Pioneers of Change – Community of Innovators With Social Mission
“Pomali is a Caribbean island in the midst of Lower Austria.” says Martin Kirchner in an interview for a podcast and starts to laugh right after finishing this sentence. This statement about the co-housing project he founded and built with other progressive Austrians reveals his humorous, enthusiastic and smart personality.
Martin Kirchner and his family started a new life in Pomali more than ten years ago. It became his base in life and it inspired a related project: “Pioneers Of Change”. Pioneers Of Change is a charitable and non-profit organization which focuses on “education for sustainable development”. It motivates, inspires and supports people who want to make a change in society, who want to implement innovative projects and civic initiatives or who want to pursue their dreams and lead a more confident life.
The experience of establishing a co-housing project helped Martin a lot with this new project. It needs small steps to implement big ideas. And it helps a lot to take those steps with like-minded people. People who support each other with their various abilities. So he developed a training for adults which lasts for one year and which involves lessons and workshops conducted by experts and trainers in the different fields of eg. permaculture, sustainable living, mental training, marketing. Participants meet up every month for a few days to work on their ideas and to simply celebrate their community. Another big goal is to establish a sustainable network of change-makers.
Additional to the “offline” training Pioneers Of Change started new branches and projects within the organization throughout the following years: Online trainings, community building events, workshops etc. Martin Kirchner is no lonely wolf any more and by now the organization has a team of 16 people in the inner circle and a network of hundreds of like-minded people in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
One of their projects with the biggest outreach is the “Online Summit” where Martin and his team conduct inspirational interviews with well known people and newcomers of the alternative and progressive scene (such as Jane Goodall or philosopher Martin Eisenstein). They broadcast the filmed interviews in an online event that lasts two weeks including community support. Over 40.000 participants and more than 400 additional networking meetings show the impact of the ambitious Online Summit.
The constant growth Pioneers Of Change over the last decade lead from a small organization to a bigger movement with a strong community. In the autumn of 2020 the “Pioneers” celebrate their 10th anniversary.