Hub Cymru Africa Report

Hub Cymru Africa – Beneficiaries and Outcomes

The development of Sector39’s East African Permaculture work has been funded by Hub Cymru Africa as part of the Wales for Africa programme. This funding covered the period of April 1st 2017 to March 31st 2018. This has been invaluable support and for which Sector39 are extrememntly grateful. The following report covers this time period the outcomes from the funding support.

Sector39 Permaculture Uganda project report for Hub Cyrmu Africa 2017 – 2018

Feed back and outcomes regarding the £10,000 of support given to Sector39 in March last year to be used between then and March 31st 2018.

Objectives:

  • Develop Sector39 as a leading supplier of permaculture education and facilitation in both Wales and Africa
  • Deliver a full permaculture Design course for 25 participants in Kamuli Uganda, May 2017
  • To use the course to develop strong networks in Uganda and across East Africa to reach both individuals and organisations that can help further these objectives.
  • Create opportunities for permaculture practitioners from Wales to gain experience and to develop as teachers
  • Disseminate information about this work in Wales and to raise awareness of Wales Africa links and support work.
  • Present in local schools and community groups regarding this work and its wider potentials.
  • Create opportunities for on going developmental training and work experience for African permaculture practitioners to develop and acquire teaching skills knowledge and experience.
pdcug17
Participants of PDCUG17 course, holding up the targets of the Paris Climate Accord. We strongly believe permaculture is a powerful way to achieve the UN SDG’s and our collective climate responsibilities.

The grant obtained from HCA has been utilised largely as planned and as outlined in our project bid so I don’t have any major changes to report. What I do want to report and forgive me for stepping outside the structure of the report form is that our feet have hardly touched the ground since began our project in May 2017. We have found East Africa to be very fertile ground for permaculture and have had a great deal of success in meeting these objectives.

-I am currently in Uganda having just completed another successful round of training and realise I don’t have the final report form blank available so I am submitting this full report instead and will be posting this on the project website as well for reference.

Background

Sector39 have been teaching permaculture in the UK since 2005 and in 2014 we came out to Uganda with Dolen Ffermio (Wales/ Uganda farmer’s support charity, based in our community) on a study tour which prompted us to explore the possibilities for working in Uganda, teaching permaculture and building on the links we gained through our trip out with Dolen Ffermio.

We did submit a bid in 2016 to HCA but were unsuccessful as we had not fully identified the beneficiaries and how we would measure the outcomes.

Instead of funding Sector39 took out a business development loan and proceeded to run our first full permaculture design certificate course (PDC) in Kamuli Uganda using connections we had made via both Dolen Ffermio and by using social media.

This experience allowed us to write a fuller bid for 2017/ 18 which was successful and it is this I am reporting on now.

PDCUG17

Full permaculture design certificate course in Kamuli Uganda.

The May PDC reached 25 participants and Sector39 took out a team of 6 trainers from the UK as well as working with 2 Ugandans and 1 Kenyan we had met via the first course. This was the first big development for us, in that we connected with the Uganda permaculture networks and training organisations, dynamic and vibrant groups mainly populated by people much younger and less experienced than us but of course much netter connected to the grass roots of permaculture in East Africa.

Participants prepare for a forest garden practical at Busoga high school

Several of the graduates from our first course were keen to return and to contribute to the teaching and running of the course as well as having met teachers and community leaders who were keen to introduce permaculture into their own schemes of work. So not did the numbers involved grow, we found ourselves reaching far beyond the networks we had originally worked with right into remote and much harder to reach groups.

Practical wood gas cmbustion and biochar demonstration at Busoga high school at the concluson of the PDC

Beneficiaries

Training team from Wales of 6 people gained experience in teaching in this context and many insights and new connections were made.

25 Course participants completed the 14 day training, these drawn mainly from Uganda with 4 from Kenya. Our strategy was to recruit trainers, or people who were very active in their own communities. We wanted to identify participants who would in turn train others, start projects and demonstration plots and amplify the benefits gained from their training.

We also understood that in this circumstance we needed to work with English speaking individuals with a degree of education behind them so they could benefit fully from the opportunity we were providing. The design to reach much harder to reach groups could be achieved indirectly through the work of the course graduates.

Recruitment

  1. Via connections and past students from our previous course

Following on from PDCUG16 we retained those people who were most likely to develop as teachers and project initiators them selves. These included a Kenyan farmer and black smith, Paul Ogola who had since started his own demonstration plot in his home community and who returned with 3 individuals who had been inspired by his work and wanted to follow his example. A school teacher from Busoga High, Kamuli who wanted to initiated a student support project by developing growing and micro income initiatives within the school and who can connect us to regional educators.

