26th May 2022

Six months in, round up

This is what will be the Budumba training centre which is now occupied by Mr Franco and family members where they are working to establish the first phase of this brand new permaculture site.

Deep in Butaleja district in Uganda, this site is over two hours drive from the nearest main surfaced road and vulnerable to flooding, but there are fertile soils and a lively community there. This 6-acre site has great potential  and these are our first early results.

Paul Ogola, from Homa Bay, Kenya and Irene Atureinde from Kampala initiated some training there in March but had to leave a few days early due to the quarantine restrictions.

Mr Franco is encouraged by early results and yesterday we discussed the vetiver which he has successfully cultivated on site. This is a plant we are very interested in and want to multiply it to create 1000’s of slips, or cuttings, you cannot grow this from seed, so this is the way to produce more plants.

Thank you so much Mr Steve.
For sure people in our community have got interested in learning whatever we're doing on our ground after seeing our products and they're proving that really it can work because they had a wrong belief that some new plants cannot grow on the land due to the nature of soil and seasons but we have made spinach to grow on their so called hard soil and we have managed to grow organic tomatoes on their so called affected soil with a lot of pests which affects vegetables generally. And we only use organic pesticides and manure from leaves.
Wajaya Franco
Permaculture entrepreneur

Planning for the Kumi PDC

EUPA team planning for the September PDC which will be held at the Happy Home. This will be the first S39 PDC lead by a team of our own trainees and graduates. We will be supporting them from here in UK and helping structure the course and making sure it covers the full PDC curriculum.

Rough base map of the Save School site where a nursery has been erected and planted up and now the site team is preparing to design the location of the main swales which will address the gully erosion at the school site.

June report to Arkleton trust from S39.

17th June

Dear Arkleton trust

Latest update on our project works

The team at Kumi are busy preparing to hold their first PDC.

The course will be led by trainees from our 2016 and 2017 courses, several of whom also worked with us in 2018 at the West Nile refugee settlement areas.

We are working with local services to upgrade the internet connection at the ‘Happy Home’ the venue for the course and training centre we are developing.

The team have developed gardens, rainwater catchment, tree nursery and more as both examples of permaculture techniques and so that they may produce more food there for use by the team.

Over the last two years Godfrey Opolot and Hellen Aujo have led the developing and registering the EUPA – Eastern Uganda Permaculture Association and have taken on a team of volunteers to help them develop the centre under this name. They are well on their way to establishing a strong local network and the PDC and investment into the training centre facilitated by Arkleton has been central to this.

We have £5,400 remaining in our budget allocation for the centre and they are planning to spend £5,000 of this on the PDC, which is being fully funded by Arkelton via this project. We wanted to remove all the barriers to entry for the course participants, although we are not paying their travel to and from, but everything else. Also, food and accommodation is covered and the team have done much research to set this all up and make the arrangements.

I suggest transferring these funds over in tranches and I am going to request a transfer of £2,500 to S39 soon so that they can begin purchasing food for the course, as prices are currently low, among other things. I am keeping track of all payments and have outline budgets for each section of the project on the drop box under figures.

I had hoped to sell some places to international students, this is clearly not possible at this time, and it is a shame because I had 3 people lined up to attend back in March. We have agreed on 38 attendees, 15 to be selected locally from Teso area residents – this is key to building momentum in the area. The others are coming from further afield across Uganda, we have applications from Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania and we hope they will be able to travel by September.

The team have thought deeply about C-19 and are aware of guidelines for safety provided by the government. Masks, hand washing facilities are provided and social distancing will be observed. We probably need to discuss what the plan is if we do have any cases.. however, it is not very prevalent in Uganda, but that will not make us complacent. We are purchasing a thermometer gun so all staff and participants can be regularly checked, and each day will begin with a quick check for symptoms. We all feel the risk of proceeding with the course is worth taking as food security and motivation across the area are also compromised by the virus and this course will generate much positive energy, we hope will help to address these issues. We have spent £2,010 on this project thus far.

Work in Rwanda at Save School has been on going also. Rose and her team have established a nursery there and are germinating many trees which will ultimately allow us to create a food forest at the school. She has also been working with the head teacher to plan groundworks at the school to address the rainwater erosion issues and to harvest that rainfall for the benefit of the food forest. We have spent £728 on this project so far.

Budumba has been slower but recently I have developed a really good communication with Franco who is resident at the 6-acre training centre which was purchased by project support Zainab Nandi. Franco is really keen to propagate plants which will be useful for future project works. When we visited there in January we took a stock of plants, notable vetiver grass which have taken really well, he is already preparing to dig up and separate the plants for replanting. Each will form a divisible clump of up to potentially 40 new plants each time. It does not set a viable seed so this is the only way to propagate it. We have not spent any funds on this project since visiting but we will now help find seeds for Franco to start a propagation nursery. We are specifically interested in Caliandra, Leucaena and Moringa but we will expand this as we go. All of these are nitrogen fixers and we are talking a lot about soil building trees at this stage. No funds spent on this project yet.

Homa Bay

This is more complicated, but we are starting to find ways forward. Paul Ogola has been ill, I paid his £200 hospital bill from personal funds and we hope he makes a speedy recovery. There also has been serious flooding, locusts and of course C-19 to contend with and there has been significant hardship. Jane Amunga, a graduate from the 2018 PDc has been leading in her community, supporting mainly female led households to establish kitchen gardens using the permaculture methods. We have supported her in this and she will form a key part of our team in this area. I had donated £240 from money raised via Go Fund Me and I added £600 from the Homa Bay budget so that she can support all 30 women in her project equally. 

I am also in touch with the key team member on Mfangano Island which is where we hope to do our final PDC within this project. We want to build capacity there, and Bernard is having to relocate his kitchen garden and the lake water level is so high and the priority now is for fencing as both goats and hippos can threaten the garden. I am hoping temporary measures can eventually be replaced by a living hedge of calliandra and I am trying to see if I can link Franco’s work in Budumba to the work in Homa Bay county. So far A.T. have spent £600 supporting permaculture pioneers in Homa Bay plus Sector39 has donated £500 for hardship for Paul’s farmers who lost their crops due to flooding and for Paul’s hospital bill.

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