South Sudan refugee project: Using Permaculture design to rebuild lives

s39 team permaculture uganda
S39 Team Bidibidi

June to November have been a momentous time for our training teams here in Western Nile. In just 6 months we have been tasked with the challenge of introducing permaculture methods in this untamed region where refugees greatly outnumber the indigenous population.

In partnership with Norwegian Refugee Agency Sector39 has led on a 6 month training program for refugees and host community members. Many of the trainees are not experienced farmers or gardeners, more typically cattle herders and grazers. Here in Western Nile they have been given a plot of land and challenged to supplement their basic food aid with what they can grow in kitchen gardens, using organic and permaculture approaches

This is a 15 minute narrated slideshow with thoughts about the final phase of the project with thoughts on how it can be best continued. (below)

Interviews and testimonies

This first interview is with NRC translator and host community member Julius, he has fully involved himself in the project although he wasn’t present at the initial training. He makes some very perceptive observations about the impact of the project and has taken on many of the ideas and insights himself as he can observe them working effectively.

This 2nd video with one of the members, Opio Grace is very revealing and worth listening to. I left in the local language as well as the translation (translated section from 2:10)  as I wanted to share her voice as well. It is clear that permaculture has had a significant impact on her life in just 6 months.

“Permaculture has changed by life”          Opio Grace

Audio testimony from a Maaji 3 team member

Zone 4 BididBidi have the aspiration of securing a 2 acre plot to develop a permaculture enterprise and demonstration center. The map below is the product of group discussion and consultation over several days. We have already worked together to create a small training plot right next to the church we have been using as a class room.

We would hope very much to have the opportunity to support these pioneers over the establishment phases of this project.

Community liaison link and permaculture team member Rashida outlines the plan for a demonstration plot for Zone 4 Bidibidi

s39 permaculture
Sector39 training and action support team, Maaji, October 2018
Much elation on completing the training, hopefully just the beginning of much bigger things to come.
Food forest, perfect tropical permaculture

The permaculture team members Maaji settlement

Slides of the Maaji team design presentation

permaculture s39
A creative vision, Permaculture Training Centre Maaji, Uganda

Permaculture Training Centre Maaji,

This audio track is a presentation from the members design team which focused on building and the carpentry skills as an enterprise within training centre sketched above.

Fuel Efficient Stove project

This slideshow and narration explores progress developing and promoting fuel efficient stoves with the community  members

Next steps

Proposal: This  project would benefit from support for a minumum ofr two years.

– ambition is to establish a permaculture training centre which will will transition into a stakeholder owned and managed fully independent enterprise.

exploring a training and Enterprise development model that can be self replicating and able to generate much of the resource need to sustain from within its own internal economy.

The vision is to work closely with the members from the training to create a new and wholly refugee (stakeholder)  owned enterprise that will serve as a permaculture training and demonstration hub for the region. It would incubate several related enterprises that initially would be the service providers for the training centre.

Building livelihood, enterprise and food security is the aim and to create a thriving learning hub at the centre of this new emerging community. We envisage the centre acting a hub for training and outreach across the Western

Nile region, developing many of the resources and skills needed to create a shift in the prevailing methodology for food and livelihood security.

Project proposal summary document below

NRC S39 permaculture project outline

 

Paul’s permaculture plot

I thought you might enjoy this short video. . a quick tour of Paul’s permaculture farm. Paul is a farmer and Blacksmith from Homa Bay Kenya, he came on a Sector39 permaculture course in 2016 and is now part of our teaching team in East Africa.
Paul recieves a data projector donated to the PermoAfrica centre’s teaching project

 

See the short tour of the garden using the link above
The rains have just started and the new season’s crops are in the ground, revealing the diversity and complexity of the 70m square plot that Paul began less than two years ago.
Paul Ogola came on our first PDC in Kamuli in 2016 and in his own words’ Was in the darkness’ had no real plan as to what he was trying to do, basically trying his best and copying what he saw around.

