Forest Garden for Busoga High

 

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Field trip to Busoga 2016

Connie is the English Literature teacher at Busoga high and last year Grace from Sector39 caught her for a few minutes during the S39 PDC at nearby Kamuli, to talk about the girls she supports at the school. They are developing a school garden within the campus to generate small incomes to provide for essentials for the girls. I love the idea of a school empowering its pupils to generate money towards fees, books and accommodation and we hope to celebrate and promote this kind of partnership through our teaching work. 

 

When Raymond Orenda from Homa Bay permaculture Kenya contacted us about contributing to the next Kamuli PDC in May 2017 and offered a forest garden workshop, it wasn’t hard for us to put 2 and 2 together. Can we develop an output from the PDC that is an input into Connie’s essential work at Busoga.

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Raymond celebrates the next stage completion of their project base in Homa Bay

Obviously on a busy PDC schedule time and resources can be limited but we can certainly set something in motion here that could be start of a longer term project for Busoga high and that could serve as an inspiration to school around the globe.

The idea of a school releasing some grounds so students can begin small enterprises that meet both their own and the wider communities needs, creates a powerful change in the relationship between school and the pupils.

Sector39 have been at the forefront of permaculture in the UK since its inception in 2005 and bases its teaching work on the 25 years of project and educational experience.

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English teacher Connie from Busoga High with Han Rees from Llanfyllin In Kamuli last year

We are based in Mid Wales but have strong links across the UK and with permaculture in Uganda, where we have been invited to take an active role in the development of the Permaculture Research Institute of Uganda. Our second African PDC is intended to build on the achievements of partnership visits in 2011, 2014 and 2016, where significant contacts and networks have already been established.

African PDC’s. These are open to both local and international participants and especially suit farmers, teachers and project planners from East Africa and NGO staff and trainers planning to work in the region

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Next PDC courses: Wales and Uganda May & June 2017

We hope sector39 can bring the right people together in May/ June to advance this project and to develop it as a powerful example of collaboration between projects.

 

 

Permaculture voices: Kamuli

Here is the first of a series of videos taken from interviews with some of the participants from the May PDC in Kamuli.

In conversation with Grace from Sector39, teacher Connie talks about the 10 girls she acts a patron for at Busoga high school. Moving and inspiring talk, using permaculture ideas to support education for otherwise economically excluded people.

The woods have been destroyed, they have gone away, how can permaculture help respond to this challenge?  Wilbur

We must replant, using local resources and by propagating the few trees  we have around. They will grow.           Connie.


What are you taking back to your community and home from the permaculture course? Wilbur responds to Connie’s question with a full and inspiring answer. He hopes to become a model for his village, by applying what he has learned.

He responds with a challenging question,

What can we do about the illiterates, those who do not understand the environment? Wilberforce, Dolen Ffermio, Kamuli

which Connie replies to begin by doing it.

Let them see you put these things on your land, if you cannot talk to them, let your actions speak. Connie, Kamuli 2016

Bamboo is an essential componant of any multi-functional tropical permaculture system

We were extremely lucky to have Andrew, an ex journalist and great communicator who is now developing a new careeer as a bamboo expert and nurseryman. On the recent 2 week course he presented this excellent lecture on the subject. Forgive all the background noises, the narrative is compelling as he develops his main indeas.

I am am keen to publish as many oututs of the PDC as possible, to create a resource for students present and future. These are early attempts at creating new accessible permaculture teaching resources from very limited means.

The image is from permaculture Timor Leste manual for tropical permaculture, which was a major inspiration for us on this course.

£100,000 for permaculture education projects!

£100,000 for permaculture education projects!

Well here’s hoping!  Sector39 has been relatively quiet these last three months as we have been concentrating on putting together a series of project bids. The deadline for submission for the three biggest ones was yesterday, so I have been locked in mortal combat with spreadsheets, funding criteria and project evidence. Breathing a huge sigh of relief now they are all in the post.

I am not a natural fundraiser and I am also suspicious of funded projects as by their very nature they tend not to be sustainable. All that said I remain convinced that now has never been a more important time to invest in permaculture and for all involved to be much more ambitious.

Hence the decision to step out and nail our colours to the mast. We want to make a much bigger impact in our local community and our core project proposal is around working with our local high school and its 1000 students to help shape a vision for our low-carbon future. We are going to be challenging the school to map out the 20 year road to being a zero carbon school, as required by both the climate Change act and the pressing urgency to take the lead on responding to out comes of the Paris Summit.

IF we are successful then we will have the opportunity to run a three-year project across both school and community whilst developing resources and media to help communicate the projects successes and failures and challenging others to explore similar challenges.

