Together with friends from the community, from further a field in Kenya and from other
parts of the world, Evans developed his idea for an organization which would bring
people together to address their own needs. .True to its name, Badilisha would help
the community, to which it belong change, creating a better place to live in.
Evans’ initial idea was for a multi-purpose centre – a learning place which would
include a resource centre for books and ICT, offer courses on a variety of
sustainability issues and demonstrate organic farming practices. In addition
Badilisha would respond to the urgent needs of the community and develop partnerships
with individuals and organizations from other parts of the world.
At the beginning the project was run from a rented office near Evans’ home.
During the first year several courses in non-violent communication were run
for communities around the island and an educational sponsorship program was started.
Early in 2009 a local person offered a piece of land close to the lake at
Kaswanga at very low cost. With donations from friends at home and overseas and the
help of the community the land was fenced, an office, meeting rooms and several
other buildings were constructed, a small solar energy system was installed, and
trees were planted.
Around this time Evans became interested in permaculture – ‘solutions for
sustainable living’ – and permaculture ideas became central to Badilisha’s
Permaculture is a design process set in a strong ethical framework, which draws on
ecological principles for its inspiration. In March 2011 the centre hosted an
international Permaculture Design Certificate course which gave birth to a
permaculture design for the centre. The grand vision is to have permaculture
trainings and a resource centre, and to offer outreach programmes for farmers.
These would be combined with ‘voluntourism’ which offers people from other
communities and other countries the opportunity to come and stay with us as
volunteers, learn about permaculture and immerse themselves in our culture,
whilst sharing something of their own with us.
The community gathered and started to implement work on the garden -
even young children helped to do something. Several of the elements of the
design are now in place, including a duck pond, a mandala garden for indigenous
vegetables, banana circles, the beginnings of a food forest, a herb spiral,
and a rain water harvesting system. There is much still to be done, including
a lot that needs funding.
The centre is already well used by the community for meetings and courses.
There are plans to run an orphans’ feeding programme, another Permaculture
Design Certificate course, an organic farming course, and to develop the visitors’
accommodation area. Badilisha has also been working with communities outside of the
centre, for instance installing latrines for fishermen at nearby beaches.
There are several major areas of need for funding: we want two windmills,
one to pump water from the lake for irrigation during the lengthy dry seasons,
and one to provide a reliable source of power; we want computers for the ICT
resource centre: resources are needed to complete the accommodation and camping
facilities; and we want to enlarge our permaculture and sustainability library.