June 10 – 20, 2018, Wfac Volunteer Manager and CSE Facilitator, Ndabombi Emmanuel and Armstrong Bobvala represented Women for a Change, at the second Phase of the 22-month partnership project on Sustainable Foundations for Sustainable Partnerships in Techiman, Ghana. Drawing from the “Kick-off” meeting which took place in Germany in May 2018, this project has eight partners from Germany, Malawi, Kenya, Ghana, and Cameroon. Sponsored by the EU Erasmus with the aim of strengthening the capacities of all partner organizations in implementing sustainable volunteering possibilities for young people from Africa and Europe by volunteering abroad.
Given that at Wfac, volunteerism is core to the work we do – and as an institution, grounded in feminist principles, we are constantly making conscious decisions to provide our volunteers with necessary professional development opportunities both at home and abroad to build their knowledge, capabilities, and skills needed to move towards career goals. As such the training on permaculture provided Wfac an opportunity to therefore interrogate and integrate new concepts that advocates for fairness and alternative lifestyles and career prospects.
“Attending this exchange program on permaculture was a life changing experience…I remembered when I was delegated by Wfac to participate and represent the organisation in the 2nd phase of the project on Permaculture in Techiman, Ghana, I couldn’t stop asking myself what the linkage was between Permaculture and Feminisms or women’s rights activism besides an element of career prospects. But after attending the exchange program, I quickly found out that there was actually a closed conceptual linkage between the two concepts, Permaculture and Feminisms. As the definition goes, permaculture is a way of life grounded in the principles of fairness, inclusivity and respect for diversity, likewise is feminism, which is the radical notion that all humans are born equal and free to decide their way of life”, said Ndabombi Emmanuel.
At the training, participants were introduced to life skills teachings around the use of moringa & orthodox medicines, in addressing Urinary Transmissible Infections, STIs, skin disorders, shocks and malaria. In addition to Ultra modern quantum analyzers for accurate results without blood samples. The team was also taught and introduced on the ethics of permaculture and its principles in relationship to our daily lives, its design processes and methods. Other skills learned included Waste Management with focus on mushroom cultivation, composting of sawdust and “bagging”, moringa harvesting, planting and also its preservation. The processes of trees and plants crafting and budding, recycling and transformation of waste plastic bags into rain coats, handbags & other useable materials to the value eco-chain. As was taught, nothing in permaculture practices goes to waste.
One of the biggest myths deconstructed at this exchange program was that permaculture is not about “agriculture” rather it is a way of life – said Armstrong Bobvala.
According to the founder of Permaculture, Bill Mollison (1970) – there are three core ethics of permaculture which is: the care of the people, care of the earth and the fair share of resources. These ethics and principles have been adopted by everyone into permaculture as an aspect of live and not mere words written down in books. In permaculture, the principles can be briefed to the “5Rs which entails – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Repair‟.
While permaculture is way of life, it also can be a source for employment and sustainable development for all.
Written by Emmanuel Ndabombi and Amstrong Bobvala