Radio Mfangano

Permaculture in Central Africa

(this is an early announcement of a course we are currently developing and seeking funding for, if you are interested to hear more please contact us after May 1st 2019)

As a design system for food security, sustainable livelihood and land regeneration permaculture directly addresses many of the challenges faced by farmers, urban communities as well as displaced people throughout Africa. Permaculture theory is easy to learn and to apply, draws heavily on local experience and resources and is spreading like wildfire in East Africa. Permaculture is also a process of developing social cohesion whilst combining design skills with a consensus approach to problem solving.

Over the last 3 years Sector39, PRI-Uganda and PermoAfrica centre Kenya have been working closely to build a team of permaculture trainers, practitioners and teachers as well as demonstration plots and training hubs. With its young and vibrant population permaculture is being readily adopted and adapted by its enthusiasts. There are already many models and case studies to offer as building blocks to achieve much greater ambitions.

maaji permaculture group
Sector39 team with project members at Maaji refugee settlement Uganda

We are proposing a two, 2 -week courses in November/ December 2019, the fist in Kumi, Eastern Uganda and the other on Mfangano Island, Homa Bay, Kenya.

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Kumi – 12 day full PDC in English language.  Permaculture for teachers, community leaders and pioneers.

Mfangano – 12 day full PDC in Luo, Swahili and English. Permaculture for community transformation and teacher development.

This second course is especially aimed at Homa bay area aspiring permaculture teachers and practitioners and especially Mfangano islanders who are farmers, teachers and community leaders.

Partnership

  • Sector39

S39 is UK based and leading permaculture training enterprise with over 2 decades of experience and with 3 years experience working Uganda.  We are involved in teaching permaculture for schools, teachers and community leaders in UK and Uganda and also for refugees and displaced people. We have recently competed a 6 month contract for the Norwegian Refugee Council delivering training to refugee and host community members in the Western Nile region.

  • PRI-UG.

PRI-Uganda is a non-profit organization whose major objective is to empower individuals and communities to undertake sustainable Agriculture and Culture using the Permaculture Approach. We work in close partnership developing appropriate training experience and outcomes

Permaculture Research Institute Uganda

  • PermoAfrica Centre

Founded by Paul Ogola who was a graduate from the first Uganda PDC with Sector39 in 2016. PermoAfrica are a training organization based in Homa Bay, Kenya. They reach out across their local farming community to train, support and develop capacity for permaculture farming and demonstration.

Paul has developed his own training centre, PermoAfrica as well as a strong local network of farmers he has trained with his team

Homa bay permaculture group

PermoAfrica centre

  • EK-FM

EK-FM is a community radio broadcaster based on Mfangano Island. Their core listener-ship covers the island and reaches the lake shore communities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. They broadcast daily in Luo and Swahili reaching up to 300,000 listeners.

  • Dolen Ffermio

Wales/ Uganda farmers support link. Dolen have been a supportive partner to our interests in permaculture in east Africa since 2011 and are based in hte same rural area of Mid Wales as Sector39.

Dolen Ffermio

End of Empire

Chris Hedges is one of the foremost ‘public intellectuals’ in the USA. One of the clearest voices on the left and a harsh critic of US imperialism. Hedges takes a clear, uncompromising view of the reality that is confronting us.

He advises us to abandon hope, as that leads to disappointment and desolation, and to focus on what we can practically achieve and through that process find deep personal meaning in our engagement.

He references many key texts, and draws on his deep experience of 20 years as foreign corespondent for the New York Times before quitting his influential position as head of the middle east office over the NYT’s refusal to accurately convey the disaster that was the Iraq war. The interview is deeply revealing of how the state controls the narrative and also how journalism has been eroded to ‘court gossip’.

Keiser Report

Ex Wall Street bond trader, turned financial journalist presents a fresh perspective on economics and social change. This episode fits perfectly into the theme of climate emergency and collapse. Its a good watch and on topic, witty, acerbic, insightful and informed.

  • Are we living in an era of soft totalitarianism?
  • Will there be a Davos 2020?
  • ‘Bitcoin is the guillotine of the 21st century’

Thinking about the fragility and beauty of the natural world

We need to cultivate a culture of deep reverence for nature and be prepared to accept the lessons of our own observations. I added this as a counter balance to the other two videos.

However we see the times we are living though it seems to me it is this interaction between our economic world and the real ecology we are embedded in that we need to concentrate on fully as we are clearly getting this very wrong currently. The issue both of the first two videos addresses is the mechanism by which we can over throw the status quo. The over throw of Wall Street, of the Imperialism and the empowerment of all people to face our collective challenges together seems to be a common theme.

permaculture, climate change and community transition event in Llanfyllin
Join us on thursday evening to explore how these key issues impact on us at a community level

Powys CC to consider Climate Emergency motion

13.2 Notice of Motion: Green Heart of Wales

This Council in seeing Powys as the Green Heart of Wales;

1.     acknowledges the Climate Change Emergency and thus:

2.     Asks the pension trustees to develop a strategy of divestment from fossil fuels

3.     Supports the principles of Zero Carbon Britain and the work done by CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology)

4.     Encourages the development of Hydrogen production and technologies in Powys utilising the clean environment, water and energy supply

5.     Highlights that green technologies and the new economic opportunities as part of environmental sustainability should be a fundamental part of the Mid Wales Growth deal thus giving us a USP (Unique Selling Point)

6.     That the authority should put in place a strategy for net zero carbon of its activities and develop best environmental practice in its buildings

7.     That the authority should look at best practice from other authorities such as robinhoodenergy.co.uk with Nottinghamshire Council and theleccy.co.uk/about/ with Liverpool City Council, in not only developing local energy ownership and supply chains but also assisting tackling fuel poverty.

Proposed by County Councillor Elwyn Vaughan

Seconded by County Councillor Bryn Davies

What does declaring ‘Climate Emergency’ mean?

Cornwall Council has declared a ‘climate emergency’.

The  authority says the declaration “recognises the climate change crisis and the need for urgent action”. It  follows  a motion debated at a full Council meeting today, where the Council called on Westminster to provide the powers and resources necessary to achieve the target for Cornwall to become carbon neutral by 2030 and committed to work with other Councils with similar ambitions.

The motion – ‘Urgency on Climate Change’ – was brought to Full Council by Councillor Dominic Fairman, local member for St Teath and St Breward, and seconded by Councillor Edwina Hannaford, the Council’s Cabinet portfolio holder for neighbourhoods.

The motion was amended by Councillor for Falmouth Smithick, Jayne Kirkham, to declare a climate emergency in line with the declarations of other local authorities.

Cllr Fairman said: “After a very lively debate a cross-party amendment was accepted which went even further than the original motion. If we are to avoid the worst-case scenarios, then the social change required will be deep.

  • Town by town and now whole counties are declaring a climate emergency, but what does that entail?
  • Should we all be pushing for similar action locally?

emergencyThe science is settled, yet we seem unable to collectively plot a course to a safe horizon. Global emissions are still rising, they are still drilling and even worse we are still subsidizing the costs of bringing fossil energy to market and putting obstacles in the way of renewable energy development and investment. This must change.

But we definitely know that continuing to work in the ways we have done until now is not just backfiring – it is holding the gun to our own heads. With this in mind, we can choose to explore how to evolve what we do, without any simple answers.

Prof Jem Bendal PhD

The Prof. in a recent paper of staggering implications argues convincingly that we have to consider three courses of action, immediately as carrying on as we are is counter-productive to our own survival.

In the paper Deep Adaptation we are urged to look at our lives under these 3 headings

  • Resilience asks us “how do we keep what we really want to keep?”

What are the valued norms and behaviours that human societies will wish to maintain as they seek to survive?

  • Relinquishment asks us “what do we need to let go of in order to not make matters worse?”

This involves people and communities letting go of certain assets, behaviours and beliefs where retaining them could make matters worse. Examples include withdrawing from coastlines, shutting down vulnerable industrial facilities, or giving up expectations for certain types of consumption.

  • Restoration asks us “what can we bring back to help us with the coming difficulties and tragedies?”

This involves people and communities rediscovering attitudes and approaches to life and organisation that our hydrocarbon-fuelled civilisation eroded. Examples include re-wilding landscapes, so they provide more ecological benefits and require less management, changing diets back to match the seasons, rediscovering non-electronically powered forms of play, and increased community-level productivity and support.

revolution permaculture
There is a different kind of revolution brewing, and much of it will entail a shift from us acting collectively as consumers to a role of producers

There is much we dont know

Equally there is much that we do, the inevitability of transition or total collapse and the need for urgency. Every prediction made using 1990’s climate modelling is being overshot by current reality, we are looking at very grim scenarios within all of our lifetimes.. the only way we can mitigate the crisis we face is to begin to frame our collective response. If it is a crisis of our own doing, then we need to call it a crisis and stop doing those things rapidly

 

Regular meetings

We will be meeting in the Cross Keys again next week, that is Thursday 31st January, Llanfyllin High Street. It is a free event, refreshments are served, donations to Cross Keys are welcome.  Doors open 7.00 pm formal business from 7.30.

In last weeks meeting we looked at issues around key topics.

