Thika Diocese, Kenya

Kenya is a country of extremes. Whilst thousands of tourists flock to glimpse the Big Five on safari and relax by turquoise waters on sandy beaches, millions of Kenyans live without enough food and few jobs, under constant threat from environmental disasters.

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funding target £13813 of £30000


Why we're working there

Thika Diocese is north west of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The Diocese covers a vast area, which in the past was prosperous. But in recent decades factories have closed, crop yields have fallen, and the coffee industry has collapsed, leaving many people in desperate need.

Most scratch out a living as farmers on small plots of land. But that life is full of challenges. The rains are unreliable, so you never quite know the best time to plant. Lots of farmers are also unskilled, and don’t know how to get the best out of their crops so many families go hungry. Children are unable to go to school because their parents can’t afford it. They’re trapped in a cycle of poverty and the situation feels hopeless.

POVERTY TAKES MANY FORMS

Added to this, there is also a history of spiritual poverty. Many in the region are Christians, but they have no idea that God desires ‘life in all its fullness’ for them. Outside of Sunday mornings, the church doesn’t have much relevance.

Partly thanks to this lack of engagement, the church struggles to pay its staff, as Rev Kamande knows. He has served the Anglican church for years and his salary would often be late, and not just by a few days. Once it came over a year late!

TRAPPED IN THE CYCLE

Obviously he could not rely on his income from the church. But Rev Kamande felt he couldn't work because of the attitudes of conservative Christians. They saw pastors who worked as ‘compromised’, because they weren't giving their whole life to the church. This trapped him in poverty too.

Many church leaders seemed to think this was the way it should be. They were concerned only with evangelism and spiritual teaching. This inability to engage people meant that churches lacked leadership.



The aims of the project

Thika Diocese wanted to address the poverty in their communities and the problems in their churches. So they began a process called Umoja - or Church and Community Mobilisation.

Umoja is a Bible-based approach that equips the church with practical tools for ministry. It helps church leaders to understand and live out their role in engaging the local community.

The process also builds the confidence of the church and its leaders. They take a leading role in facilitating forums for the community. They come together to discuss their problems and possible solutions.

TAKING THE FIRST STEPS

When Rev Kamande took his first Umoja training workshop, he learnt that it is God’s desire for his people to live dignified lives. It dawned on him that it was his own attitude that could either lock or release his God-given potential.

He immediately started to think about where he could begin. He already had a couple of pigs so he expanded. He bought more pigs and started to breed them.

‘I realised I could not continue lamenting about my lack of salary and watching my family wallow in poverty.’ Rev Kamande

His pig business grew, providing him with a steady income. One day his pigs came in particularly useful. His youngest son came home from school saying that he had been kicked out for not paying the fees. Rev Kamande rang up a friend who owned a restaurant and asked if he needed a pig. The friend said yes and sent someone to pick it up straight away. The 13,000Ksh (roughly £95) he earned paid his son’s fees and he was able to send him back to school smiling.

THE VISION OF THE DIOCESE

Thika Diocese’s vision is to be ‘A growing, caring Anglican church boldly proclaiming Christ’. Their mission is ‘to equip God’s people to reach out and transform society with the Gospel of Christ'. Through the Umoja process they are able to live out their vision and mission, both in their churches, and the communities surrounding them.



Project impact

Gitwe church in Thika Diocese
Gitwe church in Thika Diocese

Over one thousand people in Thika Diocese will benefit directly from this project. But the beautiful thing about Umoja is that it spreads!

For Rev Kamande, it was his own family who caught the Umoja bug. His eldest saw the rewards from his father’s work and asked to get involved. His father agreed to sell one pig to him; it later produced 10 piglets. He decided to sell some of them and build a kitchen. The extra money from this business has greatly increased his own family’s income.

Kamande’s youngest son bought a piglet from his father with his pocket money. He cares for it by himself. Rev. Kamande says that his son is now more responsible as he has something meaningful to do during his free time.

AN INDIVIDUAL PROCESS

The results of Umoja look different for every household and community. But for each the process is the same. First the church leaders go through the training, learning about how Umoja works. Sometimes they visit a community that has already been through the process. This helps them to get inspired!

Once they understand the process, the leaders take the church through the Bible studies. Then they get the wider community involved in understanding the challenges they face together.

THE RESULTS WE HAVE SEEN

The Umoja process has helped people start businesses, advocate to local government, and found self help groups. These results have all been instrumental in empowering those in poverty. Umoja has also helped unify communities. It has boosted self-esteem, cemented relationships between church and community, and stimulated economic growth.

In the next year Thika Diocese will train 15 facilitators. This group will guide seven local churches and communities through the Umoja process. This team of facilitators will also lead in scaling up the process in the diocese in the next few years.



Join us

A gift of £200 per year for three years could provide training for senior leaders in a community to begin the CCM journey.

A gift of £4,489 per year for three years could cover the cost of regional direction meetings, ensuring strong CCM programme development across Kenya.

A gift of £1,130 per year for three years could fund mentoring and support sessions through the CCM process for 7 communities.



8226 Lives Changed
13 Connected Churches
71 People Praying