As the eyes of the world turn towards the COP26 summit in Glasgow our CEO, Tony Gaston, has also been thinking about the ways in which the work of Fields of Life is helping combat climate change.
“As I write this blog I am sitting in Glasgow city centre, the city that is hosting COP26, hailed as the “last chance to tackle climate catastrophe.” All around me are posters and signs about the conference, as well as campaigns calling on leaders to act now. On the face of it, you may ask what Climate change has to do with an education charity focused on East Africa. However, here are 5 ways that Fields of Life are helping address climate change:
In 2020, I was watching a David Attenborough documentary called Life on Our Planet with my children. Halfway through the program, Sir David said something that made me sit up and take notice. He said:
“By giving all access to healthcare and enabling girls, in particular, to stay in school as long as possible, we can make it (the population) peak sooner and at a lower level. Why wouldn’t we want to do these things? Giving people a greater opportunity.”
The single biggest idea that Sir David Attenborough had to save our planet was to slow population growth, and the best way to do that is to educate girls. Anyone who knows Fields of Life knows that educating girls is one of the things that we are most passionate about! Read about our I AM GIRL programme here: I AM GIRL – Fields of Life
Fields of Life has drilled over 840 boreholes and counting, and this has a big impact on addressing climate change. Not only does it stop children getting ill from drinking dirty water, but it means that families don’t need to cut down trees to burn wood to boil their water. Another reason boreholes make such a difference to rural communities is the rapid changes in the climate of African nations. East Africa is facing more droughts than ever before, and conventional forms of getting water, such as rainwater harvesting tanks, are no longer sufficient. Boreholes are a lifeline to these communities, especially children. Water – Fields of Life
Climate change disproportionately impacts the global south and those who live in extreme poverty. For those who live on whatever they can grow themselves, when drought or floods come, it can lead to famine and a food crisis. One of the ways Fields of Life works hard to address this is to teach sustainable agriculture in schools. This includes the teaching on diversifying crops and growing climate change resistant crops. Children are taught from a young age about the importance of different crops for different seasons, helping them become more resilient to the effects of climate change.
Nelson Mandela once famously said that education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. At Fields of Life, we passionately believe this! Through educating children, we can teach the importance of looking after our planet, how to become more resistance to the effects of climate change, and even rise up the leaders of tomorrow who can change the world for the better.
As a new Africa emerges, they have an opportunity to build an economy that learns from the mistakes of the West. While the West has grown through taking our planets resources, Africa has the opportunity to be leading the world in how to grow through renewable energy, such as solar, wind and hydroelectric.
Fields of Life have given thousands of solar lights to children to study at night, and many of our partner schools are starting to use solar energy as their main source of energy. We have a vision to do more of this, and to even fully solarise our Vocational Training Institute in Gulu, northern Uganda. One day we hope to start a vocational course in Solar and Renewable Energy, teaching the leaders of tomorrow about these vital skills.
As COP26 highlights the importance of world leaders coming to the table with solutions, Fields of Life are keen to tell the world that there are things each one of us can do right now. By supporting Fields of Life to educate girls, provide clean water and sustainable agriculture, and rise up the leaders of tomorrow, we can make a difference right now.”