  • Feedback points included the following

Land, farming, food

A profound shift is happening in farming, localised, seasonal, organic, diversity friendly and carbon negative. There was interest in generating dialogue with farmers to release more marginal plots to re-wilding and local food projects. Starting co-ops, supporting local groups, more allotments and better growing skills and local distribution

Church land? Other public spaces that could be re-wilded or made productive

Education

Will also be profoundly hit by transport costs. Ideas shared were can children educate their parents, it is after all there future that is being destroyed. The kind of jobs people are being prepared for will not exist, are we even creating the right skill set in pupils. Can we cope emotionally with the changes before us.

Food growing, processing storing and cooking. Can permaculture be part of education, and children more empowered to shape the school environment and hierarchy?

Un-schooling, can we bring people of different ages and backgrounds together to share life experiences and skills and find new ways of learning?

Transport

Powys has miles of roads, a dispersed population and is very vulnerable to cliamte or market disruptions. We need to think a lot more about transport. Car we go car free through sharing schemes, car clubs and community taxis. Electric bikes, what other alternatives are there?

Money

Can we create a local currency, or several different types of ways to interact with local, esp. food economy. Social ecoomy work can be rewarded with local currency.

 

Join the Revolution

Revolution is a strong word. It implies many things, most of them challenging but I use it deliberately, this my friends is a revolution, a seismic change is underway and we all need to get behind it. The more we take part the more we get to shape it and the corresponding outcomes.

One thing is for sure is that  the immense challenges we face are not going to away by us ignoring them.

Revolution? I am actually quoting Prince Charles of all people, not your text book revolutionary, but those are the first words of his recent book Harmony.

“This is a call to revolution. The Earth is
under threat. It is losing its balance and we
humans are causing this to happen”

Revolution is a strong word and I use it
deliberately. The many environmental and
social problems that loom large, cannot be
solved by the very approach that caused
them” HRH Charles

I am no great royalist or in the habit of quoting their words but this statement cannot be overlooked. It is highly significant. Charles has been environmentally inclined his whole adult life and mainly laughed at in the tabloids for talking to plants or whatever, but it is undeniable that he has a deep understanding of the natural world and he is absolutely correct to raise the most urgent of concerns. Carrying on our current path will lead us self destruction, a whole new way of thinking is required, tinkered at the edges, making eco bricks from plastic at best slows our demise by a moment or two, something much more fundamental is required of us all.

Don’t look to Government, this is beyond their remit, they care about GDP, banks and corporate access to minerals and markets, the change will come from the bottom up and we will have to drag our government kicking a screaming into the new paradigm, This we have to do and with some urgency too. 2019 is the tipping point year, we really have left this to the very last minute and it is going to take everyone to get us to where we need to be.

This is also no overnight event, this is 30 year revolution we have before us, that is how long we have to de-carbonise our economy, maybe a lot less. To set a course to a sustainable future we must half global emissions this decade, failing on that means we will have left it way to late to even have a chance. We have delayed and delayed, but the time for action really is upon us. 2019 is the year we set a course to a very different destination.

Please come along to find out more, meanwhile listen to this.

Alexandra Ocasio Cortez overturned a long standing incumbent to gain a seat in congress. At 29 she has a radical outlook for the future, her ambition is exciting. Radical, Bold. I want to hear a lot more of this kind of talk. I see her rapid rise in politics as a reflection of the changes coming.
You might wonder what we are proposing, what is the agenda, simply that begin meaningful conversations across the community about the problems we face. Poverty, debt, a contracting economy, Brexit but the over arching issue is climate and that we have to halve our emissions and rapidly as we can. I like the idea coming from Extinction Rebellion, that of forming people’s assemblies, we need to demand the government at every level do their job, they should be working for us and being held account by us much more. They are failing us as they are still subsidizing oil companies, holding back renewable energy development while pushing for investment in fossil fuel extraction.. there is simply no excuse for this and we will have to hold them to account.

Dw-khZxVsAA17tP.jpg large
Globally each and every region needs to recognize that this is an emergency and immediate action is called for.

Climate emergency – unveiling next steps of our response

Climate change, the science

In year one of the One School One Planet we screened this video at the school, as a baseline for understanding of climate science. Chaired by HRH Charles, introduced by David Attenborough and presented by Professor Johan Rokstrom it is an

‘invitation on a transformational journey’  Professor Johan Rokstrom

We have also invited our community to watch the ‘Overview Effect’ which documents the impact of viewing the Earth from space has had on many of the astronauts and space shuttle crew who have been in orbit.

Some Key Quotes from those who have viewed Earth from space

It is not just fixing an economic or a political system, but it our whole world view, our basic understanding of who we are that is at stake

A part of that is to come up with a new picture, a new story, a new way to approach this and to shift our behavior in a way that it leads to sustainable way instead of a destructive approach. Right now that seems very difficult to see how it is going to be, but we are going to have to work on it.

