Innovative learning on permaculture for refugee youth to restore people, communities and ecosystems

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Through a talk facilitated by Laureline Simon of One Resilient Earth, and interactions with the audience, Bemeriki Bisimwa Dusade, the founder and director of the Rwamwanja Rural Foundation, will introduce the work undertaken to teach youth, particulaly young women living in refugee camps of East Africa, about permaculture, and the benefits this approach and his methods have brought to the trainees, their communities and the ecosystems they are part of.

The Rwamwanja Rural Foundation, in partnership with the Permaculture Education Institute, Ethos Foundation and Permayouth, has undertaken critical work to build the resilience of refugees to risks of food insecurity, income losses, conflicts, and local environmental degradation. Such risks are projected to increase as a result of the climate crisis, making the refugees living in refugee settlements in East Africa ever more vulnerable to future climate change impacts such as droughts, floods, freshwater depletion, and the spread of diseases such as malaria.

The Rwamwanja Rural Foundation has already trained over 500 refugee youth, particularly young women, in permaculture and Indigenous farming practices, and developed numerous online resources. Such support helped restore food security at a time when people’s movements were limited by restrictions due to the coronavirus crisis. The training sessions, which were open to both refugees and residents of the host countries, also helped improve relationships between communities, while empowering women and improving their living conditions in the refugee settlements. Moreover, the Rwamwanja Rural Foundation has also contributed to rewilding and reforesting the land around the Rwamwanja refugee camp after years of overexploitation.

The talk and interactions with the audience will contribute to addressing the following questions:

– How can digital and in-person learning methods best complement each other to teach permaculture to youth in refugee camps in East Africa?

– How can the arts, including music and film-making, play an integral part of permaculture projects and futher restore the health of individuals, communities and ecosystems?

-How can the use of vernacular languages and of Indigenous farming practices help enhance the regenerative impact of permaculture learning projects?

-How can such a project be enhanced to further build the resilience of refugees to the climate and environmental crises?

The audience will be invited to ask additional questions and share their own experience.

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