Sister Elistaha said she was motivated to make a start on the projects after she attended an ARC education workshop and a meeting to discuss the formation of the Network of Faiths on Environmental Action in Tanzania (NEFEAT) last March.
And after the International Workshop on Faith-Based Sustainable Land Management held in Mukono, Uganda, in October 2014, Sr Elistaha was inspired to prepare plans for the biogas digester and rainwater harvesting.
'Each student will plant a
tree, water it and care for it
for four years' – Sister Elistaha Mlay
Sr Elistaha said: ‘I was moved so much after the Uganda workshop that I appointed two teachers to draw up plans for the projects. We started teaching the students and they responded immediately. We decided our goal was to plant 40,000 trees over three years at our school. Because the trees are expensive we started a nursery for trees and flowers, and it is progressing well.
‘The new Form One class has already planted 110 trees. Each student will plant a tree, water it and care for it for four years. Every month the child will measure the growth of the tree and this data will be their final project and it will be graded.’
Trees will also be planted on graduation days, by students as their evening activity and to commemorate visits made to the school, which falls under the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania.
Sr Elistaha said: ‘We realised that we are using a lot of firewood in the school. We have 16 cows and we want to create a biogas system using 20 cows. We believe if we have biogas for cooking we will have rescued a lot of trees and, as a result, we will preserve our environment. We will also have good health and our kitchen will be clean.
‘The third project is rainwater harvesting. Our roofs are made from iron sheets, which are clean. We can harvest water for cleaning, washing, bathing and watering our trees. If this project happens, it will reduce soil erosion as we are on a hillside and our trees will grow fast, and we will also keep the electricity bill down.’
Sr Elistaha added: ‘The response from teachers and students is very positive and Bishop Fredrick Shoo, who is known as the Tree Bishop, is helping to obtain trees for planting. The biogas and rainwater harvesting projects require a lot of money, but we have agreed to make a start, little by little. Now I am busy looking for funds.’