 

He returned in 2017 and did the PDC again, this time with 3 people from his community who had already become involved in permaculture via his inspiration. They have in turn gone on to start their own projects. In 18 months since becoming involved in permaculture Paul has moved from being a farmer without a plan to a teacher, community leader and role model. Paul said to me recently that his permaculture work has made him ‘someone in the village’. He has used on-line funding platforms to raise small amounts of money for investment in water tanks and other infrastructure, used Facebook to recruit volunteers and students and from a bare patch of scrub has built a productive and inspiration garden that is now helping raise the expectations of a whole community.

 

From the video you can see the diversity of plants, techniques and approaches Paul is using, He has built a classroom and is already running his own courses and will be returning this May to Uganda to contribute to the next PDC and to become part of the Sector39 training team currently planning to soon be working in Northern Uganda with South Sudanese refugees and their Ugandan host communities.

 

We believe permaculture can make a significant contribution in developing climate resilient farming systems, more stable income from more diverse sources and in the process building the confidence, outlook and achievement of many people like Paul.. Imagine the collective impact of such development if we can mobilise whole communities!

 

Steven Jones

Permaculture, refugees and Uganda

Its a hot arid area and water is trucked in daily from miles away on hastily built roads.

Since visiting Adjumani, Jube and Zone 5 refugee settlement areas in Northern Uganda recently, I don’t think I will be quite the same person again.

A huge influx of refugees has swamped the area with displaced people who in turn are having a devastating impact on the landscape.

Whole forests are disappearing as wood is the only easily available source of energy and land is being rapidly prepared for crop production. There is an air of determination rather than desperation as people there come to grips with what is a hugely challenging situation.

Who knew that Uganda accepted more refugees than any other country in the last 12 months? Over a million from Sudan alone!

From refugees to settlers
New arrivals are being invited to stay, offered ID cards, 30m square plots of land and basic tools and training to establish themselves along side host Ugandan communities.

There are people flooding in from the Congo as well where resource fuelled wars (for minerals to make mobile phones) is also greatly impacting the region. It puts the UK’s 12,000 Syrian in-comers over 5 years into perspective somewhat.

permaculture design course 2018Sector39 have been invited to work with the Norwegian Refugee Council along side our local partners to put long-term train plan together to help the region transition from a food aid reliance to self reliance, a transition that will take 4 or 5 years. Naturally many Sudanese will choose to return home when the chance arrives but the likelihood is after 3 or 5 years of settlement Uganda will start to feel like home for a great many of the settlers.

Sector39 have been supported by the Wales for Africa programme administered by Hub Cymru Africa

Next Steps Our next objective is to establish a training of teachers strategy which we are calling the Permaculture Academy. We have recognised the need to create literally millions of permaculture pioneers in Africa as well as across the world as this is possibly the most effective way to create climate resilience on a scale required of us by the Paris Agreement.

Sector39 have won support over the last year from the Welsh government to pioneer in this field and are grateful for the opportunities created by their help.

Their investment of £10,000 into our enterprise has set  a series of outcomes in motion. We have directly trained 25 students, via the full 2 week PDC course enabled by the grant. Since the course completed in June ’17 several of the graduates have progressed to start projects or initiatives of their own that are already having an impact.

  • PermoAfrica centre, Paul Odiwor Ogola, Homa Bay Kenya.
  • K5 village permacuture, Omito Abraham Owuor, Kenya
  • Nateete urban project, Ali Tebandeke Kampala Uganda
  • Busoga school project, Connie Kauma. Kamuli, Uganda
  • Nyero Rocks School project, Opolot Godfrey and Joseph, Uganda
  • Prince Sebe and Rama Mutebi permaculture outreach. Busia, Kenya

the list grows.. most are linked to this Facebook page

The next Sector39  course will also in clude several returning graduates on their way to become teachers and project leaders in their own right.

Charcoal is a cash income generator but it comes at great cost to the wildlife and environment. This picture was taken within a national park, a supposedly protected area

More importantly perhaps though, is with the momentum created so far we have found ourselves in government offices, talking to budget heads and opinion forers, to head teachers, planners and politicians all of whom can see the immense value and potential of permaculture.

This incredible opportunity to work with refugees and Norwegian programme has stemmed directly from the work supported by the Welsh Government as well as through networking and promotional activities in line with the grant makers requirements.

