Permaculture isn’t explicitly political, it requires no belief or political persuasion. In fact permaculture transcends traditional boundaries as everyone: no matter their political outlook has to agree on the importance of soil, water and plants for prolonged human survival. It has been really exciting and reassuring to make connections with MP’s and ministers here in Uganda and we sincerely hope this can be a gateway to bring the ethics and principles of permaculture into mainstream education.
For a farming nation like Uganda the connection to the land is deep and recent, that said the deforestation and destruction caused by surging development and the pressures of poverty has had a disastrous impact on the landscape as whole forests have been swallowed up by sugar cane and oil palm plantation and subsistence farming.
Permaculture offers new pathways to development, much less reliant on seed technology and agricultural inputs and much more composed of design, observation and small-scale work. Uganda has an abundance of labour, degraded land can be restored and the energy and initiative of the population could so readily be put to work in service of environmental restoration. This is a revolution waiting to happen, one that requires no major external investment and that adresses the root causes of poverty and short term thinking.
We are busy putting together a partnership of key individuals and organisations who can help us develop and deliver on this potential and the last week has been a huge step towards achieving this aim.
We have received political endorsement from the Vice President’s office as well as from the Minister for Education for the cental Bugandan kingdom, and this has already opened many new doors for us.
Winning support from the European Union via ARWAIN last year for the One School One Planet project set us in motion with a clear focus for our work and this was added to by Hub Cymru Africa who agreed to support the initial phase of our permaculture Africa work. Together with Dolen Ffermio, the Wales/ Uganda farmers support charity we have forged strong links with the High School at Busoga, a link we were able to focus on with our recent PDC giving us a firm base for this on going work. This week we also signed a partnership agreement with the Permaculture Research Institute for Uganda, sharing information, contacts and resources and this in turn led to further connections with regional politicians.
We were honoured this week with the opportunity to present the One School One Planet vision and objectives to 60 head teachers from both primary and secondary schools in the key central region of Uganda and from here we hope to find ways to both develop much stronger links as well as bringing permaculture visions and ethics into the core of the curriculum. On the admission of the minister for education for the region, there needs to be more practical subjects and activities on offer and we hope to be able to assist with this aspiration.
“We want to be leaders in permaculture for Central Africa”
Mary Kabanda Babirye MP