No subject


Wed May 4 18:08:57 EDT 2011


written here.  Countries which lack cash and machines ( and are therefore "
third-world") often have excellent human resources and creativity  , with
local projects well under way which may not use the name "Permaculture"  bu=
t
do much of the same thing.

As you say, human resources and creativity are the assets of developing
countries. Lack of access to resources - the cash and machines you mention =
-
are often the stimuli to innovation and resourcefulness. The role of the
development worker can be to further this process of innovation and
resourcefulness by introducing techniques/ resources/ processes unavailable
in the country and, where these prove viable, to train people in their
production, adaptation and use. In this way the development worker becomes =
a
catalyst, a stimulus, to the development of communities based on their own
desire for change. It is the desire for change, for improving their
circumstances, which comes first, not the arrival of a development worker o=
n
the scene with a development package under their arm - this simply leads to
the disempowering idea of aid-as-charity.

As you say, there are many developments underway which are enacting
permaculture without using the word and without being done by people with a
knowledge of permaculture. One possible outcome of this could be the
weakening of the reputation of the permaculture design system - people migh=
t
hear from permaculture development workers about some technique of
initiative and remember that someone unconnected with permaculture has
already done this, so devaluing permaculture as a development methodology.
On the other hand, the permeation of permaculture-compatible techniques and
initiatives is generally a positive thing even when not labelled as
permaculture.
=20
Although agreeing that Permaculture promises a lot more than one sees on th=
e
ground, I would like to contribute to this discussion suggesting ( and this
is our strategy here in Brazil, and I am repeating what I said in another
thread) that one of the major functions of permaculture  is its
multi-disciplinary vision, it has an organized overview which ofen lacks in
specific local projects.

Agreed - the holistic overview, the making of connections between component=
s
and systems seemingly unconnected, the view which sees the flow of energy,
materials and information from component to component to produce higher and
more diverse productivity and better outputs is the strength of
permaculture. I think it's called systems thinking.

Besides teaching people to have this overview, I think that one of our majo=
r
functions in international aid is in networking, locating what already
exists and linking that up, locally and internationally.

Yes, networking - the transfer of information - is a way by which we learn
from each other and is vitally important for the development and
cohesiveness of something like permaculture. That's why websites, email
discussion lists, newsletters, magazines and video is a useful area of
permaculture application. I remember Bill Mollison, some years back, make
the statement that permaculture is an 'information rich' activity. Although
I could be accused of feathering my own permaculture nest, I think media
work is a valid and positive aspect of permaculture.

As to your comment about linking up that which already exists - the British
economist and author, EF Schumacher ('Small is Beautiful'), wrote that most
solutions are already there but they are scattered, hidden and difficult to
find. The role of permaculture media workers could be to locate those
solutions, write them up, photograph then, analyse them, record user
comments and put that information in various media so the solutions become
available to others.

Reminds me of a PC teacher who came here and, in the year 2000, said that "
Bill Mollison had appointed him to make a Permaculture network in Brazil(of
course with him having the power to decide who would be part of that
network..)"  when a  local network was already in place and vibrant since
1993 (  won=B4t name names here...)

Is this actually an example of the old style of development aid thinking
where the overseas expert comes in with a package and imposes it on the
locals irrespective of what they already have?

Clearly, it ignores such basic precepts as needs analysis - is there a
demand for the goods or service? Is there is none, then perhaps the strateg=
y
is to go elsewhere on the basis of the permaculture dictum of 'working with
those who want to learn'. In business terms, such an approach as you
describe ignores market research.
=20
I am particlarly interested in the ramifications of the New Paradigm ( also
another thread being repeated here)and how that reflects in new structures.
In its holistic, multi-disciplinary  systemic approach, Permaculture is one
of the best tools I know of for helping people and institutions move into
New Paradigm thinking   and acting .  In this I think we can help the aid
agencies who are vaguely fumbling in this direction-- so the suggestion
below of frequenting Australian aid agencies before going overseas is most
interesting-- and the best transformation for the Third World could be from
there, by transforming the vision within the agencies.

My proposal for permaculturists interested in working in aid to do some
voluntary work (or paid work, if they can get it - we need more people to b=
e
paid for their permaculture work so that it becomes integrated into their
lives and income stream) with aid agencies in their own country was to
enlarge their skills and to provide insight into the aid industry, the
limitations that aid agencies receiving government or other donor funding i=
n
developed countries work under and how the agencies respond to the needs of
their partners in developing countries.
=20
In a practical vein, tropical Permaculture is extremely well anchored here
in Brazil, and we are dedicated to training these young idealistic people
who would like to do this kind of work(and also others in other regions of
Brazil).  They can have real-life experience in alternative communitites an=
d
in other  projects in places which will not be harmed by their lack of
experience( and lack of the language).

This is a great service you provide Marsha. I know a number of people - not
all so young - who have worked in your country and have, by their own
admission, benefited greatly.
=20
As to documentation, I would ask what do we actually document in
Permaculture?  The number of gardens built?  The number of ecovillas
constructed?  What is there to measure, exactly?  How do you measure a
design system? I think we can measure parts of what is included in
Permaculture ( kilos of carrots etc.)but how can we measure that leap when
people begin to have a holistic view and discover that they are powerful (
one of the biggest contributions)?

This is the difficult part, isn't it? It's what we confronted in the work i=
n
the Solomon Islands and elsewhere. What do you evaluate? Is it the importan=
t
thing? Why that? How do we then use the evaluation to improve our work?

We evaluate projects and the agriculture program on two general criteria:

1) the objectives set down during the project/ program planning process. Fo=
r
each objective, we identify indicators - things which we can use to monitor
whether or not we are moving towards accomplishing the objective or whether
we need to change the objective.

2) a set of broad, long-term indicators, adapted by those used by Oxfam,
which have to do with the program to date. These include:

a) effectiveness - based on outputs/ outcomes to date, how effective has th=
e
project been in achieving its objectives and contributing to its aims?

b) efficiency - how has the project used its resources (funds/ materials/
equipment/ human skills etc)

c) relevance - is the project still appropriate to the needs it was set up
to meet?=20

d) impact - how has the project affected its partners and the issues it was
set up to help them address? Has there been change for the better?

e) sustainability - what will happen when the aid agency completes its
involvement? Has there been adequate training of local people to assume
project management and source further funds? Can local people continue to
use the new skills? This has to do with training approach, increasing the
capacity and capabilities of local organisations and the appropriateness of
new techniques in relation to local capacities of funding, maintenance and
skills availability.
 =20
So I would suggest that the function of foreign teachers coming in as part
of an aid program could be to help  already-exisitng local programs take th=
e
next step, adding new insights

Yes, I think it's about introducing skills and knowledge not locally
available and of training local people to use and adapt those skills so the=
y
can continue to use them when the foreign teacher leaves. That way, the
development worker leaves a useful legacy. Local people and their
organisations can identify a needed skill and, through networking with aid
organisations in developing countries, locate people willing to go and work
with them.=20

In the end, why travel? After all, each of these countries has its own
slums, its own collapsed farms, its own third world embedded in apparent
affluence.  ( My sister was director of a program  which collected food for
the hungry-- in the rich United Sates! I Was absolutely shocked when she
sent me the statistics of the extent of this hunger...)The inspired young
people could travel in instead of out... But-- needing adventure-- Brazil i=
s
at their disposition!

I agree completely with your question Marsha and ask it frequently. In
Sydney, we have worked to assist communities and local government establish
community food gardens for the dual purpose of access to fresh food and
improvement of the urban environment. Yes, there is poverty in Australia
too.=20

We see people doing permaculture courses with the intention - usually fairl=
y
vague - of assisting people in developing countries. This is positive, of
course, but ignores the valuable community work to be done here. We see
permaculture design course graduates sent overseas but few engaging in work
in their own country. It is, after all, still development work when done in
their own country and has analogous aims to that done overseas. My
observation is that people complete their permaculture design course,
experience the 'permaculture eureka' effect, find no organisations dynamic
enough to attract their participation, then merge back into the life they
lived in their pre-permaculture design course days.

Thanks again for your conversation.


