Feedback from #PDCUG17: Kamuli, Nyero, Rakai, Paris

The environmental crisis demands action, permaculture enables that action.

Here are just a few outcomes from PDCUG17 in Kamuli, a 2 week course sponsored in part by Hub Cymru Africa and Welsh Government. We delivered a full PDC to 25 participants, mainly teachers, project workers, NGO staff, farmers and outreach workers from across the regions and age groups of Uganda and Kenya. Course participants are connected and work with some of the poorest and most excluded sectors of the population, included HIV orphans, war children and self sufficient rural farmers. It was a tremendously enjoyable and energizing two weeks., connecting a group of people by exploring shared observations and aspirations. We are happy to share the experience and welcome you on our permaculture journey.

PDCUG17 Group portrait. We are all holding the Paris Climate agreement objectives leaflet produced by the One School One Planet Project

20 min video slide show of course highlights
Video from the course and some of the practicals and designs we did during the two weeks and afterwards.

We talked a lot about wood gassification and biochar during the course and Mr Dan from Wales led on a workshop to make and demonstrate the Estoufa Finca wood retort kiln.


Testimony from Godfrey Opolot

Godfrey is one of the participants of the recent course and below is the story of what he has done in the two months since completing his PDC.

The most famous of the Nyero rock paintings appears on the UG 1000 Shilling note

pdc work

Works at the School adjacent to the Nyero Rocks site in Eastern Uganda

Hello Steve. Am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to attend the PDC training at Kamuli. I do not even have words to express how grateful I am. But just to say thank you very much Steve. I believe this knowledge I acquired will not only change my life but also my family, community and my nation Uganda. I will however write a brief report on training and next plan to put in practice what I learnt during the two weeks in Kamuli But briefly I, Isaac, Steve, Joseph and Helen since we are from da same region, We to meet and draw a plan to start embedding this knowledge in Schools. I will keep on posting you the feedback.

As far as the phone is concerned, I would also like to express my sincere gratefulness to that friend who donated it to me. And you too for giving me that chance. It is actually now working. I will make the best use of it such that whatever activity I carry out be using it to give feedback to you and friends of Permaculture. Thank you very much Steve. Waiting to hearing from. Godfrey.

6 June 19:50

that is great to hear.. we will talk properly when I am not moving around.. pleased to hear.. a pleasure to work with you Godfrey! More soon. Steve

6 June 22:57

Welcome Steve!!

Mon 06:51

Hello Steve Good Morning. I am glad to report to you we had a one day permaculture envisionment training on 25 July. We had 35 farmers, 60 primary school children 13 teachers, 16 NGO field staff. We opened a school permaculture garden where we are planting banana circles and intend to have a food forest for the school. kids are also planting trees in the all school compound. We opened a permaculture club consisting of 60 children 2 teachers as patrons of the club. Amazingly they are so committed and willing to learn. I will be soon be sharing more with you with pictures. Thank you so much Steve for the opportunity you gave me for PDC training at Kamuli At least Am now a practical community development worker and at least I have discovered my potential through Permaculture!! Hope to hear from you. Godfrey.

Mon 09:54

Thanks so much for writing Godfrey and for your tremendous hard work. I shall look forward to seeing the pictures very much. It is wonderful to hear from you and that you are using what you have learned to such great effect. We are working with our high school here in Wales at the moment and i am constructing an on line permaculture learning zone to aid permaculture education. Grace sends her best wishes to you and we are both delighted to hear from you. Steve

Steve that photo is the aerial view of the school taken from the eastern part while I was standing at the top of Nyero Rock painting rock site. As you see the school, it has doted trees in the school compound, it has part of the school land chain linked fenced. At the front view where children are mulching trees, we design the whole of it have shade tree, along the fence we are to plant eucalyptus, pine and ashock tree species. Behind the school blocks opposite where you see the water tank, is where we started a school permaculture garden. The land is of about 3 to 4 acres. The vision is to have the school being able to self feed the children in the long run. I hope by 2030, The school will totally be green. I will be sharing with you more about this project. Thank you

Welcome Steve.

Permaculture is an integrated, self sustaining and regulated design system of agriculture that works with rather than against nature to produce food and services for mankind sustainability. Actually in simple term it comes from two words ie Permanent and agriculture or culture. So permaculture is Permanent Agriculture.