  1. New contacts recruited via social media.
    Social media opens up the possibility to easily develop a dialogue with pro-active individuals who are keen to learn and keen to disseminate information. Through the Sector39 website and social media we identified several really keen and able individuals who demonstrated a keenness and aptitude for permaculture that convinced is of their potential to enable us to meet our project goals
  2. Those who can be recruited and funded for course fees by other organisations with similar objectives. In process of developing and promoting the course S39 connected with like minded organisations who wanted to to access training for their stakeholders. These included Dolen Ffermio from Wales and Kumi Orphans project. Kriegskinder, from Germany supporting child soldiers and those training and supporting vulnerable people in conflict zones.

Outcomes and monitoring

The single most successful strategy to monitor outcomes from the PDC has again proved to be that of utilising social media and blogs to enable graduates to report on their subsequent work and to document their successes and challenges. This has also enable a cross fertilisation of experience between graduates from the course, using Facebook, WhatsApp and blogs mainly as communication tools.

The PDC itself was reported on daily via the blog at

www.permaculturedesigncourse.co.uk using the hash tag #PDCUG17 and on Twitter with the same reference.

https://web.facebook.com/groups/280098462461568/?

This Facebook group East Africa Permaculture Students union is populated by our PDCUG17 graduates and has been a highly effective way to maintain contact with graduates and see the outcomes of their work

Graduates form PDCUG17 who initiated projects of their own include:

  • PermoAfrica centre Kenya – Grass roots permaculture education in Homa Bay Kenya (FB and blog)
  • K5 village permaculture (FB). Omito Abraham Owiour
  • Nyero School Project, Godfrey Opolot
  • Nateete Urban permaculture project: Ali Tebandeke (FB)
  • Busia region Kenya Uganda out reach: Prince Sebe Maloba (FB)
  • Busia region farmers and villagers training: Aramadam Mutebi, Send a Goat foundation
  • Busoga high school forest garden and permaculture project Kamuli, Connie Kauma. (blog)
  • PRI-UG network. S39 signed a partnership agreement with the Uganda permaculture network, which subsequently has linked us to PRI-Kenya and PRI-Zanzibar. Which has challenged us in turn to convene the first East African permaculture conference, which is planned to follow on from our May 2018 PDC.
  • BEU Permaculture, Charles Mugarura has developed its focus on permaculture following on from the PDC and has been working with UG partners to link Sector39 to educators, politicians and grass roots activists.

Following on from the PDC in May 2017 the Sector39 team carried a series of visits until late June, following up contacts we have generated through the training. These included:

Mr Mula, permanent secretary office of vice president,

We were invited for a meeting on education and enterprise and development in Uganda with the OVP. Interesting the P.A. to Mr Mulla who was present at the meeting followed up the session by researching into permaculture which she followed by attending the 2018 PDC at Sabina school that we have just completed. The intention of the meeting was to seek support for permaculture at a political level and we have been offered support in any way needed as an outcome of the meeting.

Permaculture Institute of Uganda, Bwama.
www.priug.org

With Gerald Jagwe, course participant and key staff member at PRI-UG, we were invited to meet Mr Bakka on whose land is based the demonstration and research farm for the Permaculture Research Institute of Uganda. We had a site tour and discussed future collaboration. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed and we agreed to collaborate on future ventures. I have since been invited to act as a trustee for the organisation and we are still discussing this.  Mr Jagwe is now working with Sector39 on our follow on project with the Norwegian Refugee Agency and he has proved to be an excellent contact.

Hon. Mary Kabanda, MP

Mary is the patron of St Jude’s school Masaka as well as the minister for education for the region. S39 were invited to the school where we met the principle, staff and pupils before been given a full site tour. The purpose of this visit was to promote permaculture as a learning tool in schools and as a site management strategy to increase food yields and reduce waste at the school.

We were invited to present at a regional head teachers conference the next day for 38 regional head teachers from both primary and secondary schools. I showed a full slide show for an hour followed by questions, the slides covered the PDC training in Kamuli and practical work we had done with Busoga High School where we had designed a planted an Agro-forestry/ food forest garden for the school.

Sabina School-site

Following on from the head teachers conference we were invited by Charles Mugarura (BEU permaculture, Kampala) to visit the school/ orphanage where he had been a pupil and had grown up. Sabina had been founded as an orphanage and school as it was central the area with the highest HIV- Aids infection rate and consequently high orphan rate. Links to the World bank had led to an international team coming to the school in 2008 where a permaculture course had been held and subsequent design being implemented.

I met with Jude the head teacher and we discussed the possible placement of volunteers from Wales at the school, to help maintain and renovate some of the original design work and the possibility of their hosting a full PDC and conference there in 2018.

BEU permaculture agreed to sponsor and oversee three Ugandan placements at the school in a build up programme to the 2018 course and this would support the 2 volunteers from Wales who would join the team in late March. The flights and costs to bring the two volunteers out (Nina Duckers and Grace Maycock) were met from the HCA funds.

