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PDC at the Greening the Desert Sequel Site, Jordan, with Alex McCausland and Salah Hammad

Posted by Nadia Lawton about 12 years ago

English-Arabic Bilingual PDC at the Greening the Desert Sequel Site, Jordan, with Alex McCausland and Salah Hammad, Starts Apr 19, 2014 and runs for 13 day(s)

Starts Apr 19, 2014 and runs for 13 day(s).

This PDC follows the standard accredited 72-hour design course syllabus with running translation into Arabic. All written materials will also be translated. The course covers in detail the ecological basis of Permaculture design, the ethics, the principles of design, strategies for restoring soils, managing water, partitioning land between intensity of uses for efficient management, cycling of energy and minerals within our system, enactment of site survey and assessment as well as design strategies for different climactic, ecological, technological and cultural settings. While the focus of the course will be on systems of cultural relevance to the Arab world it will be a standard PRI PDC, hence suitable for any-one from anywhere on the planet to participate in. Also if you are interested in improving your Arabic, a great chance for that too.

The Jordan Valley Permaculture Proejct in November 2013

Permaculture is a system that allows us to design sustainability into our own lives. Living sustainably literally means living in a way we can continue to live - a way of life which does not destroy the means of its own sustenance. If we consume food produced in a way that destroys soil, poisons the water and pollutes the air, as current systems of production do, we cannot be living sustainably and we will eventually no longer be able to produce food. The one sentence definition of Permaculture is: "A design system for sustainable human settlements and productive landscapes." It is a conceptual tool-kit for how we can establish productive systems to support our needs while re-generating the ecological processes that support the planet. And it can be done at the domestic, community or commercial scales, as we need.

This course equips you with all the necessary tools to produce a Permaculture design for your own life situation. It is the necessary first step in becoming a Permaculture practitioner and will allow you to go on to register in internships, training of trainers (TOT) courses or for a Diploma in Permaculture Design (PDP) all offered by various Permaculture institutions around the world. The PDC is a formative stage in career development which may compliment your existing life vision or may allow you to radically re-evaluate where you want to go from here. Either way it's sure to be an eye-opener.

Topics covered on this PDC: 

- Ethics and principles of Permaculture Design
- Ecological basis of Earth-System Function
- Soils - conservation and re-generation: composting and fertility building techniques
- Water - management and treatment in domestic scale systems
- Intensive Garden Design
- Poultry and Small Animal Systems
- Food Forests - planning, nursery establishment, propagation and planting out
- Earthworks for water harvesting, storage, infiltration and distribution
- Ecological Agriculture Systems
- Ecological Pasture Systems
- Ecological Forestry Systems
- Design strategies for Temperate, Dry-Land and Wet-Tropical Climates.
- Aquaculture
- Site survey 
- Community needs assessment
- Full Site Design Development and Evolution

About the teachers

Abdurrahman (Alex) McCausland is an ecologist by background, developed as a Permaculture practitioner and trainer over the last seven years. He graduated in Biological Sciences in 2003 [MA 2.1 (Hons) Merton College, Oxford, United Kingdom]. Alex speaks English (mother tongue), fluent Amharic (Ethiopia's vernacular language) and has basic understanding of Arabic and French.

In 2004-5 Alex studied a post graduate diploma in Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Following this he went travelling through the Middle East and Africa visiting Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. Astonished by Ethiopia, seeing a land of great ecological wealth and yet economic poverty and food insecurity, he resolved to set up a Permaculture project there. He took his first Permaculture Design Course later that year in Catalunya, Spain. In 2007 he returned to Ethiopia to establish the country's first PC training and demonstration site with a local school-gardens community outreach program. Alex developed the site with input from a number of volunteers, interns and Permaculture practitioners (Guy Rees, Dan Palmer, Rosemary Morrow & Tichafa Makovere). Working alongside these people Alex developed his skills as a Permaculture designer and practitioner. Since 2008 the project has hosted a total of 31 PDCs: 2 led by Rosemary Morrow, 19 by Tichafa Makovere, 1 by Steve Cran, 1 by Rhamis Kent and 8 led by Alex himself since December 2010. Alex has delivered trainings and Permaculture design-consultancies to: the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, the Ethiopian NGO SMART (who administers the Hafto Solar Community WASH Project in Hadyia Zone, South Ethiopia), and the Daughters of Charity Food Security Project in Dembe Dollo, Western Ethiopia.

Alex McCausland's profile on the Worldwide Permaculture Network website
- Sample consultancy and training delivered by Alex McCausland: Dembe Dollo Training For Daughters of Charity Food Security Project 
- Consultacy for SMART at the Hafto Solar Community WASH Project, Hadyia Zone
Sample course outline.
Previous student references

Salah Hammad: Salah's passion for sustainable food production started while working with struggling small farmers in Jordan. The experience exposed him to the urgent need for an alternative approach. This is when he decided to make the transition into a career in Permaculture and agro-ecology following a 10 year long career in the food industry. During his career Salah has led and trained large teams in different food production related projects and setups, including manufacturing, service and sales. 

