In May, Gaia Education, together with CIFAL Scotland and Bangladesh Association for Sustainable Development, conducted a 10 day Permaculture Design Course to 23 community leaders from the Banishanta, Sutarkhali and Mongla region of Southern Bangladesh.
Led by Pradyut Nayek, permaculture practitioner and sustainable village design expert from West Bengal, the aim of the training was to introduce economic and social approaches to ecovillage design while transferring practical skills to improve food production in the climate change impacted region.
Topics included controlled bed/salinity tolerant bed, bio-char, round bed, quick compost, round compost, and diamond bed. Participants were equipped with the knowledge to apply their PDC learning and were encouraged to share these lessons with their neighbours and communities.
The course involved theory sessions, peer-to–peer learning and hands on training on their own land. Topics included controlled bed, salinity tolerant beds, soil conservation, seed saving and propagation, bio-char, use of natural fertilisers and vermiculture, water and horticulture.
Participants were actively encouraged to share these lessons with their neighbours and communities.
The feedback and evaluations revealed a number of important lessons learned:
1. Participants gained the ability to produce different varieties of crops in small areas of land. This is critical in the region as farming land is often limited.
2. The training gave insights into how improved soil health has positive impacts on human health and the environment. Using organic fertilisers over chemicals is crucial in achieving this.
3. The new techniques allow people to preserve water by only needing to water their crops 2 – 3 times per week.
4. The increases in food production will allow people to increase their household income by selling the surplus food at markets.
The course is part of a 3 year project, funded by the Scottish Government.