Be Friends of A Rocha

Are you part of a group or organization that’s:

  • Acting towards biodiversity conservation?

  • Led by committed Christians?

  • Interested in sharing and learning together with other groups from around the world?

If you said ‘Yes’ to all of the above, then join the Friends of A Rocha Network!

As a member of the Network, your group will have the support of the Network Coordinator, Júlio Reis, and will be provided with learning and networking opportunities as well as access to A Rocha International’s expertise. Friends of A Rocha who become legally registered entities and have more formal plans may in time want to become Associated Projects.

Membership of the Friends of A Rocha Network is free. Please note that we cannot provide grants, or help your group access funds.

Contact us to learn more about how to become part of the Network, or to get in touch with a group near you.

The Network currently includes 23 Friends around the world:

Brazil: Centro Gênesis

Centro Gênesis was organized in 2000 with the purpose of involving people and institutions in the process of building sustainability through education. It is a private initiative, located in an urban fragment of Atlantic Forest with 40,000 m² of green area, in the municipality of São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro. Its facilities offer accommodation for small groups amidst exuberant vegetation, as well as affectively-oriented site visits and workshops and courses on socio-environmental issues. The Centre also has a portfolio of projects and workshops that can be offered in churches, companies or NGOs.

Centro Gênesis is also active in the field of conservation, restoring the forest cover where it is located, with an emphasis on more than a thousand specimens of Brazilwood Paubrasilia echinata. The results have already been published in Brazil and Mexico.

Find Centro Gênesis at www.centrogenesis.com.br and on Instagram.

Brazil: EcoVila Teshuvah

In São Francisco island, Paraná River, a large hydroelectric dam and the introduction of invasive species has caused a scarcity of fish; the impoverished local subsistence fishing community had been turning to illegal fishing, competition with Giant Otter Pteronura brasiliensis (Endangered), poaching, and deforestation.

Building upon years of previous relationship with the river and its people, in 2020 Camila and Bruno Landim started EcoVila Teshuvah. The eco-friendly church building is made of bamboo and other local materials. Permaculture and literacy are taught as part of Christian discipleship. They’re looking at ecotourism and agroforestry to relieve the pressure on the river’s ecosystem, and host volunteers and Mission school interns who leave with a deeper understanding of integral mission.

For part of the year, the Landim family are back in the city, where they preach in traditional churches on the theology of creation care.

Follow EcoVila Teshuvah on Instagram.

Brazil: Reserva Ecológica Verdes Pastos (Green Pastures Nature Reserve)

Established in 1978, the Green Pastures Nature Reserve is located in Brazil’s Northeast Region, and is dedicated to protecting and restoring a 122-hectare area in the heart of the Caatinga dry shrubland ecoregion. The reserve includes a small school, church and retreat centre.

Green Pastures actively supports research by scientists and students from Campina Grande Federal University and runs regular guided trails for schools, churches and community groups. They monitor local wildlife using surveys and camera traps, and share the results on Facebook.

Find Verdes Pastos on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ReservaVerdesPastos

Brazil: Project The Way

The Way seeks to promote a better world by raising the quality of life of children and youth in situations of social vulnerability through education, sustainability, culture, leisure, sports and faith. Under the guidance of the verse “Do everything in love (1 Cor 16:14)”, they work in partnership with local stakeholders through the training of trainers, themed workshops and urban gardening clubs.

The urban gardening clubs are agroecological spaces / moments that aim to instigate resistance and insistence on rethinking territories in a way that values conservation, people and sharing, countering excessive accumulation, violence and exclusion. In short, caring for all creation.

Follow The Way at www.projecttheway.com.br and on Instagram.

Burundi: SHINE Burundi

SHINE is directly addressing SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action) in small rural communities in Burundi. Their wholistic approach involves establishing savings and loans groups, and allowing the groups to purchase solar power systems, at cost price, in 12-month installments. The solar systems have better light and lower CO2 emissions than the kerosene lighting they are replacing, and the purchase system brings confidence, dignity, and mutual trust to war-torn communities. They are also looking for ways of addressing food and water security issues in ways that have a low impact on creation.

SHINE was founded in 2002.

Cameroon: Light For Nature

Light For Nature started in 2016 among several Geography students at the University of Buea, Cameroon, passionate about environmental sustainability and conservation in their local community. This led them to engage in several community voluntary activities in order to serve with their skills and talents. Their actions raised awareness about the importance of mangrove ecosystems.

