At Guba, in Swaziland, we use permaculture to redesign systems we rely on to help meet our basic needs using three ethics to guide their purpose: Care of People, Care of the Earth, and Fairshare or Surplus Share. We can all use permaculture tools to make our communities more resilient against climate change, economic instability and food insecurity.
These tools can help us learn to live better quality lives, for longer, while protecting our nation for our children and our children’s children. We all have a central role to play in adjusting the way we approach the normal and the exceptional things in our lives – from how we throw away our waste and dirty water, to who and what we choose to invest in or buy.
In our culture, women play a central role in the homestead when it comes to looking after the basic needs of family: securing water and food, dressing and educating our children, playing a key role in strengthening the family unit. Permaculture tools have relevance to everyone and the role of women must not be overlooked or sidelined. In fact, research shows that women deliver enormous social and economic benefits for their families, communities, and nations.
Acknowledging women & the central roles they have to play is not only the right thing to do, but it is also sound economics. Women’s work makes everyone more productive: more of their income goes toward food, medicine, education, and other family needs. Women contribute to world economic growth: their unpaid work at home and on the farm equals about 1/3 of world GDP.
By recognising that women tend to do an excellent job of distributing resources fairly, we better position them to positively influence how the distribution of resources can be improved at home and within our communities. This approach is an example of reshuffling the resources we have available to us to better use their energy and natural skills and is one of many permaculture approaches.
By building on our strengths and following permaculture ethics, we can build a stronger, more resilient nation, together.