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About the region

On this page, you can find some background information about crucial regional issues such as water supply and socio-economic conditions, as well as some grass-roots projects that are offering answers to these concerns by applying permaculture principles to improve local livelihoods.

The African & Zimbabwean context

Map of Africa showing where the Chaseyama Project Base is.
source: google maps

Geographic location

map of Manicaland.
source: google maps

The Chaseyama Project base is located at about 740m above sea level in the foothills of Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands, in the Chimanimani District (the easternmost province, Manicaland).

Climate and water supply

At present, the area can be characterized as a semi-desert area with 300 average rainfalls per year, and a high degree of evaporation, generally offering insufficient conditions for successful agriculture. Hard water is found by sinking boreholes, and is used for artificial irrigation.

Water supply is a major issue for all farmers.

A FAO report on Water and Agriculture in Zimbabwe provides more in-depth information.

Socioeconomic factors

Chaseyama is situated in an area where almost all of the families are living on farming, but are facing massive poverty. The land cannot provide for them due to erosion resulting from deforestation, or lack of water, and thus the people have become dependent on external food supply.
Additionally, they are plagued by HIV and malnutrition and have difficult access to education.

For more general background information, see the IFAD report on Rural poverty in Zimbabwe.

Here are a few concrete aspects in illustration of the realities the region ist faced with:

  • Income
    Those not engaged in farming may seek income by panning for diamonds, keeping cattle or goats, selling firewood, or woodcrafts.
    Nonetheless, the income per individual per day is often far below one dollar, even in cases where relatives go to work outside the community to generate more income.
    Thus, most families have only one meal per day and can only survive with handouts from aid organisations such as Christian Care.
  • Education
    Most locals attend school up to grade 7 or fourth form. They seldom have the opportunity to go any further for financial reasons. Fail rates are also very high due to bad schooling conditions such as hunger, inability to pay school fees or books.
  • Healthcare
    Healthcare gets a bad start under the precondition of widespread malnutrition. In hospitals, people are dying for lack of medicines, and even where medicine is available, underpaid care personnel work ineffectively under the burden of their own cares.
  • Rural flight
    Rural flight begins when there is not enough food, jobs or opportunity for education locally.
    Oftentimes, the men are forced to seek work outside thier communities to be able to support their families, in larger towns or even South Africa, and oftentimes end up starting a new family there, leaving their women and children at home destitute.
    Where young people move into the cities, it is common for boys to end up getting involved in thievery and girls in prostitution.
  • Government inaptitude
    On the one hand, the political climate has been creating economic and political problems, and related sanctions affect the functioning of local communities.
    On the other, Government has to deal with such a wide spectrum of problems nationwide, that it cannot give the detailed attention to local communities necessary to effectuating change.

Grass roots solutions

Faced with the situation described above, the people have taken it into their own hands to make change locally, to improve their own living conditions as well as those of their communities. Many of these projects make use of the principles of permaculture to effectuate holistic change that benefits the people as well as the environment.

By way of example, here are some initiatives which are very similar to PORET and are actively promoting the improvement of local living conditions in the region:

CELUCT's Chikukwa Project

a film about the CELUCT project in Chikukwa, very similar to what PORET has begun in Chaseyama.
Julious Piti was one of the founding memebers of CELUCT and he worked there for about 20 years - go to minute 10:48-12:00 to see him speak.
TSURO
Another project in Chimanimani District, with goals very similar to those of PORET. Julious works here at present.
Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre
situated near Harare, this is the oldest permaculture training Centre in Zimbabwe.
Kufunda Learning Village
Similar to what PORET has begun doing in Chaseyama, located in Harare, Zimbabwe
urbanfarming.yolasite.com
Permaculture training centre initiated by John Nzira - based in South Africa
The Permaculture Activist
overview of Permaculture Projects in Africa

International permaculture initiatives

to advance the application of permaculture in Africa

www.seedingschools.org
Permaculture-schools in Africa
International Permaculture Conferences - 2009 in Malawi / Africa
The IPC is an international Permaculture conference that takes place in a different country and continent every year. 2009, it was held in Malawi, Africa, and thus naturally also focussed on permacultural activities in Africa. Along with information about the conference, the website contains information about current permaculture projects in Africa.
Permaculture-Academy in the Alpine region
situated in Austria - supports PORET

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Extra Information

Current events

1-5 August 2012

Workshop

Julious Piti will be holding a workshop at the 11th European Permaculture Convergence in Kassel (Germany).

25 July 2012

Lecture

Santa Fe (USA): Julious Piti will hold a lecture, "From Africa with Love", on sustainability and permaculture in Africa.

23 June 2012

Global Resource Alliance's 10th Anniversary Celebration

featuring Julious Piti as a special guest
21 June - 19 August 2012

Julious Piti on tour

in the USA and Europe

About Zimbabwe

Further information about Zimbabwe: