By Philip Buda Ladu
Greening South Sudan, a youth led Organization in collaboration with the Episcopal Church of South Sudan Diocese of Rejaf on Easter Sunday launched a greening South Sudan tree planting campaign with religious institutions for climate justice and food security.
Greening South Sudan is a registered Youth led National Organization with a mission to promote sustainable green growth economy, through youth and women involvement and empowerment in agriculture and environmental conservation.
The Archbishop of the Central Equatoria Internal Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and the Executive Director of Greening South Sudan graced the launch of the tree planting campaign with planting of a symbolic tree at St. Peter’s Parish, Shirkat Deanery of Rejaf Diocese.
The symbolic tree was planted to mark the end of the Easter festive season on Easter Sunday as a sign of the church’s commitment in climate change awareness and food security in South Sudan, with the theme “pray and plant a tree for climate justice and food security”.
The program has been designed to run with the religious institutions as the convenient avenue to conduct the climate change awareness according to the organization Executive Director Mr. Garang Maguet Garang.
Archbishop Dr. Paul Pitia Yugusuk of ECSS Central Equatoria Internal Province welcomes the collaborative efforts with Greening South Sudan saying as a church planting trees is within their mandate and activities.
“As a church this is within our mandate, within our activities so thank you very much we will collaborate not only here but even in other churches we need this initiative, may God bless you abundantly,” Yugusuk said.
The ECSS Central Equatoria Internal Province Archbishop said they have lost trees as they have been cutting trees every day and it’s time they arose to conserve the environment.
“You can see charcoal from all over the outskirts of Juba coming to Juba so we have cut a lot of tree so I think this is doing harm to the nature and so we have to protect nature, God has created us to protect the nature for our good so thank you for this initiative we shall work together,” he noted.
“In fact, it’s biblical! It is part of our work that we must pray for the nature and protect the nature for the well-being of our people. So we need rain, we need shade, we need the trees, so nature is very important we are almost losing it but we want to be back for planting trees,” Yugusuk underscored.
Garang Maguet Garang the Executive Director of Greening South Sudan said their mission is to transform the society as people are cutting down trees but are not planting to replace them.
“Churches and other religious institutions are the places where we find mass gathering, so today (Sunday) as we mark the launching of greening South Sudan campaign to mark the end of festive season which is Easter, people fast for 40 days but today we want it to be a culture so next year we will also have the same activity, so if we plant one billion trees it will be a very nice move,” Maguet emphasized.
Maguet said they plan to establish nursery beds across the ten states and three Administrative Areas. But for the mean time he said they are starting in Juba, and once they get enough or sufficient funding they will be able to expand to the States.
He said they plan to plant 10 million trees within ten years’ period as their first target; however the Greening South Sudan Executive Director said their major concern will be funding to accomplish their mission.
South Sudan has been severely affected by adverse efforts of climate change ranging from severe flooding, prolonged drought and outbreak of pest and diseases putting exposing many livelihoods to severe hunger.
The youth led organized said there has been a continuous massive deforestation and dumping of plastic waste saying the church is holistic approach to create awareness in the places of worship.
“Our activities focus on youth and women empowerment in agriculture by providing high quality seeds and inputs. We also offer agricultural advisory services to the selected farmers as they work to foster profitable farming to the communities,” Mr. Maguet stated.