Tropical forests across Africa are under relentless pressure – a problem we witness all too frequently in our daily conservation work. Yet we know conservation is about hope. Deforestation can be halted and aspirations for sustainable development can be attained. A Rocha Ghana, for example, is leading an impressive international campaign to save the globally recognized Atewa forest, while A Rocha Kenya is working with communities to preserve the important coastal forests of Kenya.
To date, A Rocha’s forest conservation projects have mainly been locally-focused, working with our partners to conserve a particular forest in a particular landscape. But while grounding ourselves in a landscape and doing locally-relevant conservation will always be core to how we work, we believe we can do more and add greater value by bringing our work, expertise and networks together. So we have developed a programme combining the efforts of five A Rocha organizations across the African continent.
Our Christian identity often differentiates us from many other conservation organizations. We believe that it is a completely normal part of the Christian life to care for the environment. In practice, this has allowed us to develop approaches, alongside conventional practices, to make advances where more secular organizations have not, working with churches to conserve the environment for example. Yet importantly, in all situations, across all our projects, we are respectful of others and their worldviews and work daily with people of all faiths and none.
A Rocha has a strong commitment to the places where we work, anchoring our efforts in landscapes we have come to know well and of which we are a part. This connection to a place reinforced by international exchange under this programme, offer a powerful and lasting approach, as it brings together local, national and international knowledge, practices and networks.
Together, A Rocha wants to learn, share, grow and innovate, making use of the rich diversity of expertise found across its network. Our work is interdisciplinary and collaborative by nature and spans across such disciplines as ecology, forestry, agriculture, education and sustainable economic development. We want to build resilience into the outcomes of our work. We also want to catalyze local, national and international constituencies to act in support of forest conservation.
The aims of the programme
Under our African Forest programme, five A Rocha organizations are coming together to combine their expertise, experience and support, to see:
- Four key landscapes across the African continent benefit from our collaborative and learning approach;
- 50,000 ha of biodiversity-rich forests across Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya are better valued, understood, connected and cared for;
- Local communities further welcome and buy-into our efforts in supporting their sustainable development;
- Our works draw on and contribute to global sustainable efforts.
Through our forest conservation work, A Rocha contributes to
11 Sustainable Development Goals: