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Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) is the representative body that brings together African Independent and Instituted Churches (AICs), offers them a forum for sharing their concerns and hopes, and enables churches to minister effectively to the needs of their members and their communities. There are about 60 million AIC members spread over tens of thousands of AIC denominations across Sub-Saharan Africa and the African Diaspora, and the international headquarters is located in Nairobi, Kenya.
Presently, East Africa, Southern Africa, and Nigeria are all experiencing droughts. These extreme weather patterns, due to climate change, affect everyone. However, it is having a greater impact on those living on the margins of society and rural areas. The impact of the drought in Kenya alone has resulted in a lack of food, a steep increase in the price of food due to the lack of food, and the loss of lives and livestock.
The Tree for Life is a sustainable agricultural project to plant tree nurseries and improve food security and income security in communities in Kenya and Nigeria. As a result, the Tree for Life project will protect, restore, and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss. Primarily women, young people, and children in primary schools active in agricultural clubs are participating in the planting and nurturing of trees throughout Kenya and Nigeria. The planting of trees is accompanied by trainings, which encourage traditional knowledge on the effective care of trees and maintaining tree nurseries. While participants are active in farming activities and caring for the new tree nurseries, the OAIC is working with congregations as well to raise awareness on the effects of climate change.
The OAIC is raising funds to purchase seeds for three tree nurseries, offering trainings for local trainers and farmers, and developing and distributing educational materials on climate change.
Update: August 2018
The Tree for Life is a sustainable agricultural project of the OAIC to plant tree nurseries and improve food security and income security in communities in Kenya and Nigeria. The project originated as a response to the extreme weather patterns, which is having the greatest impact on those living on the margins of society and in rural areas. In the past year, the OAIC has started implementing the project in Machakos County of Eastern Kenya. In Kenya, the Forestry Department recommends that each county have at least 10% of land covered in forest. Currently, only 3% of the land in Machakos County is considered forest. Machakos County is regularly in the news because of a lack of rain, cattle dying from the absence of green pastures, and crops failing because of drought.
The OAIC is encouraged to see the motivation of political leaders in Machakos County to take environmental action. The Minister of Environment said, “Most people do not see planting trees as a priority in the midst of all other burning issues the country is facing. It is difficult for us to understand the connection between trees and human health, and trees and weather. We welcome the Tree for Life project and we are willing even to give land to the church so that they can plant a forest. The county needs more than 1,000 trees planted, and with the Tree for Life project, we plan to plant one million trees in Machakos alone.”
The project has become a part of the community fabric. Today, a partnership between the OAIC, Machakos County government, the national government, and the African Brotherhood Church is committed to the Tree for Life project. Together, this partnership has accomplished several goals for planting trees in Machakos County already.
Since the project’s beginnings, the OAIC has planted an initial assortment of 200 seedlings at the Kathiani Primary School. The OAIC has trained a local congregation of the African Brotherhood Church (ABC) in afforestation. Also, the county government has given the OAIC an acre of land in Kathiani forest for this project. Moving forward, the Tree for Life project continues to work toward the remaining goals for Machakos county, including:
• Planting at least one million trees by March 2019
• Establishing tree nurseries at four congregations of the ABC church maintained for transplanting young trees in the forest
Global Ministries is grateful for the support received for the Tree for Life project of the Organization of African Instituted Churches, and continues to welcome gifts in support of this project.