I never would have imagined that my career in tea would one day involve meeting the Pope! This week is going to be a very exciting one, both professionally, and personally as I have been invited to be part of the welcoming committee for the first visit to Africa by Pope Francis.

The Pope will be helping many Christians to redefine the true meaning of the gospel and the church: his concern for the needy and vulnerable amongst us reminds us of our great responsibility as a generation to fight poverty and discrimination.

During his visit, the Pope will address the world from the United Nation Environmental Programs headquarters (UNEP) at Gigiri in Nairobi. Amongst the issues he is to address at this conference is climate change. As Father Paul of the Archdiocese of Nyeri explained, it is because of ETP’s work on climate change and social issues that I have been invited to the conference and to be part of the welcoming committee:

“Having attended ETP’s climate change trainings and read the Pope’s climate change book titled Encyclical on climate change and inequality, I realized ETP and the Pope are in many ways reading from the same page on matters climate change and hence my support and recommendation for ETP participation at the conference.”

I am very excited to be part of the conference. As this article describes, climate change is already having an impact on tea farming in Kenya and there will be much deeper impacts on vulnerable farming communities if more action is not taken quickly.

Church leaders in Kenya are playing a crucial role in community mobilization on climate change – something that is very important to ETP’s work in helping the tea industry, farmers and their communities respond to climate change risks and improve their resilience. The Pope’s focus on climate change and poverty is hugely significant in changing attitudes and accelerating action. Being part of the conference will not only allow me to participate in discussion on an issue that is so crucial to the survival of our planet, but it will also help me build on the insights on climate change for the benefit of the tea sector in Africa and beyond.

For more information about ETP’s work on climate change in Kenya go here.