February Visit

I returned to Uganda in February, utilising funds from HCA to further these develops and firm up plans for the volunteer placements, the 2018 PDC and conference and to report to other contacts we had generated on the previous visit.

Sector39 had been invited to present at Makarere University business school conference to around 150 students and future leaders in business. As 5th top business school in Africa this was n ideal opportunity to network and promote permaculture to future leaders.

Steve Jones with some of the BEU team as well as some of the participants at Makarere Business School Feb 2018.

I was also invited to return to the Office of the Vice President to report on developments. Further offers of support were extended

A visit to Sabina School, (Ssanje, Kyotera district) confirmed the May PDC and set up the permaculture internships for Grace and Nina (both ex Llanfyllin High School pupils) and we developed a plan to establish permaculture gardens to demonstrate the key principles of organic cultivation.

Norwegian Refugee Council

This is a very interesting an unanticipated development to come form this work. Happily in February whilst I was in Kampala the opportunity to meet with NRC came about. A co-incidence is that our new colleague Charles Mugarura attended a conference in Nairobi and was seated next to the head of the NRC and they chatted about permaculture. Sarah King from NRC commented she had done a full permaculture course in Wales back in 2006, with Sector39 so of course Charles mentioned my name as his permaculture tutor and mentor so the connection was made. The Ugandan head of NRC operations is also very interested in permaculture so a meeting was planned.

Following on from several skype calls and a Kampala meeting I was invited to travel to Western Nile district to visit the South Sudanese Refugee settlements and to help write a proposal to bring permaculture into the refugee resilience programme as a tool for training and developing action plans. I spent three days in the settlements and then followed this with meetings in Kampala with various representatives of the organisation.

In April I was invited to submit a bid for the work pan I had helped develop and Sector39’s bid was successful, beating a great many other applications (over 100 I was led to understand). This work commences in June this year and Sector39 have been able to recruit and train a team to lead on this work drawing directly on the contacts and training generated by the HCA funded work.

Grace and Nina placement at Sabina school

grace and nina
Grace and Nina working hard at Sabina school preparing for the PDC

As placements in Sabina school in advance of the 2018 PDC Nina and Grace travelled to Uganda on 27th March 2018 using the last of the HCA funds to establish them selves at the School.

Nina kept a blog covering their work at www.permaculture.sector39.co.uk

Compost making preparing for practical demonstrations on the PDC

We have planned and hope that this opportunity can be extended to future participants as well, now that the precedent has been established.

Other Outcomes from the HCA supported training and network

This is a training centre created directly as a result of the training delivered by S39 in Uganda. It is in Homa Bay Kenya and was directly inspired by the PDC training.

The class room pictured was crowdfunded, using skills learned on the course. They are already running regular courses and Paul Ogola the project initiator has already become an adept permaculture teacher.

Students from the course set up this Facebook page to record their subsequent work, it stands as a great testament to the training and the outomces are out going.

Permaculture East Africa Stuents Union Facebook has proved a successful way to keep track of some of the outcomes following on from the course.

https://web.facebook.com/groups/280098462461568

prince sebe
Participants have replicated and adapted much of what they have learned on the PDC in a wide variety of circumstances

You will see contributions from Prince Sebe Maloba, one of our graduates, he and colleague Ramadan Mutebi are reaching very remote and poor regions in Uganda Kenya border area, extending the reach of our training work way beyond anything we could have anticipated. The key thing is that they are making the work their won. They have taken the ideas an concepts we gave them and adapted them to suit different circumstances. Really this is permaculture in its true form.. Infinitely adaptable and flexible to many situations

One technique for integrated farming demonstrated and taught on PDCUG17 was that of the banana circle. Using a mixture of ground profiling to catch rainwater, a mulch pit to promote water retention, composting and nutrient availability this mix of perennial and annual plants creates a more stable plant guild that can be both highly productive and restorative to degraded soils. A second technique demonstrated on the course was that of making and using biochar as a soil additive. Creating high quality charcoal with all the volatile oils driven off by heat enables a pure carbon soil additive to be used that both increases water infiltration into soils, boosts habitat for soil microbes and remains stable in the soil for log periods of time. You can see it being added here in the image above.

permafrica
the PermAfrica cetnre in HOma Bay Kenya has come about as a direct reult of S39 training, supported by HCA

What has been noteworthy is that course graduates, esp Prince Sebe Maloba, Pual Ogola, Godfrey Opolot and others have taken these ideas and made them their own. They have experimented with different biochar making retort kilns, different inoculants to boosts fertility in the biochar, different planting combinations in the tree guilds as well as different shapes and sizes of the circles themselves. Permaculture encourages the adaptation of ideas and techniques to suit local conditions, materials availability and cultural preference. Literally a hundred or more of these have been planted since the training in May 2017 and we have received numerous photos and reports back on the progress of the idea as it continues to morph and evolve.