...Russ Grayson
...................
PACIFIC EDGE
Russ Grayson + Fiona Campbell
Media, training and consultancy services for sustainable development.
PO Box 446 Kogarah NSW 2217 Australia
Phone/ fax: 02 9588 6931    pacedge at magna.com.au   www.magna.com.au/~pacedg=
e

Media:
- publication and website design
- online content production
- print, online and radio journalism + photojournalism.

Education:
- organic gardening training
- permaculture education

Support services:
- facilitation
- overseas development aid services. 

--MS_Mac_OE_3071048008_716871_MIME_Part
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Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Re: research on pc projects needed</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
Thank you for a thoughtful response Marsha and Sharon and for contributing =
your years of &nbsp;first-hand experience to this important discussion.<BR>
<BR>
<B>From: </B>&quot;Marsha Hanzi&quot; &lt;hanzibra at svn.com.br&gt;<BR>
<BLOCKQUOTE><B>Date: </B>Mon, 23 Apr 2001 12:25:46 -0300<BR>
<B>To: </B>&quot;permaculture&quot; &lt;permaculture at franklin.oit.unc.edu&g=
t;<BR>
<B>Subject: </B>Re: research on pc projects needed<BR>
</BLOCKQUOTE><BR>
<BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">From a &quot;third-world&quot=
; perspective I would like to confirm ALL that was written here. &nbsp;Count=
ries which lack cash and machines ( and are therefore &quot; third-world&quo=
t;) often have excellent human resources and creativity &nbsp;, with local p=
rojects well under way which may not use the name &quot;Permaculture&quot; &=
nbsp;but &nbsp;do much of the same thing.<BR>
<BR>
</FONT></FONT></BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">As you say, hu=
man resources and creativity are the assets of developing countries. Lack of=
 access to resources - the cash and machines you mention - are often the sti=
muli to innovation and resourcefulness. The role of the development worker c=
an be to further this process of innovation and resourcefulness by introduci=
ng techniques/ resources/ processes unavailable in the country and, where th=
ese prove viable, to train people in their production, adaptation and use. I=
n this way the development worker becomes a catalyst, a stimulus, to the dev=
elopment of communities based on their own desire for change. It is the desi=
re for change, for improving their circumstances, which comes first, not the=
 arrival of a development worker on the scene with a development package und=
er their arm - this simply leads to the disempowering idea of aid-as-charity=
.<BR>
<BR>
As you say, there are many developments underway which are enacting permacu=
lture without using the word and without being done by people with a knowled=
ge of permaculture. One possible outcome of this could be the weakening of t=
he reputation of the permaculture design system - people might hear from per=
maculture development workers about some technique of initiative and remembe=
r that someone unconnected with permaculture has already done this, so deval=
uing permaculture as a development methodology. On the other hand, the perme=
ation of permaculture-compatible techniques and initiatives is generally a p=
ositive thing even when not labelled as permaculture.<BR>
</FONT></FONT><BLOCKQUOTE> <BR>
<FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">Although agreeing that Permaculture promi=
ses a lot more than one sees on the ground, I would like to contribute to th=
is discussion suggesting ( and this is our strategy here in Brazil, and I am=
 repeating what I said in another thread) that one of the major functions of=
 permaculture &nbsp;is its multi-disciplinary vision, it has an organized ov=
erview which ofen lacks in specific local projects. &nbsp;<BR>
<BR>
</FONT></FONT></BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">Agreed - the h=
olistic overview, the making of connections between components and systems s=
eemingly unconnected, the view which sees the flow of energy, materials and =
information from component to component to produce higher and more diverse p=
roductivity and better outputs is the strength of permaculture. I think it's=
 called systems thinking.<BR>
</FONT></FONT><BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial"><BR>
Besides teaching people to have this overview, I think that one of our majo=
r functions in international aid is in networking, locating what already exi=
sts and linking that up, locally and internationally. &nbsp;<BR>
<BR>
</FONT></FONT></BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">Yes, networkin=
g - the transfer of information - is a way by which we learn from each other=
 and is vitally important for the development and cohesiveness of something =
like permaculture. That's why websites, email discussion lists, newsletters,=
 magazines and video is a useful area of permaculture application. I remembe=
