Natural Medicine Training

010aThis week our two interns, Emmanuel and Kusala, had the wonderful opportunity to attend a training in the use of natural medicines.  A few months ago Never Ending Food received a visit from a man named Madalitso Mijiga who became very interested in the ideas of Permaculture and their link to natural medicines.  From this visit, he contacted a man named Nelson Moyo who is one of the Malawi’s top trainers from the group known as ‘Action For Natural Medicine’ (or ANAMED).  ANAMED is an international organization working in over 25 countries to “help communities and health centres in the Tropics to become more self-reliant in preventing and treating the most common diseases and health complaints”.  Together, the two of these men organized a 2-day ‘hands-on’ training for 5 participants.

A wall of Passion Fruit mixed with mangoes, lemon grass, vegetables, and ornamentals!

A wall of Passion Fruit mixed with mangoes, lemon grass, vegetables, and ornamentals!

The establishment of a beautiful and medicinal 'food forest'!

The establishment of a beautiful and medicinal ‘food forest’!

The training took place at Madalitso’s residence, which is already growing into a year-round source of nutritious foods, medicines, and beauty.  The more that Mr. Mijiga learns, the more he seems to apply to his own life…A true role model! Participants for this training came from as far as Nkhata Bay to learn more about how natural medicines can be used to improve people’s quality of life.  During the 2-days of learning the participants had a chance to try their hand at making different ointments, balms, oils, and tinctures.  They also learned about the link between nutrition and medicine as Hippocrates was once quoted as saying: “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food”.  There was even a field visit to a local nutrition clinic where foods and natural medicines are being use to help treat various diseases.

Thank you very much to Mr. Mijiga and Mr. Moyo for their energy, organizing, and participation which made this training possible.  Hopefully this is just the beginning of a prosperous ANAMED movement within the Lilongwe area.

You Made This Possible!

 

Harwell, Kusala, and Emmanuel with their new Permaculture Design Certificates!

Hardwell, Kusala, and Emmanuel with their new Permaculture Design Certificates!

Thanks to several generous donations, Never Ending Food was able to send its two interns—Emmanuel and Kusala—as well as our Permaculture Manager, Hardwell, to a full two-week Permaculture Design Course (PDC)!  The guys just returned this weekend, full of excitement and new ideas.  We spent the morning ‘debriefing’ to share some of the things that they learned.

Emmanuel and Kusala have just joined us in December, so they were the newest to the Permaculture concepts and have not had as much exposure to some of the theory behind the practice.  Kusala was very interested in learning about the use of patterns, such as keyholes and mandala beds, to help maximize the use of land space as well as helping to conserve energy.  Emmanuel really liked learning about the use of swale systems and how they can be used to help manage water and establish food forests.  Never Ending Food is on fairly level land and we’ve never had to put much effort in making large swale systems; the majority of our water management is done through the use of very small contour ridges which help to stop, spread, and sink the water into the soil, so it was great for the interns to get exposure to these concepts on a larger scale.

Construction of a banana pit

Construction of a banana pit

Hardwell has had the most exposure to Permaculture ideas and has previously been certified in Permaculture Design through Never Ending Food.  We wanted to send him to the training to get a feel for how other people teach and present new ideas.  Hardwell has just been accepted by the Lilongwe Wildlife Center for a full-time education position, so we are hoping that his teaching skills will continue to help move Malawi towards a more sustainable future.  Hardwell said that he was even asked to help facilitate on some of the sessions!  The most interesting part for him was seeing the bicycle-powered water pump that lifted water from the lake to the garden.

For all three of them, it was their first time to go to Nkhata Bay in the north of the country.  Just being by the lake, swimming, and eating fish was a great treat!  Hardwell said that the other participants in the training helped him learn how to swim and he even got a hand-made certificate for ‘most-improved swimmer’!  (He mentioned that Kusala preferred the beach).

Gully Restoration

Gully Restoration

Never Ending Food has asked Kusala and Emmanuel to put their new skills to the test by mapping and re-designing one of our ‘model village’ areas.   They will be spending the next month working on this project, after which we will be assessing the best ideas from their design and making plans for implementation.

Once again, thank you to all of you who helped to make this a reality.  Your continued support of Permaculture activities in Malawi is doing more than we could ever express to you in words!  Thank you as well to Leiza Swennen of Lukwe EcoCamp, Kenneth Mwakasungula, and Josie Redmonds of Butterfly Space for all their hard work, facilitation, organizing, and logistics which made this training possible.  Keep up the great work!

Chisomo Kamchacha–One of Malawi’s Rising Permaculture Stars!

Chisomo Kamchacha

Chisomo Kamchacha

The Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology is currently seeking assistance in helping to fund one of Malawi’s rising Permaculture stars to attend a Food Justice and Advocacy training course in Nova Scotia.

