United Thank Offering

Grant Site Update: 2022 UTO Grant to Buye, Burundi

October 3, 2023
United Thank Offering

By Heather Melton, UTO Staff Officer 

In 2022, the focus for UTO grants was on care of creation, and the Diocese of Buye in Burundi was awarded a grant to create erosion control through tree planting and contour lines in Mwumba County. This grant is now finished, and Bishop Sixbert shared the powerful impact of this UTO grant as a part of their final report. We want to share that with you this month. 

Briefly share with us the impact of this grant on your community.

The project has impacted over 3,000 people who served as laborers. They worked in the following areas: land clearing, making pots, filling pots with soil, preparing germination, nursery beds, watering trees in nursery beds, transportation of seedlings to the identified sites, and tree planting.

Miss Jeanne Inaburikukiye, a Christian from Buye parish, shared that such a project speaks louder than words of an evangelist. According to her, “The church is contributing to the development of the country and the world since the project deals with climate change.” In addition, she says that fruit trees are very crucial for the community members. She states: “We will soon have fruits to eat and to give to our children, and whoever will eat from these fruits will acknowledge that they come from the Anglican Church, and this will be a living testimony for the church.” Finally, she called on the church to extend the project to other areas so that the image of the church must be visible in actions.

Tell us what you learned or what advice you have for others who might want to try a similar project.

The lesson that I got from implementing this project is that the mission of the church is a holistic one. It is not only about standing in the pulpit and preaching the word of God but also meeting the needs of the communities in which the church operates its God-given mission. For others who want to start a similar project, I encourage them because this project is a living example; the church through such a project lives out what is preached. It is also in line with ecotheology because protecting the environment is saving lives, and God has given us a mandate of caring for God’s creation.

What was the best thing that happened?

The best thing was the ownership of the project by the population of Mwumba County. Recipients of the project were so interested and received it with joy. Whatever we wanted them to do, they did it as their own. Besides, the leaders of the county appreciated the work the Diocese of Buye is doing as far as environmental protection is concerned.

Rugonumugabo, a local leader at Buye, said: “I am so excited to see the work of the Anglican Church in our area. I was thinking that such activity concerns the government, not the church. But I came to realize that the protection of the environment is the duty of everyone. The contour lines that they made protected our lands from erosion. Land nutrients that were taken away into the valleys by erosion are now kept and help in fertilizing our lands. Thus, agriculture production is good.”

What plans do you have to continue the project?

The grant we got from UTO was allocated to implementing the project in Mwumba County. We plan to extend the project to other counties of Ngozi, Muyinga, Kirundo, and Kayanza districts in which the Diocese of Buye operates its mission. As we move from one county to the next, we realize that there is still a way to go in the matter of protecting the earth.

The Rev. Cn.
Heather Melton

Staff Officer for the United Thank Offering

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