Barbara Heinzen, PhD
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 Barbets Duet Anniversary Convention,
Bagamoyo, Tanzania 2-3 October 2018

In early October 2018, members of the Barbets Duet met at the Terrace Resort Hotel, Bagamoyo, Tanzania.  All but one of the learning sites was represented and we had two guests, one of whom is starting her own learning site in 2019.  The following long report is a record of the events and discussions that took place.

2018 Barbets Duet Tin Anniversary Convention Report

 Basic Introduction to Barbets Duet

The underlying assumption of the Barbets' Duet is that we will only protect ecosystems if we are rewarded for doing so.   At present, it is easy to make money by cutting a forest down, but no one gets paid for leaving a forest standing.   We therefore need to invent the institutional rules and market mechanisms which will reward people who protect habitats and maintain or increase valuable biodiversity.   The Barbets' Duet is a network of learning sites where people are experimenting with new ways of managing the land: environmentally, economically and socially. 

See Sankara Yambo's video of the 2016 Molo Convention in Uganda, hosted by James Magode Ikuya. 

Barbets Duet 2016 Molo Convention Uganda revised June17 Thumb­nail im­age

Pictures & Concepts

Brief graphical introduction:   This illustrated talk is used to introduce the Barbets Duet to new people. (file size: 6,105kb)

Brief concept note:
  This two-page note states the long term goals of the Barbets' Duet and the basic rationale behind the programme.   It identifies the people and places who have joined this experiment. (file size: 337kb)

Mosaic v column rights: A core concept in the Barbets Duet is the distinction between a property rights system based on mosaic rights and one based on column rights. 

Barbet Conventions

There have been six Barbet Conventions between October 2009 and January 2016.  Conventions take place at Barbet Learning Sites and include a site visit and in-depth conversations on what has been done and learned.   For Convention Reports, click on name or see below the table.


Barbets Duet Conventions 2009-2016





Topics of Discussion

Principle Achievement




Coming of Age Convention

Molo, Uganda

Flood plain of Nile River tributary, north of Tororo

Presenting ourselves to local community; issues of continuity and legacies; publicising our work

Public meeting with local community and leaders; Molo site visit: “restoration doe not contradict economic activity”; commitment of younger generation




Lukenya Convention

Lukenya, Kenya

(dry plains, off Mombasa Rd)

Defining ourselves; working with people outside the Barbets Duet - interns, researchers, internet audiences.

Including a younger generation; Jumuiya definition  (Kiswahili for a group of people with shared vision, values & goals); agree’t on work with others.




Himo Convention

Himo, Tanzania

(urban site near Mt Kilimanjaro)

What are we? What governance is required? Continuity, multiple generations. 

Learning by doing as well as talking.  Buying & planting trees at the Himo site.




Safari Convention

Travel to Barbet sites in Kenya & Uganda from Tanzania 

Various – responding to what was seen en route and at Barbet sites.

Meeting in multiple places as a different kind of convention.




Partners Meeting

Nkoroi, Kenya

(a new Nairobi suburb)

Site reports è discussion of Learning Site principles

Identifying principles for creating a learning site.




Invention Convention

Mlingotini, Tanzania

(coastal village near Bagamoyo)

Nature of the Barbets Duet idea; introductions to each other; principles for working collectively

Self-financing; using own resources rather than donor support to get together.

2016, February - Site Visits to Tanzania

Following the Coming of Age Convention in Molo, a group of five from USA, UK and Kenya drove from Nairobi to visit Barbet sites in Tanzania.  It was a rapid tour, but a lot was seen and learned.

2016, January: Coming of Age Convention, Molo, Uganda

In late January 2016, Magode Ikuya and his family welcomed about thirteen visitors form the Barbets Duet to his learning site in Molo, Uganda.  In addition to touring his site and having discussions among themselves, they presented the work of the Barbets Duet to a gathering of local leaders and community people.  You can find the full report of the convention, or a shorter summary here.

2014, January: Barbets Convention, Lukenya, Kenya

In late January 2014, Sammy Muvelah hosted the fifth Barbets Duet Convention at his learning site outside Nairobi, near Lukenya.  There were seven learning sites represented, with only Rose Lyimo absent.  This was also the first convention to include a younger generation.  See the text of the Lukenya Conversations and Lukenya Photo Essay for more details.  

2012, December: Barbets Convention, Himo, Tanzania

In early December, 2012, Rose Lyimo welcomed the Barbets Duet partners to her place in Himo, Tanzania, on the lower slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  This is the report of the Himo Conversations  and this is the Himo Photo Essay of the meeting.
2011, April: Safari Convention

In April 2011, Mwajuma Masaiganah, Machano Alli and Mwajuma Mabewa from Msi Choke in Mlingotini, Tanzania plus Abdallah Uledi, our driver, and Barbara Heinzen from London, travelled from the coast of Tanzania to Serengeti before visiting the Barbet sites in Seme, Kenya, Molo, Uganda and Lukenya, near Nairobi. 

2010, August: Nkoroi Partners Meeting

In August 2010, most of the Founding Partners of the Barbets Duet met at the home of Oby and Hilda Obyerodhyamo in Nkoroi, outside of Nairobi, Kenya.  The discussion was long and intense.  As each site reported, important issues were raised and explored.  A summary of that meeting appears here.

