29 May 2013
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AJUDADA: Community-based economy: We’re all in it together – Portalegre, Portugal, 14-16 June, 2013

AJUDADA – Fact Sheet – English
By Ajudada

Community-based economy: We’re all in it together
An International Gathering to be held in Portalegre, Portugal, 14th – 16th June, 2013

The Challenge:
To imagine a new economic model based on the core values of community-based life with its giving and sharing. The word “Economy” is used here in its original meaning of “managing our common home”.

The Concept:
AJUDADA – the name of this event – alludes to an ancient practice common in many rural areas, in which members of a community joined together to help one another in the different chores in the fields. Men, women, children and the elderly, all participated in an AJUDADA with a specific task, in a collective endeavour of sharing and co-responsibility. We wish to explore what this means in modern times and to replicate this approach in all envisioned activities.

AJUDADA is inspired by the key concept of ‘gift economy’, in which people give to and receive from each other in an ongoing relationship of mutual support. In a gift economy, people organise themselves to collectively share the resources and skills that already exist within the community. Everyone has an active role and is valued. This is in contrast to a ‘market economy’, in which goods and services are mainly exchanged for financial benefit.

AJUDADA aims to promote gift as a creative act based on cooperation, trust in others and valuing others. The expressions of that gift are as diverse as the people that belong to a given community. Giving and sharing have always been part of relationships within communities but have been gradually losing their relevance in a society governed by a market economy.

The Organization:

AJUDADA is not a conventional conference. It will build on the diversity of ideas and practical experiences of the local community and international guests in the spirit of the gift economy. It intends to trigger a process of change in Portalegre by planning, implementing and extending proposals that stand out for their creativity and resilience: practical projects that make a difference in people’s lives, providing for their daily needs where money is very restricted.

AJUDADA will be a starting point and a catalyst for ongoing change. It will start in Portalegre, but its influence will extend through its international guests and the publicity it generates. It will be open to the wider community, not just those attending the main events.

AJUDADA, even in its early planning and preparatory stages, is inspiring contributions from many local people including local government, businesses and business organisations. The main organising work is being done by the local community, backed up by a team of Portuguese and international supporters.

The Program:

The formal program will unfold during the course of three days, building on extensive preparation, while leaving room for sponaneity, and leading to ongoing projects.

The first day (Head) will have discussions, debates, and round tables.

The second day (Heart) will include workshops, street performances, multiple interventions in public places, exhibitions of local projects, and moments of celebration.

The last day (Hands) will call for collective participation in the actual implementation of larger projects planned in the preparatory phase, bringing together the local community and all the participants.


AJUDADA has attracted well-known International promoters of the concept of gift economy, such as Charles Eisenstein (http://charleseisenstein.net/), author of “Sacred Economics”, and Mark Boyle (http://www.facebook.com/TheMoneylessManifesto), author of “The Moneyless Man”. It will also receive representatives of national and international organisations promoting the transformation of their communities, including Schumacher College (http://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/) and the Transition Network (http://www.transitionnetwork.org/), as well as a range of local and regional authorities, working together to make AJUDADA a platform capable of triggering positive action for the future.

During the preparation phase of AJUDADA, we are encouraging local people and organisations from all areas of activity to get involved and contribute their visions, dreams and energy into building sustainable alternatives for Portalegre.

For the event itself, we are inviting wide public participation, either by engaging in the variety of planned activities, or by taking up the challenge to bring in one’s own proposal and make it come true in the spirit of AJUDADA. We envision a range of new and growing practical projects, catalysed by AJUDADA, that will be joined by individuals, businesses and organisations in and around Portalegre, leading to a new sense of optimism, a sense that with sufficient will and innovative thinking the community can find its own way towards hope and prosperity.

Everybody inspired to participate, to support or know more can use the contacts below.

Information and contacts:




Phone contacts:
Local: (+351 93 477 04 92)
International: (+32 486 07 61 50)

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