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International Permaculture Design Course, Harare, Zimbabwe


Joined: Sep 23, 2009
Posts: 18
A message from Tyler Burns (AKA Ty Ty):

Read below about the 9th Annual International Permaculture Convergence, Conference and Design Course!

Ty Ty

KwaNzira Urban Farming

50 Pretorious St.
Midrand (Johannesburg), South Africa


Joined: Sep 23, 2009
Posts: 18
Thank you for everyone that contributed to my cause!  The IPDC in Zimbabwe and IPC in Malawi were amazingly informative and life-changing.  Here's a very brief review of the experience.  I will answer any questions and post some pictures for you curious people!

The IPDC was hosted by Fambidzanai Permaculture Center outside of Harare Zimbabwe.  It is a beautiful oasis in the middle of countless acres of abandoned farmland.  Though there are many aspects of Fambidzanai that need repair and renovation, it was certainly an exciting testament to the power of permaculture in Sub-Saharan Africa.  As you may or may not know, Zimbabwe has been going through some hard times in the recent years.  And despite the dramatic economic downturn, Fambidzanai continued to produce food and is surviving as a valuable learning center.

Nineteen different countries were represented at the IPDC including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, USA, Canada, Brazil, Malawi, Zambia, Egypt, Scotland, England, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago, Belgium, Switzerland, Russia/Tanzania, and a couple others I can't recall!  We even had one San person take the course--his whole people have recently been forced out of there nomadic lifestyle onto desert settlements where they must learn to raise the food they traditionally hunted and gathered--a huge change.  Permaculture is likely their only hope to sustain their people in any valuable way.  Joel Gladsberg of New Mexico and John Nzira of Zimbabwe taught the course in a truely engaging and transformative way.  The class challenged the beliefs, brains and patience of the teachers (especially by those representing African governments!--there was a lot of skepticism about permaculture being a sustainable development model!  Of course, there was was a lot of pressure on these people--hunger, disease and land degradation is a sad reality for the majority of African people.)  In any case, there were many breakthroughs and conversions made.  At our graduation, the minister of agriculture came and gave a speech that almost brought me to tears!  In it, he claimed that permaculture is the ONLY way to get out of the current crisis in Africa!  We'll see how his words match up with his actions!

The conference and convergence were excellent.  Almost everyone from the IPDC traveled together across three countries (I was fortunate enough to ride with John Nzira in the back of his pick-up with some others lucky students).  I met many great people from all over.  Permaculture is doing wonders in Malawi and there was a huge number of Malawians who attended (including chiefs from a couple of tribes).  If you want more details let me know!

Now, I'm living and working with John Nzira on his one hectare permaculture demonstration site and homestead outside of Johannesburg, South Africa.  It's been a wonderful experience and I'm learning more than I ever expected.  And, as it's the middle of summer, there is plenty to eat!  I'm currently working with John to promote a permaculture development model for Southern Africa (Zim, SA, Mozambique, Swaziland).  We are now looking for willing partners and funding sources.  If you want more information--including an organizational proposal--please contact me--tytyburns@gmail.com).

Happy Growing!

Ty Ty

KwaNzira Urban Farming

50 Pretorious St.
Midrand (Johannesburg), South Africa


Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia

hi Loonbum

good to see you are spreading the education of permaculture, the pic's look good. how do you go about stopping unwanted animal invasions in your part of the world, what sort of problem animals would you get where you are?

Anyone who has never made a mistake
has never tried anything new

Joined: Sep 23, 2009
Posts: 18
Problem animals?  In Johannesburg, the problem animals are birds.  In the rural areas of Southern Africa, the main vegetable stealer is the baboon.  And the best way to protect against his voracious appetite is a fence made for protection against humans, or aggressive sling shot warfare.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) the animals that Africa is most known for are kept on reserves.  It's a complicated subject that is an ongoing and controversial debate.  Many people suffered with wild animals living amongst them, while others lived by following their migrations (like Joseph and his family from the San people--pictured above in yellow and grape leaves).  Similarly, many wild animals suffered living amongst human settlements, while now they are kept under the protection (control?) of game parks. 

Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
at least here in Australia we mainly only have to worry about wallaby's and kangaroo's, just think 6 foot rats

Joined: Sep 23, 2009
Posts: 18

Dear all
The proceedings of the 9th International Permaculture Conference and Convergence (IPC9) are now on the website: http://www.ipcon.org. Many thanks to Wesley Roe, Margie Bushman, John Calvert, Mada Siebert and to all presenters and to all those who assisted in the process of realizing this achievement. Enjoy the updated site.
Best regards

Mugove Walter Nyika
IPC9 Coordinator

Report is being sent out to all IPC9 Presenters and Attendees

PS IF you have any reports/stories of the IPC9 you would like to share to be posted on the IPC9  Blog please contact Wesley Roe wes@sbpermaculture.org

Report on the 9th International Permaculture Conference and
Convergence (IPC9)

The International Permaculture Conference and Convergence (IPC) is a biennial global but grassroots gathering that has taken place in Africa this year for the very first time. The 9th IPC was a series of four events that took place in Southern Africa from the 18th of October to the 30th of November 2009 and were coordinated by the Rescope Programme from the warm heart of Africa, Malawi. IPC8 happened in Brazil in 2007 and IPC10 will take place in Jordan in 2011. The year in between the respective IPCs is left for regional convergences and conferences to take place. The four events that made up IPC9 were the International Permaculture Design Certificate (IPDC) course that took place in Zimbabwe in the last two weeks of October, the IPC9 Convergence that took place from the 2nd to the 5th of November in Malawi, the IPC9 Conference that was held on the 6th of November in Malawi and finally the IPC9 Site Tours that happened in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in the last three weeks of November 2009. A brief report on each of the four events that made up IPC9 is given below with indications of where to get more information. Additional information is on the website www.ipcon.org .


The IPC9 International Permaculture Design Certificate course was hosted by Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe from the 18th to the 29th of October 2009. 37 participants from 19 countries attended the two week course that was taught by an international team comprising of Joel Glanzberg of the United States, John Nzira of South Africa and Kudzanai Lewis Mashingaidze of Zimbabwe. The course was a key part of the process to define a Permaculture Curriculum for Africa. Feedback from many of the participants contained glowing praise for the spirit at the course many of whose graduates went on to attend the Convergence and Conference in Malawi.

The graduation ceremony for the course was officiated by the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management in the Government of Zimbabwe, Honourable Francis Nhema,  who made an impassioned plea for a return to all things natural. A video of his inspirational closing speech is available from Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre and attempts will be made to get it onto the conference website. Further information about the IPC9 IPDC is available from the Director of Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre, P.O. Box CY 301, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe or email Kudzanai Lewis Mashingaidze at fambidza@yahoo.com or klmashie@yahoo.com .
IPC9 Convergence

The IPC9 Convergence took place from the 2nd to the 5th of November at Kumbali Lodge in Lilongwe, Malawi. 170 participants from all five continents converged in Lilongwe and spend the first two days of the Convergence learning from each other under the theme Designing solutions for a sustainable future. The sub themes were Plan Africa - Food and Empowerment, Education and Training; Green Economics, Health, Gender and Climatic Change.

The outcomes of the thematic discussions at the Convergence include the following:

              A commitment by many participants to take the Plan Africa initiative forward. Data collection for the initiative started at the Convergence and the main aim is to give the ecologically sustainable thrust in Africa a major push.
            The development of a curriculum for training in Permaculture in Africa. The development of the African Permaculture Institute received support and was felt to be overdue.
              The potential role of Permaculture as an effective tool for addressing many of the global challenges ranging from Climatic change to HIV and AIDS was highlighted in many of the deliberations

The third and fourth days were organised using open space technology to allow the participants to follow their energies to work on issues of their choice. The outcomes of these discussions will soon be available on the web site and the main proceedings of the convergence were made available to the participants on CD. Key people to contact about the open space deliberations are John Wilson at spiritvaults@yahoo.co.uk and Mada Siebert at madalief@googlemail.com . Wesly Roe and Margie Bushman are working to have the information from the convergence uploaded onto the web site. They can be reached at lakinroe@silcom.net and margie@sbpermaculture.org respectively.

