Permaculture: Supports food security and primary education in rural Kenya uri icon


  • Destitute children and AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa lack adequate food and access to education. In 2006, in Butula, Kenya, half of the children were orphaned, many suffered malnutrition, and only 150 orphans were attending the Bukati Primary School. The Children of Bukati foundation raises funds to provide a school lunch program and sustainability projects to educate orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs). By 2010, all of the community's children, including 750 OVCs, were attending school and the school's academic standing had increased. The project was moved to a second school where the attendance by OVCs has also increased. The innovative solution was to develop permaculture projects as the key to the long term sustainability. Permaculture produces a sustainable animal and crop agricultural and forestry system that produces outputs based on the needs of the community. Ecological principles of soil enrichment with composting, intercrop planting and water capture maximize productivity. Livestock, fish and a tree nursery provide sources of revenue to pay for cooks and farm inputs. Students and teachers work in the fields. They and community members learn new sustainable agricultural practices. One year after the permaculture project was developed, all 1200 students at the school are fed lunch each day that includes maize, beans, rice, vegetables, and fruit and nuts when in season. Many (54%) local farmers adopt permaculture techniques at their home farm. School children teach parents and guardians or develop projects themselves. Examples include green houses, composting (creating organic fertilizer), establishing tree nurseries, intercrop planting, expanding crop selection (dry land rice), appropriate spacing of plants, and conserving water through digging swales. Funds for the project came from individual donors. The long term goal is to ensure the lunch program is sustained by the permaculture projects

publication date

  • 2014