Navigating the fine line between plan and outcome, The Ghana Permaculture Institude (G.P.I.) and O.U.R. Ecovillage were met with the challenges of navigating time differences between two very active individuals and projects so this twin was not able to meet as often as they would have liked. When connection was possible, the twins enjoyed sharing ideas on permaculture and future course collaborations. They shared resources and the powerful gift of storytelling – bringing together two different cultures through origin stories.
We are delighted to share G.P.I.’s journey with you.
GHANA PERMACULTURE INSTITUTE – local workshop 17 November, 2022.
Introduction and background
Ghana Permaculture Institute is a demonstration and research centre promoting permaculture and ecovillage concepts in Ghana and Africa. GPI works with women, peasant farmers, youth, and interns. GPI is a part of the GEN International twinning project partners. As part of the deliverable for the partners of the twinning project. GPI is also required to test some of the deliverables. GPI organized a workshop for youths including students, and teachers to test this deliverable of Finding Your Permaculture Identity And Building Your Community. We had two facilitators, Mr. Charles Katere and Madam Elham Ware present during this training. We had 27 students and youth participants, 13 teachers, and 5 peasant farmer leaders participated in this training program.
On the 17th November 2022, we had a permaculture training program for students and youths at the Ghana Permaculture Institute centre. Participants came from different regions of Ghana. We tested the deliverables from the GEN twinning project as this link.
Mr. Charles Katere facilitated this training workshop. After we checked in, set up ground rules, and sang to welcome the whole group into the circle. He started by disclosing the topic he would be teaching. Thus, the scope of permaculture, ethics, principles, and the future of permaculture.
Objectives of the training
He highlighted the objectives of his teaching that at the end of the lesson participants will;
- Understand the principles of permaculture
- Identify themselves with one of the permaculture principles
- Present their permaculture cards with fellow participants and create
their own community of at least 3 people or more.
- Understand their individual role in community sustainability and development
Group Participation in defining the permaculture concept
Participants were asked to brainstorm the meaning of Permaculture, and it was obvious that some participants had knowledge as far as permaculture is concerned. The explanations that came out from the participants were powerful and really fit into the scope of permaculture. The facilitator added a brief explanation of what the participants shared regarding permaculture. He explains permaculture to be permanent Agriculture and Permanent culture according to Bill Million and David Holmgren who coined the permaculture system in the late 1970s. He stated emphatically that permaculture is how to implement our Agricultural activities and yet preserve and sustain the natural ecosystem. It also became known to the participants that permaculture goes beyond only a farming activity that is devoid of synthetic chemicals like insecticides, pesticides, and weedicides, but includes economic, social, and community spirituality development. It is a holistic system that provides sustainable life principles in guiding humans to create a sustainable environment for today and in the future.
Permaculture Ethics and Principles
The facilitator also touched on the three main Ethics and the principles of permaculture
Forming of Groups and Group Presentations
The Facilitator divided all the participants into manageable groups of six (6) and shared with each group a printed permaculture principles and ethics and asked each group to discuss the principles in detail. Each group had to give a community name to their group. Each group had to select 3 key principles out of the 12 permaculture principles they would like to implement in their community. Each group was obliged to present their solutions to the whole house as to how they selected the 3 principles and how they will execute them in the various communities they have formed.
Each group made a fantastic presentation which really gave the facilitator hope that what was taught had really sunk deep into the hearts and minds of all the participants.
Each group had a successful group discussion and various solutions were brought to bear. Groups submitted their communities where the problems were identified and suggested possible solutions to those menaces.
After the group’s presentations, the facilitator summarised the whole concept and directed participants’ knowledge toward team building and community development using permaculture ethics and principles. These Ethics of Permaculture were linked to the daily activities of mankind and we realized that we are in one way or the other a permaculturist but we have to increase the intensity at which we think about permaculture. Therefore the facilitator encouraged all participants to go and practice these Permaculture Ethics and principles in their daily lives. We had a successful training and all learning objectives were met. The GEN Twinning guide on Finding Your Permaculture Identity And Building Your Community tested was a very good educational material that other GEN educators can use to teach permaculture concepts in their various schools and training centers.