Rural farmers in Nepal join local permaculture network

Rural farmers in Nepal join local permaculture network

Farmers working plots as small as a third of an acre have agreed to implement permaculture techniques as part of a matched grant program around Begnas Lake in Nepal.

Hillside farms overlook Begnas Lake

With the Nepal Permaculture Group they are creating a local hub for a network of farmers who are cooperating to discover and demonstrate the advantages of organic farming.

In the 2018-19 grant round Permafund helped kick off a farm improvement project with a workshop for farmers in the Kashki district.

The main objectives of the workshop were to:

  • introduce people involved in permaculture and similar philosophies to the network and provide a forum for sharing their expertise and experience.
  • identify the skills in the networks of organic food marketing in Nepal
  • find ways to establish an organic produce & market network in Pokhara
  • build a local Resource Centre to promote permaculture and related philosophies
  • work as a pressure group to advocate and lobby for a more sustainable society.

The farmers produce fruit, vegetables, medicinal herbs and livestock

Beekeeping adds to the mix of produce

The farmers agreed to

  • continue to improve their farms for at least seven years while also receiving technical and other support from the state government,
  • coordinate and collaborate with other farmers in their areas,
  • keep records on costs and benefits to help analyse the difference between a conventional & a model farm
  • base their work on organic and permaculture principles
  • to report on their farm’s progress on a quarterly basis
  • to establish their farms as model farms in their area with at least two farms to be utilised as local resource centres.

The support from Permafund has helped the Nepal Permaculture Group coordinate the resource centre and model farm initiative which is encouraging and empowering farmers and inspiring their communities.

Livestock plays a key role

All contributions to Permafund, whether single or recurring donations, are very much appreciated. For more information please contact the Permafund team permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au

Permafund micro-grant supports seed bank in India

Permafund micro-grant supports seed bank in India

In the 2018-19 grant round, Permafund supported the Women’s Organisation for Rural Development (WORD) in India with a micro-grant for their project to help marginal farmers cultivate grains and indigenous millets and create a seed bank for future crops.

Based in the Indian Namakkal District of Tamil Nadu, the project reached 225 farmers in targeted villages where rain-fed agriculture is predominant. In the growing season 150 farmers were provided with sorghum and millet to cultivate on their land and 75 farmers sowed maize. All of the harvests improved food security for the villages.

Harvested seeds saved for the next crop

The farmers’ harvest returned double the quantity of grains and millet seeds to WORD’s seed bank ready for the July 2020 to February 2021 growing season.

The Women’s Organisation for Rural Development has expressed their sincere thanks to Permaculture Australia’s Permafund for their support and partnership with WORD and the farmers in their area.

WORD officially formed in 1991 based on an 80’s movement of young women inspired by the spirit of the Gandhian Boodan Movement of the 60’s. That movement had attempted to persuade wealthy landowners to voluntarily give a percentage of their land to landless people.

Among the motivations for WORD has been the appalling plight of the Dalits, who are among the most marginalised and deprived populations.  Another challenge is the rising degradation and depletion of the natural resources which marginal villages rely on for their livelihoods.

One off and recurring donations to Permafund are assisting community-oriented organisations like this in Australia and around the world.

For more information please contact the Permafund team at  permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au

 

Donations Appeal for Permafund’s 2020 grant round

Donations Appeal for Permafund’s 2020 grant round

Dear Donors, Key Supporters and the Permaculture Community. 

Permaculture Australia’s Permafund is very grateful for your thoughtful, kind and generous donations over the past days, weeks, months and years. 

We are pleased to announce that the focus of Permafund’s 2020 grant round will be on the recovery from extreme weather events, including bushfires, plus designing for disaster in preparedness for the future. The recent crises here in Australia and internationally demand a response and a donation to Permafund is a meaningful way to contribute.

Permafund Chair, John Champagne of Bega Valley explains, “Permafund has been active over the past eight years assisting small NGO’s around the world with their permaculture initiatives. It’s important now to focus on the crisis we’ve experienced from extreme weather events and assist local permaculture groups effectively assist their communities in this time of need.”

Echidna hunting for water during the bushfires

The total of the donations made to Permafund at present is just short of the amount that triggers a micro grant round.

The Permafund team is calling for donations to help boost this total as high as possible before the 2020 grant round is opened for applications.

