Planting of 10 million trees launched in Juba

By William Madouk Garang

A local non-governmental organization, Greening South Sudan (GSS)on Sunday launched a nationwide campaign to plant ten million trees in the next ten years to mitigate climate change, protect natural resources and support the sustainability of the environment across the country.

According to experts, the impacts of climate change in South Sudan are witnessed through extreme heat, drought, and insect outbreaks and major parts of the country observed serious flash floods.

Parts of the country witnessed locust invasion in 2020 and 2021 which resulted in food shortfalls and in part, leftover 60 percent equivalent to 7.76 million of the country’s population on the brink of famine.

The youth-led organization, Greening South Sudan together with the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) Juba Diocese, commenced the tree-planting campaign at St. Peter Parish-ECSSin Sharikatto to mark a symbolic mark to the end Easter festival season on Easter Sunday as a sign of obligation in climate change awareness and food security.

The campaign themed “pray and plant for climate change justice and food security” also sets out to promote sustainable green growth and boost the economy, according to the NGO.

Archbishop of Central Equatoria Internal Province who is also a guest of honor, Paul Pitya Benjamin stated that as a church, they are devoted to fighting climate change adding that a lot of damage was done to nature as such planting trees is the solution to minimize the risk.

“As a church, this is within our mandate and within our activities so thank you, we will collaborate not only here but we will continue even in other churches,” Rev. Benjamin.

“In fact it’s biblical, it’s part of our work, and we must pray for nature and protect the nature for wellbeing of our people. So, we need rain, shade, and trees so nature is very important we are almost losing it but we want to back/track by planting trees,”  he added.

Meanwhile, the Founder and executive director of GSS, Garang Maguet Garang said they kicked off the initiative in church and soon they would go all over the country, citing that they target about ten million trees.

“… church is the only place whereby everybody come to all sort of people such as those who do cutting, politicians, oppositions, and government so it’s a holistic approach that we’re using to spread the message to the citizen of South Sudan,” Garang noted.

“As GSS, we want to plant 10 million trees within 10 years period after that we are going to see based on our budget because we can’t promise that we are going to plant 1 billion trees when we don’t have finance,” he revealed.

He also narrated that his organization would also offer job opportunities for over one thousand youths across the country within the period of ten years’ time as they would establish a national planting nursery. 

“For me, I feel bad if what we can do here in Juba or in South Sudan is being imported from other countries, because planting trees everyone can do it as long as they are given guidelines or trains on how to do it,” he cited.

Mr. Garang further said they are facing challenges of funding but vowed to never cease from what they are doing saying that they believe in the principle that cited start with what you have, in where you are.

“I am calling upon the government, policymakers, and implementers to join the youth in this initiative so that we achieve our dreams. What we are doing here is what other countries are doing but if we are not empowered with skills and technical advice [it would be difficult], we have nowhere to go, this is our country I want everyone to go green,” he concluded.

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