About the Project

Ecosystem Restoration Camp Dryland Solutions - Garowe, Somalia 

The greatest potential for this site and project.

The site will have the capacity to regenerate the land, but also to have a therapeutic effect on societal systems and the local community as well as the natural environment. There is huge potential to restore degraded natural systems, build bridges, give disenfranchised people a voice and shore up sustainable economic progress in the region. It will break down boundaries, bring people together, and allow them to work together and with nature for a more ethical, eco-friendly and self-reliant future. 

How will your site look and how will it function when it’s “ finished?”

The site will be restored – with vegetated watersheds that restore natural water cycle to the region and aid in climate change mitigation. What was arid desert will, through  permaculture design, earthworks and planting, become a lush and fertile place. 

The camp itself will sit at the heart of this restored landscape, alongside abundant agroforestry/ forest garden planting, sustainably managed livestock, polyculture food production zones and business enterprises based off the land.

With close links with others in the local community, the camp will serve as a hub for sustainable progress and a conduit through which funds can be applied in the local economy. It will be the epicentre of a network of planters, growers, producers, makers and doers, and serve also as an educational facility to disseminate information about sustainability, and the natural world.

It will also be a place of healing. A place where a close connection to nature and an appreciation of and joy in its wonders can bring peace.

How will you/the land/community have changed from how they are now?

The land will have been restored, to function ecologically as an abundant and diverse natural ecosystem. More than this, both camp staff and trainers, and the local community, will benefit immeasurably in environmental, societal and economic terms. The camp will have gone some way to redress the problems inherent in the disconnect between people and land, and make people and landscape work more holistically as one.

What are the primary activities that the site will support?

  • Landscape/ watershed regeneration.
  • Sustainable food production: (Perennial crops, polyculture annual production, chickens, rabbits, ostriches. Ostrich farming is a profitable business globally, as it is a source of meat, oil, leather, and feathers.
  • Plant nurseries: For the project itself and the sale of plants to other projects around the region.
  • Compost creation and natural resource management: For the project and for sale.
  • Sustainable management and sale of non-timber forest products: Myrrh, frankincense, opoponax and other gums and resins,
  • Fostering of an environment for practice in arts, traditional crafts, textiles:  (and sale of products). (Traditional protests can be difficult in some areas. But the arts can offer an alternative outlet for expression. Creativity can give people a voice and return them a sense of agency. It can be a way for marginalized communities to be heard.)
  • A venue for celebrations, festivals and parties: We can harness the power of art for peace-building and shared humanity. And seek ways to break down some of the existing boundaries between the societies, bringing creative people together and promoting integrity, hard work, and self-reliance. Communities share a common heritage. That heritage can be celebrated through cultural activities. This can build community cohesion and a platform for constructive dialogue and moderate debate. By weaving tales, storytelling, and forming narratives, divided communities can begin to bridge those gaps and move forwards together.
  • A place for therapeutic interventions: Climate impacts, conflict, and displacement all take a traumatic toll. But therapeutic interventions can help communities to survive. It can allow them to work through their trauma and begin the process of healing. It can help them work towards a future where they not only survive but thrive.
  • Education and training: In ecosystem restoration, sustainable food production, wellness, creative activities, skills for sustainable living and employment. Training in creative activities provide hope. It can give hope to vulnerable communities. The training not only allows them to show their imagination and skill. It can also offer an alternative to violence. But this is not all. Training can also provide hope for the whole of the wider community. It creates a range of long-lasting economic and social benefits.
  • Courses in Sustainability: Restoration design course, bio-construction courses, food production and cooking courses, - outreach to the wider community and for foreign eco-tourism visitors, as an income source.
  • A location for spiritual and wellness retreats.Healing spaces for reflection, spiritual nourishment, and artistic expression in story circles, learning rooms, massage, nutritious food, Capoeira, indoor rock climbing, and ecosystem restoration activities. Again, this will not only benefit the community spiritually/ emotionally but also through eco-tourism revenue.

What infrastructure will the site have to facilitate these activities?

A restored natural landscape; agroforestry; polyculture gardens; sustainable livestock rearing areas coops, integrated grazing as part of regenerative systems. Water source and sustainable water management infrastructure/ earthworks. Access route for local community and external visitors.

Camp accommodation for staff/trainers and visitors; kitchens and preparation areas; composting system; workshops; storage/ utility buildings; event venues; classrooms; meeting areas (indoors and outdoors meeting and learning zones). Renewable energy generation for use on site.

How will resources be created, used, and recycled or disposed of on your site?

The site will generate natural resources that will only continue to become more abundant over time. (The yield of a site is theoretically unlimited, or limited only by our imaginations. 

The camp will continue to utilise and build on natural capital over time. Making full use of the bounty that the restored ecosystem and sustainable food production can provide. By products and subsidiary yields will also be considered, utilised and monetized.

The goal will be for the camp to adopt a zero waste approach. The use of external, finite resources will be minimised, and surplus returned to the system. For example, nutrients in organic matter and food waste will be recycled back to the land through composting and mulching. Renewable energy and resources will be prized.

Use of non-organic, non-compostable materials will be kept to a minimum. Staff, trainers and visitors will encouraged to refuse, reduce, reuse, repair and recycle.