Project two, is to build on our up coming PDC in Uganda, we don’t want it to be a one-off, we know we need to follow through with at least two more over the coming 2 years to make it really effective and to allow us to support some of the students to go on and complete their Diplomas so they can convene and certificate their own future course in East Africa. We hope to able to develop a handbook for East Africa permaculture in collaboration with our East Africa colleaues and support from our friends at Permaculture Timor Leste, who have already developed a tropical peramculture handbook.

We are also planning our own PDC programme in the UK as well as, developing teaching resources and case studies, we are also looking to be more active in co-operative development and support. With jobs and housing becoming increasingly out of reach of the rising generation then the need for more self-created opportunities is going to intensify.  Working and housing co-ops that allow people t take much more direct responsibility for themselves and allowing much more opportunity for innovation to create truly sustainable lifestyles and regenerative development that can enable us to help heal the damaged and depleted biosphere and build a climate friendly model of development.

Here’s goes nothing.. maybe we will strike out and fail in our quest.. but we have certainly tried our best. Sector39 has been supported by investment from the Robert Owen Community Bank to develop these aspirations, we are hugely grateful for the opportunity and hope that we can achieve something truly remarkable as a result!

Our Uganda fundraised has 5 days to run, and every penny raised will really count to making adifference, so please consider supporting us.

PDC Uganda

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Advert for our 2015 PDC in Uganda

This two week course will be a huge experience and the perfect introduction for anyone interested n working in East Africa in the future. We are partnering up with Dolen Ffermio, the farmers link charity that for the last 20 years has been building mutually beneficial links with the Eastern Ugandan region around Kamuli and Mbale.

The idea is bring together an international group of permaculture students, half from Europe and rest of the World and half from East Africa, principally Uganda. The course will cover the internationally recognised permaculture curriculum with field trips and practical sessions directly involved with local projects, with long established links with Dolen Ffermio.

In late 2014 14 of us from Mid Wales undertook a 2-week study of the region, visiting many of the projects and meeting many of the people concerned. It was immediately apparent from the this initial visit that there was much that could be achieved by running some permaculture sessions to help consolidate and the build on the many works already under way in the region as part of the project. The single thing that came over the strongest on our visit was how much people appreciated the international link. For a relatively small emerging nation such as Uganda the exchange of ideas, support and momentum that comes from these links is tremendously important and supportive, reinforcing the really important work they are doing there.

Many Ugandan's still live in traditional villages

Many Ugandan’s still live in traditional villages

Topics and practicals that I can see could have huge relevance and usefulness in the region include biochar production, wood gas, biogas and composting toilets. Most Ugandans cook on firewood every day.. by most I think that is as much as 80% and with a rapidly growing population that is a huge burden on the nation’s forests and scrub. Biogas and wood gas production might be able to help displace much of the wood use or at least make it much cleaner, less smoky and more efficient.

The soils there are deep and fertile so the need for composting toilets is not driven by a need for recycling nutrients, however, the smells from pit latrines and danger of pathogen spread from people using the fields means that is a huge benefit to be had by developing and trialling new systems. Village well development initiatives are now linked to improved toilet facilities, so the new wells don’t become contaminated, so this is important work

There is already a strong interest in agroforestry and agro ecology within Dolen Ffermio and the projects and schools they work with.. so adding this work and awareness to a broader framework of permaculture could really help authenticate and add momentum to these approaches. a common problem in the majority world is that the best aspects of traditional systems are undervalued in the light of exciting new seeds and technologies from the outside. Practices that have worked effectively for multiple generations are abandoned overnight in pursuit of a marginal gain from a technology that might be both expensive and unsustainable.

Background; Climate and History

map-uThe equatorial nation of Uganda is about the size of UK and sits just north of the massive inland lake Victoria. Especially in the southern half, where most of the people live it has excellent, deep fertile soils and people grow 90% of their own food locally and largely organically. The population of 33 million is young, and has grown strongly in recent years, the nations problems of tribal warfare, financial collapse and instability are now hopefully long behind them as 20 year  stable political period has allowed the country to greatly move forward. It sits at an interesting junction in its history as a nation, with choices to get drawn into the globalised economy or to concentrate on developing its own grass roots sector.

The Government tends to be drawn into large scale international projects and can be criticized for overlooking the localised sustainable agricultural sector.. and that is why the role of NGO’s like Dolen Ffermio is so important. 80% of the people   still live in rural areas, in Mud huts surrounded by crops with chickens and goats, fruit trees and more as the backbone of the rural economy.

