Based in Malkerns, Guba is firmly rooted to the Lobamba Lomdzala inkhundla (constituency) which also includes neighbouring towns, Luyengo & Mahlanya. We work closely with our community leadership & the people in our communities to identify the issues that affect their lives & support them to shape their own response.

We aim is to grow stronger, united communities that are resilient in the face of economic, social & environmental change.

The training services we offer are part of our response to the issues affecting our communities. Our other community initiatives – outlined here & elsewhere on our website – represent more evolving solutions to the challenges raised by community members, reached using the guiding permaculture ethics: care for people, care for the Earth, & fair share.

what makes us different? 

More flexible in-depth skills training as smaller groups enable facilitators to see, listen to, & respond to the needs of target audience.

Facilitators can use teaching techniques that encourage trainees to teacher each other, practice doing, & discussing ideas/solutions. These methods are not only proven to help with knowledge retention but also provide great foundations for trainees to share their knowledge with others within their homesteads & wider communities.

Enables facilitators to provide one-on-one support by visiting each trainee at their homesteads during longer-term training, which mitigates common challenges around jealousy, gender issues, land access, etc.

Training content is informed by the issues, both positive and negative, that arise in the application of new ideas at the homestead. This is gauged during one-on-one support visits between training modules and ensures training at Guba remains grounded in the real life application of the concepts and methods being taught.

Reduces time & transport costs when providing one-on-one support & monitoring.

By focusing on defined communities, Guba’s positive socio-economic impact is easier to measure.

The cumulative impact of encouraging people to invest more in themselves, in their homesteads & in their communities should ultimately result in a strengthened local economy, a result that would be less tangible if our work was spread over a larger area & population.

In our experience of working with groups of people who are either sharing a common interest or working a common piece of land, even well designed training courses can fail to deliver sustained positive change. The most common challenge in these situations is the complex socio-economic dynamics within groups, between groups and the wider community, community leadership & multiple external agencies they may be working with.

In response to this we work with individuals at homestead level to improve quality of life through integrated system design.

Trainees identify the main decision makers on their homesteads who may have the power to influence the impact of their work, & together we strive to gain their buy-in into the process & objectives of the training.

Trainees have more control over decision-making as the power dynamics are less complex. Issues are contained at homestead level, as opposed to having to work with homestead dynamics + group dynamics + community dynamics. 

Our farm is a living classroom purposely designed to mitigate low literacy levels, a wide variety of physical & mental abilities.

Our dynamic hands-on training enables better information retention & promotes communication skills that support trainees to share & implement what they have learnt.

Guba mitigates risks by researching & trialling ideas & potential solutions to the challenges identified by community members before sharing best practices through the provision of skills training. 

Everything at Guba is guided by the permaculture principles, which ensures we are fulfilling the permaculture ethics of caring for people, caring for the Earth & creating a fair share or surplus. Realising these ethics ensures that our organisation, farm & services are sustainable in the long-term. Sometimes, this means the scale & the pace in which we work is smaller & slower than some development organisations but our mistakes are smaller as a consequence & positive impact is sustainable.

Individual skills development within the staff team is aligned with Guba’s organisational objectives & community needs. Areas of specialisation are encouraged instead of having fixed job descriptions, resulting in a more flexible workforce.

The Guba team all live & mostly come from the communities in which we work. This closeness to the challenges identified by community members helps us have a deeper understanding of the wider context, which can be an invaluable resource & can positively influence the solutions we identify.

Working at homestead level, having a selection process for our training opportunities & advertising that training opportunities do not include free inputs but focus on skills development, helps mitigate aid dependency.

Our community members work with Guba to identify challenges & adapt their skills to find appropriate solutions that work toward the permaculture ethics of caring for people, caring for the Earth & creating a fair share or surplus. 

Our approach enables us to work where it matters by identifying motivated people well positioned to undertake the training (especially relevant to our long-term training opportunities).

Our training selection process & course marketing addresses issues of aid dependency as our marketing information & selection process makes it clear to potential trainees that there are no inputs provided & selection is designed around the efforts of the potential trainees.

Training opportunities are not simply targeting the most vulnerable households but target the most willing & able no matter their socio-economic means, resulting in a high graduate & sustained success rate, which encourages graduates to be great role models within their communities. All training opportunities are designed to minimise the advantage of higher economic status, intentionally making them appealing and successful for people from the most modest of economic circumstances.

The competitive selection processes for the long-term Guba courses gives them credibility & value as not everyone will qualify & only successful graduates receive a homestead sign & certificate of completion. 

applying permaculture principles to community initiatives 

Gubacommunity projects