Earlier this summer The Red Soil Project partnered with Kusamala to launch a staff capacity building initiative to provide permaculture training certification for the centres 11 staff and their families. During the permaculture trainings, that began in July, Biswick taught 6 full days of permaculture design and combined the classroom work with a group field trip to see the demonstration garden at Never Ending Food, another permaculture farm just outside of Lilongwe.
Anok is the Kusamala Garden Manager and was a graduate of the Home Demonstration Garden Project conducted by The Red Soil Project and Kusamala.
A few weeks ago phase one of the project wrapped up as the staff trainings came to an end here at Kusamala. There was a huge graduation ceremony held at the centre in celebration, and each graduate was presented with a permaculture certificate, a garden hoe and a watering can from The Red Soil Project. The excitement on the farm was palpable!
The momentum for this project keeps on going and this week we welcomed in the beginning of the home garden implementation phase. During this next phase we will watch the graduates implement a permaculture design at their home gardens in anticipation of the upcoming rain season that will begin in December.
Last Monday night I had the opportunity to visit 6 of the staff homes to evaluate their land and take some “before” photos for the project archive. For this initial visit, Chisomo and I headed to Landscape, a village about a ten minute walk down the hill from the centre.
To begin each staff member is responsible for designing a basic plan for their land that
will be presented to Biswick for a final review. Once the designs have been presented and finalized Biswick will arrange to visit each home site for a more detailed review and consultation before the implementation work begins. We are also tentatively planning for at least one additional follow up visit to make sure that enough support is being provided and to ensure the projects remain on track for completion in December.
The dusty streets of Landscape, Malawi.
A group of little sweethearts that joined us on our tour.
In addition, Kusamala has also designed a survey tracking key poverty indicators for further analysis. Before the project began each family participated in this baseline survey, recording details about total family income levels, home grown food production levels, food purchases, diet diversity and current farming practices. These surveys will be conducted again in 6 months and then again in one year to evaluate the projects overall impacts.