We're sure by now you’ll have heard plenty about COP26, the international conference on climate change that’s currently being hosted in Glasgow. It’s the UK’s time to shine and lead in taking real steps to tackle the climate emergency. It’s also an opportunity to discuss and consider the impact we’re all having on the global crisis.
COCO’s mission is to provide quality education to children living in poor, remote areas of East Africa. We are not a climate change organisation. We do not want to take the focus off of the range of incredible organisations and individuals around the world who are focussing on this issue. But, we do want to highlight the challenges facing our partners in East Africa and celebrate the solutions that the communities that we work with have come up with, that your support is helping to implement.
The climate emergency and the communities we work with
Countries in the Global South are not only the most vulnerable to climate change, and are already worst affected by the negative impacts of changing weather patterns, but also contribute the least in terms of Co2 emissions.
COCO works with remote communities who rely on farming to grow food and generate an income, and right now these communities are struggling with unpredictable seasons including heavier rains, longer droughts, and even hailstones.
Farmers also traditionally use artificial fertilisers and pesticides to grow crops, burn waste crops at the end of the season and often only grow one type of crop. These methods not only degrade soil quality, reduce biodiversity, and release unnecessary carbon into the atmosphere, but also result in low yields for the farmers too.
How COCO’s Sustainable Agriculture Training helps
Our Sustainable Agriculture Training helps farmers both to reduce the negative impacts of climate change and allow farmers to protect their small patch of the earth. We teach farmers simple, organic methods of farming that not only protect the environment but help the farmers grow more food too.
The COCO curriculum includes:
- Composting: waste from crops is collected and composted, removing the need for artificial fertilisers and burning of crops, and improving soil quality.
- Natural pesticides: some plants have natural insect-repelling properties, these can be planted around the farms to keep unwanted pests off crops without harming the soil or friendly pollinators.
- Crop diversification: farmers plant a range of vegetables, which can grow year-round. This reduces reliance on one crop, so if one fails due to changing weather patterns it has less of an impact.
- Crop rotation: growing different crops can also help soil quality, as different plants have different properties and require/release different minerals into the soil. For example, planting beans balances nitrogen levels.
- Planting trees: alongside crops, trees are planted which help to retain water in the soil reducing the impact of drought and helping crops to grow.
- More knowledge: part of the training is discussing how to better protect the environment. The communities have a lot of existing knowledge which can help to improve the training further.
At COCO, we consider the environmental impact of our work in all programmes. This programme not only helps to protect the environment AND mitigate the negative impacts of climate change but also helps parents to increase crop yields, so they can afford to care for their children – and send them to school!
Tackling the climate emergency can feel big and scary, but we’re climate optimists at COCO.
We believe that we still have time to reduce and reverse the impacts of climate change if we all farm, eat, travel and shop more sustainably, but most importantly, that the governments around the world commit to real action in Glasgow this November.
To help tackle climate change and support parents and communities in East Africa donate today.