I recently visited Mfangano Island, which is in Lake Victoria in Kenya, to work on a permaculture project. I was lucky enough to meet a man named Bernard, who is a headteacher and has started a permaculture garden to feed the students, and hopes to expand into a centre to run classes and share the knowledge with the wider community. It's really needed there, as the weather becomes more unpredictable, rains are getting shorter some years and causing floods in others. Most people survive on fish from the overfished lake.
Bernard started the project as an experiment. He had only just been introduced to permaculture by another resident on the island, who started a network of permies from different parts of the world. They use Whatsapp to communicate and help each other with ideas, solutions, sharing photos of progress etc. So already the garden is already producing lots of food - loads of greens, medicinal herbs, some grains, brassicas, fruits and other veggies, some of which the locals had never seen before, so it's adding diversity to their diet!
I was so inspired by what they've achieved, the school doesn't get any government funding, it's all been built gradually and it was amazing to look around. The students really love the garden and it's really encouraging that they have an opportunity to learn about alternative methods of farming so that they can help their family, whose crops often fail. So I've set up a crowdfunder to try and raise money for what they really need next, which is a rainwater catchment system. Currently the (polluted) lake water is used for everything - bathing, washing clothes, cooking, drinking - so the new system will provide clean drinking water, and water the garden. At the moment the students carry water every day from the lake.
The potential is so exciting - quite a lot of people I met on the island have heard of permaculture and were keen to learn more about it. The school is already such a shining example of what's possible, and the garden only started last year. So with the water system, the next steps can happen more quickly, and of course the garden can expand and feed more people.
I hope this inspires you as much as it has me, and if you would like to help on the crowdfunder it will make a real difference! Any donation is really appreciated, and equally sharing will really help. If any of you have a website/blog/Facebook group where you can spread the word that would be fantastic.
I also met a teacher from another school whose dream is to plant lots of trees in the school and teach about their importance. Since I'd like to get involved with helping these projects get off the ground, I'd love to know if anyone have any experience with setting up ways to support these projects? Eg what's effective, how to share knowledge between people with similar aims, where to fundraise...?
That's very interesting. I live in Kenya, a couple hours from lake Victoria - kisumu. I haven't heard of this island, nor has my husband. How do you access it? We head that way several times a year to deal with my immigration stuff, and I would love if I could pay a visit and see what they are doing.
Wrong Way Farm - Kenya
posted 2 years ago
We got a ferry from Homa Bay, these run twice a day - not sure about the first one but the second ferry leaves Homa Bay around 5PM, and they run every day of the week. There is a more frequent (and faster) water bus, I'm not sure of the timetable but I think there is one day a week it doesn't run.
If you end up visiting let me know and I'll see if I can put you in touch so you can take a look at the garden!
Are you also doing permaculture stuff there?
Location: Western Kenya
posted 2 years ago
I would love the contact info.
I've never been on the Homa Bay side, so that would be a fun sight seeing trip.
Yes, we have a small permaculture-ish farm in Kakamega county. You can see pics on my project thread... Which I don't know how to link here from my phone: ASF farm in Western Kenya.