As we have been quiet on our blog these last couple of months, I thought I’d give you some idea of what we’ve been up to. We just emerged from a heavy season of planning and preparation for the new fiscal year that began in April. During December, January, and February, Rand and I have been involved in budget development and proposal writing, reviewing, editing and finalizing for MCC’s work in Kenya. We have done a lot of this on our own, and much of it with input from program specialists with MCC in Canada and the US. Most of the proposals that we support have a three year duration, so developing them is not a small task for our partners who implement them.
MCC’s method of working in most countries and areas is by partnering with established organizations, or partners. In other words, typically MCC would not come into a community and say, “You need a well, and we will fund it. “ Rather MCC’s partners are organizations who are already at work in MCC’s strategic and geographic areas of interest and share MCC values.
In Kenya our areas of focus are food security/agriculture/water, health (including HIV/AIDS prevention), education, disaster relief, and peace-building. The majority of our money is spent on water/ag/food security. All of our partners use methods and techniques that are unique to their environments, populations, and particular needs; no two programs look alike.
|A Self Help Group building a sand dam in the Ukambani region of Kenya.|
|A sand dam with water flowing over it. In the dry season|
the water stored in this dam will be crucial for crops,
livestock, and people in the area.
|Bottles laid out to sterilize in the sun at Menno Kids Academy. Each student and |
teacher has his or her own bottle that is laid out each day.
We also support several schools through MCC’s Global Family Fund. We partner with schools and organizations in our country that face incredible challenges – they strive to provide quality education to vulnerable kids and provide them a loving, stable environment. Visiting these schools and seeing the tireless work of the teachers is amazing. We have also been fortunate to have a young, bright service worker (i.e., MCC volunteer) work with these schools.
|The kids at Mukuru Menno Academy holding up their water|
bottles after sitting in the sun (the SODIS method is part of our WASH
programs at the schools. Clean water is not to be taken for granted here.
I realize that climate change is a controversial term in the US, fraught with highly politicized factions. That is not the case here: it is a hard reality that millions of people in this region of Africa deal with on a daily basis. It has changed the rains, the water availability, the crops, livestock breeding patterns – almost everything. The increasing number of droughts has required that we work with our partners to provide relief and food aid. There are various ways we do this, and we know that at some point in our term, we will face another serious season of food shortages. We fortunately have seen good rains over the last month – albeit strange, as they started in February, rather than March. We hope that crops will grow and produce well this season.
|Two participants engaged in the "river of life" exercise during the Justice|
that Heals Learning Community, led by MCC partner DiPaD.
The tasks of developing a budget (and you will be relieved to know that Rand does most of that!) and revising and editing plans can feel a bit cold and disconnected from the workers in the communities. At the same time, it gives us the opportunity to see the hard work that our partners put into providing services for the people they serve. We really are amazed at what can happen in these communities with limited resources and less than ideal circumstances. For those of you who give to MCC, thank you, and please know that we really do work hard to ensure the money is spent wisely and with kindness and compassion. https://donate.mcc.org/