The Chikukwa Project
In just two decades, the Chikukwa permaculture initiative has transformed six villages in Eastern Zimbabwe from a state of chronic food insecurity and severe environmental degradation to one of food sufficiency, community self-reliance, and ecological regeneration. The Project’s training programs in permaculture have been complemented by other capacity-building initiatives focused on conflict resolution, women’s empowerment, health issues, local education, specialized skill development, and more. To learn more about the Chikukwa Project, and to watch a film about the initiative, see the Chikikwa Project website.
Based in Kathmandu, Digo Bikas Institute (DBI) is a research and advocacy organization devoted to promoting ecological sustainability and social equity at both the policy and the community level. A lot of their work revolves around climate justice, and highlights the fact that economic growth and increased technology and “development” from the Global North — even supposedly “green” development — will only increase Nepal’s carbon footprint and contribute to the breakdown of its remaining communities and social fabric. Meanwhile, the local knowledge that, for generations, has allowed Nepalis to live sustainably is being lost. DBI is interested in the ways that this knowledge can not only benefit people in the Global South, but can also contribute to systemic change in the North. To learn more, visit http://www.digobikas.org.
Photo by DFID (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Earthlore (Mupo Foundation) and Dzomo la Mupo
In a region targeted for plantation expansion, coal mining, and tourist industry development, these two partner organizations – run by the local Venda people – are fighting for food sovereignty, women’s and youth empowerment, and a spirituality rooted in the soil.
To learn more, visit http://earthlorefoundation.org. Read this article in Truthout: African Women Organize to Reclaim Agriculture Against Corporate Takeover.
When a drought wiped out nearly all the livestock in Dalmas Tiampati’s Maasai community in Kenya, and predatory businesses moved in to try selling food at exorbitant prices, Dalmas made a promise to protect his people from disasters both ecological and economic. So he founded the Maasai Center for Regenerative Pastoralism, which addresses the root causes of vulnerability by promoting holistic grassland management, ensuring water security, and preserving the traditional pastoral way of life. More at the Maasai Center for Regenerative Pastoralism website
Mesopotamian Ecology Movement
North Kurdistan (Rojava), Syria
The Mesopotamian Ecology Movement works in the autonomous region of Rojava, in northern Syria, to integrate ecological principles into the regional movement for political freedom and women’s rights. Its network of “ecology councils” is part of the broader movement for regional autonomy, and it has its work cut out for it –embargoes from surrounding hostile governments, the depredations of ISIS, and an influx of refugees from the rest of Syria are only a few of the challenges the Movement faces. Nevertheless, the Movement, with help from the international Terra Madre network (a project of Slow Food), has promoted seed saving, traditional construction techniques, and food security, all within the context of a radical communal political structure that is as democratic as it is revolutionary.
Turkish speakers can check out the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement’s website to learn more. English speakers can take an extended look at the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement through our article on Medium, ‘Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East‘.
Photo by Kurdishstruggle (CC BY 2.0)
Located in a protected Important Bird Area on Fiji’s Natewa Peninsula, the Sisi Initiative provides training for the local community in sustainable farming, beekeeping, baking, basketweaving, screen printing, jewelry-making and other handicrafts. Each of these projects is designed not only to build the resilience of the human community of the Natewa Peninsula, but also to serve as a reminder of how essential the biological community of the Peninsula — threatened by logging — is as well.
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