The course will cover all the standard topics on the Permaculture Design syllabus, but with a cultural twist to give it local relevance!  Naturally, we will place special emphasis on applying permaculture principles to local characteristic in Sinai including aridity, poor soils, saline water sources and water scarcity and tourism.  

Tourism has changed the traditional living concept and resource management of the Egyptian and Bedouin and European communities in Sinai.

Nowadays new security problems have strongly changed the related economy. People have suddenly no alternative and shall face the big opportunity to re-design the system.  The current system demonstrates by itself that is not sustainable.  New social and economic systems are already emerging in order to respond to climate and economic change. A transition pathway is required because it is only through self-management that production can become oriented toward concrete needs, instead of shareholder value and profit.

The ecological design principles covered in the course have universal applicability, and participants will gain multiple skills that are transferrable to any ecoregion whilst enjoying the winter sunshine and legendary hospitality of the Sinai Peninsula.  We will also carry out some practical activities that will leave a lasting legacy at Habiba Community. 


Core topics include:

  • Ethics and principles of permaculture
  • Concepts and themes in design
  • Pattern recognition
  • Climatic factors
  • Ecological building design - earthship
  • Waste management strategies
  • Trees and their energy transactions
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Earthworks and earth resources
  • Aquaculture and aquaponics -----Are you sure??
  • Strategies for an alternative global nation

All the previous major topic are intended to be general as detailed by the particular geographic and social characteristic. It will be given particular attention on understanding traditional Bedouin culture and land management strategies and their technological and natural effectiveness.

The Venue:

Habiba Community is an initiative to build community resilience in South Sinai through sustainable farming, education and business innovation.  It consists of a beach eco-lodge, an organic farm for research and development, and a community learning center.  One of the driving concepts behind the project is to diversify Bedouin livelihoods away from dependency on the tourist sector, which is in decline, and to adapt to realities of climate change that are being felt more and more throughout the Middle East.  
Habiba community was founded by Maged and Lorena El-Said in 1994.  The couple have dedicated their lives and energies to Nuweiba ever since.  Their passion is derived from their sense of belonging to the community and their belief in the integration of all parties of South Sinai, as well as the urgent need for local development to support Bedouin communities. Their vision is to build a sustainable local community that provides for the essential needs and well-fare of its constituents. 

The Teachers:

Alice Gray is a permaculture designer and teacher who has made her life in the Middle East since 2006, mostly working in the environmental development sector of the nearby Palestinian Territories and more recently in southern Jordan.  She has taught several technical permaculture courses at Palestinian universities as well as working on food security projects with the Bedouin communities of the Negev desert in Israel.  She studied permaculture with Brad Lancaster (author of ‘Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond’) at Marda Permaculture Farm in Palestine, and is active in applied permaculture research in both arid and temperate zones, working with Bait Ali Farm in Jordan and Tyddyn Teg Farm in Wales.  She is a director of Byspokes, a consulting company for sustainable agriculture solutions; and has been a friend of Habiba Community since 2012 when she first visited. 

Paolo Rosazza Prin is a PhD on aerospace engineer with specialization on system design and energy system. He participate in several collaboration with NGOs and academic institution, teaching and consulting. He has been working closely with Engineers Without Borders and several NGOs in relation to projects of international cooperation in the energy , environmental and food safety, sanitation, agriculture and Permaculture. Paolo perform his research on Permaculture starting from a PDC at the Italian institute of Permaculture, recognized by the Permaculture Research Institute Australia, then getting experience on several Italian organic farms, then around Australia performing a permaculture intership on sustainable architecture and farming at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia and Permaculture Institute TAGARI – Australia.He is a founding director of ECOntACT, an association made up of people who believe in the overall development of the quality of life through projects that take as a reference point the respect for the culture, the identity of each people, awareness raising, development education, the research and the application of the most appropriate techniques for better management of land resources. Paolo was a volunteer at Habiba in 2013 and has been instrumental in fundraising for, designing and building a Permaculture Learning Centre in cooperation with Alan Middleton and Clay is the Way Sinai.  Alice and Paolo met at Habiba in January 2014 whilst building the first walls of the Learning Center and hatched the plan of offering this PDC course as a means of supporting the wonderful work of Habiba Community. 
Paolo is nowadays involved in research and development on permanent systematic design methodologies. The test case is a Permaculture Demonstration Site design, including the Permaculture Learning Center.

Cost and payment

The course fee is $750 BUT an early-bird discount (600$) is available for participants who pay in full before  September 30th 2015! 

Book your place now for just $600!  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The fee is all-inclusive and covers basic accommodation in shared beach-huts at Habiba Camp, with access to shared showers and toilets, and 3 meals a day.  If you wish, you can purchase an upgrade to a private or en-suite room with air conditioning (please contact us to discuss if so). 

We have deliberately kept the cost low to make the course more accessible to all people, and to ensure a high turn-out: the profits will largely go to supporting the development of Habiba Community as a pioneer of sustainable solutions in Sinai. 

Getting there:

The Sinai peninsula is part of Egypt.  Nuweiba is in the south-east, just two hours drive from Sharm-el-Sheikh international airport.  We recommend that those travelling internationally fly to Sharm and then take a taxi to Habiba.  If you would like us to coordinate your pick-up and send a trusted driver to collect you, please be in touch and we will arrange it. 

If you would like to spend some time before or after the course relaxing and exploring, diving, hiking and generally enjoying the myriad delights of southern Sinai, there are numerous inexpensive camps in and around Nuweiba or in the larger nearby resort of Dahab.  We do encourage you to support local Bedouin businesses as and when you can during your stay!  

Visas and security:

Nationals from the EU and USA can visit the southern Sinai for a maximum of 15 days without obtaining a visa in advance – they are granted a free entry stamp on arrival at Sharm el Sheikh.  If you wish to visit other locations in Egypt outside of Sinai, or pass through the land borders to any neighbouring country, we recommend you arrange your visa in advance via an Egyptian consulate in your country. 

Nationals from Arab Countries are advised to contact the Consulate General prior to applying for a visa in order to confirm the required documentation. 

Although there have been some security problems in Sinai over the last few years, most of these have been centered in the northern area around Al Arish and Rafah; very few incidents have occurred in the southern tourist zone.  Egyptian police patrol the roads between Sharm el Sheikh and Nuweiba to ensure the security of tourist convoys.

Additional information:

You can find out more about the venue, the teachers and their projects and the Sinai Peninsula by visiting the following websites:

Habiba Community:

Paolo Rosazza and ECOntACT:

Alice Gray and Byspokes:

Sinai Tourist Information:

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