Continuation

The final tranch of the HCA funds, as mentioned before were utilised in Feb in a follow up visit to Uganda by project leader Steven Jones who lectured at Makarere business school on this and other work, visited the vice President’s office to report on potential s for permaculture in schools and education and to set up the net, bigger and more ambitions PDCUG18 and conference.

Building on the work of 2017-2018 we have retuned to Uganda with a team of permaculture practitioners largely form from Wales, all taught by Sector39 giving them opportunity to develop professionally and gain new and valuable experience in the field. Together with our African partners we have been able to deliver a much larger course, embedded at a key regional school followed by a permaculture conference bringing people from the wider East Africa region

  1. Steven Jones  (Wales)
  2. Grace Maycock (Wales)
  3. Han Rees (Wales)
  4. Nina Duckers (Wales)
  5. Dan Grove (Wales)
  6. Steve Jagger (Wales)
  7. Richard Stephenson (Wales)
  8. Sofia Fairweather (Cananda)
  9. Angela Polkey (Wales)
  10. Gerald Jagwe (Uganda)
  11. Charles Mugarura (Uganda)
  12. Paul Ogola (Kenya)
  13. Tom Yaga (Uganda)
  14. K.B.  (Uganda)
  15. Barbara Carbon (Belgium/ Wales)
  16. Helen Wright (England)

We now have a network of Uganda and Kenyan partners and trainees we can draw from for further project work and in turn these has broadened again to include Tanzania, Rwanda, Congo, Zanzibar, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

All of this experience has led to S39 winning a highly competitive bid to take Permaculture education to the Western Nile region to work with South Sudanese refugees. S39 will be working with another welsh partner Jack Hunter PhD in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochant to share this experience with schools in the area, namely Llanfyllin High School and also to develop teaching resources in Welsh, English and Arabic to share the experience and insight of permaculture in both locations.

References:

Sector39 home

www.sector39.co.uk

BEU Permaculture

www.broadfieldpermaculture.co.uk

We helped develop this website and host it on our own server. BEU is a training and enabling enterprise in Kampala who are supporting our longer term objectives for permaculture education in East Africa.

PDCUG18

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PDCUG18 course participants and facilitators

The May 2018 PDC has now been completed, with 42 participants and 18 staff and trainee teachers.

eapc2018
Group portrait of the 60+ permaculture practitioners from 12 countires who attend the first east Africa Permaculture Convergence

This was followed by a 2 day permaculture conference, which drew participants from 12 countries and was the first East Africa permaculture ‘Convergence’.

These events have been documented at

www.pdcug18.permaculturedesigncourse.co.uk

This event was funded by selling places on the PDC’s donations from supporters in the UK, US and elsewhere and was made possible by the groundwork in the preceeding 12 months which was supported by the Welsh Government.

Visit from Honary Rosemay Seninde

Minister for primary education closes the PDC

A final outcome was a visit from the Honourable Rosemay Sininde and Minister for Primary education Matthias Kasamba, East Africa legislature representite who closed the PDC and expressed great enthusiasm for the achievements of this work.

We are excited for what may happen next.

Sector39 and partners would like to thank Hub Cymru Africa and the Wales for Africa network for their support, without which we would have not been able set this work and its many outcomes in motion.

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

Revisiting permaculture ethics

Permaculture ethics, that’s easy right? Earth-care, People-care Fair share.. everyone knows the mantra, but do we remember what these things actually mean when we recite them parrot fashion?

Recently I have seen on-line chat suggested they should be updated, improved if you will, the suggestion is that of Future-care being floated as an alternative to the Fair-share – which was always a bit lacking and the least understood of the three. But no Future-care really doesn’t do it for me and its inclusion would greatly impoverish the ethics model.

Let us re-trace our footsteps a bit here and roll things back the 1992 and the Rio Earth summit when the ‘S’ word entered the lexicon in a much bigger way than it had ever been used before. Sustainability, they told us is the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Ok so far so good, then Toby Hemenway in his lecture, ‘How permaculture can save the world but not civilisation’ pointed out that the definition is lacking in that it fails to define what a need actually is and come to that, why are we putting meeting the needs of the present before that of the future? What is a need? Do you really need that cappuccino or another pair of shoes, when it comes to it, who gets to define what a need is? One man’s need is another man’s indulgence.

If we are not careful we are back in the finger wagging judgemental territory most criticised of environmentalists who seem to want to tell everyone else what to do whilst at the same time alienating the vast majority of the population. Telling people they can’t have the stuff they feel they need or deserve or holding one’s own virtuous lifestyle up as some master template has yet to win over the masses.

