Im Rahmen des Projektes „Nachhaltige Kommunalentwicklung durch Partnerschaftsprojekte (Nakopa)“ zwischen der Landeshauptstadt Potsdam und Sansibar hat Laura Maier (Geschäftsführerin des Practical Permaculture Institute Zanzibar (PPIZ)) den folgenden Bericht über die durch dieses Projekt geförderten Gärtnerkurse für Frauen und Männer aus der Siedlung Kikwajuni und Migombani verfasst, die ihre Kenntnisse im Botanischen Garten umsetzen.
This report covers activities undertaken for trainings of members of the Migombani and Kikwajuni communities, supported by the climate change city partnership Potsdam-Zanzibar under NAKOPA. It was agreed to train the participants in a foundational course, followed by on-site trainings. The foundational course would contain knowledge and skills around Permaculture, in specific working with plants, growing and maintaining a garden, soil building techniques, water management, animal keeping, as well as including the foundational ethics of Permaculture (earth care, people care, fair share) and design principles and approaches. The on-site trainings were designed as relevant to the locations; in Migombani skills around maintaining a botanical garden, in Kikwajuni skills around urban and community gardening.
From January 2019, the team of the Practical Permaculture Institute Zanzibar (PPIZ) was active to connect to the different parties. Meetings with the members of the CBO of Migombani Botanical Gardens were arranged and it was agreed on which content of learning and which format would be of value to the CBO members. Already during this initial discussion it became clear, that the topic of waste is an important issue that needs to be addressed within the setup of the botanical garden area. The surrounding community has access to two large containers for waste to bring their household waste –nevertheless, these containers are not collected and emptied frequently enough, furthermore, community members also dump their trash in other areas (preferably under the big old kapok tree), and the wind helps to blow light trashes such as plastic throughout the gardens. Separating the waste at source and teaching about composting and recycling was thus chosen as an important topic to be taught to the CBO members during the on-site trainings.
Preparation meetings also included meeting with John Ndege, curator of the botanic garden, and Mzee Juma from the Zanzibar Municipal Council. The program was presented and the request brought forward to supply tools for the gardeners to work in the gardens, as well as increase the number of waste containers for Migombani community. For the Kikwajuni community, meetings were arranged with Ali Idrissa Haji and the Sheha of Kikwajuni to present the program. The focus of Kikwajuni training was planned to have a different angle, as Kikwajuni has rather the topic of urban gardening of importance. But also here, the issue of waste is an omnipresent problem.
During this preparatory time, both Migombani and Kikwajuni foundational course participants
came to PPIZ prior to the foundational courses to get to know the place and surroundings they would be learning in. The foundational training: Permaculture Design Course Foundational trainings of members of Migombani and Kikwajuni took place February 11-22, 2019 and April 1-12, 2019, respectively. The core topics taught during the foundational course consisted of
lessons around Permaculture principles, patterns and zones, foundation of design, water, waste water and house design, soil, compost worms and mulch, seed and nursery management , home & community gardens, farms, trees, food forests, natural pesticides, natural medicine, beekeeping, animal systems, sustainable business and technologies and ecopreneurship & cooperatives.
Through this initial training both groups were exposed to a new way to look at the humanenvironment relationship. They learned that humans are utterly dependent on the environment to provide them with the resources for a good livelihood. To really understand this dependence and thus be urged to protect and enhance the environment is a major mandate of the course, and it changed the view of the participants on their relationship to nature and the environment. Additionally to this, a specific eye-opener was the realization that it is not necessary, and even dangerous to burn waste, and that opposed to this all types of organic waste can be used to create fertile soil through the process of composting, and also mulching. Also other topics raised the interest of the participants, such as natural pesticides and natural medicine for humans. Through the foundational course, the participants were introduced to all topics and encouraged to take a new perspective to look at the human-environment relationship.
