A Permaculture Project Approach
Through three interlinked projects in Chimanimani District in Eastern Zimbabwe, PORET Livelihoods aims to pursue a new development trajectory, whose endpoint is resilient, sustainable socio-ecological communities, instead of an imitation of the Global North. Given this endpoint, the projects will have as their overall aim the achievement of a high quality of life for all and biophysical and social sustainability, demonstrating that ecological regeneration and social justice are mutually reinforcing, not conflicting pursuits.
The Three Projects
In order to achieve these goals, the projects will avoid the conventional focus on income generation, as this emphasis often results in unmet basic needs.These projects will instead prioritize the most fundamental requirements for life: food and water. Areas where these needs often go unmet, such as the arid lowveld which experiences low rainfall, water pollution, climate change and land degradation, will be the focus of the water and food security project. Areas which are relatively food and water secure or show progress in basic needs attainment will be the focus of the sustainable livelihoods project, which seeks to diversify livelihood strategies by meeting other social and material needs locally. In order to ensure continued positive change into the future, a third project will focus on education, in recognition of the high proportion of young people and the marginalization of rural youth. This project will be conducted in partnership with schools throughout the district and will further contribute to water and food security and the development of sustainable livelihoods in the district.
PORET will therefore work with multiple villages throughout Chimanimani District, through the project most appropriate for the village. This sequencing is less risky for the lives of community members than development which pursues income-generation as the primary avenue to meet basic needs. The conventional approach leaves the fate of the day’s meal to ruthless, unjust markets, framed around the idea that willingness to pay, not need, governs resource distribution, effectively placing money and efficiency above humanity.
Although the action plans for each project are unique, there are many common threads. In all projects, we will embody a collaborative attitude, partnering with government and NGOS to learn from their experience. We will capacity build with these organizational partners to maximize positive change in their other areas of influence. However, our main partners will be our community members, as our approach is community-driven and participatory. All of our projects will also employ permaculture, a design system for sustainability which has already been successful at regenerating ecologies and improving quality of life in the area.
The Home of PORET: Chaseyama, Chimanimani, Zimbabwe
These projects will make use of the current facilities at PORET’s home, which include sustainable agriculture demonstrations, an informal nursey, a kindergarten, and workshop spaces. The projects will also require a small office, as well as demonstrations of more sustainable agriculture and water management techniques and physical on site educational materials.