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ARC Home > Projects > Faiths for Green Africa :
Faith Commitments | List of African commitments

African Faith Commitments

Faith groups across Africa are mobilising their communities - including their young people - to care for the environment

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The National Muslim Council of Tanzania has developed a handbook for madrassas on Islamic teachings on the environment with support from the US-based Jane Goodall Institute.
than 25 faith groups across sub-Saharan Africa are taking action to mobilise their communities to protect the environment.

Inspired by the Long-term Commitments for a Living Planet launched by 31 faith groups at ARC's Windsor Celebration in 2009, Christian, Muslim and Hindu faith groups launched their own long-term plans at ARC's Many Heavens, One Earth, Our Continent celebration in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2012.

They included Christian and Muslim groups from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Hindu leaders are developing a plan for all of Africa (Hindus are present in 26 African countries).

These hugely impressive and ambitious commitments outline action on the environment that faith groups commit to taking over the next seven years. They have all been drawn up as a result of extensive consultation with local structures and endorsed by the highest authority of the faith group.

The plans focus on faith-based responses to the issues of agriculture practice, sustainable use of land and water and education on the environment in faith schools. They include:

Women-led projects: Establishing women-led tree nurseries with training in nursery bed establishment and training in agroforestry. For example:

  • The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania intends to set up 26 tree nurseries training over 200 women in tree nursery establishment, tree planting and agroforestry.
  • The Bunyoro Kitara Diocese of the Anglican Church of Uganda also proposes setting up women-led tree nurseries using the Mother’s Union.
  • The Gomba Women‘s Greening Project in Uganda proposes working with the Muslim Supreme Council to train women leaders from over 200 mosques in agroforestry and the use of energy efficient stoves.

    Sustainable agriculture: Using faith institutions such as mosques and monasteries as a base of training in sustainable agriculture. For example:

    More than 90% of Africa’s population describe themselves as Christian or Muslim. Out of 819 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, 470 million are Christian and 234 million are Muslim.
  • The Ethiopia Islamic Supreme Council proposes an eco-mosque project involving developing tree nurseries, tree planting and agroforestry training at selected mosques.
  • The Abaja Ba Kristo (the Servants of Christ) agro-pastoral centre, run by a women’s religious congregation in Karongi Region, Rwanda, proposes expanding its farmer training in sustainable agriculture.
  • The Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Nigeria, proposes training farmers in water protection and management including introduction of irrigation farming.

    Teaching in faith-based schools on care on the environment from a theological and practical perspective and including projects on sustainable agriculture, water harvesting and WASH issues in schools. For example:

  • Development of an education for sustainable development toolkit for faith primary schools in Kenya that incorporates faith values, using eco-schools as a strategy for the curriculum of faith-based schools.
  • Establishment of 1,000 eco clubs in Christian and Muslim schools in Ghana to teach environmental care and sustainable land management.
  • Introduction of water harvesting in Catholic schools in Abuja, Nigeria.

    Community engagement, awareness raising and capacity building on the environment, with a focus on how Islam, Christianity and African spirituality relate to taking care of the environment. This capitalises on the influence and reach of faith communities. For example:

  • Promotion of Green Fridays – designated days for discussion and action on the environment – in mosques throughout Uganda.
  • Development of a faith-inspired congregation mobilisation toolkit on the environment for Muslim religious leaders in Ethiopia in collaboration with regional Islamic Councils for 100 imams and 100 community leaders.
  • Organisation of awareness creation workshops on environmental protection for over 10,000 Christian and Muslim congregations in Ghana.

    List of African Faith Commitments for a Living Planet

    For a list of all the commitments - and to read the plans themselves - click here.

    Overview of the plans

    For more information on how the faith commitments were developed and an overview of their activities, click here for this introduction written by Alison Hilliard, ARC Deputy Secretary General and co-ordinator of ARC's Africa programme.

    Background to the plans

    In March 2011, supported by the World Bank, USAID and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway, ARC hosted some 30 Christian and Muslim leaders from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe at a workshop in Nairobi to explore drawing up long-term plans for action on the environment.

    Two key Hindu observers also participated: Hindus have active national organisations in 26 African countries.

    They were joined by technical experts in sustainable land management and tree planting including USAID, ICRAF (World Agroforestry Centre), UNEP’s Billion Trees Campaign, the World Bank and the International Small Group and Tree Planting Programme.

    The event was held in partnership with the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), an ecumenical body representing more than 120 million Christians in 39 African countries.

    As a result, more than 25 new long-term plans have been developed from Muslim and Christian faith groups and one Hindu group (the National Hindu Council of Africa) and will be launched in Nairobi in September 2012.

    More information

    To read ARC's press release about the first meeting, click here.


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    Related information

    April 2, 2011:
    PRESS RELEASE: 20 long-term eco plans to be created by Christians and Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa
    At a two-day workshop organised by ARC in Nairobi this week, 20 Christian and Muslim faith groups, which account for millions of followers in sub-Saharan Africa, committed to developing long-term action plans on the environment.
    September 18, 2012:
    UNEP says working with faiths is "top of our priorities" in Africa
    UNEP Regional Representative, Mounkaila Goumandakoye told an ARC gathering of senior African faith leaders that working with religions will go to the top of the UNEP agenda in Africa.
    African faith resources
    African faith resources on the environment