A 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 social 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 to the most mature designed food forest in the 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 epicentre 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 compensate for the terrible effects of the epidemic.
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.
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 be dominated by climate change, a dwindling oil supply and the possibility of never-ending resource wars accompanied by ceaseless waves of refugees.
Currently it feels like no one in the mainstream is offering solutions or ways forward they are battening down the hatches and tightening border controls. We need to offer more than a 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 we arrived in Kampala some 6 weeks ago our first meeting was with Mr Mula, permanent secretary to the Vice President of Uganda, and 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.
Sector39’s education team have since begun 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.
- 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 and practical support for 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.
- Keynote 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.