Two year old Malik stopped walking a few months ago due to a suspected case of Polio. The last time his mother Khalima Matagundo visited a health facility was when Malik was born.
World Concern in partnership with the Kenya Government’s Ministry of Health, is making it easier for families like Malik’s to access medical care through mobile health clinics across 14 villages.
Through support from Netherlands Reformed Congregations, 101 children have been dewormed, 24 malnourished children have received nutritional supplements as well as 3 adults. 41 children have been immunized, 12 of them aged 3 to 6 years were immunized for very first time in their lives. 92 adults have also been treated for diseases such as malaria and typhoid, as parental health talks and antenatal care services continue.
Tana River County is suffering from the effects of drought. As a result, local households have depleted their savings and assets and their purchasing power has been greatly reduced.
For families like Khalima’s, the nearest health facility is far away. When ill, they either have to walk, pay exorbitant fare to limited transport operators or cross the crocodile infested River Tana using hand made water canoes.
“I am sad that my son is unable to run towards me anymore when I get home,” said Khalima.
The mother of eight however, is relieved that World Concern has brought medical practitioners to the area and is hopeful that her last-born-son will not go through the same fate as Malik.
Through your support, World Concern is facilitating movement of qualified government doctors to reach families in dire medical need. World Concern is also providing cash transfers to 1,000 vulnerable families to help them access food.
The food situation in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid areas is bleak. Families in Kenya are facing severe food shortage and livestock deaths due to extreme vegetation deficit. As at February 2017, the percentage of children at risk due to malnutrition increased to 20.1%.
In Lamu and Tana-River Counties, where World Concern operates, the situation has been further complicated by human-wildlife due to scarcity of water and vegetation.
Being the only fresh water lake in Mpeketoni, Lake Kenyatta plays an important role in both community livelihood and supporting the wildlife ecosytem. As the lake dries up, human-wildlife conflict is escalating in the area.
On a year that will be remembered as the worst in a generation unless we intervene now, World Concern is responding.
57 youth from Mukuru kwa Njenga slum graduated after attending a 12 week training dubbed Pepeta Initiative – a training that has helped them gain practical skills in personal finance management, life skills and group dynamics.
With a section working as casual laborers, and others running their own businesses, the youth made lots of sacrifices to complete the course. It was tough but worth it, they revealed:
This training has helped me very much. I didn’t know my work as the treasurer of the group; the training has helped me know how to manage the group’s money. Now we have policies, so the work has become easier because everyone is following the rules – Anastasia, Treasurer Embakasi South Ladies United
According to trainer Geoffrey Githinji, “The training has enabled learners be more aware of inner capacities they can utilize.”
To celebrate, youth from all 5 groups, trainers, church and area leaders as well as World Concern staff gathered at a colorful event with food and dance.
Speaker after speaker at the event termed the graduation as a beginning rather than an ending. “Transformation has just begun. We have been studying about business, about changing our behavior. We want World Concern to be there to witness our transformation,” said Alex Chalo, Chairman of Vijana wa Neema, a pioneer group of Pepeta Initiative training.
World Concern Africa Area Director Peter Macharia, who also spoke at the event, told the youth that God knows them and is able to fulfill the plans of their hearts.
You have helped us know how to live with people; if someone is wrong, we can correct him in a good way. You have also helped us know how to save because now when I get 200 shillings, I save 50 shillings, pay debts and spend the remaining amount – Sinaida, member Embakasi South Ladies United
We are very grateful to World Concern and Pepeta Initiative for uniting our group and bringing such training in our slum. We request that you continue coming to help the youth in the slum so that they can become more educated –Omosh, Amomo Group
Each graduate starts this journey with some well-thought group policy documents, strategic and business plans.
New Genesis group
World Concern is also assisting them to get mentors, apprenticeship opportunities and counseling where needed. It’s all part of holistic transformation – a journey we’re keen not to miss!
During quiet reflective moments, I sometimes wonder what will happen when I’m gone.
As I ponder, I realize that life will still go on. My eyes become misty and then it dawns on me that a legacy is a good thing to leave behind.
In the humanitarian world – some kind of impact and sustainable projects.
So when I received an invitation to attend an event by a village bank in Embu, I was stoked. Mostly because Kigumo FSA which was started by World Concern more than a decade ago, and supported for only 4 years, is not only still running, but growing fast on its own.
Kigumo FSA started out in a rented building, but the group has over the years managed to purchase a piece of land and rehabilitate a building on it, to establish their fully owned premises. Today, the FSA boasts of 1615 members, a share capital of Ksh 3 million ($ 30,000) and loan portfolio of Ksh 4 million shillings ($ 40,000)
Financial Services Associations (FSA) were introduced as a more sustainable intervention of World Concern’s Micro-Finance program. An FSA, or ‘village bank’, is a facility wholly owned by the local community through shares.
As I sat to write this post, I realized I had been invited for a party I didn’t deserve to be in – I was in high school when that project started!
World Concern helped birth something that would affect the lives of people who would come a decade later – like me, and possibly their children, even generations; and today Kigumo FSA is a testimony that communities can take charge of their own transformation when properly facilitated.
Some photos from the July 25, 2015 event, below.
FSAs started by World Concern in remote parts of Embu and Narok have become extremely pivotal.
They enable families access mainstream banking services right in their villages: they save money, access normal and emergency loans, have 3rd party member & non-member cheques cleared, access bankers’ cheques as well as mobile money transfer services.
In mid-July, World Concern launched The Nairobi Slum Development Programme at Mukuru Kwa Njenga in Embakasi. Tens of representatives from 5 youth groups who are impatient to see positive change attended.
