Too often, we don’t take enough time to pause and celebrate the successes and the ways we can clearly see God working.
This month we want to do just that. Here’s an update from a project in Makueni, Kenya, where LIA has served alongside five church partners for more than two years. God has clearly worked through them to begin restoring health and hope to this community!
“Growing a Stronger Community”
In 2010, our staff began working with the leadership at five partner churches in Makueni, a rural community in Kenya, a few hours drive from Nairobi. They began equipping them with the knowledge, training, confidence and direction needed to support the most vulnerable individuals and families in their community in a sustainable way.
During the next few months, our staff and church partners worked to determine the most pressing needs of their community. Because Makueni is rooted in agriculture, we learned from the local leadership that they are highly dependent on good weather conditions, access to water during dry spells and market demand.
The partner churches, with the guidance of dedicated LIA staff, put together an integrated program plan aimed at empowering the local farming community with the skills and business knowledge needed to generate and increase their income, and therefore provide for their families for the long-term.
These farmers banded together, unified under church leadership, to improve their living and economic conditions. With the local Church leading the way, a farming cooperative of church members was formed! They received business and financial management training, professional guidance, and spiritual development, equipping them to implement solutions with a lasting impact.
During the last 18 months, LIA’s local church partners and the members of the farming co-op identified their unique farming challenges and implemented sustainable solutions that allowed for:
- better long-term storage of grain in the form of large silos (pictured below) so that the farmers could hold onto it until the selling price is optimal
- harvesting and storing rain water during the rainy season so that farming could continue during drier seasons
- better management of the group and personal income generated from selling the grain
- a higher overall confidence in their individual and collective capabilities
The co-op, which has now grown to more than 400 families in less than two years, has succeeded in creating a firm foundation for the local community. The local Church is now equipped to what God intended it to do – to meet the needs of its most vulnerable neighbors, and the members now have a truer sense of self worth, dignity and understanding of God’s love.