Academy of Permaculture
5th August 2020

Uganda

S39 training team at Nakaseke 2020

Demonstration and training centre 1 and first PDC  (PDC-Kumi20)

Partners:

  1. Arkleton trust (UK)
  2. Permaculture Research Institute Uganda (PRI-UG)
  3. PermoAfrica Centre (Homa Bay Kenya)
  4. Mt Elgon Coffee and Honey co-operative (Mbale)
  5. Happy Home Centre (Teso)
Happy home are seeking to form a community co-operative to manage this training centre

Kumi/ Nyero district.

This is an arid area with sandy soils, low incomes and reduced opportunities are also challenges. S39 has some very strong links here, to Kumi technical college where one of our Welsh colleagues has been advising and supporting for some years, Steve Jagger. Steve also competed a PDC with us in 2017 and was very impressed by the process and outcomes. In 2018 Steve joined us in Rakai district at Sabina school where we delivered another full PDC in 2018. Through this he has become acquainted with our training team and how we work. He is a big supporter and in 2019 he moved to Uganda permanently, he is currently based in Jinja but has plans to relocate to Kumi area.

More importantly there is also a cluster of some of our most active trainees in the Kumi/ Nyero district (Teso sub-region). Notably Hellen Auyo and Godfrey Opolot. They have been working together at ‘Happy Home Resource Centre’ a well-resourced training centre which has been funded by a Korean charity and led by a woman who calls herself Joy in Uganda, Lee Myung Hyun (mission1014.mg@hanmail.net). This resource centre is in great condition and comprises of a series of buildings, a training room, a library and computer room and supporting buildings, outdoor kitchen, food store and washrooms. The Korean funding completed in 2017/8 I understand and Lee Myung Hyun (Joy) took a year off to return to S Korea. She has now returned for a period of 3 years 2019-21 (estimate) to develop and deliver a handover plan for the centre. Her plan is to establish a community stakeholder co-operative and to transfer ownership of the assets to that and for the long-term benefit of the community.

Hellen Auyo, Godfrey Opolot and Joseph Opolot, supported by Steve Jagger are all S39 permaculture graduates and between them have initiated several projects locally since their training. We visited a small farmer who has embraced permaculture and, in the process, become food self-sufficient. He has diversified slowly and re-invested the surplus (a key permaculture principle) he has avocados and tamarind as tree crops, passion fruits, turmeric and other less common crops. He has added bees, pigs, ducks and turkeys to the usual chickens and has a young calf. Very happy with his progress.

Godfrey and team also installed a range of permaculture features to the Nyero high school (not its formal name) with water harvesting, a range of tree crops and other initiatives integrated into the school. All of this lays a great foundation for a collaboration between S39 and the ‘Happy Home training centre’. We would hope to work with them closely in support of the transition to a co-operative ownership and we are excited that this transition falls in the middle of our project relationship. S39 has a deep experience in co-operative formation and want to take an active role in the hand over. We might have a stakeholder role in this, at least initially and also see our graduates, who live locally in a strong position to be able to contribute to many aspects of this this process and also become project stakeholders.

S39 have discussed with the group the possibility of holding a full PDC there in September 2020, drawing heavily on local facilities and services as well as the expertise of the parties already named. I would take the lead tutor role on this project and propose Angharad Rees joins the team from Wales (if available) to help deliver a strong PDC and support our UG colleagues in their development as trainers. My intention is that Angharad might then take on a mentor role to support their further development as trainers.

Between us we will support the Kumi team to create a training centre at Happy Home (possibly changing the name) with long term objectives of creating a training and demonstration hub for the region.

There is garden sized land available, it’s a  ½ -1 acre in scale, not extensive, but surrounding the buildings and I think this combination makes it ideal for what we want to achieve. This would include:

  1. An active self-managed training centre, demonstrating and training permaculture principles
  2. A site where an integrated permaculture system can be developed that will firstly help meet the centre’s needs for drinking water, improved sanitation, fuel for cooking, demonstration of transferable appropriate technologies and of course food from an organic growing system that includes some small livestock.
  3. A site for PDC-Kumi20 that will re-enforce and help achieve the above goals
  4. Develop a nursery for the propagation of food, fuel and soil restoration plants for extension work through the community.

Demonstration and training centre 2
Budumba, Butaleja district. Mbale

This will form the hub of the training centre at Butaleja

Partners:

  1. Arkleton trust (UK)
  2. Permaculture Research Institute Uganda (PRI-UG)
  3. PermoAfrica Centre (Homa Bay Kenya)
  4. Mt Elgon Coffee and Hony co-operative (Mbale)
  5. Happy Home Centre (Teso)
  6. Wales for Africa (potentially)
  7. Peace December (Kampala)

Butaleja district is a low-lying area to the south of the eastern city of Mbale. It is a fertile area, with a rapidly growing population, there has been recent investment in large scale rice growing in the area, but otherwise it is typified by very small family plots growing the standard range of subsistence crops. We understand the area is the second poorest district after Karamoja. The poverty is driven by lack of investment, lack of education and employment and a very young and growing population base.

Mt Elgon forms a significant part of its upper water catchment, and the deforestation in the mountains is the cause of landslides and erosion in the highlands and intermittent flooding in the lowlands. We seek to build a partnership to address many of the issues raised by this reality.

S39 has secured an MOU with an investor (also a S39 PDC graduate) who has purchased a 6-acre plot in Budumba, within the Butaleja district.   The intention is to create a demonstration and training centre that will be of value to and directly address the needs of the community within Butaleja.

Our partner in Homa Bay county, plus the experience of the training we delivered as S39 in West Nile to the South Sudanese refugees has given us confidence in model of peer to peer learning, that we have followed through out. Development of demonstration centres as community hubs facilitating outreach and replication has been a very effective tool t reach and train many people, both directly and indirectly. This is the vision of this new training centre.

The investor and project partner is Zainab Nandi, originally born in this district although educated in Kampala and since became a UK resident. She completed a PDC with S39 in Wales in 2019. The intention is to give back, invest and support sustainable developing in her community of origin. Together with S39 we have developed a common vision, and this is now a component of this project. I have travelled to the district with her and we have surveyed the site, consulted local community representatives and are in the process of developing a plan for the centre. Additionally we have been able to visit several other training sites and meet a range of other S39 partners and the Budumba site will be fully integrated into the S39 training academy vision.

We are currently drafting an MOU which will cover the three years of this project, and hopefully much further into the future. Again the intention is to develop a stakeholder co-operative that will manage the centre and ensure it fulfils its vision.