SAFCEI recently held two Faith Leader Environmental Advocacy Training workshops (FLEAT) in Malawi and Zimbabwe

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FLEAT Mombasa 2018

Faith leaders in Kenya came together in Mombasa to work together on environmental sustainability 29- 31 May 2018. From the 17 participants 9 were male and 8 females from various religious backgrounds namely Muslim, Methodist, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Anglican and other Christian faiths.

The programme included advocacy strategies with presentations from SAFCEI consultant and the Goldman Prize 2018 winner for the Africa region, Liz McDaid, as well as Phillis Omido who was the recipient of the Goldman prize in 2015 for taking on a lead-smelting factory after many people, including her son fell ill. Green Champio,ns Kelly Ngeti from FLEAT 1 and Janet Nzamo from FLEAT 2, also presented during the workshop.

On day 3 the FLEAT Mombasa group were invited to visit COMENSUM who works on rehabilitation of the Mangroves Forest in the Majanoi Area of Mtwapa Creek. COMENSUM registered as a CBO in 2012 to rehabilitate the forest after it has been destroyed by nearby communities by chopping down the trees for coal, timber for construction, firewood, fish traps, stakes, dyes and herbal medicines among others.

Bishop Joseph Sagwe from the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega in Kenya led us in a prayer and blessing of the seedlings and forest. The FLEAT group planted 100 mangrove trees in our support of restoring the Mangroves forest.

FLEAT Zimbabwe 2018

On the 24-26 July 2018 we headed off to Harare for a Zimbabwe FLEAT workshop. 17 participants were selected of which 6 were women. The following congregations were represented, Catholic, Islam, Anglican, Presbyterian, Congregational, Apostolic, Christian, ZAOGA FIF International Independent Church, Methodist, Unitarian and Quaker.

Participants came together to discuss climate change and environmental challenges within Zimbabwe. Due to the political situation in Zimbabwe, environmental challenges are felt not being taken seriously although so many activities with NGOs and in congregations are happening. One of the discussions focussed on communities impacted by mining and what interventions is needed.

Guest presenters included Wellington Sibanda (FLEAT2), a student minister from the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) who did a presentation on “Connecting our Faith and the Environment” and Ngonidzashe Edward (FLEAT2) a policy development researcher and coordinator who did a community mapping exercise.

Our field visit was at St Manocks Secondary School where each of the group members planting a tree with secondary school students who had to shadow us individually. ACT alliance arranged a sponsor for trees and participants received contacts of the sponsor.

A second field trip was to Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre which forms part of the University of Zimbabwe Agriculture Economics, Education and Extension Department.