The ‘S’ word is fraught with difficulty and within a few short years of Rio we have governmental ministers talking about ‘sustainable growth the car industry’ or ‘sustainable economic growth’ or various other oxymoron’s, the word rapidly lost its meaning being hi-jacked left, right and centre to represent a vast swathe of viewpoints.

Back to the drawing board then. Actually before we ditch the ‘S’ word entirely it has something of immense value to offer us and this emerged in the mid 90’s with the idea of the triple bottom line in business. This was environmental sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability. Sustainability is a three-legged stool is the metaphor and it needs all three to stand up. Yes to environment and society but what if we can’t afford it? How can we pursue goals that fail to endure economically? Somewhere in this lies the key to understanding the permaculture ethics especially the much maligned third ethic of fair-Shares.

Full disclosure, I studied economics, not in its pure theory but within the context of sustainable development (yes that tricky ‘S’ word again) I studied economics and ecology at the same time and I have always understood that permaculture lies at the intersection of these two disciplines. Economics is about how we meet needs from available resources, ecology is about who we access those resources within an understanding of the mechanism of the living biosphere of which we are all a part. So balancing the needs of people and those of the planet; the earth and people care prospectively is the origin of the first two ethics. I think everyone gets that, some go further and say screw people, the planet comes first but that is a hard sell in today’s consumer paradise, I think most people are with us on the People and Planet aspiration but the key question as ever is how do we achieve this finely balanced mix.

This is where the third ethic comes in to play and I strongly believe it is the key one.. you can take the first two ethics as read.. I really want to drill down into what this tricky third one is all about.

Yes it is about economics, it is about choices, it is about priorities and the ‘Fair-share’ epithet doesn’t do it for me. It is a handy menomic for sure but it fails to convey meaning and sounds dangerously like a naïve socialist doctrine, leaving us once again with the challenge of who gets to decide what is fair exactly?

Bil Mollison never explained it that way anyway, fair-share was a late arrival, an upstart if you will, one that could have come from a branding agency. The real meat on this bone is about setting limits to consumption, yes my friends at the heart of permaculture is the most radical idea of all, that there is such a thing as enough. In a world where consumerism is touted as an end in itself and conspicuous consumption is worn on the sleeve one might be forgiven for forgetting the setting limits to consumption bit, I guess this equates to fair-shares but still it goes so much deeper.

David Holmgren can help us here, I refer you to principles three and four of his set of twelve. Principle four being about setting limits and three is about meeting needs, obtain a yield, ‘You can’t work on an empty stomach’. It is not in any way selfish to meet ones own needs, in fact it is essential, without breakfast you are no good to anyone, and can’t do a full day’s work. Anyone who has been on an airplane knows that in the safety demo they always tell you.. ’in the unlikely event of the cabin de-pressurizing an oxygen mask will descend, take care to put yours on first before assisting others’. There you have it, you might be a great altruist with only your fellow passengers’ concerns at heart, but at the moment you go blue in the face and pass out you are no good to anyone, in fact you are now a burden to those around you. Meeting one’s own needs first is the first rule of survival for all. It is not selfish it is self empowering.

So with these ethics I would also argue we actually put them the wrong way round, from a permaculture perspective the process of empowerment and enabling positive change begins with meetings one’s own needs, whilst ensuring there is still a surplus for investment. This reinvestment of surplus turns out to be the key, the thing and most likely to be overlooked. The reinvestment of surplus is the how, it is the mechanism that empowers us to achieve the people and planet aspiration.

The rule is you meet your own needs, settling limits and realising there is such a thing as a enough.. only you know what is enough for yourself and this should and can be constantly re-evaluated. Where we set the line for cappuccinos or shoes is a personal choice and no one should be telling us as individuals what to do. However we need to know that if we go into deficit meeting our supposed needs we will never have the faintest chance of being sustainable or doing permaculture effectively.

Sustainability is the meeting of core needs whilst retaining a surplus for reinvestment back in the system. What we do with surplus is what defines us. I argue in my public speaking and teaching that what you choose to do with that bit left over after survival is the key decision each and everyone of us makes. Reinvestment of surplus in social and ecological ends guarantees a world of constant improvement, an expansion of possibilities, sticking it away in the Cayman Islands for some possible rainy day is the thing that drains the life blood of any system and constantly impoverishes it.

We were chatting about this on Facebook recently and someone asked what if there is no surplus? Then of course the preconditions for sustainability in this case are not being met and changes have to be made, this rule holds true for all. If there is no surplus then changes must be made and a redesigning is in order.

I am an enthusiastic advocate of co-operatives, they are vastly superior to a PLC and I will tell you why. PLC’s are owned by shareholders who appoint directors to maximise the return on investment. Profits are siphoned out of the company to channel towards personal ends, tax havens and consumerist endeavours. Co-operatives exist to benefit their customers, users and  members and any surplus is used to reward loyalty and is reinvested in the co-operative so that it can continue to benefit its stakeholders. Co-ops reinvest surplus, PLCs extract it and put it elsewhere.

