They say that these permaculture programs make a difference to people’s lives by nutrition, food security, coming together in unity, earning income and improving health. The situation in East African camps is being exacerbated by global crises, food shortages and price spikes, so permaculture education, kitchen gardens and regenerative livelihoods are even more important. A great team is working across the region and helping to create food security and livelihoods, as well as creating spaces for women, youth and children to come together in positive ways.
In Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda, permaculture educator Ansima Chasinga Rolande has recently started a permaculture children’s farm to offer playful nature connection programs for young children. In the camps, the environment is so degraded, and little is available for the children, so this is so healing and uplifting for them. Permaculture Education Institute was able to raise funds for this farm through donations collected at the International Permaculture Day events.
Also in Western Uganda in Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement, while Ethos Foundation is waiting for more funding to sponsor training programs, Bemeriki Bisimwa Dusabe has been busy setting up collaborative micro-enterprises with permaculture course graduates such as mushroom production, a permaculture piggery and soap-making. The images below are of the new mushroom farmers with an abundant harvest. They are selling it fresh in the markets, and drying some too to add value and help it store longer. People like mushrooms and they add so much nutrition to their diets.
In Northern Uganda, Nakafeero Brenda leads a Permayouth hub that works with children and has recently been out to support at least 30 new families in building kitchen gardens as a community service project. The volunteers are graduates from the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course supported by Ethos Foundation earlier in the year.
Dusabimana Jackline in Oruchinga Refugee Settlement in Western Uganda is busy in her community teaching permaculture consistently. She shares basic skills like keyhole kitchen garden building with in-situ composting, seed-saving, mulching, tree-planting, briquette making and soap making. She works with school children, orphans and also single women. They are creating many gardens, harvesting great fresh food and starting to make a living from this too.
The East African refugee hubs meet and talk regularly, and are also making links with different networks globally – Permaculture Education Institute, Permayouth, Regeneration Pollination, Ethos Fellowship, permaculture clubs, and a schools network in Brisbane too.
By Morag Gamble, Permaculture Education Institute & Ethos Foundation