Goat improvement project, one the key Dolen Ffermio projects

Goat improvement project, one the key Dolen Ffermio projects

The uptake of technology has been rapid and they have one of the highest rates of mobile phone use in the World, with better coverage than we have here in Wales. This,coupled with a new currency system based around the ability to transfer phone credit between users using SMS messages has greatly stimulated the local economy.. and it is this marriage of new technology and traditional, tried and tested systems that excites me the most. Uganda as a nation has the potential to lead the way into genuinely low carbon economies. They have the potential to evolve a set of technologies that could be exported across the globe, helping transforming the oil-addicted climate changing economies that predominate around the World.

More on this soon.. please get in touch with me if you are interested in this opportunity. I hope to be able to run a course in November 2015, or April 2016, depending on levels of interest.

Uganda Shows the Way

PRESS RELEASE: DOLEN FFERMIO STUDY GROUP VISIT UGANDA. For Tanat Valley Chronicle

530 words by StevenJones steve@sector39.co.uk

IT WAS A WONDERFUL opportunity to travel with the Dolen Ffermio group to Eastern Uganda earlier this month to see progress on projects that the Llanfyllin area has been supporting for 20 years. The UK is Europe’s least-forested country, so it was powerful to see the extensive reforestation efforts going on over there in part of their wider on-going battle with climate change. The coffee growers of the stunning Mount Elgon region were clear about the effects of deforestation on their landscape. Landslides and floods, as well as the erratic weather patterns that have been developing over the last two decades, have made their ambition to produce one of the world’s really great coffees ever more challenging.


Uganda is a young nation, with its tribal conflicts and civil war behind it. It is an inspiration to meet the young population, hungry for knowledge and with an eye on the future. They have revolutionised their own economy by creating a form of money transaction using phone credit, one that bypasses banks and has stimulated economic activity by a factor of 10 times where it is active. Suddenly everyone has a mobile phone and is hooked into a surging and energised economy. Britain feels like a rather grey, tired and aged nation compared to modern Uganda. Yet many communities, especially in rural areas, are still held back from participating in the economy by really mundane and trivial things. The lack of small bits of information, tiny amounts of funds for school fees, uniforms, basic resources, slow down progress and causes unnecessary suffering and frustration.

Just like in the UK, the expanding and vibrant parts of the economy in Uganda fail to touch the remoter areas and more socially-excluded people. Political ambitions are more along the lines of huge industrial farms to grow commodity crops like sugar cane for export, rather than to invest in the organic, small-scale patchwork of farms that exists there and is a model for sustainable food production the world over.

My lasting impression is of a country with a bright future, with ample resources and a fantastic, lively population, yet still facing the same global issues as every other nation. The main challenges include the lack of the right kind of investment into the social and environmental parts of the economy, the ever- present threat of climate change, and being at the mercy of globalised markets for the commodities like coffee that they grow so well. Uganda leads the western world in low-carbon lifestyles, in a localised and largely sustainable food economy, and in the ingenuity of its people.

For all its vibrancy, the importance of its links via projects like Dolen Ffermio are hard to overestimate. Uganda needs to be able to play an active part in our globalised and interconnected community – they have so much to offer the rest of the world and it is certainly time we in the West shifted our perspective on Africa as whole. It is a continent with a huge future and one we can engage with for mutual benefit, allowing us all the opportunity to overcome the baggage of our pasts.

Dolen Ffermio is a Llanfyllin based charity and have been working in partnership with a range of projects in eastern Uganda over the last 20 years.

http://www.dolen-ffermio.co.uk/

Steve Jones is the founder of Sector39, an independent company teaching about environment, sustainability and permaculture design.

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TREWS with Max and Stacey guesting with Alec Baldwin

Maybe there is a bit of a Russell Brand over exposure at present, but his relentless zeal to communicate the core message of sustainability cannot be disregarded. This is valiant stuff, challenging the face of orthodoxy. When it comes to financial analysis no one is better informed or more impassioned than Max Keiser and Stacey Herbert, so they make a great team with Baldwin adding a another important perspective. Baldwin even manages to embarrass Brand and hijack his show although not to the degree that Brand did famously on Morning Joe over in the US  awhile back.

This is great television, fierce, angry, provocative, funny, friendly… this is an A.M. sofa show that the BBC et al would never broadcast in a million years, yet this is the dialogue we all need to be hearing and engaging with. Financial terrorism, climate change, greed, lies and the looming threat of peak oil.

So watching Max and Stacey on their great talk show has excited me to the potential of Bitcoin and the whole idea of Crypto currencies. it took a little while to sink in and understand how it works and just how clever it is but now I am really getting it. This brilinat short video shows it being used to send remittances to Uganda from the United States to great effect.. something that particularly resonates for me as I have jsut returned from there myself and had returned excited by the possibilities myself. So it is thrilling to know it is already taking off.

Bitcoin