IPC9 Conference

The IPC9 Conference happened on Friday the 6th of November again at Kumbali in Lilongwe, Malawi. More than 300 participants attended the conference which brought together famers, government officials, teachers, children, extension and development workers among other stakeholders.  The Permanent Secretary for Nutrition and HIV and AIDS in the Office of the President and Cabinet for Malawi, Dr. Mary Shawa officially opened the conference. In her speech, Dr Shawa expressed support for Permaculture which she said was a useful tool for achieving human well being.

The speakers at the conference included Dr Terry Leah from Newcastle University in Australia, Nicholas Heinamann and John Nzira from South Africa and a drama performance on the promise of Permaculture capped the proceedings. An appearance by Bill Mollison live on the screen via satellite link was very special. The conference also included a variety of informative displays put up by participants from all over the world.
IPC9 Site Tours

The tour started in Lilongwe on the 7th of November with 17 participants and ended in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 30th of November with 9 participants. Transport was by an overland truck owned and driven by Andy Kibby and some of the food was very ably prepared by Kingston Zimbiru. The following are the sites visited in their chronological order:

              The Green Home of Pastor and Mrs Joseph Chawawa in Mchenzi location, Lilongwe, Malawi. Visited in the morning of 7 November and guided by Mrs Chawawa. Impressive and inspiring. Email raofgodministry@yahoo.co.uk ; telephone +265 999 371 627.
                The Never Ending Food home of the Nordins in Chitedze, Lilongwe. Visited in the afternoon of November 7 and hosted by Stacia and Kristof Nordin. Very educative. www.NeverEndingFood.org ; NordinMalawi@gmail.com
              Luwawa Forest Lodge, 250 km north of Lilongwe. Visited in the afternoon of the 8th November. Hosted by George and James Wardlow. Lovely environment. www.luwawalodgemalawi.com ; luwawa@malawi.net
              Karonga schools. Visited 3 of 24 schools in the morning of the 10th. Hosted by Dennis, Kenneth and Leiza. Very good work, motivated teachers. +265 995 660 843 (Kenneth's mobile number).
              Karonga museum. Visited in the afternoon of the 10th. Very interesting and informative. Hosted by Harrison Simfukwe. +265 888 861 014
          Chilala primary school, Chintheche area, Nkhata bay district. Visited in the morning of the 12th. Hosted by Caroline Wilkins. Small school but has done good work. sofsand@africa-online.net
            Mua Mission, Lake shore road, Visited in the afternoon of the 13th. Very interesting Chewa, Ngoni and Yao culture museum
                Thanthwe, Monkey Bay, Mangochi District. Toured in the morning of the 14th. Hosted by June Walker. Very nice place. jwthanthwe@googlemail.com
          Mangochi Orphanage Education and Training (MOET), Mangochi district. Visited in the morning of the 14th and hosted by Patterson Majonanga. Wins the title of the most improved place. moetmwcharity@yahoo.co.uk
        Sun and sand resort no till garden, Mangochi district. Visited in the afternoon of the 14th Hosted by Samuel Baruti. Good garden and camels. Contact June Walker.
              Pa Nthunzi garden, Blantyre. Visited on the 15th in the evening. Hosted by Chris Walker. Site for Rescope office.  A great place to work at. panthunzi@africa-online.net
                Thunga and Nkaombe primary schools and Thunga Teacher Development Centre, Thylo district, Malawi. Visited in the morning of the 16th. Hosted by Chris Walker. Good work done including community outreach which was not visited.
                South Luangwa National Park, Eastern Province of Zambia. Visited in the afternoon of the 17th and morning of the 18th. Excellent views of Leopards, elephants, giraffe etc.
            Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre, Lusaka, Zambia. Visited on the afternoon of the 19th. Hosted by Bridget Oconnor and Doreen Mudenda. Permaculture production trial plot and lots of other work. bridgetoconnor8@gmail.com
          Mr and Mrs Scott's farm, Kafue, Zambia. Visited in the morning of the 20th. Hosted by Sebastian Scott and his wife. A newly developing farm. sebtree@hotmail.com
                Mosi a tunya, Livingstone, Zambia and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Visited on the 21st and 22nd . Thee first of the two World Heritage Sites included on the tour. A wonderful site enjoyed by angels in flight.
          Africa Centre for Holistic Management, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Visited on the 22nd in the afternoon. Hosted by Sunny Moyo and team. An inspiring place for grazing area management.
          Mr. and Mrs. Ngwenya's homestead, Siphezini communal lands, just outside Bulawayo, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe. Visited in the morning of the 24th. Hosted by Mr Ngwenya. An excellent collection of xerophytes. +263912129512.
                The Great Zimbabwe Monuments, Masvingo. Visited on the afternoon of the 24th. A historical wonder.
              Towards Sustainable Use of Resources Organization (TSURO), Chimanimani district, Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. Visited on the 25th and 26th. Hosted by Ulli Westermann, Johannes Mufakose and Alias Mlambo. Great work in progress. ulliwe@mweb.co.zw
                Chikukwa Ecological Land Use Community Trust, Chimanimani district. Visited on the 26th and 27th.  Hosted by Mai Idah, Baba va Mercy, Chester Chituwu and team. The most extensive Permaculture community visited. Very inspirational. celuct@zol.co.zw
        Kufunda Village, Harare. Visited on the 28th and 29th. Hosted by Loraine, Allan and team. The best learning centre visited. Very inspiring. www.kufunda.org . Lorraine@kufunda.org ; jackie@kufunda,org ; allan@kufunda.org
            Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre, Mt Hampden, Harare. Visited in the afternoon of the 29th. Hosted by Monica. The place where it all began way back in 1988. Fambidza@yahoo.com ; klmashie@yahoo.com
          KwaNzira Permaculture Training Centre, Johannesburg, SA.  Site not visited on tour, but is available for a tour any time of the year.  Home of John Nzira, the father of permaculture in Southern Africa, and co-designer of Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre.  www.urbanfarming.yolasite.com ; jonzira@yahoo.com ; tytyburns@gmail.com (added by loonbum)

