In May 2023, the project began with an aim to improve the lives of low-income populations in Kipungani village, with a focus on women involved in farming. Earth Love LTD wished to train community members in permaculture farming methods. It’s important to remember that this project happened upon the request of the Kipungani community, some of whom had taken part in a previous training in 2022.
The following is a reflection on the outcomes of the project 5 months since the training was given.
Overview of Activities
As per the project plan, Earth Love facilitated a practical permaculture design course in May. 20 participants took part including 17 women and 3 men.
After the course, 20 home gardens were created with direct support from the project funds, this is in addition to 10+ existing home gardens from previous projects. Due to the communal nature of farming in Kipungani and the large number of people living on each homestead, the knowledge and yield from the gardens is expected to impact a much larger number of people than just the participants.
As part of the course, community members were also given training on how to recycle more of their waste and conserve water.
Review of Outcomes
The group visited Kipungani exactly five months after the Practical Permaculture Development Course (PPDC) and the reunion was warm and joyful. There were high expectations based on the initial enthusiasm and subsequent reporting. But, Earth Love were happy to report that their expectations were well exceeded.
Here are some of the key observations:
- Many of the participants’ gardens have been well taken care of, have produced well and some have expanded their work such as creating tree nurseries.
- Many are happy to continue learning, applying and expanding permaculture knowledge.
- They are also very keen to learn more about animal husbandry, especially poultry keeping, as well as alternative energy, eg. eco charcoal production.
- The Permaculture Community Trainer (PCT) Hussein, has carried on working with the community selflessly, and way beyond the period he was being facilitated through this project to do it, therefore we decided to pay him some bonuses with left over project funds.
- Owing to the new public-school curriculum, a lot of the children are now participating in the garden work, since it is part of their studies.
- Household recycling has increased through plastic waste being sorted and taken to Flipflopi or used in container gardens. Organic waste and cardboard has been used to create compost which is turn improves the health of the local soil.
- There has been an increase of consumption of local food that has reduced the need to bring so much food from the main Lamu Town market.
- Household water consumption has also decreased as participants were given training to water their gardens with grey water.
- The gardens seeded well, and seed collection is ongoing. The PHG home gardeners have been sharing seeds with others.
Kipungani is a community that is highly dependent on a healthy environment, over the years they’ve felt the effects of climate change and have become driven to create local change. This project has allowed the community to explore how they can drive positive change for their environment. From being introduced to regenerative agriculture principles, they now wish to expand their knowledge to more climate friendly activities that will benefit them personally too.
Furthermore, the group have expressed interest in creating a larger, potentially commercial, demonstration shamba illustrates their commitment to expanding their personal knowledge as well as that of their wider community. However, before a larger shamba can be created, access to water will need to be addressed which is costly.
To keep up the momentum and demands from the community, Earth Love will regularly visit Kipungani. During these visits, Earth Love intends to exchange seeds, seedlings, poultry, knowledge, encouragement and more.
Earth Love and LEF are committed to ensuring each remote location in Lamu receives educational training to make our world a better place from the grassroots up. Permaculture encompasses a wide range of environmental education, not just regarding agroecological farming but also about a sustainable and healthy lifestyle, community building, regenerative technologies and waste management which we believe all can benefit from to make us the county more climate resilient.