By Ana Pardo
On October 25th, 2012, the group that dreamed to organized the firt Warriors Without Weapons in Europe, the GSA Madrid team, formed by social intervention cooperatives from Madrid (Altekio, Cyclos, Germinando, La Claqueta and Pandora) presented the Oasis Game methodology in Madrid. The event marked the 1st anniversary of the Oasis El Ruedo with a presentation titled “Urban-human territories: ‘Oasis’ methodology as a proposal for social change.”
The event, hosted by our partner Conchi Pineiro (facilitator during Warriors Without Weapons in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2008, Oasis Copenhagen and Oasis Newham, London), began with the presentation with “Cities that are compatible with life” by Yayo Herrero. This anthropologist, environmental education tutor at the National University of Distance Education (UNED), coordinator of the environmental NGO Ecologists in Action and other partner projects, talked about how our global system ignores the biophysical limits of the planet. She also talked about caring for life which, in many cases, is unpaid and ranks low in the scale of social prestige. Finally, she shared her proposal to make urban spaces more livable.
Meanwhile, our partner Javier Fernandez, warrior 2011, introduced the Oasis methodology steps (the gaze, affection, dream, care, miracle, celebration and re-evolution), naming other successful examples of Oasis all over the world.
Shortly after was an exhibition of the Oasis El Ruedo video (you can see it at www.gsamadrid.net). This Oasis took place over nine days in September and October of 2011 in a neighborhood of Madrid, where people were relocated 20 years ago, and where the participation of neighbors had been reduced. The Caminar Association is located in this neighborhood and is an organization that has been working in the community since the beginning. The GSA Madrid team (Altekio, Cyclos, Germinando, Goteo, La Claqueta and Pandora) made contact with this organization, which decided to integrate the Oasis methodology as part of the promotion of participation that had already started.
During the presentation, those who participated heard from Álvaro and Isra’s reflections (both members of the association and residents of El Ruedo). They shared how the Oasis experience increased participation in the neighborhood, especially among people who hadn’t previously participated, and those who participated showed more willingness to lend a hand when needed. They also commented that there had been a greater involvement of men in activities which usually involved only women and children. At the end of the presentation they answered questions from many people who attended this event, some of whom shared their thoughts and gratitude for carrying out projects like this.
We, members of the GSA Madrid Team, think that creating these kinds of spaces, of recognition and celebration may provide opportunities to continue expanding this powerful methodology of social transformation.
* Ana Pardo is graduated in Environmental Sciences and is part of Altekio’s team.