An a grand scale we are all basically living in this ecosystem called earth and everything that you do on side of the ecosystem affects the other side and that is a new way of living for most of humanity

Emergency is not too strong a word

Sadiq Khan has moved targets forward by 20 years to bring London to carbon neutral status by 2030 instead of 80%b reductions by 2050 as previously targeted

Link to the presentation we will be discussing and answering questions about on Thursday 20th Dec at the Cross Keys Llanfyllin high street

One School One Planet – Keys presentation 001

One School One Planet is a Sector39 led project over three years to find ways to link school curriculum, climate action and community development together, using permaculture. We feel you cant teaching about climate change and ecological problems without also responding to them. Showing how to respond the problem, whilst also exploring the nature of the problem itself.

Greta Thunberg COP24 from David Fopp on Vimeo.

Everyone should hear Greta thunberg’s speech at COP24.

South Sudan refugee project: Using Permaculture design to rebuild lives

maaji permaculture group

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

 

Kampala meeting, permaculture network meeting

The Sector39 team decided to hold a small networking meeting to develop Uganda networks and were graciously offered to host the meeting at St Augustine’s International University, by Prof. of agriculture Charles Ssekyewa. The Sector39 team consisting of Helen, Gerald, Ali, Steve and Grace organised the event and around 20 people
turned up, students, lecturers and people from other organisations that work in the regenerative/permaculture sector.

The meeting began at 2pm
with Steve Jones opening with thoughts on permaculture work in UK, specifically food waste composting and linking that to horticulture training and community development in Wales.

Permaculture in development presentation

This was followed by a
presentation on the work of Sector 39 in conjunction with NRC on permaculture with refugees from South Sudan and host Ugandan communities. We developed a ten day training programme which was delivered to 40 people from the refugee and host community, who will
in turn become advocates and trainers for their peers. The intention is to reach a further 200 people through a trainer of trainers programme.

The floor was then open
for attendees to talk about their own projects. We heard from Eustace Sajjabi from AFIRD (Agency for Integrated) Rural Development and Kiyimba Mugagga, from SCOPE (Schools and Colleges Permaculture Programme) Uganda . They spoke about their work in permaculture
in schools and the work of creating school gardens and food forests to provide nutrition and knowledge to pupils and teachers. They also spoke of the need to bring permaculture into the curriculum of schools across the whole of Uganda, following in the examples
of the work in the Zimbabwe schools curriculum.

We had associates from
Kulika Uganda, Magdelene Amujal and Harriet Ndagire. Kulika is an organisation working with small scale farmers to promote ecological and organic farming systems. They have a permaculture demo site in their offices in Kampala and are looking towards teaching
more about permaculture to their farmers.

Rogers Wasibi came from
Mbale to represent The Mount Elgon Coffee and Honey Cooperative. They have been working with the Size of Wales project to diversify the local community into agroforestry and reforestation projects inf the hilly areas of Mount Elgon, where there is a large
coffee growing industry. Prices of coffee can fluctuate massively leaving people economically exposed. Coffee is an understory shrub so can work well in conjunction with other trees. Rogers is interested in learning more about permaculture and how it can help
his cooperative of honey and coffee producers.

We heard from Gerald Jagwe
and Hellen Aanyuaujo about their work on developing the first East African Permaculture Association. They are beginning to focus on creating regional hubs that can be representatives of all areas across Uganda. They are in the early stages of formation, but
it’s an exciting and inspiring idea to network permaculture graduates and teachers across Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.

We also heard from Prof.
Charles Ssekyewa about the development of the new agriculture department at St Augustine’s University and their interest in organic systems and permaculture. There is a hope from Charles that this meeting wont be the last and that this could be the beginning
of a regular yearly meet up.

We heard from Benoit Musabyimana
from BAC AGRITECH Ltd, a company in Rwanda. He is looking to begin organic waste recycling/composting centre in Kigali, using the compost to promote organic agriculture to local farmers.

We had around 6 agriculture
students from the University that were interested in finding more about permaculture.

Michael Kanaabi, from
NACRRI (National crops resources and research institute) talked about the need for more research on permaculture farming to create quantitative data on permaculture for small/large scale farmers. There were also ideas floated around that would make use of
students looking for research projects that help could create that much needed hard data and evidence of the benefits of permaculture systems.There was also a note that there was a lack of examples of larger scale (10/20 acres) permaculture projects.

We thank everyone for
attending and a big thanks to Dr. Elizabeth Westaway for promoting this meeting on social media. We really hope to continue this next year and to build on ideas together in the future.

Maaji 3 Refugee Settlement area

Here are some photos from our last week’s work in the Uganda at Maaji refugee settlement area. These farmers were new to permaculture back in June by September they had created these and many more examples of working with nature.