Julious Piti:

PORET Director

Julious was born in approximately 1964 into a hunter gatherer tribe which originated in Muumbe in Zimbabwe, where the plentiful natural resources were ample to sustain life for a large community, though the encroaching the forestry industry threatened their livelihood. Here a close relationship with nature blossomed as he observed the patterns and pathways within the landscape around him. He struggled through the atrocities of civil wars and conflicts within Zimbabwe and Mozambique before entering education in 1983 always with the aim to improve the lives of those in his community by encouraging synergy with nature. Now Julious is a permaculture teacher and designer, and conflict facilitator, he is a founding member of the Chikukwa Ecological Land Trust (CELUCT) in Zimbabwe as from 1991. CELUCT has achieved a transformation where over 80% of the population of the Chikukwa villages now practice permaculture, meeting their own needs with a surplus to share from the lush and abundant mountainsides that have emerged from the former deforestation and erosion. As Director of PORET (Participatory Organic Research Extension and Training), he is now aiming to replicate the strategies of CELUCT in the low rainfall area of Chaseyama. In 2009 Julious facilitated a permaculture design project for a village of 5000 on the shores of Lake Victoria, Tanzania, featured in the film From the Mara Soil.  He presented at the International Permaculture Convergences in Brazil, Africa, and Jordan,Cuba and in 2012 taught on the Permaculture Design Course for International Development & Social Entrepreneurship at Quail Springs in California.


Robin Heathcote:

Project Co-ordinator

Robin Heathcote was born into a close-knit family on the outskirts of Sheffield, next to the Peak District National Park in the UK. Through his youth, encouraged by his family, his exploration of the outdoor playground on his doorstep helped him acquire a great understanding and appreciation of nature.  At college, he thoroughly enjoyed his courses in Environmental Science, Geography and History, all of which broadened his view of the world and helped him understand the interconnectedness of life and the impact humans are having on their environment.  At the University of Edinburgh, where he studied Environmental Geoscience for four years, his courses educated him on the workings of geology and biogeochemistry in many natural environments.  He attended field courses focusing on marine systems in Jamaica, and geological mapping and estuarine systems in the North West Scotland.  His hydrogeology courses brought together geoscience and engineering to understand the movements of water, mapping, and sustainable extraction to support human populations.  His thesis focused on the impact of tourism-generated sewage on a fragile marine ecosystem in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, in conjunction with the conservation NGO Operation Wallacea.  Following his graduation in 2014, Robin is excited to expand his knowledge and share it with those who would otherwise not have access to the privileges he has experienced, while applying the skills he learned to reconnect humans with the ecological systems on which they rely.

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Sarah Lang:

Project Co-Ordinator

Sarah grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, USA, but it wasn’t until her time at the University of Edinburgh that the ways of the world as well as her passion and purpose in life became clear.  There she pursued a MA in Sustainable Development, and served as an engagement facilitator in the University’s Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability.  She was particularly influenced by two courses, one which taught her that humans are part of and fundamentally reliant upon nature, and another which highlighted the often negative socio-ecological effects of conventional and supposedly “sustainable” development in the Global South.  She also studied Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship.  Her thesis, an analysis of permaculture’s ability to create biophysical and social sustainability in Chimanimani District, Zimbabwe, and therefore its potential as a sustainable development strategy, tried out a new conceptualization of sustainability and focused on the human/nature relationship while critiquing mainstream development.  After completing a Permaculture Design Course, Sarah conducted fieldwork in Chimanimani, where she met Julious Piti for the first time.  Their friendship and like-mindedness resulted in brainstorming sessions, the birthplace of PORET-Livelihoods’ current projects.  Currently pursuing a Permaculture Diploma with Gaia University, Sarah is dedicated to improving quality of life and sustainability through permaculture in Chimanimani District.  She is excited to apply skills gleaned from University and to learn from the communities of Chimanimani. In the future, she will continue to work to reform the “international development” agenda to pursue a different trajectory, one of true sustainable development which strives to create sustainable socio-ecological communities, as she believes the Global South can be a source of inspiration and locus of expertise.