Hello Steve good morning. Thank you for the link of Moru-Ikara primary school permaculture children club projects to Sector 39 and one school one planet project. I shared with the school administration about it and they are grateful. But I encouraged them to work hard so that the projects shrive. Actually the two teachers and I we have a plan to make school to be a role model of permaculture project in Uganda. Since the school is just adjacent to Nyero rock painting tourist site, we hope in the long run to have organic shop and green house for seed propagation and vegetable growing where the club will be earning some income to enable the club meet its operation costs and as well supplementing on the school feeding program. We also Steve in the short run if we secure some funds to set up a monument and sign post for the club in memory of the early man who lived at the rocks and showing how he survived using nature as a teacher and wild life to provide food. Thank you Steve.

Steve Thank once again for the opportunity you gave me for the next PDC training in Rakai.

That’s great Godfrey

.. we will have to find a bit of funding yet to cover the cost of attendance but it would be great if you wanted to come back and talk about your great work.. if you wanted to do the whole course again that can be arranged..

Great work Bro, keep it up and I am pleased you are happy to be network ed with our wider schools projects.. you have some great ideas and have thought about the long term possibilities for the project..

Steve I have really discovered

who I am that is what I lacked as a social worker was to have hands on practical skills especially on livelihood. We had a model home project which only focused on beauty and sanitation of homes for long time but after the PDC training in Kamuli I realised a model home without sustainable income and food production is not a model home. Last year and early this year’s prolonged drought due to climatic changes has taught communities to embark on food security. However, to me I see there is still a big challenge most households still are practicing monoculture of growing only either ground nuts or maize but most farmers are mostly focused on obtaining yields and forget to earth care, people care and fair share. There are a lot of bare garden without plant cover, soil is eroded. With this to me I believe this will not solve the problems of our communities. But the solution is campaign for permaculture model towards community development.

Yes indeed Godfrey.. permaculture considers and values all of these aspects.. we can begin to think how we can take this forward to many more projects.. best wishes Steve

Actually Steve I shared with a few landlords in the trading centre where I stay about permaculture and basically on the importance of trees and they seriously discovered they needed to start a campaign to go green and clean Nyero trading centre. On Friday we are to have a first planning meeting with some of them and the major agenda is on how to go about it. Surprisingly Steve, there is a lot of energy waste especially rooftop run off on most of these houses along the streets of the trading centre. I shared with them that this kind of a project does not even need a lot of money to be implemented. It only require for a start only one or two trees in front of each Land lords house. And may be perhaps a few bricks to protect the trees from some of roaming goats, cows and sheep from the trading centre. After words it will only require continuous monitoring and maintenance of the trees as other developments trickle in slowly but sure! Steve after Fridays’ meeting I will keep on updating you on the next steps. Thank you Steve!!


Maggie’s Feedback interview

Here is some more feedback from course participant Maggie. Maggie is a lawyer undergoing legal training, her father is a agro forestry teacher and farmer. She came to the course via her father who is a colleague of ours at Dolen Ffermio, she makes to really interesting comments regarding her impression of permaculture and how she sees its relevance to her work.


Talking Bamboo with Andrew

This conversation was captured after the 2016 PDC where bamboo specialist Andrew, who also happens to be an ex journalist, so talks eloquently and knowledgeably on the many diverse uses of bamboo and how that fits into his understanding of permaculture. Andrew points to many ways permaculture can permeate the transition from hobby farmer to trying to make a living from the land. A great many Uganda white collar workers face the reality of greatly devalued pensions and will be looking to their farming roots and heritage to sustain them in future, even if they spent their working life behind a desk. .

A moving reception

The Sector39 team were invited to St Jude’s School in Masaka to meet the head and to propose bringing permaculture to the school.  It was a truly moving experience and the importnace of education and thirst for knowledge from the kids was palpable. Education is the route of from rural poverty, this matters. As we approached the school we thought they were having a fire drill or something, as all the students were outside the school buildings, over 1000 of them — until we realised they were waiting to give us an unbelievable reception.

The woman in pink, who they refer to as Mama Maria in their song is the founder and benefactor of the school. She is also the minister for Education for Bugandan Kingdom and the regions MP in the national parliament. She is keen for Masaka district to lead on permaculture education for East Africa, a challenge we hope to be able to help her achieve!

What next?

We are traveling together on a journey of discovery.

The Goals of Paris Climate treaty stack up to humanity’s greatest challenge. One we have to rise to. The world has signed the treaty and signed the UN Sustainability develop goals, I am convinced permaculture is the tool to enable us to deliver these essential objectives. We putting together teaching resources, building an on line learning model as well as working with partners in Uganda and UK to start new permaculture inspired endeavors.

One School One Planet is a 3 year EU funded project to support permaculture education development in Wales and we are aiming to link this work in the Uk with schools and projects in Uganda.

  • Plans for 2018 A PDC for 60 participants,
  • the first East Africa Permaculture Convergence and schools and permaculture programme.

More about Sabina School and plans for a PDC and Convergence for 2018

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