Insights Arising


  • "Consider what you are doing as a calling to restore that which human beings have destroyed in a way contrary to what God intended".  Rev Dr Sam Kobia
  • ‘’Regreening is a pulpit issue.’’  Rev Jane Jilani 
  • ‘’There is dead soil and living soil.’’ 
  • ‘’Let us give life to the soil and the soil will give life to us.’’ 
  • ‘’Take care of the land and it will take care of you. Destroy the earth and it’ll destroy you.’’ 
  • ‘’We are all integrated and inter-connected.’’ 
  • ‘’We must help carry each other’s burdens.’’ 
  • ‘’Faith-based restoration needs to work hand-in-hand and help fulfill the restoration strategy and targets of government.’’
  • ‘’Knowledge about restoration is key at individual, community, church and government levels.’’
  • ‘’Creating partnerships is mutually beneficial to all parties involved.’’  
  • ‘’There are synergies when faiths work together for restoration. Faiths are the stewards of the garden.’’  

REPORT: Strengthening the faith-based
​land restoration working group
One Day Meeting and Learning Visit

Recommendations for Action


•    Set up a mechanism whereby OikoDiplomatique actively nurtures, supports and expand the faith-based land restoration working group. 
•    Document and collate what is already being done by faith actors in terms of land restoration and from there produce practical manuals, such as ‘Do’s and Don’ts of how to grow trees’ in English and vernacular languages tailored for use by the different faith organisations (eg Catholic, Pentecostal, Anglican, Muslim etc) 
•    Organise further events for faith-based and restoration practitioners to come together, share experiences and knowledge, encourage, enrich and learn from one another.

Purpose of the Workshop


The purpose of this one-day workshop was to ‘hand over the baton’ for the faith-based action group from ICRAF to OikoDiplomatique, and in so doing plan next steps for the group. It also presented a chance for a representative group of faith-based actors to learn first-hand about the work and role of ICRAF, the world-leading centre in agroforestry and land restoration in Kenya.  

Specific objectives of the workshop
•    To take stock of the gains, hurdles and lessons learnt over the past year. 
•    To learn from ICRAF.
•    To discuss and understand the practical needs and challenges of faith based actors in land restoration, in order to enhance the gains of the working group.
•    To identify gaps and points of entry to strengthen in practical ways, faith based land restoration in Kenya. 
•    To agree and formulate next action steps that would inform a strategy for faith-based regreening in Kenya.

Structure of the day 
•    Individual introductions
•    Outline of purpose of the day 
•    Visits to the ICRAF soil lab, seed bank and tree nursery
•    Visit and discussion with Professor Catherine Muthuri, ICRAF Country Coordinator for Kenya and Regional Convenor for East Africa
•    Group discussion chaired by Rev. Dr. Sam Kobia

Venue:  World Agroforestry Centre (CIFOR-ICRAF), Nairobi​
Date: April 25th 2023​
​​Report by Dr Alan Channer and Nkatha Kobia ​

Background



In April 2017, a ground-breaking workshop of faith leaders and scientists convened by Dr.Dennis Garrity at ICRAF issued a declaration entitled “EverGreening our World: A joint Call to Action by faith leaders, development professionals and scientists in Kenya, for the sake of tomorrow”. 


The seed was sown for the development of a faith-based land restoration action group in Kenya.


In July 2021, the online Kenya National Landscapes Restoration Scaling Conference, initiated by the Regreening Africa programme of CIFOR/ICRAF, recommended the formation of exactly such an action group (together with other action groups focusing on women and youth, the private sector and rangelands). Regreening Africa wanted such actions group to continue to implement and advocate for land restoration beyond the life of the programme, which came to an end at the end of 2022. 


OikoDiplomatique, having been a key participant at both the 2017 EverGreening workshop and the 2021 Kenya National Landscapes Restoration Conference, was therefore strategically placed to provide continuity and impetus to faith-based land restoration, through fostering partnerships to build collaboration between faith and restoration organisations.


In April 2022, a key three-day workshop entitled ‘Faith-based land restoration in Kenya: forging partnerships, developing a strategy’, was organized jointly by OikoDiplomatique and ICRAF at the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in Nairobi. It brought together representatives of the major faiths in Kenya. See (link to previous report on website).  The gathering generated broad-based support and volition for OikoDiplomatique to expand the initiative.


In November 2022, during the second online Kenya National Landscapes Restoration Conference, the faith-based action group facilitated a session which attracted over 90 participants.    


Introduction


Faith communities are some of the oldest human organizations in existence and together make up the biggest element of civil society today.  The faiths of the world have a profound influence on values and ethics. Therefore, if environmental destruction is partly due to a crisis in values and ethics, then faith can play a major role in mitigating environmental destruction and its effects.  Further, faith organizations have strong networks penetrating deep into society; their potential impact is huge. 


Faith groups have an important role to play in restoring landscapes, which will in turn mitigate against soil erosion, water scarcity, poverty, climate change and conflicts over natural resources. However the harnessing of faith and faith communities for restoration is currently a gap both in the land restoration agenda and in the vision of faith organisations.   


Copyright ©  OIKOdiplomatique - Adding ethical value to advocacy and diplomacy

website: kaburo kobia

Cheptebo Conference Center

Conclusions 


The workshop and learning visit was a very fruitful and encouraging milestone in the growth of the faith-based land restoration movement in Kenya. The recommendations for actions will now be followed through in the context of a strategy that will be elaborated and implemented by OikoDiplomatique in very close collaboration with the faith-based land restoration action group, together with ICRAF and other strategic partners.