By making a one-off donation or setting up a regular donation on this website you will be supporting communities with funds to assist them to recover, restore and prepare for the future.

Essential water tanks destroyed by fire

We thank you in advance for your kind donations to support this important appeal.

Permaculture Australia’s Permafund team welcomes suggestions for partnering in fund-raising initiatives.

Donations to Permafund (Permaculture International Public Fund) of $2.00 or more are tax deductible in Australia. Many thanks.

For further information please contact permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au

Bushfire debris on NSW South Coast beaches

Combating malnutrition in Kakuma Refugee Camp Kenya

Combating malnutrition in Kakuma Refugee Camp Kenya

In the 2018-19 Permafund micro-grant round an application by Faulu Productions to establish a permaculture food production system in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya was supported with AU$2,000 to help combat malnutrition in the camp.

Faulu Productions is an organisation that consists of refugees, volunteers and supporters from all around the world. Their mission is to promote agriculture and education, to help create a safe, sustainable living for refugees and to empower them to improve their lifestyles.

The project has established a multi-site permaculture system with 200 participants establishing 5 by 10 metre garden plots in their own compounds and contributing to the maintenance of the larger Kakuma community garden and central Turkana permaculture community gardens.

Preparing garden beds for seeds

The gardens are modeled on natural ecosystems combining ecological, engineering and environmental principles. The designs have used integrated natural water resource management systems and sustainable architecture, so the project is self-maintaining, regenerative and an ongoing source of fresh produce and biomass.

Newly planted beds and maturing crops

The objective has been to help the refugees to become self-sufficient. The key component of the plan was water conservation with an investment in water storage (40 water tanks to harvest 2,000 litres). Digging tools and bulk seeds were purchased and watering cans to help prevent splash erosion and the destruction of young seedlings.

Preparing the harvest for sharing

The participating workers have been resourceful collecting mulch materials and manures and contributing earth building skills.

Making mud bricks for house construction

Trees were planted in the gardens for shade, erosion protection and to provide chop and drop material to assist with mulching & soil creation.

With no “qualified” experts inside the camp the participants are using YouTube to learn the practical skills of permaculture, including watching videos by Australian experts including Geoff Lawton and Morag Gamble.

This project is viewed on the ground as 100% sustainable because it has created job opportunities among refugees, improved the quality of the camp’s environment and helped improve community health and well being. More permaculture inspired enterprises and initiatives are being undertaken following this ground-breaking project.

The community appreciates all donations.

The Kakuma Refugee Camp suffers from regular, severe flooding, the most recent being in early February 2020. Houses have been destroyed and belongings and food washed away.

Flood damage to buildings

Continuing permaculture projects not only supply food and hope but also prevent erosion and washaways as trees and plants take root.

Newly planted gardens and maturing crops

Your generous donations to Permafund support this and other permaculture related projects in Australia and overseas and are very much appreciated.

For more information contact the Permafund team at permafund@permacultureaustralia.org.au

 

Permaculture Gardens for Women & Children, East Africa project description by Morag Gamble

Permaculture Gardens for Women & Children, East Africa project description by Morag Gamble

Supporting capacity building and the establishment of permaculture food gardens to improve nutrition and a place to demonstrate and learn.

Introduction to permaculture workshop in a demonstration permaculture garden, Kambiri Kenya

Introduction: Thank you to Permafund and all those who contribute to it, for supporting programs that help vulnerable women and children in East Africa with a $1,000 grant.

In December 2018, I was invited to Uganda and Kenya by small community-based organisations to support local permaculture education programs particularly with women and children. I went as a volunteer and took my two eldest children, Maia and Hugh (then 12 and 10). As well as being helpers along the way, they also graduated with their PDCs from the course held at the Sabina Primary School led by young people from Uganda, Kenya and Liberia. The core goal of this course was to teach teachers.

(Note: As volunteers, my children & I paid for all our expenses & received no payment for our work.)

My children meeting the women’s self-help group leaders who are sharing permaculture in the local village and schools

Goal: The overall goal of this project was to enable communities to vision, design, implement and manage permaculture food gardens for education, food security, and sustainable livelihood capacity-building.

The project: The funds donated by Permafund were spent on helping to develop the practical land-based centres for learning about permaculture at two main locations.

