PERMACULTURE SCHOOL GARDENS
Over the last 10 years we have introduced Permaculture principles to many schools in the district, and four we have recently linked with Scope a regional Permaculture training initiative. Permaculture is a brilliant way to make the school a welcoming and homely environment for the children, and if the teachers commit to a weekly session out in the garden with the children then a lot can be achieved.
Using the garden as a learning tool for the children has proved very successful, both for food production and environmental issues. With Josie’s passion for the environment she has taught many teachers and community members and Permaculture Design Courses have also been held at Butterfly which offers another great training opportunity.
The recent link with Mkondezi Primary School has seen great progress, as the project seems to be naturally expanding. They have done amazing work there over the course of the year and an open day held in May 2016 resulted in three more schools interested in joining the link. A teacher training was held at Butterfly in August 2016, hosted by Friday Kamanga, and teachers from all schools completed as well as other community members from the Agriculture Department and research station. They had twenty detailed lesson plans to work through during the three terms and regular teacher meetings to assess how things were going and answer questions. All four of the schools held an open day this year and over 100 people visited to learn about the permaculture they were doing at the school. Three more schools joined up meaning there are seven schools this year as we start the programme. Great news.
There is also potential to expand the project at either Mkondezi or Limphasse Schools, if they can acquire a hectare of land that could produce food directly for the school-feeding program. At Mkondezi there is also chance to renovate the empty but sturdy buildings there at the school, which are old home economic and carpentry workshops. This would allow both nutritional lessons linked to the garden and also carpentry skills training. The garden at Gulugufe nursery has recently seen them harvesting Moringa, which is a massively nutritional plant, and incorporating it into the food there which is a brilliant example to set.
Expanding to do other alternative technologies like the rainwater harvester and solar cookers, we hope to increase community awareness of environmental issues and volunteers could help bring in these relevant skills into the network we are forming here in Nkhata Bay.
VOLUNTEERS CAN CONTRIBUTE IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
- GARDENING – You can help out by working with Francis or Josie in the gardens at the schools and around Butterfly to plant new crops and species. Diversity is the key in permaculture and there are on-going designs for all the schools.
- TEACHING – Use produce from the garden to demonstrate new recipe and nutrition ideas either at the nursery school, primary garden group or the women’s groups or FAAWN’s.
- LEARNING – About the Moringa production through the nursery and encourage and work with other schools to also do the same.
- PLANTING – By planting tree seedlings at Butterfly will help later for transplanting at schools.
- VISITING – taking time with the permaculture schools on the program, there are 6 now, and showing encouragement and helping them out.
- PAINTING – Painting signs to label the trees and linking them to the information in the nutrition folder is a simple way to educate people.
- RENOVATING – The workshops at Mkondezi offer massive potential for lessons and new skills but need alot of sorting out in terms of hands on work and links to bring the proper skills in
- LANDSCAPING – This is an important part of our gardens because by landscaping and earthworks will improve the look of the gardens around Butterfly or at the schools. We desperately need a tree surgeon to take out some of the massive and unproductive trees.
- ADMINISTRATION – Write up useful information in the Information Room and supplement it with further research helping to create an information database for the Permaculture Network of Malawi.
If you are interested in volunteering, please see our Volunteer Package page. If you would like to contribute to this project but you are unable to make it over to Malawi, please see our Make A Donation page.