Salah is now designing, teaching and practicing Permaculture at the Permaculture Research Institute Zaytuna Farm, Australia, under the direct management of Geoff and Nadia Lawton. He has direct experience in dry arid, temperate, and subtropical climates, covering urban, rural and broad acre setups. Salah endeavors to design and install systems that empower individuals and communities with Permaculture tools that will help them meet their needs and care for the earth. For the past few months Salah has worked on developing an Arabic language PDC syllabus and he is now due to teach courses together with Alex McCausland in Sudan, Ethiopia and Jordan in the first half of 2014. For Salah, this is an important formative stage: breaking out of the trainee pupa to become one of the world's first bi-lingual English-Arabic PDC teachers.

Articles by Salah Hammad:

Greening the Desert Internship 2012 - Greener than Ever
Wadi Hadhramaut - the Start of a Large New Rehabilitation Project in Yemen
Salah's Arabic YouTube channel

Course Venue

The Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka "Greening the Desert - the Sequel" site), PRI Jordan, Al-Jawfa, Jordan Valley.

The site is located in the Al-Jawfa area in western Jordan, Shouneh Janobieh (i.e., South Shouneh), in the Dead Sea Valley just 10km north of the Dead Sea and 6 km east of the Jordanian-Palestinian border, directly east of the West Bank. 

The local population is made up of traditional Bedouin tribes and long-term refugees stemming from displacement of local populations from within Palestine. The project site is typical of the area - a marginal, arid land, low-income settlement. It is currently still under development and upon completion it will demonstrate energy-efficient appropriate housing with natural cooling systems and a plant nursery attachment, solar electricity, solar hot water, biological waste water treatment recycling, dry compost toilets, rainwater harvesting earthworks and diverse interactive plant, animal and tree systems for local food production and processing. The demonstration house will function as a classroom and administration office for the project and local Permaculture groups. Once established, the project will serve as a model that can be replicated within the village, throughout Jordan and other countries in the region. The project, started in 2008, has already seen significant progress. The first trees were planted and are growing well and the first garden is producing some vegetables. Now, the water tank needs to be expanded, the fence and gate improved and the rest of the project started. The current focus is to set up basic living accommodations for volunteers coming to work on the project. PRI has the people power in place to move on this project, but is in great need of funds to purchase supplies. Any financial support is greatly appreciated. In this heightened time of great tragedy for the Palestinian people, this is something positive we can all do to directly affect their survival.

For more info on the history of the site, see: 


For most recent photos of the site see: 




Important information about this course


Directions to the Site

From the airport you have two options:

- Airport/bus station pick-up: If you register your name with us ahead of time, we can arrange for someone to pick you up at the airport for a fee of US$42. (This can be shared.)

- Airport Taxi to the site: JD$40 approximately. Upon request, we can also email you written directions, in Arabic, so that you can print these off and give these directions to your driver.

Accommodation for the Course

Camping is included in the price of the course. Students must provide their own camping gear including tent, sleeping bag, toiletries, a torch etc. 

Alternative accommodation in the farm house is available for ladies (in one shared room) and for one married couple (one individual room). Fees for room renting are paid on arrival to the farm manger. Please pre-book with the education coordinator at education(at)permaculturenews.org as rooms are limited.

The house includes a toilet, shower, lounge and kitchen for use by all students (camping).


Morning/afternoon tea and lunch are supplied to all participants. Breakfast and dinner are self-catered. Students are welcome to use the house's outdoor kitchen to self-cater. 

Rest Day Catering: There will be a rest day during the PDC (the Friday in the middle of the course) and participants will not be catered for on this day (no meals provided). Please ensure you are prepared for this.

Dinner Shopping: There is a supermarket 5 minutes away by car. The cost for a one way trip to this supermarket is some JD3-4.

Cultural Sensitivity

The Jordan Valley is home to an ancient and classical civilization that has had many cultures, traditions, and peoples cross through its land and also settle within. International students are requested to be culturally sensitive to the Islamic traditions and Muslim social protocol. A full orientation will be provided.

General Guidelines include:

- Open and receptive attitude toward cross cultural communication
- Willingness to ask questions whenever necessary
- Conservative attire
- Respecting cultural gender relations
- Sobriety at all times during the PDC course
- Respect for elders, religious traditions and practice, and community leaders
- Not photographing locals without permission, with cautionary emphasis on photographing local women and children

For men this would include:

- Respecting Muslim gender relation etiquette 
- Wearing long shorts at least to the knee
- Wearing shirts at all times
- Not touching or shaking hands of Muslim women without explicit permission
- Not displaying overly intimate affection in public with wife or partner

For ladies this would include:

- Showing respect for oneself 
- Respecting Muslim gender relation etiquette
- Long skirts or pants (shorts are considered offensive)
- Wearing shirts at all times
- Not displaying overly intimate affection in public with husband or partner

What You Will Need

The climate during the course will be dry and warm although the extreme heat of the summer will have passed. 

Recommended to bring:

- Sun Hat and sunglasses
- Good walking or working shoes
- Casual and comfortable clothing - natural fabrics recommended for coolness 
- Sunscreen 
- Water bottle 
- Flashlight/headlamp
- Your own bedding (sheets etc.)
- Ample supply of any needed medications 
- Tent if needed (depending on accommodation option)
- Sleeping bag and hiking mattress if needed
- Sandals 
- Personal toiletries

VISA requirements for entering Jordan

Please download this PDF for details on VISA requirements for Jordan.


For further information for this course please contact [email protected].

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PDC course
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: Jordan
Date: Dec 1999

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