In India, and around the world, the effects of climate change are increasingly being felt. Meet some of the people that are working with Tearfund's partner EFICOR to build resilience in the face of this growing threat.
Many of Tearfund’s partners, and the people they work with, tell us that they’re experiencing increasingly severe changes to their local environment and weather patterns, and that extremes of weather are becoming more common.
Australia’s new international development policy identifies climate change as the greatest shared threat to all countries. As we know, while climate change will impact all of us, it is hitting communities in low- and middle-income countries first and hardest. According to a World Bank report, India is already experiencing a warming climate and changing rainfall patterns (a decline in monsoon rainfall since the 1950s has been observed, and the frequency of heavy rainfall events has also increased). Droughts are expected to be more frequent in some areas, and crop yields are expected to fall significantly because of extreme heat by the 2040s.1
Tearfund's longstanding partner in India, the Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR), is working in a variety of ways to strengthen communities, build people’s resilience and coping strategies, and help villagers prepare for natural disasters, especially floods.
Mr Kennedy is from south India, and has been involved in children’s ministry for more than 25 years. His team conducts children’s media programs on television and training to raise children’s ministry leaders. He was invited to attend a training of trainers program run by EFICOR.
“I learned about integral mission and creation care for the very first time,” he says. “After the class, I really felt that I need to practise what I preach and I want to work for justice and the poor. I also learned about why, as a Christian, I have to care for creation. It was a new learning. We were taught about the harmful effects of plastics and pollution, the effects of global warming, and the urgency of the situation calling for action. I also understood my role in destroying the earth so I made a decision to stop using plastic bags and bottles. I carry my own cloth bag and we have stopped using plastic cups and plates in all our programs.”
I really felt that I need to practise what I preach and I want to work for justice and the poor. I also learned about why, as a Christian, I have to care for creation.
Kennedy has a heart for children and when he learned about creation care, he was immediately motivated to include creation care in all his future engagements with children. He has developed a creative module to teach children the importance of creation care.
"I started using creation care lessons in schools, and found the students and teachers were impacted and started to play a good role in creation care,” he says. “I have covered more than 1,000 students from different schools so far and they are planting trees and forming teams in schools to protect and save the earth in several aspects such as waste management and water conservation. The training has been a great blessing for me and changed the course of my ministry.”
Farmer Mr Kalicharan participated in various training and exposure programs on climate change adaptation through Tearfund’s partner EFICOR, and received a plantation of fruit saplings for his plot. He says he has noticed the impact of climate change on rainfall patterns and crop yields. “The training [on climate change] was eye-opener for us,” he said.
Dhulji Bhai is enjoying a reliable income since an EFICOR project team trained him in kitchen gardening, and provided barbed wire to fence his land and protect crops from animals. He has been cultivating vegetables and increasing his monthly income. There has been improvement on other fronts too: his children have restarted their schooling, and he has started rearing goats to generate additional income.
He says: “Due to vegetable farming, my income has increased and my family is happy now.”
These children, who live in a highly flood-prone area, have received support and training from EFICOR so that they are better equipped to respond in disaster situations. Youth task forces are trained in various skills, including early warning (monitoring a flood situation, ensuring that all villagers are aware of it, and helping elderly people to prepare to evacuate if necessary), rescue (learning to use basic flotation devices and rescue people that might be caught in flood waters), and first aid (including treatment of snake bites, which are very common in India). EFICOR also supports communities to construct and maintain infrastructure that will support people in the instance of floods.