Our new venture at St Jude is the Practical Permaculture Institute of Uganda. The goal of the garden is to encourage farming the land in sustainable and economic ways.
Practical Permaculture Institute of Uganda
Too often, our educational system leaves out those who do not score so highly on tests, although these students are bright and excel in an agricultural and entrepreneurial capacity. We believe change is needed, and our Projects’ practical preparations are the best for our alienated groups in Uganda.
The Practical Permaculture Institute of Uganda is a 6 acre plot of land, which when complete will have classrooms and demonstrations gardens designed to help these alienated groups build future skills. It will offer training in agro-ecology and permaculture techniques, but also beekeeping, pottery, carpentry and other skills which are relevant to youth and marginalised society members.
The PPIU will target young people in particular, offering training in skills that will allow them to go from being job seekers to job creators. The youth are impatient because they want quick funds, leading them to destructive ventures like brick and charcoal burning, but we would like to encourage them to think about the future. It is hoped that along with products that return quickly, such as soap making, bee keeping, and growing maize and beans, they will be able to learn longer term skills such as carpentry and permaculture growing skills.
It has been noted from our previous trainings that the teenage girls did not benefit well because of early marriages and some targeted girls opted to work as maids without practising the skills, struggling with the challenge of not owning land, which limits on their ability to engage in large scale farming. It is hoped that that training at the PPIU could be a family affair, with young couples jointly learning skills to ensure secure futures together, possibly with the option of financial support or seed funds as start up capital.
Another element of the PPIU is to bring young people in to learn about the important role nature plays in farming, and to care for the environment more long-term. We would like to bring in elements of environmental conservation along with farming, so as to make the youth environmental ambassadors for the future.
Permaculture is a philosophy of agricultural design developed in Europe in the 1970s,which sought to create permanent growing areas, rather than using short term, often environmentally destructive techniques. Bill Mollison, one of its founders, has said,
- Care for the earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish.
- Care for the people: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence
- Fair Share: provision which reflects that each of us should take no more than what we need before we reinvest the surplus.
A permaculture garden is ecologically sustainable, productive, and diverse. It is hoped that the PPIU will be an inspiration to local farmers to create farms which work within natural systems to help them achieve productive and comfortable lives.