This is the key difference and this is why to my mind Bill Mollison is absolutely right to state the ethics are.. set limits to consumption and reinvest surplus, for the enablement and betterment of other people, society and planet ie.  people care and the environment.

Put simply as an example I live in a housing cooperative, we set our rent at a level that covers our bills and responsibilities and returns a small surplus we can spend on improving the environmental performance of our home, insulation, heating etc. and allowing us to choose socially responsible alternatives for our food, services etc. So I am sorry if it does not scan as well, or make a great t-shirt but these are and will forever be the permaculture ethics.. saying future-care.. as I have seen proposed tells us nothing, it is already covered by the first two anyway.

The third ethic gives us the mechanism by which to achieve our ambitions of not just sustainability but regeneration and genuinely sustainable growth; one that builds soil, stores water and nutrients and protects and enhances biodiversity, the very tools we need to sustain our own needs.

 

A Call to Action, #permaculture #africa

permaculture africa
Promoting Permaculture and Organic soil health in East Africa

Around the world people are facing up to the huge set of challenges of tackling climate change by addressing its many causes.

  • Creating a sustainable food supply by transforming agriculture into a force for environmental restoration is at the heart of the response.
  • Africa is ready for permaculture as it brings together environmental restoration, food security and local economy.

Permaculture resonates perfectly with traditional knowledge and practices, permaculture is the African way.  Eston Mgala, Malawi

Here in Wales are working closely with East African partners too significantly raise the profile of permaculture across the region.  Partners from Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda are working with us to create first East Africa Convergence, following on from a 60 place PDC  at Sabina school and orphanage in Central Uganda next May.

We are linking pioneering education with food security, education, public health and government outreach. We are working with a key regional school as well as the ministry for education to create a learning hub for permaculture in Central Africa.

We are open for donations, sponsorship, contributions in any form to help us make the event a huge success.

Final Document, please share

PDCUG18-final document

PDCUG18
Permaculture East Africa Document PDF download

World on fire – time to send the fire brigade

96534508_fire
Is it Portugal, Spain, California? Right now it feels that the parts of the World not under water are on fire.

How many super-storms does it take before we notice something deeply terrifying is happening?

There is a shit storm of consequences coming our way and precious little we can do about it sat home on the sofa. We have 30 years of change before us and the sooner we start the better. I think a great many people are now feeling an increasing sense of alarm as the symptoms of the climate crisis present themselves with increasing regularity.

This is what J H Kunstler calls a clusterfuck.

  • Un-seasonal weather, cycles of deluge and drought stress the forests and create conditions where whole landscapes become vulnerable to outside forces.
  • Austerity strapped authorities cut back on essential maintenance and services, staff and resources are trimmed from budgets.
  • Hurricane and gales of a ferocity never seen before sweep in, turbo-charged by the extra warm oceans, reaching areas never before exposed to such forces.
  • Be it  the firestorm that just engulfed central Portugal or the deluge that drowned Houston or the ferocious winds that destroyed whole island nations such as Puerto Rico the scene is set for catastrophe.

We have to learn to think and plan differently.

We will need to realise that authorities and services will not be there if they are not invested in and trained for new challenges. Time and time again we see essential services breaking down or overloaded when these events happen, consequently the first thing we need to prepare our selves for is partial or temporary systems collapse.

The key word is RESILIENCE, community resilience is our first line of defense to help us overcome whatever catastrophes might be waiting for us.

Tesco’s distribution center might get carpet bombed by the Taliban, three feet of snow may cover the nation for a month or maybe a freeze so hard every pipe bursts – we don’t know where the next challenge might come from. In a world where we are not much more than three meals away from social breakdown, the just in time delivery model of the highly specialized modern world does not stand up well to external shocks.

How do you create clean drinking water or cook from basics? How long can we live without power or internet? Could we manage for long without proper sanitation? How long would it take us to re-create a more local food economy? Addressing these and a great many more issues through, training, skills sharing and innovation is becoming an imperative.

Puerto Ricans are being told it might be a year before normal service is resumed, what if another super-storm happens along in the mean time?

The world is not having a run of bad luck, it has entered a new reality; a climate changed reality where extreme weather events not only become more common but they join together to create monster catastrophes that we might struggle to ever fully recover from.

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What comes next? Ecological development

Yes we have to organise to build resilience from the ground up but we also need to pursue a new long-term strategy. Lets call it ecological development for now. China have already embraced this model; recognising that development has to compliment and enhance the living world not just be slightly less damaging than before. This really is new thinking for a government and they are dead serious about it as well.

forest city
Cities that can capture CO2 and clean the air, whilst providing water filtration and wildlife habitat, food and waste processing.

