Gillian Leahy (a documentary maker) and Terry Leahy (permaculture researcher) are making a film about the Chikukwa project in Zimbabwe.
This is a feel good story out of Africa. For the last 20 years an amazing permaculture project has been working in Zimbabwe. Where once the people of the Chikukwa villages suffered hunger, malnutrition and high rates of disease, this community has turned its fortunes around using permaculture farming techniques. Complementing these strategies for food security, they have built their community strength through locally controlled and initiated programs for permaculture training, conflict resolution, women’s empowerment, primary education and HIV management. Now they have a surplus of food and the people in these villages are healthy and proud of their achievements. Their degraded landscape has been turned into a lush paradise. This film shows how this has happened.
The Chikukwa Project is an incredible advertisement for the relevance of permaculture to solve the problems of the world today. This project is virtually unknown and this film will help raise awareness about how to make a project that works and why permaculture is essential. It will also promote the project and enable the Environmental Land Use Collective of the Chikukwa villagers to get funding to maintain their work.
Hunger, land degradation and community breakdown are the key problems of most of Africa. The Chikukwa project has been remarkably successful in dealing with these problems. It is one of the very few projects in Africa for food security that has stood the test of time and is still working after 20 years, yet very few people are aware of this project. If you could bottle what they’ve got and export it to the rest of Africa you would begin to solve the problems of hunger and malnutrition which are endemic in even the most wealthy African countries.
Julius Piti: "Permaculture is how to live, if you want to save the earth"
This film will be a major way to export these ideas and to educate people in detail about the strategies used. As Julius Piti says in the film, “Pemaculture is how to live if you want to save the earth”. Explaining what this means in a particular context is the point of this film.
When so much that is said about Africa portrays African villagers as inevitable victims this story celebrates their strength, their hard work and their capability.
Olivia Mazoyo explains her family’s permaculture strategies
We have shot 35 hours of footage for this film and prepared a 20 minute draft version of the fifty minute version we intend to make.
We need about another $15,000 to complete the film in addition to the $10,000 we have put in so far.
We have made our target at Pozible $5,000. You go to the site and register a pledge with your credit card details. When there is $5,000 worth of donations Pozible puts the money into the bank account for the film. This all is above board and works, we know people who have done it. At the present time we are getting pretty close to our $5,000 target but as we actually need $15,000 we are keeping the site open for further donations in the hope that we will get all the money we need through the Pozible site.
Please help us by checking out our project at Pozible and making a donation. Even the a donation of $10 will be a great help. There are rewards for every level of donation – for $100 donation you will be sent a free copy of the final DVD.
Peter tells us about the restoration of the sacred spring,
one of the project’s first successes
Please spread the word about our project and our site at Pozible by email, Facebook or twitter.
For a written treatment of the project see this article on the PRI website with photos, written by Monika Goforth and Terry Leahy. The article goes into some of the reasons why this project has been so successful when many development projects for food security in Africa fail.
A native fig tree, part of the grove that now surrounds the spring
Gillian Leahy is an AFI Award winning documentary maker (My Life Without Steve, 1986) and has made successful environmental films before (Our Park, 1998). Dr Terry Leahy is convenor of the Master of Social Change and Development Program at the University of Newcastle whose research expertise is in permaculture and food security in Africa.
Headman shows us his vegetable garden