country, being persuaded by traffickers, their journey, its dangers and their lives as refugees in their countries of destination.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

An outskirt of Ibadan, Nigeria (to be identified)

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

The Ecovillage “Oko Wa” shall re-connect returnees with their home country. Many refugees are desillusioned about their perspectives in the places they fled to. Moreover they are often they are not allowed to work and face deportation back to their home countries, The returnees shall share their experience about being refugees, and learn how to contribute with their acquired knowledge and abilities to the Ecovillage itself and/or society in general

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Perspectives for the future, returning in dignity: The Ecovillage “Oko Wa” shall give both returnees and locals a perspective in their lives. It shall give refugees a possibility to return in dignity to their home country. The village shall be a transit station for returnees to their homes in Nigeria and to other countries in Africa. Food, clean water for the people in need: The inhabitants shall grow their own food and provide people in need with clean water and food. Independence and development: The Ecovillage “Oko Wa” will use ecological means in gardening, agriculture, transport and electricity production from an early stage on. After establishing the Ecovillage “Oko Wa” the inhabitants shall increase knowledge and abilities in areas such as information technology, art and democracy.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

The communities of the surrounding suburbs will have more perspectives for the future, at the same time more knowledge about the situation of refugees and the consequences and dangers of illegal migration and a more global perspective. Knowledge and experience acquired by the inhabitants of the Ecovillage "Oko Wa" shall be shared with the surrounding suburbs, which shall have positive impact on living conditions and economy.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

We want to promote the reintegration of rejected asylum seekers and make farming once again attractive to young people in Ibadan Nigeria. We believe that the majority of young women and men from Africa that risked their ways into Europe, many died on the way, would have not chosen to take the illegal way if they had enough information about dangers of illegal migration and if they have alternative means of income. There were functional and successful farm settlements in Ibadan Nigeria before the oil boom. Those farm settlements were abandoned by the government immediately after the oil was discovered in Nigeria. The neglect of these farm settlements results in less food production. However, when refugees from Africa arrive in Germany and other parts of Europe many of them are glad to work on farms. We have been able to visit some ecological farms in Germany for exchange of ideas. The refugees show great interest in farming if it is done in such a way.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Both inhabitants of Ibadan and refugees lack perspectives for their lives, even if they are educated. Many refugees lost all illusions for their live, as their destinations have failed for them, whereas many Ibadan youth still have both illusions and still hope to be able to make a live outside the country.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

The inhabitants of the Ecovillage “Oko Wa” shall support themself with water, food and electricity to a large extent. Furthermore the Ecovillage shall support people in need with water, food and in the long run electricity and inform about migration and its consequences. The inhabitants of the Ecovillage and the inhabitants of the nearby suburbs of Ibadan shall exchange knowledge, information and goods on a regular basis by financial or other means. Information sharing may happen informally as during food and water sharing, or at especially organized events at the Ecovillage itself or in schools, churches, mosques, community centres in both Ibadan and entire Nigeria, at times in other countries of Africa as well.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Bildung für Balanka e.V. (Potsdam, Germany); Refugee Emancipation e.V. (Potsdam,Germany); Rural Women Stronghold Supporters Foundation (RuWosH; Ibadan, Nigeria); In co-operation with: Organic technology extension and promotion of initiative centre (OTEPIC), Kitale, Kenia; Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) currently Findhorn, Forres, Moray, Scotland; (especially GEN-Africa )

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Returning home

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Other

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

Campaign for Government of International Unity in Africa - Cagintua e.V. (e.V.= eingetragener Verein (registered association))

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Cagintua e.V. is a registered migrant organisation based in Germany. We offer political counselling, trainings, seminars and workshops in Africa and Germany. We work with other migrant organizations, volunteers and project partners to make our work possible. Cagintua is a member of: Venrob e.V., MIR e.V., NEMIB e.V. and  Aktionsbündnis Brandenburg. Our seminars and workshops are open to African political migrants, friends of Africa and youth who are fighting for their right to education and good living. Together we can make Africa a better place to live! We are a migrant organisation, with 80% of our members African refugees. We are also working to pursue both SDGs, goal 2 Zero Hunger and United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Website URL:, http://www,

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State

Bad Belzig / Brandenburg (state)


Join the conversation:

Photo of Johannes Cornelis van Nieuwkerk

Dear Burkhard,

Although I fully agree with your approach you may at the same time want to look into the options for economical diversification of the rural economy. Of course are there substantial differences between Africa and Europe (not in the last place because of a different stage in the demographic transition) but at the same time requires future rural economical sustainability more than agriculture. This is by the way the core of my European initiative Refival.

Kind Regards,

Hans van Nieuwkerk

Photo of burkhard pranke

Dear Johannes,
thank you for your comment! If you read the project description carefully, you might find that we want to provide the ecovillage with electricity in an environmental sound way and we want to increase our knowledge about areas like information technology, arts and democracy after establishing it. Of course, also in an economical sense. We consider to stress that a bit more in the description.
burkhard pranke

Photo of Johannes Cornelis van Nieuwkerk

Thank you for your reply. Wish you success!