r Bill Mollison, some years back, make the statement that permaculture is an=
 'information rich' activity. Although I could be accused of feathering my o=
wn permaculture nest, I think media work is a valid and positive aspect of p=
ermaculture.<BR>
<BR>
As to your comment about linking up that which already exists - the British=
 economist and author, EF Schumacher ('Small is Beautiful'), wrote that most=
 solutions are already there but they are scattered, hidden and difficult to=
 find. The role of permaculture media workers could be to locate those solut=
ions, write them up, photograph then, analyse them, record user comments and=
 put that information in various media so the solutions become available to =
others. <BR>
</FONT></FONT><BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial"><BR>
Reminds me of a PC teacher who came here and, in the year 2000, said that &=
quot; Bill Mollison had appointed him to make a Permaculture network in Braz=
il(of course with him having the power to decide who would be part of that n=
etwork..)&quot; &nbsp;when a &nbsp;local network was already in place and vi=
brant since 1993 ( &nbsp;won=B4t name names here...)<BR>
<BR>
</FONT></FONT></BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">Is this actual=
ly an example of the old style of development aid thinking where the oversea=
s expert comes in with a package and imposes it on the locals irrespective o=
f what they already have?<BR>
<BR>
Clearly, it ignores such basic precepts as needs analysis - is there a dema=
nd for the goods or service? Is there is none, then perhaps the strategy is =
to go elsewhere on the basis of the permaculture dictum of 'working with tho=
se who want to learn'. In business terms, such an approach as you describe i=
gnores market research.<BR>
</FONT></FONT><BLOCKQUOTE> <BR>
<FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">I am particlarly interested in the ramifi=
cations of the New Paradigm ( also another thread being repeated here)and ho=
w that reflects in new structures. In its holistic, multi-disciplinary &nbsp=
;systemic approach, Permaculture is one of the best tools I know of for help=
ing people and institutions move into New Paradigm thinking &nbsp;&nbsp;and =
acting . &nbsp;In this I think we can help the aid agencies who are vaguely =
fumbling in this direction-- so the suggestion below of frequenting Australi=
an aid agencies before going overseas is most interesting-- and the best tra=
nsformation for the Third World could be from there, by transforming the vis=
ion within the agencies.<BR>
<BR>
</FONT></FONT></BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">My proposal fo=
r permaculturists interested in working in aid to do some voluntary work (or=
 paid work, if they can get it - we need more people to be paid for their pe=
rmaculture work so that it becomes integrated into their lives and income st=
ream) with aid agencies in their own country was to enlarge their skills and=
 to provide insight into the aid industry, the limitations that aid agencies=
 receiving government or other donor funding in developed countries work und=
er and how the agencies respond to the needs of their partners in developing=
 countries.<BR>
</FONT></FONT><BLOCKQUOTE> <BR>
<FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">In a practical vein, tropical Permacultur=
e is extremely well anchored here in Brazil, and we are dedicated to trainin=
g these young idealistic people who would like to do this kind of work(and a=
lso others in other regions of Brazil). &nbsp;They can have real-life experi=
ence in alternative communitites and in other &nbsp;projects in places which=
 will not be harmed by their lack of experience( and lack of the language). =
&nbsp;<BR>
<BR>
</FONT></FONT></BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">This is a grea=
t service you provide Marsha. I know a number of people - not all so young -=
 who have worked in your country and have, by their own admission, benefited=
 greatly.<BR>
</FONT></FONT><BLOCKQUOTE> <BR>
<FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">As to documentation, I would ask what do =
we actually document in Permaculture? &nbsp;The number of gardens built? &nb=
sp;The number of ecovillas constructed? &nbsp;What is there to measure, exac=
tly? &nbsp;How do you measure a design system? I think we can measure parts =
of what is included in Permaculture ( kilos of carrots etc.)but how can we m=
easure that leap when people begin to have a holistic view and discover that=
 they are powerful ( one of the biggest contributions)? &nbsp;<BR>
<BR>
</FONT></FONT></BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">This is the di=
fficult part, isn't it? It's what we confronted in the work in the Solomon I=
slands and elsewhere. What do you evaluate? Is it the important thing? Why t=
hat? How do we then use the evaluation to improve our work?<BR>
