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.
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.
Thanks to your generous donations, PA’s Permafund has supported 59 projects in 17 countries. Each month we’ll bring you a wrap up of some of the projects being supported, so you can follow their progress and fantastic outcomes.
They say a picture tells a thousand words, so scroll through and check out the photo updates shared from Sustainable Communities Kenya. The team have been busy training farmers in organic farming skills, with more activities still occurring before the crop harvest occurs in July and August, and “are happy how our farmers have benefits so much because of the Permafund grant.”
The IRDS Project team in India have completed the training for fifty rural tribal farmers in growing tomatoes, brinjal, beans and castor oil and provision of seeds. This included a focus on eco friendly farm inputs, low cost crop tonics, and intercropping. Criteria used to determine the farmers included: young, has interest to try new methods in agriculture especially the integrated agriculture, allocate time to training and other project related activities, and has land to practice the new permaculture skills.
“IRDS expresses its sincere thanks to PA’s Permafund for their partnership. The farmers are taking care of their cultivation crops now, and they are happy to raise various crops in their lands that will ensure diverse crops and various out come as a result for their sustainable livelihoods.”
The reality and impact of COVID in India, was shared in the project update from Aranya India, with many team members, family and the project communities negatively impacted by COVID directly.
“The situation here isn’t as great. Many of our family, friends , staff and the farming community have been affected with COVID. We have started working on the one acre permaculture projects, however couldn’t continue with the sudden resurge in COVID cases. The villagers shut their boundaries and are not stepping out of their homes whatsoever. However, we have managed to work a little bit with the help of our ground level staff and volunteers. As the monsoon is nearing, we have procured the plants for plantations and earthworks have started.”
And finally, we are thrilled to introduce a new project in Zambia. The Youth Empowerment for Development Initiative (YEDI) plans to train rural communities to improve land, become more resilience and sustainably produce food using permaculture principles.
Permafund will follow YEDI’s progress with interest, as its goals of land conservation and permaculture ideas may provide lessons for many projects in such hot, subtropical areas with limited rainfall.
For more information:
PA’s Permafund provides small grants for permaculture projects implemented by community organisations across the globe. Since 2012, we have supported 59 projects in 17 countries, thanks to generous donations. Permaculture Australia is a registered charity and registered environmental organisation, and donations over $2 are tax deductible in Australia. To find out more, including how to donate here.
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.
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.