The Hummingbird Project
The Hummingbird Project
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Commenced:
01/08/2011
Submitted:
13/10/2012
Last updated:
07/10/2015
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Cleveland, OH, US
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http://www.hummingbirdproject.org/
Climate zone:
Cool Temperate





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Daraja Academy Permaculture Project, Kenya (Summer 2010)

Project: The Hummingbird Project

Posted by Marilyn McHugh about 6 years ago

THP led a variety of permaculture classes to teach schoolgirls how to improve access to clean water, improve soil fertility, and increase the amount of food grown on campus.

Daraja Academy is the first free secondary school in all of East Africa providing Kenyan girls an education that would otherwise not be possible given their economic situation. By creating a model of sustainability and self-reliance and instilling in every student a sense of environmental responsibility and stewardship, the Daraja Academy cultivates a community of empowered women who will open doors to a global society by utilizing their talents of academic excellence, cultural awareness, social conscience, and environmental responsibility.

During the summer of 2010, THP taught a variety of permaculture projects that met the academy’s environmental education initiative— “experiential learning” or learning-by-doing. The girls learned how to make sun-dried adobe bricks for natural building, plant trees, use an A-frame to map out contours for swales, improve soil fertility by using chicken tractors, and make fertile compost. The immediate goals of the project aim 1) to improve access to clean water, 2) improve soil fertility, and 3) increase the amount of food grown on campus, thereby reducing the monthly food bill and eliminating transportation costs.

Future projects include
seed saving and conservation of indigenous plant and tree species, construction of a tree nursery and greenhouse, planting of drought tolerant fruit and fodder trees, installation of a large-scale biogas digester for cooking, installation of humanure composting toilets, digging a pond for aquaculture, construction of a greywater system for the new dormitory, increasing rain water catchment capacity and digging more swales to slow and spread water during the rainy season. We are also interested in learning more about sustainable land use practices, such as Holistic Management, to improve soil health and mitigate draught.

By engaging both the students and the faculty, The Hummingbird Project’s Permaculture Project at Daraja Academy continues to create a model of sustainability and self-reliance that extends into the community and creates systemic change—one family at a time.

More About Daraja
The Academy's 60 acre (24 hectare) campus is located at the base of Mount Kenya, where the devastating effects of illegal logging and deforestation can be seen firsthand. The desertification in this region has caused changing rainfall patterns and drought, accelerating poverty among subsistence farmers. The region is home to Maasai pastoralists who traditionally graze cattle and live off the land; many have been forced to find other ways of survival. 

Daraja harvests water from the Ewaso Ng'iro River, which flows down from the glaciers of Mount Kenya to irrigate the arid landscape below. The rapid removal of indigenous trees in the region has led to siltation in the watershed. Upstream from Daraja, there are several large greenhouses which are a part of Kenya’s unsustainable cut flower industry, the nation’s second largest export. Water levels have fallen as a direct result of flower farmers pumping water from the Ewaso Ng'iro River faster than it can be replenished.               

Curriculum is also being developed to educate neighboring communities about the importance of environmental stewardship and implementation of sustainable land management practices. The 60-acre (24 hectare) campus is located at the base of Mount Kenya, an area devastated by illegal logging and deforestation. The desertification in this region has caused changing rainfall patterns and drought, accelerating poverty among subsistence farmers. As the Daraja community members employ permaculture practices into their daily lives, their newfound self-reliance will serve as a model for sustainable development not only in Kenya but other developing countries, as well.

 

 

 

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