Thanks to the generous scholarship for the ReGEN Nations Webinar – Applying Whole Systems Design for Regenerative Communities, Mohammed Issahaku, and Iddrisu Abdul Salam Atom of the Dagomba people in northern Ghana got first-hand information over how ecovillages can develop in China and Australia. The Dagomba people are indigenous people of Ghana and it was a refreshing experience for Mohammed and Iddrisu to recognize that the international Global Ecovillage Network cherishes the values that come from working with the land and their people. Mohammed expounds,
”I learned to Identify aims, assets, needs and leverage, all three speakers talked about how they work with available resources on the land. Narara & Sunshine shared about zoning, they talked about working with the government, engaging with government policies. All shared about how we are able to work in stages. How we can create decisions that are safe enough to try good enough for now, and also to communicate better to work with policies. Working from dependence to interdependence – to frame the relationship of self – others .”Mohammed Issahaku
As a GEN Africa Ambassador, I have been coaching Mohammed to expose his people to Syntropic Farming. In August 2020 his community planted a 10ha monoculture Cashew orchard. Over the winter season, we have developed a plan to add complementary plants to change part of his orchard into a Syntropic Food Forest. It was immensely helpful to hear from David Holmgren that Syntropic Farming evolved independently of Permaculture. We recognize that there are some similarities, and we were wondering if Syntropic Farming is an oversimplification of Permaculture. David explained that Syntropic Farming makes more sense in the Tropics and Subtropics whereas Permaculture is more suited for the temperate regions of our planet.
Since I am coaching the Dagomba people from Switzerland. It was a great help that the ReGEN Nations team permitted Mohammed and Iddrisu to participate on a scholarship basis. I do not live in a community, so it is impossible for me to demonstrate one. The Regen Nations seminar was an excellent substitute!
About Mohammed, Iddrisu and Alice
Mohammed Issahaku studies Tropical Agriculture at the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture. During his study at that school, he attended the Global Ecovillage Network Conference where he met and got into contact with Alice Güntert. Later Alice took on the role of becoming a coach for him to incorporate ecovillage principles and implement syntropic farming projects at his community in northern Ghana. Mohammed Believes that the combination of GEN ecovillage principles, syntropic farming and contour farming can be a vitalizing force for economic development.
Iddrisu Abdul Salam is a 29-year-old youth born in Gushegu region of northern Ghana. He attended agricultural school for high school and completed his studies in Damongo Agricultural College in 2017. He was introduced to the community farming project by Mohammed in August 2020 and developed interest in it. He was eager to incorporate orange flesh sweet potatoes that he’s been planting to the project as it is really beneficial for old women, children, and lactating mothers. With the support of his mom and his friend Mohammed, he wishes to take the project to a higher level.
Alice Güntert is a GEN Ambassador based in Switzerland. She has been involved with permaculture projects for over 6 years such as being involved in the development of board games in international economics called “Permapoly: The Game of Common Culture”. Alice is active in giving feedback and
recommendations for GEN including the idea that GEN should be on the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum. After GEN’s Communities for Future online summit, she got a friend request from Mohammed Issahaku and from then on they have been in correspondence. Alice is now coaching Mohhammed and Iddrisu to transform Mohammed community’s cashew orchard to be more diverse and abundant.