Training staff and overseas field workers
We have conducted workshops for Australian Volunteers International at their National Training Seminars for volunteers about to travel to the third world. Feedback from these sessions has been extremely positive…
Dear Naomi and Rick,
Thankyou very much for your session at our National Seminar. The feedback was excellent. I've enclosed a summary of the participants' evaluation and comments all of which indicate that the session was extremely successful. Most of the participants wanted a longer session, so we'll see if this is possible down the track. The information and practical hints were appreciated by volunteers….
Coordinator Pre-departure Program.
Participants' comments included…
Amazing skills, very interesting, essential information
Brilliant, amazing experiences shared by presenters and how we can share and use them
Absolutely relevant, interesting, informative with great practical suggestions
Very well presented
Great session, thoroughly enjoyed it
We conducted a full Permaculture Design Certificate course in Guatemala funded by Oxfam Australia. The PDC course specifically catered for field workers employed by Oxfam in 200 communities in Guatemala, who were part of an indigenous farmers organisation known as CONIC.
CONIC had won a legal battle to win back land as compensation for the nonpayment of minimum wages to Mayan workers over 30 years. Now that the previously landless peasant farmers owned land, CONIC were keen to see it put to best possible use, with wise resource use and minimal economic outlay. Our role was to assist the field workers in designing and implementing a range of strategies that would deal with the poor soil, erosion in the wet season, pollution from prior chemical use, and lack of seed sources. We established a demonstration site over three months in one community as an example of what could be achieved, then taught the PDC to the field workers, spending 5 days of the course in the community to give hands on practical experience.
Naomi completing construction of a clay oven in Tucuru, Guatemala with villagers and brother Tony. The clay oven conserves fuel, avoids heating tropical houses in the day time and uses readily available, low cost resources which are culturally appropriate.
The following reference was written on completion of our work in Guatemala by the area organiser of Oxfam Australia.
Guatemala, 11 September 1998
This is a reference for Naomi and Richard Coleman, from PEDS (PERMACULTURE EDUCATION AND DESIGN SYSTEMS) in Australia.
Naomi and Richard supported two Community Aid Abroad counterparts in Guatemala for a period of three months. One, Asociacion Ijatz, in San Lucas Toliman, Solola, where they contributed to ecological and permaculture education in local school curriculum and treating grey waters. The other, in Tucuru, Alta Verapaz, where Rick and Naomi worked with indigenous Q'eqchi' peasants training in permaculture and working on design systems for the new communities there, through an indigenous peasant organisation called CONIC.
Rick and Naomi showed considerable dedication, working in extremely adverse conditions (very long distances, extreme poverty, language and cultural differences, a lack of optimum conditions arranged beforehand by the counterpart, as well as their child suffering a serious injury). Their adaptability and preserverence despite these drawbacks is truly noteworthy.
They also showed a great deal of professionalism and expertise in their field, and had a flair for transmitting their knowledge both through workshops with the national organisation, and in the communities with Q'eqchi' men and women, showing particular sensitivity with working with the women, and providing Community Aid Abroad with some deep insights and tips for our own work in the area.
I believe that Rick and Naomi have contributed to raising awareness about permaculture in Guatemala, and people continue to approach Community Aid Abroad asking for further information and permaculture contacts. For all these reasons, I can only heartily recommend Richard and Naomi Coleman for their knowledge and expertise, their adaptability and dedication to their work.
Representative for Central America & Mexico