International Permaculture Convergence

In November of 2009, Malawi was fortunate enough to host the International Permaculture Convergence (IPC9).  These convergences are held in different countries throughout the world evey two years.  IPC8 was held in Brazil and Malawi was able to send two representative, Walter Nyika (RESCOPE) and Patterson Majonenga (MOET).  In Brazil, a bid was made to hold IPC9 in Africa, this was approaved and Malawi was selected to hold the convergence, which is usually a gathering of participants from various countries who are already certified in Permaculture Design.  This gives countries an opportunity to share ideas, solutions, and challenges with each other. 

Malawi was able to attract almost 150 people from close to 50 different countries to IPC9.  The venue was at Kumbali Country Lodge (now the site of the Nature’s Gift Permaculture Center, for more info on the Training Center, please click here).  There were three days dedicated to the sharing of ideas amongst the participants, and then a fourth day that was open to the public to come and learn more about Permaculture.  Each morning the participants met as a large group at the main meeting area for logistics and a keynote address.

This is a picture of the ‘main hall’ where participants gathered each morning

After the plenary sessions, their were ‘breakaway’ groups that met to discuss various topics.  This was an ‘open space’ format that allowed participants to pick and choose different sessions that interested them.

A picture of one of the ‘breakaway’ groups

The main address from the Malawi government was given by Dr. Mary Shawa, the Principal Secretary from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and the head of the Department of Nutrition and HIV.  She outlined the importance of sustainable development approaches, such as Permaculture, to assist in meeting Malawi’s Millenium Development Goals.  She also emphasised the importance of using local resources in meeting the challenges of food security, ending malnutrition, and disease prevention as well as treatment.  She highlighted many of Malawi’s local and indigenous food crops and natural resources.

This is a picture of the group listening to the speech by Dr. Mary Shawa

Of course there was always some time left in the evenings for a bit of Malawian fun!  Kumbali Cultural Village providing evening entertainment of live music, traditional dancing, and local cuisine.

This is a picture of some of the young Permaculturalists enjoying their time at IPC9

IPC9 was a great success and a good time seemed to have been had by all!  The next convergence (IPC10) is scheduled to take place in Jordan in 2012.  For more information on IPC, please visit their official website here.