• Published: Mar 19th, 2012

72h PDC course: May 7th-18th. Permaculture for the Rural African Environment

This 13-day practical and demonstrative PDC will take place in Konso, south Ethiopia, from May 7th – 18th 2012, at Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge. Facilitators for the course are Alex McCausland with local assistant trainer Asmelash Dagne and guest appearances from local elders and intellectuals.

Dates: May 7th to 18th, 2011
Location: Konso, South Ethiopia
Venue: Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge
Cost: US$850 ($500 for Ethiopians)
Includes: course fees, food and accommodation for the period of the course
Excludes: Transport, accommodation en-route, travel insurance etc.

The Course
This PDC will be lead by Alex McCausland, Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge’s founder and director, assisted by Mr Asmelash Dagne, a local science teacher and trainee trainer who has excelled in implementing Permaculture in his school site over the last three years.

The Facilitators
Alex McCausland
Alex, an ecologist by background, has developed as a Permaculture practitioner and trainer over the last five years. He graduated from with a BSc (2.1) in Biological Sciences in 2003 form Oxford University in 2001, but at that time disillusioned with reductionist science and turned his back on academia. He then spent two years to travelling the world, WOOFing, working on farms and learning about cultures and languages, during which time he became interested in development and food-security issues. In 2005 he heard about Permaculture and realised it combined holistic ecology with the practical action and community orientation that the academic approach completely lacked. He then dreamed up a plan to establish a project which would promote Permaculture as a means to achieve sustainable development in the third world. The next year he came across Ethiopia. Seeing a land of great ecological wealth and yet economic poverty and food insecurity, he resolved that this would be the location for the project. He took his first PDC later that year in Catalunya, Spain. In 2007 he returned to Ethiopia to establish a viable Permaculture–based business which would facilitate the local community to learn about and practice PC. It ended up being an Eco Lodge in the South of the country, which went on to become the site for Ethiopia’s first model PC farm. The model farm has developed with input from a number of volunteers, interns and PC practitioners, such as Guy Rees, Dan Palmer and Tichafa Makovere. Working alongside these people Alex has developed and honed his skills as a PC designer and practitioner over the last 3 years. During this time the project has hosted a total of 25 PDCs, to date, 2 lead by Rosemary Morrow and 19 by Tichafa, 1 by Steve Cran and 1 by Rhamis Kent and two lead by Alex himself. Alex has co-facilitated on many of these while maintaining his role as administrator.

Asmelash Dagne
Asmelash Dagne was one of a group of three primary school teachers first trained in Permaculture in March 2009, during the pilot phase of the Permacultrue in Konso Schools Project (PKSP), by the veteran Zimabwean trainer and consultant Tichafa Makovere. Asmelash has gone on to excel his peers in enthusiasm and achievement in the field, consistently showing the best results on the ground in his school at Debena Village. He has participated in various workshops and trainings acting as a translator and assistant trainer on PDCs for Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge, as well and the Slow Food Foundation’s 1000 Gardents in Africa Project. Since October 2011 Asmelash has been transferred to Karat Konso Secondary School, where he has been single-handedly driving the school community and administration to implement Permaculture on their school grounds, and with some success. It is fitting therefore that Asmelash will be a co-facilitator on this workshop, as is intended to formally initiate Karat Secondary into the Permaculture in Konso Schools Project (PKSP) by training more teachers from the school and producing a site design for the school during this course.

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