Sonita: A permaculture mentorship

I am delighted to announce that I am now acting as a permaculture mentor for Sonita Mbah of the Better World Cameroon project.

Sonita at Better World Cameroon

Sonita at Better World Cameroon



Sonita is a dynamic young person, dedicated BWC team member and the driving force behind much of what happens at the Ndanifor Permaculture Ecovillage. Her request for mentorship was to address the exposure to new knowledge, to work in partnership and to support her initiatives.

Commencing HVAP Trials

Personally, I see this as a opportunity for a mutual exchange of learning, understanding and appreciation of a different culture. Sonita is supporting me set up the HVAP crop trials and we are using this opportunity to introduce some permaculture design. She is acting as my “eyes and ears” on the ground for now. This is a great opportunity for me to do plenty of survey work, to assess opportunities and limiting factors of our project. Working with Sonita now, means we can implement good practises at this early stage with the growing season about to commence. The rainy season begins in mid March.

It thrills me to apply knowledge in a situation of real need and see the landscape responding before my very eyes, nature moves fast in the tropics! – Kevin

In July, we will meet up in person as I visit the project to oversee the HVAP trials. I will also share a number of low tech solutions to building organic fertility, conserving soil and capturing rain water. I have scope to assess opportunities to set up micro enterprises that will support the workers cooperative in building important business skills, products for sale and technologies to share, all building towards greater community resilience. I will also be sharing my understanding of permaculture on the Summer Work Camp in August.

I’m excited to be returning to the tropics for the first time since my central America study tour in 2009-2010. This is a chance to share the strategies I observed and developed myself in similar climatic conditions.

Succession Plan

I’m conscious, that there is a responsibility on me as a teacher to contribute to the successional plan of permaculture. As observed in natural systems, there is an emergent community of plant species that follow the pioneers. It’s my great pleasure to be working with Sonita in the Cameroon and Tim Hopkin back in England to further their careers as educators and designers of permaculture systems.

Sonita working 1

Sonita making mud bricks for the eco buildings


Layers of Mentorship

Rick Coleman in Rwanda

Preparing a banana circle with Rick in Rwanda

I in turn, also have a permaculture mentor. Thanks to wonderful technology, I keep in touch with my senior PDC teacher, Rick Coleman of Southern Cross Permaculture Institute in Victoria, Australia. He has plenty of international aid experience, most recently giving “training the trainers” permaculture teaching in Rwanda positively affecting the lives of 40,000 people.

I’m looking forward to my first visit to Bafut and Cameroon, working with Sonita and the team at BWC. It thrills me to apply knowledge in a situation of real need and see the landscape responding before my very eyes, nature moves fast in the tropics!

Bafut community celebration source: Elke Cole

Bafut community celebration source: Elke Cole

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