Permaculture: A Sustainable Food Program
by Sarah Leach
When the girls first moved into the dormitory at Mwaji Secondary School, they agreed to temporarily provide their own food until OA could establish a school food program. . .
While establishing a school food program may sound simple, it is actually a complex problem with potentially disabling solutions. To simply feed the girls three meals a day, day after day, would promote an unhealthy dependency upon OA, a dependency that would soon become school-wide, only “feeding” the cycle of poverty. This dependency would also cripple OA’s budget, severely hampering OA’s ability to continue project development. Yet, OA also believes it is an injustice to allow students to go hungry and to suffer. Therefore the solution to hunger must be sustainable. It must be a solution that empowers rather than impoverishes. The solution? Permaculture!
We are excited to announce that we will be sending three female dorm students and one teacher from Mwaji Secondary School to a Permaculture Design Certificate Course taught by Food Water Shelter (FWS) in May. FWS is an organization founded by Australians who are experts in the agricultural method called Permaculture, which focus on sustainability and using the space that you have to its fullest potential in order to yield a higher crop.
The two-week long course in Arusha, northern Tanzania, will be taught in Kiswahili by Kenyan and Tanzanian instructors. During the course, the girls and teacher will learn to use the principles of permaculture design: sustainable farming and household gardening for self-reliance, natural regeneration and food forests, soil and water management including composting and swale design, appropriate technology such as rocket stoves and sanitation options, income generation solutions like honey, mushrooms and aquaculture and an introduction to nutrition and natural medicine.
Once the course is completed, two of the instructors from Food Water Shelter will come to Mwaji Secondary School. They will spend two days there evaluating the land and soil. By the end they will have created an agricultural plan and design for the school and the girls will be ready to plant and grow their own food, creating a stable, sustainable food program.