This is an archived version of
Guardians of Alte | Civic Europe
Environment and sustainability, Youth participation and empowerment

Guardians of Alte

Catalyzing the youth of Alte to become active change makers in society through Permaculture's principles and ethics


Who is behind this?

Guilherme Weishar

Projecto Novas Descobertas


Who is joining forces?

Escola Profissional de Alte (EPA)


Junta de Freguesia de Alte (JFA)


To secure the presence of NEET youth for the full program it will be important to get access to scholarships that can be provided by IEFP (, the national institute of employment in Portugal.


Idea pitch

A capacity building educational project for a group of youth from Alte. The framework for the project's curriculum is Permaculture, a design science for building resilient communities that work in harmony with nature. During one year the youth will develop different practical skills like: how to grow your own food, build with natural materials, how to recycle organic waste, social skills like non-violent communication, and much more.

Where will your project idea take place?

Alte, South of Portugal region (Algarve)

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

In the current reality of Alte, there is no incentive for the youth to stay in the rural countryside. The rural exodus has resulted in an ageing demographic population with a loss of local and cultural knowledge. Thus, inspiring the youth to stay in the countryside is a big challenge. We have been indoctrinated to believe that farming is a lesser job, but in reality this is the cornerstone of any society. Furthermore, we observe a generational gap between the grandparents that have the land and the youth that dream with new horizons. We aim to tackle both these issues by inspiring the youth to reconnect with land through Permaculture and by creating local financial activities and opportunities through our network. The youth are therefore a leverage point to inspire the whole community.

Who are you doing it for?

The key target groups are the elderly population and the youth of Alte (with preference for NEET - youth not in employment, education or training). Both have been marginalized and feel left out by society. On one side, the elderly population of Alte still work the land every season, but year by year they have less energy. On the other side, the youth is not interested in working the land like their grandparents used to do. This project aims to connect both target groups through Permaculture, giving new inspirations to the youth and thus promoting intergenerational cohesion. We believe that it is every grandparents dream to see their grandson/daughter working the land with them. The youth can become active change makers that inspire the local community to live in harmony with nature.

How do you plan to get there?

The first phase of the project will be its promotion to the local community. The marketing plan includes the development of a website, social media pages and posters to plaster across the town. We will work with our strategic partners and organize project presentations in the community center and at the school. In this phase we will also create a network of elder land owners that wish to have some help with their agriculture projects.
After the selection process of the candidates we will begin our activities with the group. This will consist of one day a week and one weekend a month for an immersive experience. The weekly gatherings will be structured around a Permaculture theme with a theoretical morning session and hands-on activities in the afternoon. We will use an informal educational approach, focused on dynamic and fun learning experiences. This educational model is more horizontal, we want to place the students at the center of the learning experience.
The weekend activities will vary widely depending on the season. We will bring the group to our headquarters in Odiaxere for social skill development. Another experience will be the design and implementation of regenerative farming elements in lands of our network. We will also organize reforestation events, ecosystem regeneration projects, mapping activities, seasonal work like fruit picking, riversides cleaning...

What are the expected results?

Our dream is to see a revitalized town with a thriving culture in harmony with Nature. The elders are being taken care of by the youth, united by the love for the land. The farming community abandons the conventional practices with chemicals and adopts regenerative practices for a more sustainable environment. The organic cycle of the community is closed, compost and an abundance of natural fertilizer is being produced in most of the land owners. The youth are fulfilled and finally feel at home in Alte. They are empowered with a series of skills that can lead them to a professional path in regeneration work. The public spaces are filled with local events and activities.
The school reaches out to us to incorporate Permaculture concepts in the official curriculum.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

Our project will empower the youth to become change makers in their local community. The name of the project, Guardians of Alte, is a reference to the intention of the project: create a dedicated group that will take care of Alte in the social and environmental dimension. Our capacitation program will equip the youth with all the tools needed to achieve these goals effectively. Some of the weekend activities will be the implementation of projects in their family’s lands. This will strengthen family bonds and will serve as a leverage point to inspire a wider range of people to also become active change makers in the community. Other activities will be in lands of elders that are alone and in need of social connection and hope to create long lasting intergenerational bonds.

Why is this idea important to you?

The core of the team project is composed by two young Permaculture teachers, Elodie da Silva and Guilherme Weishar, neighbors living in a small village that is part of Alte.
Both studied sciences at the University and travelled in different countries during their studies. Worried about the current state of the world they found the solutions to many of our social, political and environmental issues in Permaculture. They met through the association PND where they learned more about informal education from the Permaculture Teaching Training and participated in other inspiring activities of the association. Together, they started dreaming of ways of applying their skills in their local community. Our mottos are “be the change you want to see in the world” and “think global, act local”.

€ 35000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Salary of 2 full time employees: 20000
Payment of invited teachers and co-facilitators: 3000
Marketing budget: 3000
Travel costs: 1000
Teaching materials: 1000
Land regenerative activity materials: 2000
Participation in our courses in our headquarters in Odiaxere: 2500
Administration costs: 2500

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

After reading our project, do you feel it’s realistic? What do you think will be our most difficult challenges? What question/section should we reformulate?
Are our answers coherent? What was confusing for you?


Projecto Novas Descobertas

Elodie da Silva

Guilherme Weishar

Idea created on April 16, 2021
Last edit on April 22, 2021

Write comment