They are currently engaged with a mangrove replanting project in several communities in the Maberta–Bimbia creek, and in clean up from plastic waste in rivers, beaches, and other coastal ecosystems. They regularly collect plastic from rivers which pass through the Limbé Botanical Garden, considered the second largest garden in Africa.

Although headquartered in the English-speaking Southwest Region of Cameroon, Light For Nature’s members speak both English and French. They aim to be an instrument of peace within the country by acting towards nature conservation both in the Anglophone and the Francophone regions, particularly in the Douala region.

You may find them on www.lightfornature.org and on Facebook.

Central Asia: Plateau Perspectives

Plateau Perspectives is an international charity that supports local communities and organizations in mountain regions to find and develop long-term solutions that improve people’s resilience and quality of life while protecting their natural environment, particularly under conditions of climate change and globalisation. Their mission is to promote community development and environmental protection on the Tibetan Plateau and in the surrounding mountain regions of the Himalayas and Central Asia.

Plateau Perspectives has five distinctive characteristics:

  • Integrating biodiversity conservation and community development;
  • Developing partnerships with local communities, government and NGOs;
  • Considering local and global environments, cultures, and knowledge systems;
  • Aiming to develop successful, replicable models of development;
  • Seeking to achieve sustainability in all fields of work.

Find Plateau Perspectives at plateauperspectives.org and on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Chile: Fundación Retoño

Retoño Foundation officially started in 2021, from a group of people with different backgrounds and a common desire: to create spaces of connection between people and nature, their communities, with themselves and with the Creator.

Based in the Araucanía region of southern Chile, the foundation works in partnership with schools, churches and university groups to create spaces and activities to care for local people and ecosystems.

Currently the organisation works in three areas. Through hospitality, hosting people in the ‘Casa Retoño’ where a simple lifestyle is modelled, sharing the kitchen and the table, creating retreats of contemplation and rest. Through environmental education, offering workshops for various groups and ages, at their premises or visiting groups in their cities, to learn about the nature that surrounds us and reflect on our role as stewards of this wonderful planet. Through conservation, managing an orchard and a small-scale nursery of native trees for reforestation.

Find them on https://retono.cl/ or on Instagram.

Costa Rica: Casa Adobe

Casa Adobe is an intentional Christian community and a legally incorporated association, rooted in Santa Rosa, Heredia Province, Costa Rica. It was born in 2013 when people from different contexts and cultures came together with a common goal: to be good neighbours. Casa Adobe seeks to promote integral human development, facilitate cultural interchange amongst people from different contexts, care for the environment and stimulate its protection.

Their current environmental activities include a local community composting project, and a plan to recover one of Casa Adobe’s most neglected ‘neighbours’: the Virilla River, which, coming down from its source in the cloud forests, flows through densely populated areas, where it is impacted by sewage, litter, and the degradation of riverine forest. To this end, Casa Adobe is reengaging the community with the river by promoting visits and liaising with other stakeholders.

Visit Casa Adobe at casaadobe.org and on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Croatia: Nada za ljude i prirodu (‘Hope for people and nature’ – HPN)

Croatia is a country with diverse ecosystems: from snowy mountains to plains and the Adriatic coast. HPN’s vision is to equip Christians in Croatia for their God-given role as stewards of creation and to engage in practical activities to protect and restore local environments and communities, contributing to the country’s ecological beauty and biodiversity.

They organized and hosted an international creation care conference in June 2022, and are planning coastal and river clean-ups and a Christian organic farming community, as well as looking at a practical project for children’s Sunday school education.

Find them on Instagram or Facebook, and sign up for their emails.

DR Congo: Ministère de la Vie Chrétienne

MVC is a network of churches in the DRC’s South Kivu Province, with a focus on making biodiversity conservation a part of Christian education and discipleship.

They are currently implementing three projects:

  • Tree planting, through their ‘One Christian, One Tree’ initiative, to combat the very serious erosion problem on the steep, urbanized hills;
  • Cleaning up the shores of Lake Tanganyika, removing waste from the lakeside communities, and raising awareness for Waste Recovery, Recycling and Reuse;
  • Reducing human-hippopotamus conflict by sensitizing the local population to stay away from hippo breeding grounds, and encouraging the community to alert the authorities in cases of hippo poaching.

DR Congo: TRAFFED

Created in 2003, TRAFFED carries out work in the areas of gender equality in sustainable natural resource management; environmental education with a biblical focus; poverty alleviation and reduction of gender inequalities; climate change and climate justice; support in humanitarian emergencies; and the creation of environmentally friendly jobs including women, youth, children and marginalized and vulnerable communities.

