The Privilege of risk-taking
Research carried out on the Transformative Praxis (TP) Campus follows a simple principle that exploration and mitigating risks associated with failure should not be the exclusive luxury of the Global North (GN). In Global South (GS) countries like Malawi, there is an understandable caution in re-thinking new approaches to old habits associated with colonial directives, when the risk of life and death can be dependent on small changes.
For example, GN countries ushered in the directives and promises to Malawians of prosperity that came from “cash crops” stimulated by chemical fertilizers. Over many decades of clear-cutting jungle and forest, monoculture farming and chemical fertilizers, the land where our campus is situated has not only had its soil depleted of life-giving nutrients, but organisms as well (soil fungi, microbes, worms, beetles, snakes, etc.) and cultural connections between the people and the land. Moreover, cash crops are highly dependent on foreign markets in dictating value. In such conditions, the average Malawian (who is also a farmer) becomes dependent on purchasing chemical fertilizers to grow a cash crop that may plummet in price. The risk of trying to re-introduce indigenous ways of growing food and replenishing that land becomes to great for those that live well below the international average of impoverished.
The TP Campus, from pre-kindergarten to adult education, envisions GN-GS partnerships where experiments, like permaculture approaches to food sustainability, can be tested and improved without the fear of hunger. For a decade, we have been determined to create a space where people can meet and work together to problem solve issues related to Health, Education and Development, with self-sustainability being the goal.
Past research projects never end. With the belief that even “best practices” can improve, we are endeavouring to create a space that can critically meet local challenges and work towards an ever improved common good.
An EXAMPLE OF PAST PROJECTS: COVID-19 Presentation
In 2020, Transformative Praxis worked hard to fight against Covid-19, both on the campus and the surrounding villages. In collaboration with the TP Health Team in Malawi, Canadian Transformative Praxis: Malawi members put together a Health Education curriculum, including original artwork, to be delivered to the community about Covid-19 information and prevention. 2500 bars of soap were purchased for the 1200 families that surround the campus. In an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19, 2 bars of soap were given to each of the families that attended the health information sessions. TP health volunteers helped sew masks for the surrounding villagers as well, to further aid in Covid preventative measures.
While the above photos offer an example of a few of the slides presented at the health information sessions, the video below contains the entire presentation, as it was delivered in Chewa, the local language.