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Help stop lives and livelihoods being washed away by seasonal rains

The Bishop of Derby's Harvest Appeal 2023 will help the people in the Diocese of Bujumbura, Burundi, fight the catastrophic effects of seasonal rains that wash away their farms, homes, land and livelihoods.

Trees for Life Burundi will assist communities there plant thousands of saplings to help stabilise and strengthen the land, which will bring greater security and economic resilience and, at the same time, help wildlife and the environment in the area and beyond.

On launching the appeal, Bishop Libby said: "Burundi is ranked as the world's poorest nation. The impact of climate change is felt by those who try to make a living cultivating the hillsides.

"Recent years have seen dry seasons that have been particularly dry, and torrential rains in the wet season which have often caused flooding and devastating mudslides.

"The people of Bujumbura urgently want to help themselves to stop their crops, livestock and buildings disappearing down the hillsides as the land gets eroded by the rains.

"It is a complex situation, but one remedy is relatively straightforward, and I am delighted that this year's appeal will offer hope by supporting the people and communities of Bujumbura, in danger of losing everything they have, by planting trees."

"The Diocese of Derby is working to become younger, greener, more diverse and to prioritise those facing poverty. ‘Trees for life Burundi’ is putting our vision of the ‘Kingdom of God – good news for all’ into action."

Photo: Large swathes of land disappear because of heavy seasonal rains

The Bishop of Repton visited Bujumbura this summer and saw for himself the need and the opportunities for the people of the East African state.

Bishop Malcolm said: "The Diocese of Bujumbura is based in and around Burundi’s largest city. Outside the city the diocese is made up of rolling hills and valleys - in that respect alone, it is not unlike Derbyshire.

"On the edge of Bujumbura, in the Commune de Kanyosha, there are two ‘collines’ (the French word for ‘hill’) greatly at risk: Colline Gisovu and Colline Nyamaboko. There is currently no agroforestry there.

"The administrator of the commune said that, following torrential rain and strong winds recently, more than ten dwellings, a church and a school were destroyed, and many fields were damaged. Animals, too, were swept away by landslides.

"The inhabitants of these hills have not yet been able to take action to secure resilience to the effects of climate change. I hope we can support them in taking action."

Bujumbura is working in various areas to mitigate the effects of climate change by helping local residents plant trees.

Trees hold hillsides in place, prevent erosion, and protect lives and livelihoods.

They make all the difference locally and contribute globally to carbon capture.

Bishop Libby said: "It is a privilege to work together with the Diocese of Bujumbura in this way. Climate change is, of course, a global phenomenon and trees planted in Bujumbura also address, to some degree, climate change in Derbyshire!"

Photo: Saplings ready to be planted in a neighbouring district to help stabilise the soil

The people of Bujumbura know what is needed to protect themselves and their livelihoods: trees for life - so let’s gift them our generous faith, courageous hope and life-giving love." Bishop Libby Lane

Landslides can have a far-reaching impact on communities, not only through the loss of houses and fields, but also through the destruction of critical facilities.

The loss of a school means that opportunities for education and qualifications in that community can be lost. In turn, that greatly reduces the chances of getting a job, and that reduces the chances of being able to support yourself and a family adequately.

And that can lead to a loss of hope.

But the people of Bujumbura have a lot of determination and know that by planting trees - thousands of trees - the roots will grow and help stabilise the land.

They turn out in numbers to dig trenches and get planting - but they can only do that when viable saplings are available.

>> Download the Trees for life Burundi poster for your church or office: colour jpeg | colour PDFblack-and-white jpeg | black-and-white PDF

Photo: Locals dig trenches to start the tree-planting process

How will the Bishop of Derby's Harvest Appeal help?

The focus of the Diocese of Bujumbura’s work, with our support, will be:

- to reduce soil erosion by 20% on Gisovu and Nyamaboko hills by marking out the contours of the hillsides and planting trees strategically to offer the best protection to the land, and

- to initiate 20 climate resilience local economic groupings amongst women and young people, with a savings and credit approach to enable beneficiaries to set up a fund to help them purchase tree nursery equipment to sustain a tree planting project for the long term.

£5,000 will make all this possible.

If any more is raised, it will enable this immensely valuable work to be expanded to benefit residents of other collines in the neighbourhood.

Read about Bishop Malcolm's trip to Bujumbura here.

Thank you for your support!

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