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.

kenya-map3

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

Final preparations for the Permaculture Design Course!

The Permaculture Design Course is starting this week, and it doesn’t feel real. Even though the work we have been doing has been in preparation for the course and convergence it still feels like we are just going to keep on doing what we are doing. This week has been about preparations out of the garden; sorting beds for 50 people, cleaning the school and the site, washing everything in the rooms, ensuring there is enough water, fruit and other foods for the UK teams arrival and then welcoming the UK team onto site.

With Jagwe’s help we replaced the nursery bed shade, replacing the heavier more useful papyrus with reed matting which will provide a more even coverage over the nursery. We climbed up the rickety ladder that gets smaller and smaller as it goes up, and is balanced precariously against the nursery structure. Grace and I finished the job when Jagwe had left Sabina, fighting against ants that had moved into the reeds while they were being stored.

 

 

With some help from the students Grace has been working on removing the lemon growth from the orange trees in the food forest. The roots of the lemon tree is stronger than the orange and so the two are grafted together but without proper management the stronger lemon growth fights through the oranges. Jagwe observed that the trees were diseased which made us aware of how important it was for us to work on the trees.

The UK team have arrived with energy, ideas and projects of their own which is making everything seem so much busier around the site. Richie is working on 407 projects all at once, building a beehive is his own personal project which he is doing around all the other woodwork that has been needed doing for weeks. The library has been painted, creating a brilliant white wall to be projected onto during the course for the big presentations . Han and I are working on making signs to put up around the site helping the participants navigate the grounds as well as making the site seem like an event space rather than just a school site. Helen and Charles have been able to work together to make plans for the Convergence, it has been great to get the team together so people are no longer just familiar names and email addresses.

Dan has been working on making an estoufa finca (with Luigi’s help) which is a wood paralysis stove that burns from the top and cooks the wood below releasing the wood gasses and water vapour, little or no smoke is produced once it’s got going. When fully going it burns at 800 degrees c. Most people in Uganda live cooking on wood, the population is set to double in the next couple of decades and in the last couple of decades the forests have halves. Burning wood on the ground is at best 25% efficient and so there is a huge potential in exploring fuel efficient stoves.

A few days after the first load of UK team members the rest of the team arrived. Now as a complete team we can focus on the course in more detail, everyone is helping each other prepare lesson plans and presentations. If there’s anything that someone on the teaching team is unsure about with everyone who’s here, there will be someone who they can ask.

With more mouths to feed, we have had to change what we eat in order to be able to cater for so many people all at once. Aunty Agnes taught us how to make Chapattis which have been a staple ever since Richie perfected the art. Thankfully we collected enough avocados before the team arrived and so we aren’t missing our daily 3 avocado intake. It’s nice to share each meal with so many people, going from just the three of us who would eat together daily to more than five times that number now that the team has expanded. It’s a bigger affair with more people to get to know and more inspiring minds with a bigger range of conversations to be had. 

With participants arriving today and the course starting tomorrow everyone is working hard in the hot African sun trying to get themselves and the site ready. It’s very exciting how massive the course and convergence are to permaculture in East Africa. Hopefully this is just the beginning of something bigger than any of us can imagine.

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