Project steering visit to the Agricultural-Social Education and Training Center in Gitega, Burundi

On 30th of September 2021, AKI Project manager, Mr. Teklezghi Teklebrhan flew to Burundi to evaluate the project progress, to further coordinate upcoming project activities with partners, and to optimize communication ways with the project team in the field.

About 2 hectares of land have been cultivated and used according to the principles of permaculture this and last year. Our project partner Father Walter Stärk (White Fathers) who has lived in Burundi for more than 60 years and originates from Stuttgart, Germany, is now enthusiastic about the approaches of permaculture and its positive results. The dedicated and motivated project committee in cooperation with the external consultant Mr. Marc Ndayimirije is carrying out the earthworks and water management activities very successfully:

  • Every day, about 10 to 15 people (mostly women) work in the project area. Thus, the project creates job opportunities and alternative income for the people living in the project area and in the surrounding;
  • St. Camelius Brotherhood generates additional income by selling corn, beans, vegetables, cassava and banana. In the long term, the brotherhood shall carry out the project independently;
  • Currently, production in the project area depends on rainwater. 25 women live in the project area with their 35 children. These women walk daily to the river, which is located at the lower part of the hillside area, to fetch water for themselves, their animals and plants - this is not only exhausting, but also not efficient. To counteract the water shortage, a well is to be drilled next to the stream and the water will be pumped up about 200 m with the help of a solar pump. This should ensure that the women and children, the animals and plants in the project area get clean drinking water and furthermore food can be produced outside the rainy season.

Mr. Teklebrhan spoke to the women:

Mrs. Ntakarutimana Jeanuin (39 years old):"I have lived in the project area for 6 years and have three children. In the project area, I use a piece of land to grow beans, corn, cassava, banana and pumpkin. I also have three goats and seven rabbits. We consume part of our product for ourselves, and we sell part of it to generate some money. With this money we buy food, clothes and medicine for myself and my children. I am very grateful that the project improves our production capacity“.

Mrs. Bukuru Maucelline (45 years old):"My husband left me alone with two children. I never heard from him again. Currently, I have 3 rabbits and grow beans, corn, cassava and bananas. Through this we get food and from our sale, I buy clothes for my children. I am also able to pay school fees for my children and we are healthy".

Sister Ndereyimana Desideatte (33 years old): "I belong to the St. Camelius Sisterhood, and I am responsible for the women and children living in the project area. I am very happy that the women have been given a perspective here. Since the women come from different regions and cultures, integrating them is a great challenge, but we are on a good way".

The permaculture expert, Mr. Ludovic Bourdon, who has already completed a 4-week project mission on site this year, will be back in November 2021 to conduct theoretical and practical trainings on permaculture design (PD), permaculture mindset, water management, produce conservation without chemicals, bio-pesticides, worm composting, crop rotation and biodiversity, and animal husbandry related to regenerative agriculture. 

In addition, the mentoring partnership on regenerative agriculture and dairy production and processing will take place with the Practical Permaculture Institute of Zanzibar (PPIZ) and Bukura Agricultural College (BAC) in Kenya.

The Agricultural-Social Education and Trainings Center project is being funded by the “Ministry of Food, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection- Baden-Württemberg (MLR) since August 2020.