The United States Peace Corps in Malawi just completed a 2-day “Introduction to Permaculture” In-Service Training at Never Ending Food. Sixteen volunteers from the south of the country, representing the Health, Education, and Environment sectors spent two days learning about the basics of Permaculture Design principles. On the first day we did some ‘theory-based’ sessions on the current global and domestic challenges that Peace Corps Volunteers are trying to address in their community-based work. We looked at the three main ethics of Permaculture (Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share), and covered some of the main principles which guide Permaculture implementation. The volunteers were also shown a display of locally-available resources which can be used to meet Malawi’s 6 food-group nutrition model, resources which can be used for income generating activities, and resources which can help to fulfill community demands for fuel, fiber, oil, and even natural medicines.
On the second day, we focused more on the practical implementation of Permaculture Ideas. We took an in-depth look at the concepts of ‘guilds’ and ‘zones’, and the participants were able to see how Never Ending Food has used these ideas. We also looked at seed collection and nursery propagation and discussed the best timing for some of these activities in regards to Malawi’s seasonal calendar. The volunteers were also able to see demonstrations of solar drying, composting toilets, paper briquettes, worm-farming, compost making, and plant propagation techniques. We hope that the learning over the past two days will be beneficial to their continued work and contributions to helping build a better and more sustainable Malawi. Best of luck to everyone!