Lessons Learnt Report — Permaculture, Livelihood and Nutrition Project, Sri Lanka

Supported by World Vision 2008-2012.
Report prepared for International Permaculture Conference Cuba 2013 by John McKenzie & Sarah Gorman

Here is a very good read on how permaculture improved livelihood and nutrition of rural householders in Sri Lanka…


The aim of the Permaculture Project was to improve farm yields for small-holder farmers in rural districts of Sri Lanka. The project promoted mixed crop food gardens and animal raising to improve household nutrition and offer micro-enterprise opportunities. The project was funded for four years and targeted a selected 1156 smallholder households in six different districts.
Participating households received training using adult education techniques such as farm visits, farmer group meetings, training workshops and leader farmer mentoring. Direct benefits were provided; seed, chickens, fruit trees and cement for building sanitation improvements. A small number of cows and goats were supplied to each community as a start-up grant to establish Animal Banks. Each household decided for themselves how they’d implement their improvements and how they’d use the crop yield either for home consumption or for sale.


The participating households were keen supporters of the project. Near 87 % of households surveyed reported the project had assisted them and they would be continuing the techniques. Many households reported their food gardens were producing all the vegetables they needed plus surplus to share or sell.
In all six project communities the farmers had begun organising themselves and groups were forming around seed saving, animal banks and leader farmers. They spoke about networking with each other to share and increase their effectiveness, about forming local registered organisations and the possibility of forming a national organisation to promote seed saving and food gardens. The training was nominated by the participants as the project’s most useful element.
The evaluation posed the question; “Were they ready for the project to move to another community?” In each of the community meetings held the response was positively that they had the knowledge and enough organisation to continue the work themselves and project staff could move to another district and teach them there.

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