The launch was for an multi-sectoral programme in which World Concern is partnering with Commons Agencies, to build capacity in the slums. Youth who had taken part in an earlier Common Agencies’ training programme on self awareness and empowerment dubbed ‘Pepeta Initiative,’ described how it had impacted them:
“When we started out, we were earning about Ksh 5, 000 per month. The 35 of us would share it among ourselves. Now we earn up to Ksh 80,000,” said Alex Kyalo, Chairperson of Vijana Wa Neema self help group.
Together with partners, World Concern will offer Biblically-based life-skills training, Leadership development, Group management, Entrepreneurship, Mentoring, Apprenticeship as well as Addiction and family counseling. We will also empower churches to become agents of reconciliation in their own communities.
In his speech, Kenya Country Director Harun Mutuma emphasized that real transformation comes from Christ, terming that as a distinct area of focus for World Concern’s programme. The programme was then commissioned by Pastor Christopher Maina of LifeSpring Chapel- Embakasi.
On Kenya’s darkest Thursday, 147 bright young men and women had their lives stolen in cruel fashion. It’s 8 days since. Each day dragging on for months – months of pain, rage and an unending nightmare that can never be eloquently expressed.
Yet it feels like yesterday.
Gunmen stormed into a Christian Union group gathered at Garissa University for early morning prayers, shooting them, and then proceeded to murder students in the University’s dormitories. They even forced some to phone their parents goodbye before ending their lives.
Isaac Bushen Kosgei was one whose lives was cut short. Reports say he loved his music. “He always wore his headphones, even when asleep. He loved country music and it is likely that he did not hear the gunshots. He died, probably with music playing.”
He and his roommates often discussed their plans, with Mr. Kosgei saying he would join the music industry while the rest planned to teach Geography and Business Studies after graduating.
Really, our hearts are heavy with grief. Every one of the students is a precious life in God’s eyes. Please pray for their families and for the injured victims – who just days ago could walk, but now have to use wheel chairs.
Pray for peace, safety, and protection over this beautiful country.
I recently met four grandmothers who returned from India with skills in fabrication, installation, repair and maintenance of solar lighting systems after a six month hands-on training facilitated by World Concern.
Seeing them made my trip one of the most memorable.
A grant from UNDP has given these solar mamas, as they are fondly called, a second chance to light homes in Narok.
Through World Concern’s partnership with UNDP, 65 year old Kirotiana Kibubuk is assisting to light up to 300 homes with bright LED lights which have USB power outlet for radio and phone charging.
The project which begun in February 2015 sees Kirotiana receiving a commission for each house she powers. Her 30 year old Paul is excited, especially when he sees her in her element. “The way I see her working, she knows a lot! She tells me names of complex things, even though she never stepped into a nursery classroom,” he says laughing.
Kirotiana is humbled to assist in lighting up her community. “This is something that God has brought . . .”
We had a tête-à-tête with the mother of eight. Below:
1. How did you feel the first time you went to make an installation? I was a bit scared and worried that I might have forgotten some things.
2. How many houses have you installed so far? Seven houses.
3. How do you feel about your skills now? I am very confident. I even know how to re-inforce a solar panel on top of a mud house so it doesn’t cave in together with the roof, when rain falls.
4. What are the must-haves in your tool kit when getting ready for an installation? A pair of pliers, hammer, screws, pins and a wire.
5. While handling a role predominantly reserved for men do you feel discriminated against or looked down upon because you’re a woman? Many who see me working say that I’m a hard worker, but I can secretly see that they wish it would have been them doing this.
6. In your view, how will solar assist Enoonkoijiok community? First, houses will be brighter. When a house is dark, there is a potential of having snakes hiding. With solar lights, one is able to see inside clearly.
Also having a security light will help keep wild animals at bay. The main problem we’ve had in the past is that hyenas have been eating our sheep. They fear light and can’t come here now.
7. How did an experience in a new country change your world view? I observed that people in India are way ahead. I would wish to implement some of those things I saw there, but they require money. I pray that by God’s grace I can do some of those things one day.
8. Is there anything that especially struck you during the visit? Women are in every field. . . be it construction, fabrication, or even tailoring. Again, they are not wealthy, but they use many machines to do their work.
Due to remoteness of some areas in Narok, residents lack access to electricity power grid. World Concern is filling market gaps by providing bright four-lantern system sets at subsidized price and at a one-time cost, with 2 year warranty support.
The uniqueness of the project is in empowering not only the solar beneficiary but also helping to equip Solar Mamas like Kirotiana. “The money goes back to the same local economy. It’s more of a community project than business,” says Narok Program Officer John Leyian.
Reducing the use of diesel and kerosene for lighting has also positively impacted on health besides making it easier for school-going children to study.
It will interest you because transitions are part of your life and mine, each day.
There is a call to move to the other side for a new experience
Transitions are difficult
Storms in life lead to a deeper understanding of Christ
“God is calling us to make adjustments not for ourselves but for Him. He will be with us, and we’ll come out stronger on the other side,” said Africa Regional Director, Peter Macharia, while giving the message.
“When we fix our eyes on Christ and not on the storm, we are able to handle it,” he said.
Praying for Partners
As the day closed, we felt convicted to pray for the churches that have stood with us.
We clasped our hands on top of tiny pieces of paper, each with a name of a church partner and prayed. Individual members of staff then picked one piece each, at random for a church they will be praying for.
We feel perhaps, that the best way to thank these churches is to pray for them and use the resources they have bestowed on us as intended.
We’re grateful to each of our partners. We pray that God may refresh you, heal and provide for you. Thank you for providing tools that empower thousands of our beneficiary partners in Kenya, Chad, Uganda, South Sudan and Somaliland to lead full and productive lives!