Nearly 97 per cent of households in Malawi depend on wood or charcoal for cooking and heating. This has led to a huge deforestation problem; wildlife has dwindled and, with the trees gone, there is no protection from floods. Rivers regularly burst their banks during the rainy season, damaging people’s homes and washing away their crops. But the church had a plan – one that the whole community got behind.
Tearfund’s local church partner ran a training programme with local leaders about deforestation and how caring for the environment would help to protect their community – particularly people living in poverty.
‘In the programme we have Christians, Muslims and traditionalists, led by the local leadership, all working as one,’ shares Pastor Harold Chitseko.
‘And we all have one goal of making our area much greener through tree planting, as we are faced with the deepening problem of deforestation.’
‘The training we received has been enlightening,’ continues Sheikh Banda – a leader of the Muslim community. ‘Each and every person is aware of the need to stop cutting down trees as we owe the environment to the future generations.’
The training has strengthened ties across the community. It has also led to more than 63,480 trees being planted in the area.
And there has also been another brilliant benefit.