Aware citizens of Assagao meeting about sustainable village model

29th April @ Happy Home

Thirty two aware and concerned citizens of Assagao and friends of Assagao met as a circle of equals on 29th April to understand what concerns they share, and explore what can be done to preserve protect and restore Assagao through a sustainable village model. Participants included influential residents Mervin, ex principle Xaviers High Secondary, Edward Fernande,z ex forest officer, Erwin , Tomy D’souza, seasoned active citizens such as Dean D Cruz, Claude Alvarez, government official Sumit Singh and a number of concerned others.

Participants shared their connection to Assagao, how they felt and what matters to them about the future of Assagao and then made a plan about how to move forward to create Assagao as a sustainable village model.


“Changing fast”, “Loss of natural heritage” “neglect”, “mismanagement” ” apathy”,” Paradise lost”. “maintain village identity – no development at cost of nature” “We are open to receive people – development is part of our lives, but what kind of development do we want?” “Not just development for the sake of it”

Tree cutting and loss forests/ loss of fields/open spaces/ Communidade land

Water shortages and conservation of springs & water table

Garbage options

Construction/ concrete jungle

Sale of water from water table

Dumping of garbage

Land selling

Ignorance of importance of natural waterways and drains

Climate – getting hotter

Lack of leadership – and potential in the community for leadership

Absence of sense of community

Increased transport

Medical needs and local plant medicines

Collective action, community policing and action

“development” without Limits – unrestricted – unregulated, unsustainable.


Tourism that benefits local infrastructure





Assagao has a good mix of people, specialists, expertise, experience, collective wisdom leadership

Change is possible here if all work together.

“We can pass on something beautiful to the next generation”

“We can make a roadmap for Assagao”

“fight together the forces that are destroying the water and the land”

“delighted and confident we can be a catalyst for change for the better in Assagao”

“Working together can be difficult, we must be aware, be introspective and consciously manage power struggles and accountability”

“Incentivise and reward people for doing good”

The Indian constitution and legislation provides help to citizens: Groundwater Act, Biodiversity Management committees, 2 acts that provide government schemes to provide communities financial help. The 73rd & 74th amendment makes provision for committees at village level to inform village development plans. People of Assagao can work together using these legal provisions


The group opted to start with weekly meetings for the next 6 weeks to get action groups and working practices up and running and maintain momentum. People will be invited to take a lead (in pairs) in thematic areas for convening action groups.

Next meeting purpose: To decide the 4 priority issues and start forming action groups

Time and date: 4pm Saturday 6th May @Happy Home

4pm- General community Circle to decide priority 4 topics & self-selection into action -5pm groups (topics identified as possibilities are Water, Garbage, Biodiversity, Land/forest/field)

5.30-7 Action group meetings

Each person present on 29th agreed to bring one more citizen to the next meeting. All are welcome.


“I came feeling disheartened but now feel hopeful”

“inspired””optimism” “hope”, “hope” “energy””way forward”

“strong feeling for something good can happen”

“Understand the power we have”

“People supporting communities and protecting culture”

Live Happy (Felly and Beatriz) invited Circlewallas (Joanna and Tamer) to help facilitate the meeting using participatory leadership practices. Meetings will continue with this format to build community capacity in shared leadership and shared decision making.

Anyone/Everyone in the community is invited to learn and apprentice in these practices of how to host participatory community meetings and build their knowledge and skill so that they can facilitate future participatory community meetings. Please contact Felly, if you would like to learn how you can become an apprentice. : )