Improving health and wellbeing for Ni-Vanuatu people through permaculture

Help get PRI Luganville, Vanuatu off the ground!

Help get PRI Luganville, Vanuatu off the ground!

Support Tom and Zaia Kendall with Daniele Bettini and Anne Blanc, to establish a Permaculture Research Institute Master Plan site in Luganville, Vanuatu. The site will be a permaculture demonstration site where we will run PDCs and longer term practical experiences for local people.
‘We aim to show them that they have such wonderful traditions and such an abundant natural environment, that they will be able to support that abundance by learning how to work with nature in the Permaculture way.’  Zaia Kendall

The Vision:

In 2013 Tom went to Vanuatu to teach a PDC Course to 10 local students who took this knowledge back to their villages. He returned in 2014 on a sponsored visit to do more trainings, and again saw various problems on the islands which he felt inspired to find solutions for.

Topsoil is disappearing at alarming rates — the locals do a lot of burning of organic material.

Due to villages moving from forests to beach (due to the urging of Westerners), their food sources are sometimes many hours away. Their diet consists mainly of root vegetables, some canned meat or fish and white rice, with very little greens. They have a diabetes epidemic, with people in their early twenties dying or getting limbs amputated. Protein sources have diminished, as the ocean is being fished out and they do not kill as many wild fowl as they used to. The health of the population is severely declining.

This rapid change to mono-culture cash-crop cultivation (eg. peanuts), previously not grown on the islands, is leading to deforestation and degraded soil and soil loss are becoming a big problem. We saw the lack of diversity in the diet, and believe that diversity in the gardens will lead to diversity of food consumed and better health.

To help educate and empower local Ni-Vanuatu people, we are going to start a PRI in Luganville. This will be a Permaculture demonstration site where PDCs and longer term practical Permaculture experiences are run for local and international people. The aim is that International students will provide the financial support for the Institute to be able to sponsor local people. This will be the first PRI site in Vanuatu, as we would like to establish another one in Port Vila in the future.

The site will be set up with buildings that are traditional to the villages (bamboo walls, thatch roofs, elevated bamboo and/or dirt floors). This is to show the local people that their style of building works for their environment — they are sustainable and easily rebuilt, should a cyclone destroy them and work for their climate, passively cooling and heating the house.

A simple bamboo hut like the one pictured above, costs around AUD$400 to construct, employing local resources and people. The fact that it needs to be rebuilt after some years means there is constant employment for the community (who build these houses together).

This will also show people that Western style buildings (with their imported concrete and bricks) are not something they need to strive for. We aim to show them that they have such wonderful traditions and such an abundant natural environment, that they will be able to support that abundance by learning how to work with nature in the Permaculture way. Discussions have been had with government representatives who are very keen and excited for this project to go ahead.

About Vanuatu:

Vanuatu (previously known as the New Hebrides Islands) is an archipelago nation consisting of 83 islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean, north of New Zealand and east of Australia. It became independent from France and the UK in 1980. Its over 256 000 people speak more than 100 local languages.

General Terrain: mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains

Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Geographical High Point: Tabwemasana 1,877 m

Climate: tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October; moderate rainfall from November to April; may be affected by cyclones from December to April

Who we are:

Tom and Zaia Kendall run the Permaculture Reasearch Institite Sunshine Coast. A place for people who are aware of the need for change in the world, the PRI Sunshine Coast is an educational facility that encourages change to a sustainable, self reliant and abundant lifestyle to benefit self, others and the earth. PRI-SC teaches Permaculture without any spiritual connotations and combines Bill Mollison’s and Geoff Lawton’s teachings with Tom Kendall’s lifelong agricultural and self reliance experience.
For more about Tom and Zaia please go to

Daniele Bettini and Anne Blanc did their PDCs with Tom Kendall at the PRI Sunshine Coast, Dani in 2013 and Anne in 2015. Dani volunteered at PRI Sunshine Coast for 7-8 months, Anne for 5-6 months, impressing Tom and Zaia with their skills, work ethics and positive attitude. When Tom and Zaia were looking for people to start the Luganville PRI site, they came immediately to mind and when it was suggested to them, they jumped at the opportunity. They have been working to fund their trip since their return to Europe earlier this year. Dani has a wealth of experience working with NGOs in different countries in need and is keen to do his part in helping the Ni-Vanuatu people through Permaculture.
For more about Dani and Anne please go to

What we need at this stage:

We have so far sponsored ourselves to be able to get things in motion and have been given a 10 hectare piece of land near Luganville by a wonderful local couple who are keen to support our vision. We have now found that we are unable to get the initial phase of this project off the ground without financial support. We are meeting late June in Luganville with 3 of Tom’s PDC students who will be taking on the initial setup and running of the site and need the following (figures in AUD):
2 x flights to Luganville: $2000
Accommodation for 5 people for 10 days: $1000
Food for 5 people for 10 days: $500
Communication and ground transport: $400
Flight to Port Vila to register a Not for Profit organisation (PRI Luganville): $500
Accommodation and food in Port Vila for 1 person: $250
NFP registration costs: $200
Onsite Solar system: $1500
Onsite Water system: $1000
Onsite Buildings: 2 x accommodation huts $800, 1 x kitchen hut $400, 1 x teaching/communal space $500
Tools: $350
Fees and charges taken from donations (eg Paypal, Wethetrees, bank fees etc): $500
Total AUD $9,900
Total US $7,750

How can you help?

  • By contributing financially, we will be able to kick start the site into action by establishing the basic infrastructure to bring and house volunteers on the site.
  • By spreading the word (sharing on your networks, email contacts, etc) about this fundraising campaign and the project itself.
  • Of course, if you have any other contacts or resources that you think could be useful, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

THANK YOU! All support is greatly valued and appreciated!!! Any excess funding will be used in further support of the PRI Luganville site. You can also contact us directly at if you would prefer to contribute or donate in a different way.

Vision for the future:

The idea is to establish the demonstration site with as little dependency on cash injections as possible. To keep this project sustainable it needs to be self-funded (by running PDC’s and other courses) and independent – using locally available resources and skills.
We aim to have the project managed by locals within 3 years, handing over the managing of the site and courses, whilst continuing to oversee, advise and support as needed.

To assist this project, please contact us on info [at] (replace [at] with @ in the email address) and request our direct deposit details. We also have a We The Trees crowdfunding page at Any assistance will be greatly appreciated!

©2015 Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast – Help is required to fund raise to establish a Permaculture Research Institute in Luganville, Vanuatu.

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