Creating livelihood is more than earning a living. It is about quality of life, about being in relationship with the local community one is a part of. What does it take for a community to support its inhabitants to find their place and co-create a healthy, resilient local ecology that attracts others to do the same? How can young adults that have ideas to create their own livelihood be supported to ground their ideas and make them a source of personal security and satisfaction whilst at the same time producing continuous benefits for the local community?

With more than 300.000 young adults between 20 and 35 in Portugal unable to find a satisfying place in the economy of their local community, and with a variety of related issues to address, individual programs for job creation are drops in the ocean.

A small team of Transição Portugal have explored how to connect people and their community in a support programme for young adults. We have become so engaged that we want to tell you the story of how it could look like, and what it takes to bring it into life.

We invite you to discover and partake in this exploration. This story is open ended and ever changing. On our blog you can follow its maturation. All this was possible with seed funding of Transition Network, a great thank you!

Um Ano em Transição: a story

In the autumn of 2015, 6-7 teams of young adults will start a one year shared journey called “Um Ano em Transição”. They come from all over Portugal, from both urban and rural settings. Each team has a clear purpose to develop and implement an economic activity that brings them good livelihood, nourishes their personal development and enriches their local community. This will mainly happen within their local communities. Every three months they will all come together for a week, to acquire key skills that they will need in the next three months, foster relationships, agree about their assignments and how to monitor their progress.

Um Ano em Transição is an incubator in which everybody involved has a stake in its creation and sustainability. It nurtures a culture of co-creation and collaboration in which a high degree of responsiveness and self-regulation allows for agile planning, with room for the unknown. Through interaction, contents will be tailored to the needs of each project and participant. There is a pool of trainers and facilitators that help shape the contents of the one week programmes. Each participant will choose a mentor to accompany the process and have access to skills mentors, additional training and consultants delivered by other organisations for specific areas. Participants will gradually gain autonomy in their capacity to shape their own learning process and to create beneficial relationships within and beyond their local community.

In a “pre-programme”, teams that apply for Um Ano em Transição will gather to evaluate if this programme is a right choice for them, to learn about alternatives that might be more suitable and to acquire some basic skills on how they can gather the resources they need to be able to engage in the programme.

Everybody involved in Um Ano em Transição maintains a blog.  Over time, moments caught in stories from different perspectives will give a taste of how people, projects and communities evolve. It will reveal the networks that emerge and support more participative, distributed interaction.

It is not expected that teams reach a sufficient level of sustainability within the first year of the programme. At the end of the year, participants, trainers, mentors and representatives of the local communities in which the projects take place will celebrate their achievements and agree on how the collaboration in the next year will look like. This might give birth to a second year of Um Ano em Transição.

Um Ano em Transição aims at becoming more than self-sustaining over time and to be a seed for related activities to sprout elsewhere. It is about long term relationships, about transactions that are not closed nor symmetric. This will inspire flow, continued interaction and expansion. People who benefit from the programme will be encouraged to support new candidates. Participants can grow into training and mentoring roles. Involved communities may become a regional center for community-supported job creation. Collaboration between trainers and facilitators may result in more integrated and mature services. Supporters of Um Ano em Transição can, over time, discover how they wish to further engage.

We have a sense of how we can grow towards sustainability. It will require initial funding to get ther5. How would relationships with funders look like if based on the same foundations as Um Ano em Transição? And what could grow from a more engaged relationship in which funders can follow the process while unfolding?

Annelieke van der Sluijs