This documentary film shows the development of Permaculture projects in Aceh, starting from the emergency response activities conducted by IDEP Foundation to help survivors of the Asian Tsunami of December 2004. IDEP Foundation works with the local organization Green Camp to create a long-term Permaculture project.
This initiative was undertaken to support sustainable recovery of all the environment and lives that had been impacted. During the 3 years the program ran, many activities were conducted in many areas by GFS staff and volunteers. At the conclusion of this program, the Acehnese staff of GFS decided to continue their work in Aceh as The Aceh Permaculture Foundation (YPA).
The Green Hand Field School
The devastating earthquake and tsunami of December 26, 2004 literally wiped much of Aceh’s west coast off the map. Half a million survivors are still living in crowded barracks and moldy tents, having lost their homes, families, possessions and livelihoods. Roads and bridges were washed away, leaving many communities isolated.
For Aceh’s Internally Displaced People (IDPs), food security remains a priority issue. The home gardens, rice fields and fruit trees that once fed Aceh’s coastal villagers have been destroyed and many people are left without the means to earn money for food. FAO estimates that 70% of the farmland on the west coast has been affected by the tsunami with up to 20% of this permanently damaged or under water.
Affected communities are beginning to strategize how to regain their self-sufficiency. Many need to learn new skills to produce food in the new landscape, restore damaged soils, replant their home gardens and re-establish agricultural systems.
The GHFS Village Development program helps coastal villages achieve food security and rebuild their livelihoods while protecting the environment. We believe that if reconstruction is implemented using sustainable principles, communities will recover quickly, creating permanent prosperity for the survivors and future generations. The aim of this sustainable development program is to assist IDPs in achieving permanent positive change to increase their capacity to help themselves, becoming self-reliant so that these changes flow on to future generation
Steve Cran gives NGO stakeholders a field briefing on the village zone permaculture design strategy.
“My system of the “5 rings of sustainability” is adapted from permaculture for community development. From tribal people to aid officials this system makes sense. In each ring we know many “best practices” that will improve that community or household. The rings are interconnected.”
In the new village garden, set-up by Steve on his arrival, he draws in the dirt, with a stick, the basic 5 zone permaculture strategy. He explains how the basic unit of food security is the home food and medicinal garden, and how this expands out through the village to the hunting lands, with the outermost zone being the “eco-zone” for regeneration and wildlife.
Petra Schneider of IDEP Foundation talks about rolling-out a community-based permaculture relief network is a post-disaster zone. She explains the evolution of the community permaculture manuals from Timor, to Aceh and now, via Project Racine, to Haiti.
Petra Schneider of IDEP Foundation, Bali, Indonesia, describes the history of the foundation doing post-tsunami disaster relief and permaculture aid. She explains the start of the trainer-the-trainer network with Robyn Francis, and its origins in post-tsunami work done by Steve Cran and Ego Lamos and the evolution of the Aceh-wide permaculture networks.
Yayasan IDEP is an Indonesian non-profit NGO (Non-Governmental Organization). Innovative and effective, IDEP encourages program sharing with other grass roots projects through media and curriculum development.
We are committed to developing self-sustainability and directly empowering local communities to improve their own situations. We believe that permanent results can be achieved through local empowerment.
Sharing knowledge gained and media through local NGO networks
Conducting media training & supporting local NGO partners with their programs
Since the Bali Bombing tragedy in October 2002, the rapid decline of Bali’s economic stability has brought harsh focus to the un-sustainability of an economy primarily based on tourism. Yayasan IDEP is addressing increased requests for support from local communities to continue and expand its programs.
At IDEP we are extremely grateful for the support we have received from our international and local advisors, overseas voluntary programs, volunteer support and financial assistance received from these and local supporters of our programs. Thank you, we could never have achieved so much without you.
IDEP’s website is an on line resource center for local NGOs & communities to easily access and download information in support of their local project planning & development.