Photographs and video clips of the sites visited are available from the participants and some will be up loaded onto the web site. The site tour programme and list of participants are in a separate document attached. For further information about schools Permaculture programmes in eastern and southern Africa visit the website for the Rescope Programme: www.seedingschools.org .

IPC 10

Bids to host the 10th International Permaculture Conference and Convergence (IPC10) in 2011 were received from Cuba, Jordan and Nepal. The International Support Group facilitated a transparent process to select the host for IPC10 during the Convergence. The selection criteria were presented and several meetings were held. Nepal eventually withdrew their bid and in the end Jordan emerged as the host for IPC10 as the Cubans were not present to defend their quite popular bid.  Congratulations to Jordan and better luck for 2011 for Cuba and Nepal.

Some learning points

          Permaculture in Africa is about putting food on the table. It is also about livelihoods and health and everything in between.
          Permaculture design in Africa focuses on water and a lot more needs to be done in this area.
            Design for local self sufficiency in energy is also important.
          The future is here and it is in school now and one of the best things that we can do for the future is to equip the younger generations with land-use design skills and to empower them with an appropriate mind set.
          Africa is rich and has the potential to lead the world out of this mess. The barrier between Africa and prosperity is in the minds of its people. Education is therefore key in moving forward and the more home grown this can be the better. I believe that this scenario is also relevant to many other parts of the world.


IPC9 was a momentous occasion for Malawi, Africa, and indeed the world. The energy that ran through the events was amazing and to think that this was put together by volunteers operating on a zero budget until the last few weeks prior to the events was incredible. IPC9 was another lesson that showed us that anything is possible with determination and that small is not only beautiful but it can also be powerful. What matters are the inter connections between the small elements and you have a resilient system. The Conference and Convergence gave recognition to the work done by June Walker, among others, in promoting Permaculture in Malawi and across the world. Finally, it is no coincidence that IPC8, 9, 10 and possibly 11 are happening in the two thirds world. I think that this is where the keys to the future of our planet can be found. Please keep checking the website www.ipcon.org for new information that will be uploaded from time to time.

IPC9 Secretariat
The Rescope Programme
P.O. Box 32280
Blantyre, Malawi
Tel: +2651 831 373
Fax: +2651 831 363
Mobile: +265 999 788 373
Email: rescope@sdnp.org.mw ; zipscope@yahoo.co.uk
Website: www.seedingschools.org
subject: International Permaculture Design Course, Harare, Zimbabwe