In this article, we present two organisations working with Permaculture in different educational settings.
Starting in 2018, Permayouth is a global community of youth (organised by youth and for youth) focused on [pr]activism, regeneration, eco-humanitarianism, creativity, celebration & connection through permaculture. It serves 500 students of the age group of 11 to 17 in Australia, Asia, Africa and North America. Pre-covid, Permayouth organised youth camps in Crystal Waters Ecovillage and in the bioregion in Australia. It supported 1500 refugees to attain their Permaculture Design Certificate and continues to raise funds for youth to learn Permaculture.
Permayouth consists of local hubs and classes, as well as online mentoring, connecting and conversation space for rampant sharing, teach-ins and speaking events. Members of Permayouth have been part of festivals, podcast; they have organised camps using emergent processes and myceliation.
Permayouth is a global digital learning community linking cross culturally and intergenerationally. They have gained extensive experience in digital event production, yet are still improving how to deal with translation and internet connection in more remote areas of the world. The organisation is run by youth which contributes to the momentum of the movement, however in the past it has also been challenging to maintain energy and consistency amongst youth leaders and to invite and include new people and to share responsibilities.
The Schools and Colleges Permaculture (SCOPE) is an educational organisation working with schools in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe in natural resources management, environmental education, sustainable agriculture, climate change adaptation and mitigation, school health and nutrition, and functional landscaping of school grounds. Through their work, they aim to fight poor health, injustice, stigma and discrimination. They have formed a regional network to amplify their voices and strengthen this critical work. It started in 2012 with 18 schools, and is currently working with 50 schools with an average of 1,000 learners each, which sums up to approximately 50,000 students total from the age range 5 to 18 years old in this 10 years of experience.
SCOPE is focusing their work on the Ecological Dimension because most communities they work with have nutrition issues, thus it helps to provide direct solutions to local challenges. A vision for the future is to extend their projects to working more with the other dimensions of regeneration (Cultural, Social, Economic), however, initiating and maintaining the motivation for these projects amongst staff of the schools isn’t always easy, teachers in Malawi are often overworked and underpaid.
It has been a challenge to find suitable educational resources, often teaching and reading materials in general Permaculture literature do not relate to their local conditions and context. However, SCOPE has developed great experience in working with their local environment, using locally available resources i.e. local seed and tools. One output of their extensive work and experience is the development of the Integrated Land Use Design (ILUD), a tool for facilitating the planning & implementation of agro-ecology in schools. It comprises a 5 step process:
2. Situational analysis
4. Integrated land design
5. Plan of action
It is implemented as a step by step participatory design process, carried out by representatives of all stakeholders – learners, teachers and parents, yet it isn’t always easy to engage community involvement: only a few in every community really understand the full concept. However, it continues growing by using the cluster approach, where new schools learn from the old schools.
Integrated Land Use Design (ILUD): is a whole school participatory design process for school communities facilitated by SCOPE and ReSCOPE that takes a holistic view of the school environment and involves multiple stakeholders including learners, teachers, staff, parents, community leaders and local organizations.
Using the schools as entry points, the process consists in bringing the whole community together to do their own assessment of resources and needs in a process as participatory as possible. The community then decides on three key issues they would like to work on in a given time period and SCOPE commits to work with the community in capacity building, and then they come up with a verbal contract and an action plan. The work begins with the communities and the schools and the trainings are conducted based on the community identified needs using tools such as permaculture and agroecology, ecovillage principles, seed saving and multiplication, value addition of produce, natural medicines, water harvesting, energy saving fuel stoves. The impact is visible through the transformation of the landscape and environment of the schools.
Starting in 2018, Permayouth is a global community of youth focused on [pr]activism, regeneration, eco-humanitarianism, creativity, celebration & connection through permaculture. It serves 500 students of the age group of 11 to 17.
“We believe there is a need to rapidly shift to a one-planet life – to regenerate and repair the planet – and become carbon neutral by 2030. This is part of the significant crisis of our lifetime – the crisis of perception – to create a shift from the wasteful consumer-focused culture to a conscious, regenerative life.”
- local hubs and classes
- online mentoring and connecting
- conversation space
- rampant sharing
- speaking events
- emergent process