We call that Permaculture design

Shiny new green cities aside, as sexy as they are may not be the full solution. Most of our cities are already built, sub-urbs too and the greater challenge is to redesign and re-purpose the resources we already have invested in.

There isn’t a simple solution but we need to find a consensus of what is happening to us and use that to formulate a bigger plan. Here at Sector39 we are looking for the teachers, leaders, innovators and change makers who can help create new options and build that consensus.

We have been teaching and demonstrating permaculture in many ways since 1990’s and much of that experience has been channeled into our ground breaking courses.

Our PDC is ground breaking and life changing, bringing together teachers and practitioners, projects and enterprises. We keep our charges as low as possible and offer a life changing experience that for many is the start of a new direction in their own lives.

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We would love to hear from you if you are interested in being part of this course. Together we can build a new reality and create new possibilities.

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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This is a climate emergency and it requires a response from everyone

There is nothing to say really, the images say it all. USA’s 4th largest city drowned by 4 feet of rainfall. India and Bangladesh are also experiencing catastrophic flooding. Millions of people’s homes and livelihoods are at stake and this is just the beginning.

Once in a 1000 years weather events are now happening regularly, crisis is the new normal. This is no joke and it is not an overstatement to call it an emergency, or as JH Kunstler calls it The Long Emergency because we are going to be facing these challenges long into the future.

These super storms are pushed into overdrive by the warmer sea waters.  Warmer seas = more energetic storms. This is climate change and there is much more like this and more to look forward to, this problem is not going to go away until we have applied a great deal of effort over a great deal of time.

paris climate targetsWe really must act and to be able to act effectively, we are going to need a really good plan.

The Paris Accord gives us the targets we have to aim for but gives us no idea of how we are going to get there.

The best responses to face such future uncertainty are not immediately apparent and also what ever we come up with we are also going to have to be able to afford. Climate change adaption and mitigation have to become central to our thinking in all that we do. It will take long term planning and  a clear strategy to enable communities to co-ordinate their efforts effectively.

I am convinced the permaculture design is the framework we can work around to achieve these aims and we here in Mid Wales we are planning to work across our community produce a realistic vision for 2050 and how we might get there.

The Paris Accord

The targets the nations of the world signed up to kick off in 2020, meaning the race to implement our plan begins in earnest, whilst we must prioritize building the tools and training the people to implement it.

One School One Planet  are proposing a community wide permaculture plan that allows us to build a vision for 2050.

2050 because that is the Paris Accord target date to be carbon neutral and on our way to a carbon negative economy. Doing this by 2050, we are reminded still only gives us a 66% chance of avoid climate breakdown and catastrophe, we have to do a lot better really.

Competition

We announced our design competition last week and here is my attempt to come up with something.. let me know what you think.. Or much better still send me your ideas.  We want to find the best ideas out there to help communicate this vital message

one school one planet idea
One school one planet logo idea

 

climate action
Enter the competition here

But is it sustainable?

graphic produced by Llanfyllin High school student
Sometime in 1990 the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed the 350 ppm mark, from that point forward the influx of energy in the form of heat from the sun has exceeded the rate it has been leaving the earth’s atmosphere; the planet has literally been warming. This will continue to happen until the Co2 in the atmosphere returns to a level of 350 ppm or below, with levels currently over 400 ppm we can’t even begin to use the word sustainable with any meaning until we have achieved this momentous challenge.

Climate change isn’t even the problem, it is the symptom of a much deeper and more serious one; that of our almost total disconnect from the ecological reality of our finite planet. We live in denial of reality and that reality is going to catch us out big time unless we prepare ourselves emotionally, intellectually and physically for what is coming next.

Fixing this problem is not a technological issue as such, rather it is a total shift in our relationship with the living planet we occupy. New and enlightened economic, social and educational approaches are required to enable us to escape the disaster we are creating. To be clear we are no long talking about minimising or reducing the damage we cause; we are required to find strategies which actively repair the enormous amount of damage already done to the biosphere. We have to fix it. We call this regenerative development.

Sustainability is the starting point for such a process, it is not the objective but the barest minimum required.

Permaculture is about solutions, it is about finding the pathways to regenerative development. It is not just the earth’s living systems that have to be repaired; we have to address the social imbalance at the same time. The empowerment of all people to be fully able to take an active part in this process is central to any chance of success that might remain.

Permaculture sits at the intersection of economics and ecology. It is a design strategy that asks economic questions about how we meet our needs, personal and familial in a way that empowers others to do the same, not at their expense. Permaculture recognises that all of these economic decisions and transactions occur within a healthy living biosphere. We cannot stand outside of this biological relationship for more than a few moments, just how long can you hold your breath or go without water or food? Permaculture is about self empowerment and community enablement whilst caring for the earth by listening carefully to the feedback it gives us. To be good at permaculture you have to be good at listening and right now if you listen carefully the planet is screaming at us, make the change, join the movement, and get active!