TRAFFED’s work to protect the rich forests of the Itombwe Massif has taken many forms, such as establishing the Institut Supérieur d’Ecologie pour la Conservation de la Nature (ISEC Katana), a higher learning institute with a Department of Environmental Theology and Human Ecology; conducting biodiversity assessments, mapping, data collection, and community awareness in existing and planned protected areas (e.g. Itombwe Nature Reserve, Ngandja Wildlife Reserve, Luama-Kivu Hunting Area, Lumbwe-Lulenge Community Reserve); and assisting indigenous forest-dwelling communities in acquiring land title for more than 150,000 ha of customary forests.

They regularly advocate for biodiversity conservation and creation care on a national level with the 25-million member Église du Christ au Congo.

You may find them on traffed.org.

Ecuador: Grupo Guacamayo Ecuador

This group, made up of Christians committed to caring for creation, began in 2022 with a workshop to raise awareness on the care and protection of the Red-and-green macaw Ara chloropterus in the community of Diez de Agosto, in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Although its global conservation status is considered of Little Concern, its numbers are declining, and conservation measures here would help prevent a range contraction.

Together with the local government, school parents, the local church, and the Provincial Government, Grupo Guacamayo intends to develop a conservation plan focusing on macaws and other species of concern, carry out environmental education, and cooperate with like-minded initiatives.

Its vision is to be recognized as a Christian group in Ecuador committed to the care of creation in the Amazon and Andes.

Germany: Hoffnung für Mensch und Natur (‘Hope for people and nature’)

This is a Germany-wide network of diverse people committed to protecting nature, biodiversity and the climate by initiating and implementing educational, research and conservation projects together with other stakeholders.

Hoffnung have been sending regular newsletters informing about Creation Care activities and events, and about A Rocha International, since 2015. They’ve been getting the word out in churches and Christian events, notably by participating in the Freakstock Festival since 2013, where they’ve been leading Creation Care workshops, field outings, and consulting for the festival on environmental issues such as the implementation of a reuse system for dishes and cutlery.

They are forming regional and thematic workgroups in several areas such as an ‘Exploring creation’ project, Creation Care Theology, Communications, Prayer, and Food and Agriculture.

Find them on Instagram and Facebook, and see their email contact details.

Indonesia: YAPPENDA

YAPPENDA (Yayasan Pelayanan Papua Nenda, ‘Foundation for the love and service of Papua’) is a conservation and sustainable development focused NGO based in Papua, founded in January 2022. They are currently funded by the International Conservation Fund of Canada and expanding their relationship with Re:Wild. YAPPENDA is working in the Heluk valley (Yahukimo Regency) and the Cyclops Mountain range (Jayapura Regency), mainly in two project areas:

  • Land reforestation, including setting up nurseries to grow tree seedlings for planting and establishing community forests for sustainable use;
  • The creation of a learning centre for educational programs and to support research, including collaboration with both Indonesian and foreign universities.

Find them at yappenda.org and on Instagram.

Nepal: The Christian Union of Gaumukhi and Dhorpatan (CUZ)

Founded in 2014, CUZ is an alliance of churches from 12 villages in Nepal’s Western Region, active in natural disaster relief, sustainable livelihoods, and nature conservation.

Their tree planting and nature conservation projects in one the most rural, remote, and deprived regions of Nepal help farmers and the local community by providing opportunities for diverse livelihoods and resilience, and caring for nature amid the damaging effects of climate change.

Panama: Huellas Panamá

Huellas (meaning ‘Footprints’) was born in 2018 as a project in Kuna Nega, an indigenous settlement heavily impacted by the operation of Cerro Patacón, one of the main landfills in Panama. The original project raised environmental awareness in the community through the community church and setting up a waste collection point.

Huellas Panamá is now setting up an online Virtual Academy to promote creation care theology and wiser consumption habits; supporting recycling as they can (there is no recycling collection in Panama!) and litter clean-ups; and developing an Eco Tours Programme to create opportunities for friendship, recreation and learning about caring for the earth.

Visit Huellas Panamá at huellaspty.org and on Instagram and YouTube.

Singapore: Friends of A Rocha in Singapore

Formed in 2009, Friends of A Rocha in Singapore grew out of an informal community of A Rocha volunteers and supporters. It offers a local expression of creation care inspired by A Rocha’s mission and values. In 2012, their proposal for transforming a disused rail corridor won them first prize in a national ideas competition for promoting community ownership, pride and wellbeing. In 2015, they conducted a two-year project documenting amphibian diversity in 25 urban parks across Singapore and they have published Singapore’s first creation care book, God’s Gardeners: Creation Care Stories from Singapore & Malaysia (Graceworks, 2020) co-edited by Melissa Ong and Prarthini Selveindran.

Post-COVID, they have restarted outdoor group activities such as an Earth Day backyard BioBlitz, and continue their work in engaging Christians to integrate faith and ecology.

Spain: Centro Evangélico Cascadas

The Cascadas Centre lies in Alameda del Valle, a small mountain village in the Madrid Region, near the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park. Work here is focused around four thematic pillars: arts and creativity; study, reflection and discussion; hospitality; and care for creation. They are working on practical conservation activities such as cleaning up the local Lozoya River and developing an organic garden, but are also looking at integrating creation care more deeply into their other pillars. For example, they are hosting art competitions focused on themes related to the Lozoya Valley (water, forest, mountains, birds etc.), offering biblical perspectives of creation care and sustainable lifestyle workshops to church groups, and promoting the benefits of nature for the wellbeing of the Cascadas community and guests.

Taiwan: City to City Taiwan

Founded in 2015, City to City Taiwan is part of a worldwide network dedicated to supporting pastors and church leaders to plant new churches and renew existing churches. In their training programmes and events, they teach that we are all participants, not bystanders, on God’s ongoing process of Creation, and that this is necessary for experiencing the renewing power of the Gospel in everyday life. This issue is ignored by many Taiwanese Christians seeking lifestyles rooted in technology, comfort, and convenience as a result of many decades of economic prosperity.

City to City Taiwan has held preaching camps focused on Creation Care, and recently translated into Mandarin and published an A Rocha book, A Place at the Table, with plans currently underway to translate Kingfisher’s Fire. By partnering with A Rocha, City to City Taiwan hopes to expand ongoing efforts to bring Creation Care theology into the core of its “Gospel. City. Movement.” strategy as a means of influencing mainstream Taiwanese church culture as a whole.

Visit CTC Taiwan’s website and their YouTube channel, KUA Global.

Zambia: Zambian Institute of Agriculture

The Zambian Institute of Agriculture’s objective is to mobilize local leaders and train them in sustainable farming systems. Since its founding in 2007, ZIA has trained thousands of people in climate smart and environmentally friendly agriculture, both locally and in neighbouring countries. Through a partnership with the Zambia College of Agriculture – Monze, they have begun a formal, three-year training programme, and have already seen their first graduates. ZIA also has a focus on mobilizing women involved in poultry farming, vegetable gardening, small businesses and village savings; this work with women has even led ZIA to be the founder of a girls’ soccer programme.

ZIA is making a real difference in people’s lives and in nature, as we need to realize ways of feeding the world while not damaging biodiversity, but improving it.

Find them at zambianinstituteagriculture.wordpress.com and on Facebook.

International Friends

Christian Camping International

Christian Camping International (CCI Worldwide) has been in operation for over 50 years as the global connector of Christian camping, retreat and conference ministries around the globe. With over 2,500 campsites and venues across more than 60 countries, CCI is a large mission organisation which touches the lives of more than 11 million guests and campers every year. Our mission is to promote and support Christian camping as a means of helping the church fulfil the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.

As Christians doing ministry largely in the outdoors, CCI members have significant opportunities to connect with God’s creation. CCI EcoCare has been established to encourage care of creation amongst our members – including care of the land our members are responsible for, as well as the ways camps are run – through a series of seminars, an EcoCare Assessment Tool, and appointing EcoCare Reps.

Find CCI at cciworldwide.org and on Faceoook, Instagram, and Twitter.

SIL International

SIL is committed to applying their expertise and experience in languages (currently in 98 countries) in ways that strengthen healthy relationships with the world we share.

For example, their Faith and Farming programme helps those working on the land to engage with the Bible in the language that they use as they cultivate their land or work with their animals. They learn in the Bible from the many stories of farmers, herders, fishermen, hunters, and God Himself, who planted the Garden of Eden. They also learn from their own farming experience and from talking to farmers in their own contexts. This helps them provide helpful resources for interpretation / translation into local languages to encourage all land users to work in ways that restore the soil and promote the abundant diversity that God has created.

Find SIL International at www.sil.org and on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, and YouTube.

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