The value of the content of the foundational course was so well received by the participants that those of Migombani who attended the training, decided to themselves host classes in the CBO to share what they had learned. Every afternoon for one month, and with the help of the training manual they received during the foundational course, the course participants reviewed and shared their knowledge with additional members of the CBO. Next to their own initiative, PPIZ started the on-site training with the groups. In Migombani, members of the CBO who attended the on-site training usually exceeded the 6 who were initially trained. Up to 20 students attended per class, and usually there was an average around 12 participants. Topics of the foundational course were expanded on, and additional topics added that were relevant to the topic of the botanic garden, and demanded by the participants as relevant to the setting of Migombani community.
Topics and learning areas covered in the on-site workshops were in detail: Importance of mulch, what is soil, different types of soil, how soil works; Introduction to nursery, benefits of nursery to humans, reasons for urban and rural dwellers to have a nursery, importance of seedlings, how to start and maintain a nursery, best soil to use for seedlings; local fauna of Zanzibar, different types of trees and their uses (e.g. for food, enhancing the soil, wood, firewood, medicine), benefits of trees; Propagation methods (wildlings, vegetative propagation, cuttings, grafting, layering); which types of trees can be used for cuttings and how, practical exercises of grafting and budding; Permaculture patterns and zones; Succession planting (dates of sowing seeds, transplanting and harvest); how to plant seedlings on the farm, tree planting holes, pests and pest control; What is waste, different types of waste, (Recyclables, organic, non-recyclable), and how they can be used.
How to make compost, liquid compost, practical exercise of making compost; how to enhance and protect the garden (pruning, using mulch, applying compost, different types of soil, climate). The focus of topics thus shifted from purely skills needed in a botanical garden, to also include topics relevant for the larger community setting, and especially the topic of how to deal with waste. The topics were well received and the large numbers in participants showed the interest and relevance of the training. The on-site training definitely proofed of value for those who attended the foundational training:
They got more experience, additional time to develop their knowledge and ask further questions that only came up after the initial training. The interest and motivation in the content became obvious by the students self-initiated starting to make a composting area next to the one of the plant nurseries.
Although the teacher advised to do mulching, this seems to be conflicting with the look of a botanic garden. Although the participants started practicing mulching around larger trees, smaller areas with ornamental plants were not being mulched. The additional community members who came to the onsite trainings gained new ideas and insights. The PDC holders gained a more profound learning to take away, implemented the new knowledge at their home gardens, or were inspired to start a personal garden. Also, members of the community became interested and asking questions to course participants to increase their knowledge around skills concerning planting and growing. Specifically interesting to the participants was composting, companion planting and medicinal plants. Through the training, the participants gained new knowledge and skills that will help them implement the botanic garden, as well as use this knowledge for their personal lives.
In Kikwajuni, the training had a slightly different focus. Also here, more participants attended the workshops than the 6 who were initially trained. The beginning of the training was delayed, as the map designed for Kikwajuni implementation took longer than expected to be established, and after it was, the details of it failed to be passed on to the gardeners. Communication from the municipal council on the plan of action was missing up to this date. Thus, it was decided to go ahead with the training in the existing framework. The initial theoretical workshops to explore relevant theory for the Kikwajuni surroundings were joined by about 10 participants each. Topics revolved around soil building in an urban context, earth works for water management, natural pest control, companion planting, vegetable and herb growing, medicinal plants, and waste management.
The theoretical and practical workshops were of interest and value to the old, as well as new
joining students. The implementations were successful and the participants happy about some support with their own small gardens. A limitation was that the larger plan of the area was not revealed to the participants, thus the teacher could not assist in the implementation of the actual bigger plan. Once the planned map will be introduced to the students in detail, tools and inputs provided, the trained participants will have the foundational skills to implement those gardens. Inspired by the foundational training, participants started implementing their own gardens, and the on-site training helped to give advice on what to improve and how to better design and maintain their gardens.
Text und Fotos: Laura Maier (Geschäftsführerin des Practical Permaculture Institute Zanzibar (PPIZ)