<BR>
We evaluate projects and the agriculture program on two general criteria:<B=
R>
<BR>
1) the objectives set down during the project/ program planning process. Fo=
r each objective, we identify indicators - things which we can use to monito=
r whether or not we are moving towards accomplishing the objective or whethe=
r we need to change the objective.<BR>
<BR>
2) a set of broad, long-term indicators, adapted by those used by Oxfam, wh=
ich have to do with the program to date. These include:<BR>
<BR>
a) effectiveness - based on outputs/ outcomes to date, how effective has th=
e project been in achieving its objectives and contributing to its aims?<BR>
<BR>
b) efficiency - how has the project used its resources (funds/ materials/ e=
quipment/ human skills etc)<BR>
<BR>
c) relevance - is the project still appropriate to the needs it was set up =
to meet? <BR>
<BR>
d) impact - how has the project affected its partners and the issues it was=
 set up to help them address? Has there been change for the better?<BR>
<BR>
e) sustainability - what will happen when the aid agency completes its invo=
lvement? Has there been adequate training of local people to assume project =
management and source further funds? Can local people continue to use the ne=
w skills? This has to do with training approach, increasing the capacity and=
 capabilities of local organisations and the appropriateness of new techniqu=
es in relation to local capacities of funding, maintenance and skills availa=
bility.<BR>
</FONT></FONT><BLOCKQUOTE> &nbsp;<BR>
<FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">So I would suggest that the function of f=
oreign teachers coming in as part of an aid program could be to help &nbsp;a=
lready-exisitng local programs take the next step, adding new insights<BR>
<BR>
</FONT></FONT></BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">Yes, I think i=
t's about introducing skills and knowledge not locally available and of trai=
ning local people to use and adapt those skills so they can continue to use =
them when the foreign teacher leaves. That way, the development worker leave=
s a useful legacy. Local people and their organisations can identify a neede=
d skill and, through networking with aid organisations in developing countri=
es, locate people willing to go and work with them. <BR>
</FONT></FONT><BLOCKQUOTE><BR>
<FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">In the end, why travel? After all, each o=
f these countries has its own slums, its own collapsed farms, its own third =
world embedded in apparent affluence. &nbsp;( My sister was director of a pr=
ogram &nbsp;which collected food for the hungry-- in the rich United Sates! =
I Was absolutely shocked when she sent me the statistics of the extent of th=
is hunger...)The inspired young people could travel in instead of out... But=
-- needing adventure-- Brazil is at their disposition!<BR>
<BR>
</FONT></FONT></BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE=3D"2"><FONT FACE=3D"Arial">I agree comple=
tely with your question Marsha and ask it frequently. In Sydney, we have wor=
ked to assist communities and local government establish community food gard=
ens for the dual purpose of access to fresh food and improvement of the urba=
n environment. Yes, there is poverty in Australia too. <BR>
<BR>
We see people doing permaculture courses with the intention - usually fairl=
y vague - of assisting people in developing countries. This is positive, of =
course, but ignores the valuable community work to be done here. We see perm=
aculture design course graduates sent overseas but few engaging in work in t=
heir own country. It is, after all, still development work when done in thei=
r own country and has analogous aims to that done overseas. My observation i=
s that people complete their permaculture design course, experience the 'per=
maculture eureka' effect, find no organisations dynamic enough to attract th=
eir participation, then merge back into the life they lived in their pre-per=
maculture design course days.<BR>
<BR>
Thanks again for your conversation.<BR>
<BR>
</FONT></FONT><BR>
...Russ Grayson<BR>
...................<BR>
PACIFIC EDGE<BR>
Russ Grayson + Fiona Campbell<BR>
Media, training and consultancy services for sustainable development.<BR>
PO Box 446 Kogarah NSW 2217 Australia<BR>
Phone/ fax: 02 9588 6931 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;pacedge at magna.com.au &nbsp;&nbsp=
;www.magna.com.au/~pacedge<BR>
<BR>
Media:<BR>
- publication and website design<BR>
- online content production<BR>
- print, online and radio journalism + photojournalism.<BR>
<BR>
Education:<BR>
- organic gardening training<BR>
- permaculture education<BR>
<BR>
Support services:<BR>
- facilitation<BR>
- overseas development aid services.
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</HTML>


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