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Ministry Highlight: Kenya
Posted By Web Team On March 2, 2012 @ 3:07 am In Country Staff | 4 Comments
We began our ministry in Kenya in 1980, with the Child Sponsorship Program. In 2001, we started the Leadership Development Program, and the Child Survival Program followed in 2004.
In 2004, Joel Macharia joined our ministry in Kenya as a Project Auditor. He later served as an accountant in the Ministry Services Department for three years before being promoted to Ministry Services Manager. He was appointed Country Director in 2010.
Before coming to the ministry, Joel was an auditor for an accounting firm and worked in the finance department for the Pride of Africa airline.
Joel holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Nairobi and a master’s degree in business administration from Daystar University.
Joel also holds a post-graduate diploma in human resource management. He is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, British Council Leadership Forum and the Kenya Association of Fundraising Professionals.
As an active member at the Nairobi Mission Church, Joel serves as the secretary of the board of trustees. His interests span from development-related fields to behavioral economics.
Having come from a broken home and raised by a single mother, Joel is eager to mentor a generation that has the “willingness and resolve” to overcome challenges and fill the leadership gap in their country.
Implementing Church Partners
Implementing Church Partners are local churches in Kenya with whom we work to deliver child development programs and frontline ministry in the field.
The new constitution dispensation is a major challenge because it recognizes Islam and gives recognition and expansion to its courts, commonly known as “kadhi” courts. Also, most churches lack basic infrastructure and over depend on developing countries to support them.
Child Survival Program
Caregivers are given lessons in reading, writing and simple mathematics. Each caregiver who has completed the course is given an examination and then a certificate. Classes are held weekly, but we provide additional individual attention if needed.
We will also provide Vitamin A supplements, which are provided free of charge from the government health centers because Vitamin A supplementation is a requirement for children 6 months to 5 years old.
Mothers are given training and education on prenatal care by a trained medic and by Child Survival Program implementers.
In addition, pregnant mothers are provided with delivery kits by our implementers as they wait to deliver in a government health facility.
Delivery kits contain a cord clamp, a sterile blade, gloves and cotton. We pay the delivery fee for the pregnant mothers in the Child Survival Program.
Child development workers have been trained in the Community-Integrated Management of Childhood Illness program to enable them to facilitate efficient management of childhood illnesses, both in the community and at the facility. Health screening is done twice a year for the beneficiaries at the Child Survival Programs, and medication is provided for those who are ill.
Sick children that need referrals are assisted in accessing appropriate medical specialists and the referral process is coordinated by the Health Specialist. We pay medical bills for children needing medical attention at a health center, but parents are encouraged to pay 10 percent of the total bills.
Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV interventions are facilitated by the Implementing Church Partners to lower the risk of mother-to-child transmission for HIV-positive expectant mothers. Mothers/Caregivers are encouraged to go for HIV testing, and those found HIV-positive are encouraged to join a Child Survival Program support group.
Some of the services we offer in these support groups include education on HIV and transmission, support for accessing treatment, nutritional support for the children, replacement feeding for the children born to HIV-positive mothers, and additional testing and counseling.
Malnourished babies are put into the nutrition rehabilitation program. This program trains caregivers on appropriate nutrition for children, provides additional food supplements, performs regular growth monitoring to check progress, and monitors the caregivers’ home situations to assess compliance with the program’s guidelines.
Food security training is given at the Implementing Church Partners. Church partners invite agricultural officers who train caregivers on best agricultural practices, including seed selection for different types of soils and ways of enhancing crop production.
Starting kitchen gardens and gunny-bag farming gives caregivers the opportunity to own a vegetable garden that can contribute to a balanced family diet.
Mothers also receive ongoing training on income-generating skills, which should enable them to be self-supporting. During drought times, our ministry, the church, other NGOs and the government distributes relief food to needy families.
We have held couples’ seminars where husbands and wives are trained on how to have healthy relationships, and we make an effort to recognize the fathers during special events such as transitioning ceremonies and breast-feeding week.
Many fathers help develop toys with locally available materials such as swings and balls, and they participate in Child Survival Program memory-book training and field trips. Memory books are a family history for the children in our program that serve as a diary when they grow up.
It is also a source of family information in the event one or both parents die; we encourage both the mother and father to be involved in creating this book.
The Child Survival Program Implementers and the Child Sponsorship Program staff guide the caregivers through what to expect from the sponsorship program six months before the transition.
Child Development Through Sponsorship
Your sponsorship of a child in Kenya provides a variety of benefits.
Children are busy with school during the week so we meet on Saturdays and holidays.
Children who are in the HIV program are given nutritional supplements to boost their immunity. We provide this food for the children because they often are not fed at home. The food gives the children the ability to concentrate in class and also to play.
During extremely difficult situations where food is unavailable, children come to the child development center with their siblings just for a meal. It’s the only place where they are able to eat something.
If only a few children are involved, they can be accompanied by their caregiver or health worker at a nearby medical facility. If vaccinations are needed for an outbreak such as typhoid, children are vaccinated through Complementary Interventions support.
Children participate in community service as well by visiting and helping sick caregivers in their community, helping to clean their homes, and by participating in tree-planting activities.
Adolescents are involved in activities such as computer training, carpentry, motor vehicle repair, dress making, cooking, hair dressing, driving, life skills and tree planting. They also participate in Christian preaching and Bible studies.
For example, a student who studied tailoring will receive a sewing machine, needle, thread, cloth, etc.
In addition, we allow them to be involved in income-generating projects.
Leadership Development Program
The Leadership Development Program Specialist carries out an evaluation, and a health screening is also conducted at this time. In addition, students have an annual work camp where they engage in evangelism, open-air meetings, hospital visits, school visits and house renovation.
New mentors are trained and continuing mentors come for refresher training and to give feedback.
They also meet with current Leadership Development Program students and encourage them to uphold the leadership principles. Some students act as mentors for current students.
Complementary Interventions in Kenya include medical interventions for Child Sponsorship Program children; malaria prevention campaigns, which include distributing treated mosquito nets; disaster relief, such as rehabilitating homes destroyed by crises and conducting peace and reconciliation forums; and clean water  projects.
Highly Vulnerable Children
Primary Highly Vulnerable Children needs in Kenya are providing care replacement for the children hosted in our four cottages. These children require a stable and regular guardian to provide consistency and emotional security for the children.
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