They write: “Chisomo Kamchacha received a partial scholarship to attend a course at Coady International Institute located in Nova Scotia, Canada. The course - Creating Just Food Systems: Cultural Tools for Local-Global Activism will be held from May 13 – 30, 2014.  We are currently seeking $2,500  to help cover the additional costs. We are in conversations with other organizations, but have not received definitive commitments. If you, or a friend, or organization is interested in helping us, we would be most grateful.

“To those who don’t know Chisomo, he has a unique passion to work on food policy issues in Malawi and has demonstrated an ability to accept new challenges and tasks with a natural deep desire to acquire more knowledge and expertise. He has also become an emerging leader in national conversations on Agricultural Policy. This course would be an ideal way for him to strengthen his knowledge to help shape national policy. The course is described below:

“Food systems include the chain of activities and interactions from production to processing to distribution to consumption.  Women are central to the global food system – as small scale farmers, salaried workers in agribusiness, markets and restaurants – and they are also the key leaders in grass-roots initiatives to create a more equitable and sustainable food system. This course will focus on roles different groups play in promoting community resilience through food systems that address interrelated issues of poverty, health, environment, gender, and racial equality.  Using a participatory research and popular education approach, participants will share stories (and food) from their own diverse contexts; will learn about frameworks of food security, food justice, and food sovereignty; will map local, regional and transnational networks; and will explore artistic, cultural, and spiritual practices that build communities and local-global activism.”

Never Ending Food has worked closely with Kusamala and Chisomo for several years and would like to do everything we can to help support and promote the work that they are doing.  Chisomo has become one of Malawi’s leading advocates for sustainable design systems, having been involved with Africa’s 1st Food Security & Adaptation Conference, the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as international workshops on Seed Sovereignty.  On Kusamala’s Staff Page they write: “Chisomo has worked for 4 years in research and community training in environmental management with emphasis on climate change mitigation and adaptation. He has experience in reporting, data collection, analysis and presenting findings. He holds a Bsc. Permaculture and Community Development.”

It would be a shame to let such a great opportunity pass by for such a great representative of Malawi’s future!  If you are interested in assisting with helping to get Chisomo to Nova Scotia, you may make a donation through our PayPal tab by clicking here.

Thanks in advance from Never Ending Food!

A Visit this Week from the School Children of Chikhawo!

Hardwell explaining the benefits a composting toilet.

Hardwell explaining the benefits a composting toilet.

Students of Chikhawo Village learning about Solar Drying.

Students of Chikhawo Village learning about Solar Drying.

We had a wonderful visit this week from about 20 primary school students of the village of Chikhawo.  This visit was arranged by two Belgian volunteers who were able to arrange a minibus to carry all the students as well as bringing a lunch which the students cooked here at Never Ending Food.  Our Permaculture Manager, Hardwell, introduced the children to the Permaculture concepts of diversified nutrition, Malawi’s 6-food group model, composting toilets, solar drying, paper briquette making, planting in guilds, water harvesting, integrated pest management,worm farming, composting, and more.

Judging by all the smiles and laughter it seems that the kids had a great time.  Another visit with a new group of students is already being planned!  Thanks to Katrien, Samson, and Hardwell for making this such a successful and educational opportunity for these students.

Fundraising 2,100 USD for 3 dedicated youth to be certified in Permaculture Design!

Never Ending Food's new interns...Kusala and Emmanuel

Never Ending Food’s new interns…Kusala and Emmanuel

In December of this last year, Never Ending Food made a few staff changes.  One of our interns, Howard Zamula, was accepted for a full-time position with the Lilongwe Wildlife Center as an Education Officer, and another of our interns, Hardwell Kaniye, was promoted to the position of Permaculture Manager.  These changes made it possible to welcome aboard two new interns to the Never Ending Food team!  As of December 2013, Kusala Biswick (brother of our former Permaculture Manager, Luwayo Biswick) and Emmanuel Chilonga (Form 4 graduate and neighbor of NEF) have been accepted and have been helping to implement this year’s rainy season designs.  Working hand-in-hand with our new Manager, Hardwell, has given them both a chance to gain both experience as well as knowledge.

Hardy

Never Ending Food’s new Permaculture Manager…Hardwell Kaniye

It has come to our attention that a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) is being offered in March of this year at Butterfly Space in Nkhata Bay, Malawi.  This would be a great opportunity to get these new interns into to a formalized Permaculture training and qualified as Permaculture Designers. The course is being taught by a wonderful Permaculture Designer and good friend of ours, Leiza Swennen, the co-owner of Lukwe Permaculture Camp.  The cost for the course is $600 US per person, which includes course-fees, room and board. We will also have to raise a bit of additional money to cover transport costs to and from the training.  If enough money can be raised, we will also send our new Manager, Hardwell,  to the course to help him hone his skills and give him additional exposure to new ideas and teaching ideas.

If this is something that you would like to help support, please make a donation through our PayPal page which may be found by clicking here.

Thank you to all of you who continue to support the growth and development of Permaculture activities in Malawi!