Short introduction of GPI
Ghana Permaculture Institute (GPI) is an institute that considers the future feedback of human interaction with the earth or the environment. GPI uses the permaculture principles and ethics of earth care, people care and fair share integrated in its activities. GPI, through its exemplary model of seeing solutions beyond problems, has identified poverty as the core challenge which commits people to initiate certain actions that negatively affect the environment.
Through the consideration of these negative actions, GPI has devised sustainable strategies to mitigate the core challenges and it implements projects which improve the standard of living of people while on a larger scale reducing environmental carbon footprints. The following examples offer a brief description of GPI activities linking to the four ecovillage models/dimensions:
Ghana Permaculture Institute has implemented sustainable projects that mitigate carbon buildup in the atmosphere. GPI currently has about 8000 farmers in Ghana who are use permaculture and organic farming practices. These farmers are empowered via education and training on different farming practices such as tree planting, mulching, mix cropping, mix farming, crop rotation and moreover, how they can recycle their organic matter into compost as a fertilizer and also recycle sawdust into edible mushrooms.
The aforementioned permaculture systems are also practiced on a 24-acre land site which also features ecological buildings made from bamboo, recycled car tyres and waste plastic bottles coupled with the utilization of solar energy for power. GPI donated 35,000 trees to the United Nations Trees for Africa Programme in 2008 and looked after their planting. In 2016, GPI also trained farmers, students and women on planting income-generating trees such as breadfruit, Moringa, cashew and cocoa in Brong Ahafo Region and the Northern region of Ghana. From the period of 2014-2018, GPI successfully implemented a project on Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction in Ghana and West Africa with the support of BMZ (German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) and SONED (Southern Network for Environmental Development), all of which through their activities and farming practices mitigate carbon footprints.
Considering the ecovillage economic model, GPI has devised a system where farmers’ tree plantations and farm products are exported with special focus on the Moringa plant. For the past 3 years, GPI exported 50 tons of Moringa products (leaves, powder and seeds) purchased from local communities which brings a lot of income to them. GPI’s ability to create a market for these farmers’ produce enables them to have the zeal to plant more income-generating trees and also helps reduce their carbon footprint.
GPI trains its members on different livelihood empowerment activities such as Moringa cosmetics, which include: soap bars, creams, ointments, shower gel and liquid soap. GPI also trained members on mushroom production, beekeeping, essential oil distillation, and batik tying and dyeing.
GPI has a system of micro-finance where farmers, students, womens’ associations and staff contribute (save) with a financial institute called the Ghana Permaculture Loans and Saving Scheme (GPLASS). Members are allowed to take loans to further develop their farming and other businesses. This financial system has been design in such a way that members are able to received immediate technical and financial support in developing their businesses. This financial system enables money to change hands in our ecovillage system in the Institute.
Ghana Permaculture Institute ensures that the members and communities it works with are allowed to maintain and develop their human cultural activities such as chieftaincy, leadership, music, food etc and also support them to sustain these cultural practices. GPI also ensures members put into practice the indigenous system of farming where farmers are empowered, trained and educated on the organic system of farming by using the permaculture sustainable system as the basis of education. Local fabric enterprise that promotes Ghanaian culture such as batik tie dye are produced and also advocated for among the Ghanaian communities.
Most of the projects that GPI implements in the communities are projects that contribute to sustainable environmental development and poverty reduction. These projects and programs ensure members fully understand the concept of permaculture as a sustainable system and a lifestyle.
GPI has initiated an educational program in 9 Junior High Schools and 2 Senior High Schools in Ghana. This system is designed to assist students to embrace the sustainable permaculture and ecovillage models which introduces them into a loving and abundance world model. Students involved in this program acquire the theoretical and practical knowledge of the permaculture concept of farming and also entrepreneurship development.
Moreover, GPI has formed women association called AWPECP (African Women Poverty Eradication Cooperation). Some of these women are farmers, food vendors etc. and they receive support from the micro-finance scheme to improve their livelihoods.
And also, considering the health issues in our institute and the surrounding communities, GPI has created a health centre at the site which was launched in June 2018. This health centre is initiated to treat and educate staff, volunteers, members and the surrounding communities about health issues. GPI also organizes advocacy training on food and nutrition, HIV/AIDS, Sanitation and Bush burning for local communities to help them improve their knowledge of the aforementioned areas and also ensure their lives are safe.