2009, October: Invention Convention
The Barbets Duet held its first convention in Mlingotini, Tanzania in October 2009.   Because it is the first convention, and marked the formal initiation of the Barbets Duet. it is called the "Invention Convention".   People from all the East African Barbet Learning Sites attended.  They were hosted by Mwajuma Masaiganah and the Msichoke Seaweed Farmers Cooperative.   Invention Convention Summary, Invention Convention Full Report 31 Mar 2010

Special Events

Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference, Nairobi, November 2016

In November, 2016, Barbara Heinzen and Hilda Adhiambo represented the Barbets Duet at the ESP conference in Nairobi.  They presented a summary of the lessons learned from the Barbets Duet over the past 5-10 years.  You can download their presentation here.
Barbets Duet - ESP presentation, November 2016 - (18mb file)

front row: Barbara Heinzen, Hilda Adhiambo, Jenny Farmer, Jan Dick, Ed Barrow;
back row: Kelvin Mtei, ??,??, Mariteuw Chimere.

Kelvin Mtei also gave an excellent presentation on biodiveristy and crop protection around Mt Kilimanjaro.  See his presentation here:
Kelvin Mtei: Ecosystem Services and Crop Protection

Other presentations from the ESP Africa Conference can be found here.

Talks in London, 2012

In December 2012, Magode Ikuya, Chris Jones and Barbara Heinzen gave two talks in London about the Barbets Duet.  One was at the Free Word Centre, in Clerkenwell, an the other was at University College. 

2012 December London Talk, Free Word Centre
2012 December London Talk, University College

Advisors & the Travel Fund

The thinking behind the Barbets Duet has been developing slowly since 2004, with the help of many different individuals, mostly in East Africa and the United Kingdom.   Their moral and intellectual support has been invaluable and continues.   In 2012, many of these people contributed to the Barbet Travel Fund, started by a UK supporter.  The fund began as a way to help Barbara Heinzen travel to the 2012 Convention in Tanzania after her move from the UK to her own learning site in the USA.  Contributions were so generous, that many Barbet partners have benefited from the Travel Fund, for travel between East Africa and the UK and within East Africa.  For more information, please contact

Barbets Game

One of the tools for learning currently being developed is the Barbets Game.   This board game is one where the players invent the rules.   It is currently being tested with adults and children in various parts of the world.   The team or individual who wins the game has the greatest biodiversity on the board.   In August 2013, the Game was tested with civil servants in Singapore as well as with primary school pupils.  This short video was made to introduce the game to students at United World College in Singapore.  (to come). 

Please get in touch if you are interested in helping to test and develop the Barbets Game.

Evolution of an Idea

progress reports, presentations, correspondence
The Barbets Duet is an experiment which is evolving all the time.   Everyone who joins is actively engaged in social and individual learning through reading, observing, conversation and hand-on-work.   In the interest of stimulating others to engage in similar learning, this section provides a record of reports, presentations and correspondence that document the evolution of the Barbets Duet as an experimental space for social learning and invention.

2012 Mosaic Rights in the 21st Century, Dec12: In December 2012, Barbara Heinzen and James Magode Ikuya gave a presentation to the Human Ecology Research Group at University College, London.  It described the mosaic rights regime at Magodes in Uganda that existed in the 1950s before it was overwhelmed by the the pressures of modern society.  (file size: 2.5 mb)

2012  Progress Report, Jul12: (click on preferred resolution to see report.)
(high resolution report: 6.8MB; low resolution report 2.0MB)
This report sums up activities at the various Barbet Learning Sites between the Safari Convention in April 2011 and May 2012, using short text and photographs for each site.

2011 "Just Begin", Jun11: This paper was presented at the Trends and Future of Sustainable Development Conference in Tampere, Finland.  It summarises the founding and evolution of the Barbets Duet experiment.  It exists as text and a graphical presentation.

Further reading on
Between 1999 and 2008, Barbara Heinzen was working closely with the Society for International Development to develop long-term scenarios describing alternative futures for East African societies.  SID brought people together in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the East Africa region as a whole to research and write these stories of the future.
For each scenarios project, a team of people from the country or the East African region worked together closely for 2-4 years, first in small teams of 20-30 people, then in dialogue with wider society.  The conversations were not easy, and the ideas that developed were often hard to articulate.  However, the thinking that was done, and the relationships that developed, provided important foundations for the Barbets Duet.
While working in East Africa, Barbara Heinzen was also researching and writing Feeling for Stones: learning and invention when facing the unknown.  This book explores the process of creating a new social and economic system when there is no model to follow.  Many of the lessons of that book, and the lectures developed around it, underpin the ambitions and processes of the Barbets Duet. 
Links to the SID scenario work, as well as to Barbara Heinzen's writing and lectures, are provided below through the headings.
(2000) Kenya at the Crossroads
(2003) Turafika Tanzania
(2004) The Story of Uganda
(2006-2008) East Africa: What do we want?   What Might We Become?
(1997e) Can Markets Manage Ecosystems?
(2000c) Is Technology the Only Driver of Change?
(2002b) Arts & Invention
(2007a) Ecological Modernisation UEA Dev Seminar
(2007f) Missing Markets
(2008b) Environmental Markets What Might Africa Offer?
(2005c) Whose knowledge? Africa & the Tension of Two Worlds
(2006a) Parliamentary Spaces, lecture by Barbara Heinzen & Oby Obyerodhyambo
(2007h) Tension of 2 Worlds, article by Barbara Heinzen & Aidan Eyakuze
(2009)   Mosaic v Column Rights – coming soon
(2008c) How Do Societies Learn
(2008f) Management in a Time of Systemic Change

? Barbara Heinzen, 2012. All rights reserved.