Permaculture is well-matched to meet the basic needs for food, energy, water, shelter and a refugee’s concerns are for self-determination and self-sufficiency.

Rebuilding interconnected communities with a common land and purpose, is facilitated by teaching permaculture design, along with strategies and techniques that require minimal inputs, energy, and waste.

People learn to develop small scale and intensive production systems – home kitchen gardens for rapid food production.  In camp settlements where labour is plentiful, and people are often from rural backgrounds, permaculture courses provide purposeful learning.

The ethics, principles and tools of permaculture also empower group decision-making and non-violent communication, and inspires entrepreneurial projects and micro-financing, that encourages integration with surrounding communities through positive exchanges.

Permaculture invites us to see the whole system from the levels of self, community, and the planet. For survivors of disasters and displacement, permaculture helps in enabling resilience by supporting the remembering of one’s  relationship to a place and the capacity to transform it as survivors into thrivers.

Sarah Queblatin, Green Releaf, Philippines (P4R partner)

Permaculture methods facilitate and empower people with practical and positive connections to the land. It introduces design principles and strategies which provide immediate solutions for short-term survival, while also being framed for ongoing land rehabilitation, and fostering social cooperation.

In practical terms this means, displaced people learn to:

  • analyse their sites
  • use zones to locate energy, resources, and access and to reduce work 
  • plan for shade and shelter, water harvesting and recycling, waste management 
  • identify the needs of the group and audit their own skill sets 
  • run regular meetings and low-tech workshops
  • create community spaces, and create an internal economy 

The learning process has constructive and creative group activities and always includes fun and celebration. Planting gardens, putting roots down and growing food help anchor people and bring them into the present. Spending time learning eases the insecurity of displacement and an uncertain future. 

Women sharing their designs at the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course in Bangladesh, with BASD, 2019

…it was an unforgettable experience of a crowded and degraded landscape…the resilience and aptitude for learning permaculture in these groups, and the clear difference permaculture could make to their (refugee) daily lives.

Ruth Harvey, Permaculture facilitator & P4R founder, 2019