Contributed by: Dennis Garrity
We have a lot of Landcare developments to share with you in this edition of our online newsletter.
Australian Landcare has now celebrated its 30th year of work and inspiration. The world’s original landcare movement has matured, and we hope that at this turning point in its history, it will be increasingly focusing its attention to reaching out to a world of landcare beyond its borders – and supporting the growing number of landcare efforts that are taking shape around the world.
South African Landcare is celebrating twenty years of support for rural communities. The achievements and challenges of sustaining the developing world’s largest landcare program were highlighted recently at the 7th Biennial South African Landcare Conference.
German Landcare (DVL) has also been providing sustained leadership for the many landcare associations across the country during the past three decades. At this juncture, German Landcare is vigorously reaching out to explore regionalizing landcare by linking up with the many like-minded grassroots programs with which it has developed relationships across the European continent. We are hoping that a European landcare movement may now be coming into view: one that will use exchange visits and cross-learning to enrich local and national efforts, and begin to create a cross-European landcare focus.
Discussions are now under way as well on the possible development of a South Asian landcare network.
The African Landcare Network, which is supported by South African Landcare, sponsored its 3rd African Landcare Master Class in early December 2016 in Solwezi, Zambia. I had the pleasure of being there and feeling the energy that was generated by so many experienced landcarers from around the region, and from Australia, connecting with many new adherents who are joining the fold.
The African Landcare Network is also supporting Southern African Landcare practitioners in the development of a regional landscape scale restoration program using Landcare principles and approaches.
Meanwhile, Landcare in individual countries is steadily strengthening. This issue has two articles highlighting developments in Uganda. In November, I was honoured to be hosted by a large group of Uganda Landcare Network leaders at a mini-workshop at which we discussed the current developments in Landcare chapters across the country, and we brainstormed about how the movement can grow by contributing to Uganda’s new commitments to the African Restoration Initiative (AFR100). I also went to ground in Masaka where I was hosted by the local Landcare chapter and introduced to the innovative ways that they are tackling the alarming decline in their land productivity with fodder and fertilizer shrubs.
Indeed, it is an exciting time for Landcare across the globe. And we welcome more colleagues to join these networks and to work collaboratively with them to achieve much bigger impact in support of farmers’ struggles to cope and to thrive in an age of climate change.
I want to thank Mieke Bourne and May Gathigo for assembling this edition of the newsletter. And also the many landcarers who contributed to it.