By Elias Mhegera – Servants of God through their network of Faith Based Organizations, the Inter-Religious Council for Peace Tanzania (IRCPT), have resolved to find a common ground in matters of Climate Change.
Behind this initiative was the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), which has sponsored not only the conference that took place at Kebby’s Hotel in Mwenge on Thursday last week, but also has sponsored similar gatherings on the subject and the publication of two books in the topic.
During the opening session Stephen Reith the Resident Director of KAS said that religious leaders are closer to their congregations which make it easier to disseminate the message on Climate Change.
“We are proud that through KAS now clerics can deal with the subject more confidently, the IRCPT have brought people from different religious affiliation even more closely,” remarked Rev Sistus Mallya from the Pentecostal Churches of Tanzania (PCT).
Eelier KAS sponsored the publication of a book on Climate Change for secondary schools and the second one was this for the Faith Based Organizations.
The conference not only expanded knowledge to the servants of God, but also it proved that serious pertinent issues could replace divisive sentiments which are always calculated to work for a certain political agenda.
During the conference it was decided that there was a need to prepare a special curriculum that will be used to disseminate knowledge on Climate Change by the clerics to their congregations.
Six people were appointed to determine what should appear in the curriculum and they represented the different religious sects namely Baahai, Muslims, and Christians.
Representative of the Roman Catholic Church Fr Benedict Shemfumbwa who represented the Tanzania Episcopal Council (TEC), said his church has deiced to’ walk the talk’ by embarking on a major tree planting scheme.
We have started by planting trees at Segera Senior Seminary because all priests must undergo training through such an institution which means many people will benefit from this education,” he commented.
Sheikh Ali Saidi Mosse from the Ahmadiya-Tanzania Islamic wing said that there was a need to standardize the curriculum of the education that will be provided to Christians and Muslims because in essence they do share goals on this topic.
A senior official from the KAS Mr Erasto Ndeuka warned that there must be a balance between planting of trees for Climate Change purpose and the cultivation of food crops.
Coincidently Tanzanian journalists, policy makers and researchers obtained week long training in Climate Change at White Sands Hotel in Dar es Salaam, starting from Sunday last week.
The training was convened by FANRPLAN in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), and it brought together farmers, the private sector, experts in agriculture and policy makers and journalists across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
Standing for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, it has conducted training for various groups from inside and outside Tanzania meeting to share matters of mutual concern on this matter.
Before attending the training scribers underwent one day training from Mr Ben Rootman from South Africa who coached them on getting the right angles of the stories to be covered.
In cooperation with Mr Martin van Niekerk also from South Africa, they exposed journalists to the various strategies to communicate messages in Climate Change through print, electronic, online, and social media.
Introducing the subject matter to journalists the Chief Executive Officer and Head of Mission Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda said that it was important that scientists, journalists and other experts work together in order to attain food security.
An expert in food and bio-fuels Dr Wyanand van Walt said that there were many benefits of biofules all there one cannot deny the requirement of large portions of land.
Expertise in Climate Change started with Dr Amy Sullivan who discussed on how strategies to adapt Climate Change and agriculture must be balanced so that people gets to know how they can mitigate and adapt for the same.
“It is important to acknowledge the fact there are many associated factors to the extent that all must be given due consideration, otherwise the communities might end up in unending conflicts,” she commented.
Dr Sullivan said that the subject entails the components of resource management, but also taking into consideration protection of water sources and food production for the communities.
Moreover journalists and other attendants in the workshop were exposed to various methods targeted at Strengthening Evidence-Based Climate Change Adaptation (SECCAP). The discussion was based on the Limpompo Basin as a case study.
Mr Kudzai Ndizadzano discussed the potential threats and resources variations caused by Climate Change including HIV/Aids spread due to demographic shifts as well as possible conflicts due to the fight for resources.
For his part Nkulumo Zinyengere warned that it was important to analyze a combination of facts like which kind of crops are more applicable, and the kind of fertilizers to be used when the land become warmer and warmer.