Stories from the Mission Field

August 2023

Cameroon: Trees against climate change

Cameroon: Trees against climate change

In northern Africa lies the Sahara, the largest arid desert on earth. It continues to expand. The so-called desertification no longer only affects the countries in the north of Africa, but is becoming a growing problem for many people south of the Sahara. The north of Cameroon is therefore also affected.

The countries of the Sahel region formed an alliance in 2007 to do something about the devastation: A great green wall of trees is to stretch 100 million hectares across the entire African continent. But the greening is progressing too slowly: too many states, too many political interests and too many conflicts are slowing down the greening of the Sahel. However, there is good news, too.

First plantings over 40 years ago

Back in the late 1970s, a similar project called "Sahel Vert" was established in the small village of Dagaï in Cameroon's extreme north. In cooperation with the Baptist church union from Cameroon and EBM INTERNATIONAL, staff and multipliers have been trained there for over 40 years to expand the necessary planting of new trees in the region and to create awareness of how vital vegetation is for the population.

Regular training sessions are held on which trees can be planted with which techniques efficiently despite the drought, or how to produce ecological fertilizer. The Baptist churches are highly involved in this and serve as centers for training, multiplication and are the starting points for the planting campaigns. Together, more than 20,000 trees are to be planted on a total of 33 hectares of land in this region.

The initiative is taking root and is spreading

Since 2021, the work has been extended to the southwestern region of Dagaï. For the multicultural and multireligious population of northern Cameroon living off agriculture, this will provide sustainable support in the fight against soil erosion. In this way, malnutrition, poverty and diseases due to poor water quality are combated in a sustainable manner.

Many churches and individuals are already participating in this project, which continues to grow. Hélène Massa (name changed) is an elder of the church in Dagaï and tells how much the awareness within the population has already changed in the last decades.

"Now we are beginning to understand that the trees benefit us all. Actually, our village is very dry and lacking in water, but thanks to the newly planted trees, this has changed. That's why every year our church participates in the reforestation activities of the Sahel Vert project. Thanks to the new team of Sahel Vert, our way of thinking is changing permanently. We thank everyone involved in this project so that we can achieve large planting areas."

Thanks to the enthusiastic workers in the churches, the tree-planting activities are spreading throughout the region and also setting an example in society. Lydia Medi (name changed) is also involved:

The young woman is part of the Baptist congregation in Lombel and volunteered for the campaign for the first time last year, as otherwise only men are ever involved.

"I keep hearing in the media that climate change is advancing in leaps and bounds. To fight it, we need to plant a lot of trees to protect our biodiversity. I am currently raising awareness among some girls to massively participate in this activity in order to meet this challenge. We thank Project Sahel Vert for thinking of us."

Plant a tree with 1 euro

With each sapling, the devastation will be stopped and climate change will be fought. The cost per tree is about one euro - this includes training and support for the local teams from the project management.

Donate now for the project Sahel Vert