Permaculture Design Course (PDC), Aranya Farm, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Paul Odiwuor Ogola is the coordinator of Permoafrica-centre. Paul was trained as a blacksmith Artisan, and later trainer in different formal and informal sectors of the agricultural farm tools industry and crop production in Kenya.
A few years ago, Paul had the chance to receive a scholarship for a Permaculture Design Certificate from Steve Jones, a Permaculture design tutor. As a permaculture teacher and designer, Paul makes it his mission to bring permaculture knowledge & technology to his community and farming group. That's how and why he started Permoafrica-centre.
We want to re-connect with the permaculture principles of Earth care and people care through gardening, knowledge and experiences that lead to fair share.
- To Promote ecological thinking and permaculture principles
- To Inspire diverse, productive and regenerative design
- To Engage community through intentional gatherings and shared experiences
- To Build capacity through education, resource sharing and hands-on learning
- To Enact and Embody the principles of permaculture
- To Include all people who wish to be a part of permaculture community at PermoAfrica Centre
The primary occupations in the village are sustenance farming, carpentry, blacksmith, tailoring and small business which are under lake Victoria ecosystem environment. Paul has the vision to educate and empower this rural community to escape extreme poverty through permaculture.
We are focusing to support practice and policies that will sustain young & adult independent and prosperous farmers now and in the future.
Permaculture demonstration farm
- Mandala garden
- Green house
- Fish pond
- Dry toilets
- We created a website dedicated to the project that you can visit under this link: https://permoafrica-centre.weebly.com/
- We took care of the greenhouse beds preparation for vegetables' planting
- We did various sowing of tomatoes, carrots, beans...
- We prepared seedlings of peppers, clove trees...
- We planted a few different variety of trees among which Moringa
- We filtered the fish pond water using an awesome man-powered pumping machine (which makes for a great great morning fitness routine)
- We built pavements in the garden with plastic: we collected the plastic waste littered in the village and recycled it to use inside the pavement bags and pave the way in the garden
- We designed, built and installed dry-toilet and the foundations of a compost hacienda, we also trained the family and the villagers on how to use it and how to manage the compost
- We prepared and conducted a training (theory and practice, full day) for building a swale with nine participants from the village
- We painted the classroom with illustration of the permaculture principles and the flower of permaculture
Complementary and subjective remarks
- Chemicals: lack of proper education to related risks and dangers and lack of accessible organic options leads to occasional use of chemicals. We believe the chemical products should be banned from the compound (garden & home) including fertilizers, pesticides (and other biocides), paints & solvents, chemical soaps & cleaning material, etc. Avoiding such chemicals will protect the soil and the environment as well as the people and reduce our dependence to big chemical corporations (e.g. Bayer...).
- Seeds… they might be Nature’s smartest and most efficient way to store energy. However, it is not easy for farmers to get natural seeds; one needs to go to shops and buy Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMO) and/or hybrid F1 seeds that do not allow those farmers to use the seeds after harvest to grow new plants the season that follows. Some seeds are even already treated with chemicals! We feel like most farmers are trapped in a vicious circle when they need to buy seeds year after year that might, on top of that, harm their environment and, thus, favor use of fertilizers to feed the plant since soil cannot feed the plant anymore… A good idea would be to develop a strong and resilient community of seed sharers; avoid Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMO) as they might harm the environment and reduce dramatically your autonomy as an organic farmer. This is a critical question that might interest other permies in East Africa.
- Pit latrines: latrines pollute the soil and the water; if heavy rain hits a place using pit latrines, the inhabitants might suffer from high risk of cholera and waterborne diseases (more than 80% of diseases are linked to bad water quality)! Moreover, latrines attract insects (flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, etc.). We can easily apply the principle "The problem is the solution": use dry toilets and compost human manure (it will help with remark on chemicals; no need for fertilizers and chemical pesticides). Those interested in dry toilets and humanure composting might want to read the "Humanure Handbook" to assess proper guidelines and implement accordingly, if you have little time, focus on chapter 8.
- Plastic waste: of course we acknowledge that the government in many areas does not provide communities with appropriate support (infrastructure, collection, treatment, etc.). Therefore we advice to follow the "5R" approach: Refuse - Reduce - Reuse - Repair - Recycle (in that order). Avoid as far as possible packaging, reuse as far as possible, recycle to create new resources such as building material (for instance, plastic+earth bags).
- Food: we might have weaker stomachs than our hosts because of our over-sanitate western lifestyle... However, we think there should be reasonable nutritious value in every meals: fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. Ideally, one would eat a great variety of foods from the garden; this would surely be the healthiest option. We hope that Paul can reach this goal within the next years.
- Health and hygiene: not only in Kenya, we acknowledge that we are very lucky to come from France where healthcare is cheap (if not free). In most of the places where we were, people cannot afford getting sick because the prices of consultation, medical examinations and medication that are too high. This system is accepted by most of the people; doctor will treat you in accordance with your financial capacity. Therefore it is very important to respect basic rules of hygiene in order to reduce the risk of illness. The use of soap is crucial in all daily activities before and after eating, working at the farm, sleeping, etc.
- Charity: Paul is a great salesperson; indeed, he manages to "sell" (present / defend) his project very well and he is very good at getting more support (material, donations, volunteering). Collaborative investment is indeed a very good way to kick start a project. We are also ready to support and engage financially in great projects. However, up to now on this journey, we acknowledge the gigantic perversion of money and its bad influence on people's minds and relationships worldwide; it is sick. We now want to focus on non-monetary exchanges for the rest of our journey and find relevant alternatives. We should also think long term and recognize the non-sustainable characteristic of funding based on charity: what happens if people stop giving?
- Education, education, education! Again and again we see the same bad habits, the same traditional ways of doing (latrines, plastic burning, chemicals use, lack of hygiene, unhealthy nutrition, and co.)... people need to know about the consequences of what they are doing, otherwise it cannot change. That being said, congratulations to Paul and to his project because this is exactly what people need, an educational center, a demonstration farm to learn about permaculture and how to replicate the techniques and to grow with the ethics and principles. We really believe education is the key to success for people in Kenya and all over the world. We need to share knowledge, this is the best gift you can offer your community, the best way to empower people.
Than you and congratulation
Moreover we want to say how proud we are of Paul and its project as we see many achievements since we left. Paul continued to offer many training sessions at the education centre, you can learn about it on his blog: https://permoafrica-centre.weebly.com/blog
Paul is also being very active out of Permoafrica-centre as he is now teacher for Permaculture Designer Course in Uganda and also training Sudanees refugee at Dadab refugee camp in Uganda. You can contact and follow Paul's activities on his Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paul.o.ogola.
We wish Paul and Permoafrica-Centre all the best in the future and always more success! Ero kamano
Laura & Mathieu