Essential listening for those preparing permaculture response and aid for Haiti and other disaster zones
Today I spoke with veteran permaculture and aid specialist Steve Cran in Abim, Uganda. Steve explains the realities of extreme permaculture in the disaster zones of earthquakes, tsunami and war. Steve leads from the field and has 20 years experience in remote Australia, East Timor and tsunami Aceh.
Steve Cran, disaster response and permaculture aid specialist, a veteran of the war zone of Timor, the tsunami of Aceh and now of Uganda talks to Permaculture TV about the realities of extreme permaculture and its relation to Haiti.
Aceh has been troubled for many years. Before the tsunami, the Achenese were struggling with general poverty, military conflict, pollution, corruption, and the destruction of forests from illegal logging. After the tsunami the military conflict ended but new problems arose. The flow on effect from the broken infrastructure, missing people, loss of incomes of surviving families and lack of services ruined the economies of many communities outside the zone. The full impact of the tsunami is still not understood The December, 2004 tsunami was a low blow to people already down on their luck.
The influx of hundreds of charities and organizations rushing in to assist the victims of the tsunami was a needed relief at first but as the months rolled on and people stabilized, the shock wore away and the depressing realities of being homeless in a harsh landscape set in.
On top of the difficulties of living in rough camps with poor sanitation, aid- dependency began to take hold on the people. Survivors in the zone became totally dependent on food handouts and other charity supplies to the point where many people stopped struggling to rebuild with the misguided belief that any day now , an NGO will come along and give them everything they need.
Survivors began to lose the will to help themselves.
I’d seen this before in East Timor where I spent 5 years introducing permaculture to the world’s newest nation .In Aceh, I was determined to build a project which made people strong and independent, not turn them into professional beggars.
Working in partnership with the Balinese NGO, IDEP ( Indonesian Development Education and Permaculture) I began planning the project needed. After my initial recon in February, 2005, I was able to convince IDEP that the best way to help the Achenese was to build a permaculture training centre in Aceh to assist the survivors to rebuild their communities using permaculture best practice methods.
To make a project like this successful in the difficult conditions it had to be a “lead from the field” project. This meant that the field (me mostly) made all the decisions and the NGO administration supported them. This system is effective in situations where rapid change is happening, there’s poor communication, and the field team need to respond quickly in a confusing environment. It’s a bit scary for an organization to let the field make the decisions but IDEP rose to the challenge.
Steve Cran is a sustainable community development specialist. With 15 years of constant field project experience Steve enjoys the challenge of assisting people living on the edge of survival to rebuild their communities.
“There is a lot written about so called community development but in the field it doesn’t work or it doesn’t last” says Steve. “ Permaculture gets real results by helping the people restore their community using local resources”.
Steve focuses on training the trainer from whatever community he’s working with. Local people training local people by building working models to inspire the rest of the community bring solid results. “The worlds problems grow at an exponential rate so I design projects that solve problems at an exponential rate”.
Steve worked for 5 years with rural Aboriginal communities in outback Australia. In 1999 Steve went to East Timor and formed a Permaculture training network which he developed over 5 years. This network continues to grow.
Steve returned home to Maleny, Queensland, Australia in November 2004 for a well earned rest. A month later the tsunami wiped out over 200,000 people in several countries.
Steve’s field experience was called upon to set up a project in Aceh, Indonesia. “This is a tricky project as we have earthquakes every week, possible further tsunamis as well as a protracted guerilla war in our area, not to mention the poverty that was here before the tsunami. The deck is really stacked against these poor people here”, says Steve from Lamsujen, 45 kms Southwest of Banda Ache.
Steve has joined IDEP to build an “Greenhand Field School” in Ache, on of the worst affected areas hit by the tsunami. The Greenhand Field School will be a training centre to train trainers in sustainable community development best practice. The Greenhand Field School will focus on food security, organic farming, community agro-forestry, appropriate technology, and local solutions for the tsunami survivors. The trainers being trained are mainly Achenese and the Greenhand Field School is designed so the best trainers will run this facility within 2 years.