A: Sabina School, near Rakai, south west Uganda

The school at Sabina is important for a number of reasons.

  • It is a place of learning for hundreds of local children
  • It is a becoming a teaching garden for permaculture teachers
  • It is becoming a teaching garden for school teachers

The funds were used to buy tools, fruit trees, seeds, building materials for compost systems, animal enclosures and animals, and provide educational materials.

This school was also the site of permaculture design course in December 2018 followed by local farmer training and local school teacher training programs.

The ongoing management of the project is the responsibility of the school, with the permaculture trained teachers and school students who attended training. A local permaculture organisation, BEU Permaculture is regularly checking in with progress.

Children at Sabina School learning permaculture with my children.

B: Women’s Self-help Group, Kambiri Village, Kakamega, Kenya

This region of Kenya is experiencing prolonged drought and the women have come together to find solutions. Permaculture makes good sense to them. Through additional crowdfunding, Ethos Foundation sponsored 5 people from this region to attend permaculture design courses at Sabina School in Uganda.

In December 2018 in Kambiri I offered an introduction to permaculture workshop and undertook an assessment of the area to understand the needs for developing a permaculture education centre. During this introductory workshop we undertook a collaborative process and drafted a design for the demonstration gardens. We also helped start a seed-exchange program.

The demonstration gardens are now being developed and a Permaculture Design Course was held in August 2019. Participants of the PDC were mostly women and they have returned to their communities to share permaculture design ideas and strategies.

Jane Amunga – the initiator of the Women’s Self Help group at Kambiri.

The Women’s Self-Help group leaders, Kambiri Kenya in their permaculture demonstration garden

The Permafund funds were used to purchase a water tank and seeds, set up for the permaculture training, pay a local translator and distribute educational materials.

Ethos sponsored four local leaders to complete their PDC in Sabina School, Uganda – principal, agriculture extension worker, support worker for girls health, disability advocate. These people are now teaching locally and supported the Women’s group PDC in August 2019.

Permaculture and the government: It’s also interesting to note that while in Uganda, we met with the East African Minister for Agriculture and the Ugandan Minister for Education, as well a number of local and regional officials. All of them are very keen to see permaculture developed further in the region. One particularly interesting discussion was around having permaculture taught in university to teachers, and there being a series of schools around Uganda where teachers could go and learn in-situ. It was identified that support was welcomed in helping to develop curriculum and teaching those who can lead such programs in university.

Meeting with the Minister for Education at her home in Uganda.

Permaculture and the refugee council: Also interesting to note is the community resilience work of the Danish Refugee Council, particularly that of Natalie Topa, in her role of Resilience Officer. I spent some time with her in Nairobi and was delighted to hear about how much her work is based on permaculture throughout East Africa and Yemen.

Natalie Topa with Morag Gamble in Nairobi. Natalie Topa works with the Danish Refugee Council and implements permaculture throughout her work.

Ongoing: Ethos Foundation is continuing to provide some additional support for the development of these gardens and is dedicated to sponsoring permaculture education programs that will help people implement and manage more of these types of local permaculture demonstration gardens.  The aim is to create a network of permaculture gardens in local communities – places to learn, to demonstrate, to access resources and connect with others wanting positive change.

Impact: Several gardens have been renewed and/or established where people can come to learn about permaculture. Gardens and systems are developing for the seeds and plant materials to be freely exchanged. New networks of local permaculture teachers are being established.

About Ethos Foundation: The Ethos Foundation, a sister organisation to the Permaculture Education Institute, is a small registered permaculture charity dedicated to:

  1. supporting the spread of permaculture education through practical community-based projects led by local people to address local needs in their local communities
  2. mentoring, enabling and supporting local permaculture leaders and educators
  3. providing micro grants to local projects to access the resources needed to implement sustainable food garden initiatives.

A sincere thanks again to Permafund for supporting these communities. I encourage you to continue donating to Permafund. The difference that can be made with a small amount of resourcing is quite phenomenal.

Report by Morag Gamble, Executive Director (volunteer), Ethos Foundation

Permafund is managed by Permaculture Australia and provides small grants to communities in Australia and internationally. Donations over $2 are tax deductible and are accepted as ‘one off’ or recurring donations. Find out more including how to donate here: https://permacultureaustralia.org.au/permafund/donating-to-permafund-is-easy/