Steve Jones August 2017.
www.permaculturedesigncourse,co.uk
@misterjones2u

East Africa’s first Permaculture Convergence, plans and advance notice

permaculture design course 2018 permaculture convergenceA convergence is a coming together, in this case we are hoping to bring together leading practitioners and advocates for permaculture design in East Africa. The aim is to accelerate the already considerable momentum in the region by profiling some of the amazing work already underway in the region.

Since 2015 Sector39 have taught two full PDCs in Uganda and are planning the third currently. We have also formed a supportive partnership with two Ugandan organisations to enable us to extend our regional ambitions. East Africa is literally hungry for permaculture and there is so much that can be done to significantly improve people’s lives and resilience utilising resources that are largely already available.

It seems an obvious step forward for our East African partnership to try to raise the profile for permaculture by creating an event that demonstrates the many possibilities for its positive application. We are inviting some of the region’s biggest enthusiasts as speakers and workshop leaders and planning for an event that can bring together students from our first three courses with school heads, politicians and other scoial and financial gatekeepers with whom we might build new and mutually beneficial relationships.

The planned venue couldn’t be more ideal as it is home the most mature designed food forest in whole region and the school has embraced permaculture design and ideas within its core curriculum, even the Head Teacher has completed a PDC!

Sabina school is near to Rakai in central Uganda, the region that was the epi-centre of the global AIDS epidemic. They are still in recovery from the terrible loss of life, creativity and human resource but are well on track to have the situation fully under control by 2030. Modern drugs have massively reduced the mortality rate, it is no longer a death sentence and people are open about their HIV status. That said there are still many orphans in the region and a great deal of work to be done to compenstate for the terrible effets of the epidemic.

sabina permaculture garden

Sabina students in the school’s forest garden. Bananas, avocado, pumpkin, jack fruit, there is food everywhere!

The 2-day conference is intended to both bring permaculture practitioners, students and pioneers together as well as creating a platform to celebrate and showcase achievements to inspire and demonstrate possibilities for new and interested parties. There will be talks, demonstrations, a permaculture futures forum and a school partnerships proposal launch.

As well as site tours and demonstrations at Sabina there will be a chance to visit The Permaculture Research of Uganda, (PRI-UG) which has an ecological farm and demonstration site less than an hour from the intended venue and that is en route for anyone traveling from Kampala. The day immediately before and after the actual convergence will be open days for the site with guided tours and discussion forums planned

Political persuasion.

Permaculture belongs in schools. Imagine the anxiety for young adults when confronted with the fact that the next 30 years of their lives is going to dominated by climate change, a dwindling oil supply and the possibility if never-ending resource wars accompanied by ceaseless waves of refugees.

Currently it feels like no one in the main stream is offering solutions or ways forward they are battoning down the hatches and tightening border controls. We need to offer more than vision of a sustainable future, we need to provide the mechanism for change and pathways for empowerment and inclusion in that process and where better to begin than at school?

We have the support of the minister for education for Buganda and the national minister for education was a founding force behind Sabina school where the event will be held  so there exists a solid foundation to link the event to movement on a political level. When arrived in Kampala some 6 weeks ago our first meeting was with Mr Mula, permanent secretary to the Vice President of Uganda, he offered us his full support and strongly endorsed the work of Charles Mugarura and partners BEU Permaculture. We are looking to the younger generation to take the lead he emphasised.

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Launch of BEU permaculture, Uganda’s most dynamic permaculture team and partners with Sector39 delivering this event

Sector39’s education team have since began work on 12 educational units for use in school that will introduce permaculture’s key principles to the curriculum, not as a subject but as cross curricular themes.

The East African Convergence gives us a timeline now to develop and profile this work. We have a key partner school in Wales to develop and trial the materials with as well as an emerging school network in Uganda so we are absolutely ready to take this work to the next level.

Pre booking and sponsorship packages are available to help us develop these potentials and we are also reaching out to teachers and educators to help realise these ambitions.

Delivery Partnership

  • The Sector39 education team are taking a lead role in organising this event, please contact us for bookings, sponsorship and other offers of help. There will be volunteering and internship opportunities as well.
  • On the ground logistics, site development, volunteer hosting plus marketing support and branding services are being provided  by BEU Permaculture, Kampala.
  • PRI-UG are offering demonstration visits, networking a practical support fir workshops and site development.
  • PermoAfrica centre and K5 community permaculture are linking us to on the ground community permaculture practical work in Kenya and will be profiling their 2 years of developmental experience for the conference.
  • Key note speakers tbc. We are  inviting a leading Author on East African botany, a leading agronomist and politician in the educational field to outline the key themes of the conference.