AN APPRAISAL OF A-ROCHA KENYA’S CHRISTIAN EFFORTS AND APPROACHES TOWARDS THE CONSERVATION OF NATURE IN KILIFI COUNTY, KENYA
NYALE, MERCY CHIZI
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The Church is an institution for social change and has an obligation towards environmental conservation. This is because land and creation at large are precious resources for both the present and future generations. The church’s appreciation and thankfulness to the Maker for nature is seen by the way its adherents care for the environment. The study, ‘an Appraisal of A-Rocha Kenya’s Christian Efforts and Approaches towards the conservation of nature in Kilifi County’, uses ARK as a case study. ARK is an arm of A-Rocha International, (ARI), a Christian environmental conservation organization working in many countries of the world, notably the UK, USA, Czech Republic, Lebanon, Canada, India, Portugal, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Kenya included. In Kilifi County, ARK is based in Watamu ward and Marafa ward in Kilifi-north and Magarini sub-counties respectively. Despite the efforts ARK has put in place with regard to environmental conservation, Kilifi County still faces a lot of environmental degradation caused by stone cutting and sand harvesting which renders several hectares of land with pits and devoid of vegetation cover. The study focused on the contribution of Christian faith on the conservation of the natural habitat in Kilifi County with reference to ARK. It was guided by Boff Leonardo’s Liberation theology and Paul Santmire’s Ambiguity theory. The Ambiguity that Santmire proposes is expressed in two motifs: the spiritual motif and the ecological motif. In the Liberation theory, Boff considers the merging of ecological and theological concerns because the elements that threaten the poor are the same elements that threaten the earth; thus a theology that protects both the poor and the earth- which he called Christian pantheism (everything in God; and God in everything). The study employed qualitative methodology to acquire primary data. Purposive, convenience, homogenous and vi snowballing sampling techniques were used to identify respondents for interviews and focus group discussions. The study also utilized documentary analysis which was done by analyzing ARK’s publications like brochures, newsletters, magazines and minutes from environmental education seminars to establish the organization’s environmental conservation in depth. Guided by the objectives, the raw data was collated and arranged thematically. ARK’s programs have picked up, but there is a challenge as the people have not totally embraced the importance of conservation of nature. Thus, as a strategy towards environmental conservation, ARK should involve more people to embrace their strategies of FGW, indigenous tree planting and introduce the Faidherbia albida tree so as to train them on bee keeping, hence diversifying their income. ARK could reskill the people with alternative vocational skills to widen their career scope as the case of A-Rocha Ghana.