We have now completed two full PDC’s in Uganda, the first in 2016 was part funded by a a business development grant from our local Credit Union (Robert Owen Community Bank) and involvement from Dolen Ffermio, Wales Uganda link

The second PDC  2017 was in part funded by the Wales for Africa programme. and delivered through existing Wales/ Uganda support links. However through the process of the work and the huge number of people we have met in the process, we have come into contact with a great many of the permaculture practitioners and pioneers of the wider East African region.

It is hugely exciting to think where this might all lead and we intend to use this momentum to reach a great many more people.

S39 on  Go Fund Me
Donations subsidise course places for Africa permaculture pioneers

We are currently running a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money to support student costs on PDC courses for African participants

Sector39 celebration

Its about time for some good news

Sector39 is growing; as well our standard courses we have launched a series projects as well. Inquiries are also arriving from an ever broader spectrum of  sources as ever more people wake up to the potentials of permaculture

We are holding a celebration in Llanrhaeadr Village hall 24th March.
There will be food, music and of course excellent company for an evening of talking dancing and celebrating! Its also my 55th birthday.  Please join the celebration!

Steve Jones, S39 Director

It has to be a good thing that permaculture has never been more in demand and Sector39 is finding opportunities in all sort of new areas.

  • Chester Cathedral and the Anglican church
  • One School One Planet, schools and permaculture project
  • Permaculture Uganda and East Africa
  • Refugee work with Norwegian Refugee Council
  • Consultancies on housing co-operative formation

The big idea we have been working on for a few years now is that of a Permaculture Academy. On going teacher training and project facilitator development..  really its a mentoring process to develop new permaculture informed initiatives where we can.

  • May this year we are running a PDC for 60 participants within an established school and permaculture site in Uganda, followed by a 2 day permaculture convergence.
  • The intention is to launch the Academy and show case the best permaculture can offer to  an invited audience and opinion former’s and budget heads, school heads and trustees.
  • We are fundraising for student bursary fund, applications will be competitively assessed for the number of places available via successful fundraising. Your contributions really will change lives!

Please do support our fundraiser event, tickets are available from:

If you cant make the event please consider supporting our

Bold and ambitious education project seeks £35k investment

We are calling it the Permaculture Academy, it is a peer-to-peer learning programme that sets its sights on tackling climate change, vastly increasing social and economic resilience and directly helping refugees from Southern Sudan, DRC and elsewhere in Uganda and Kenya.

Sector39 is a small organization based in Wales that has until now has survived through trading, running courses on permaculture design and developing community focused food growing projects  and housing co-operatives.

Almost no one invests in local subsistence farming in Africa, yet those vulnerable farmers could be the key to climate resilience and carbon sequestration. We have learned how to directly benefit those people, through permaculture education.

In the last 2 years, in partnership with a local Welsh charity we began running our courses in Uganda, wanting to support sustainable farming initiatives in the Eastern Region there. The work had really taken off, exceeding our wildest expectations and we are left wondering how to build on this momentumpermaculture-is-7

  • Step one:We are planning a larger courses in May 2018 with Ugandan partners that will also kick-start a teacher training programme for East African permaculture teachers.
  • Step two: We are following our May 2018 course with a permaculture conference drawing in political and regional supporters, focusing on links with Schools
  • Step three: We hope to launch our Permaculture Academy initiative in  2018 and it is for this we are seeking, funding, investment or donations. The need is to put together a local team of permaculture professionals who can support this work and to cover the core project costs over the coming three-year period.

We are looking at AID agencies and other funders but we are ready to begin the work now and have built an amazing network to help us deliver this. abraham If you can help us achieve this the n please get in touch, we can supply much more information about the outcomes and beneficiaries of this work but will spare the details here.

We find ourselves in a fantastic position to be able to facilitate long-term benefits through education and have an established network of partners and practitioners to enable to do this.. all we need is the investment o get u on our way.

It feels like a shot in the dark, asking in this fashion and we will pursue existing avenues for funding.. but as the saying goes, if you don’t ask you don’t get.. and those with money to invest often have more than they need, so here goes, please consider helping us if you are able!

Contact Sector39 please

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