When I stepped off the plane in Nairobi, little did I realize
what a powerful impact my pilgrimage to Kenya would have on my life,
and how my global perspective would
be forever transformed.
I was one of 16 people who joined
the United Church’s pilgrimage this
spring. It was an opportunity to see the
joys and challenges of life in Kenya,
and to learn more about the church’s
partnership work with organizations
and other churches that are making
great strides in economic development,
peace building, and helping people
respond to climate change.
Here are the highlights of Mission
& Service partners that our team met
and the programs we saw.
• Kakuma Refugee Camp and the
Kalobeyei settlement in the NorthWestern region of Kenya. The National
Council of Churches in Kenya offers
shelter, camp planning, community
health programs, reproductive
health, and livelihood training.
• School visits in the western region
of Kenya with the Kenyan Alliance
for the Advancement of Children’s
Rights. The Alliance supports child
rights clubs in over 100 schools.
This work includes supporting child
rights ambassadors, leadership
training, and coordinating opportunities for children to learn about
peace building and HIV/AIDS.
• Food security programmes in West
Pokot offered by the Organisation
of African Instituted Churches
(OAIC). The organization promotes
good farming to support local farmers learning new techniques in an
area impacted by drought. OAIC
also works with the community to
empower women in their agricultural work. In West Pokot, women
are breaking gender stereotypes by
• Conservation Agriculture in Meru
County, eastern region of Kenya.
This food insecurity program is
put on by the National Council of
Churches of Kenya in partnership
with the Canadian Foodgrains
Bank. Farmers learn crop rotation,
intercropping, water harvesting,
and more. Lead farmers then train
other farmers. Since its launch in
2015, 380 farmers have been trained.
This year, 500 more will be trained
in conservation agriculture, which
increases crop yields and provides
food security for communities
impacted by drought. Farmers who I
visited asked me to tell people of the
United Church “that we love them
and are very thankful for their help.”
As individuals we can’t change the
world overnight but when we work
together we can make great strides.
My heart swells with pride having
seen first-hand all the good being done
because of our giving to Mission &
Service, and I have resolved to increase
my giving. Please know that your con-
tributions do help alleviate suffering
and contribute to a better world.
This pilgrimage was coordinated by
the General Council Office’s Mission &
Service Giving staff, the People in Partnership team, and Mission & Service
partners in Kenya.
—Hope Rowsell is a member of
South Brook United Church in
Newfoundland and the Mission
& Service Enthusiast for her congregation. She is also president of
the Newfoundland and Labrador
Conference and a member of General
Council Permanent Committee for
Programs in Mission and Ministry.
A PILGRIMAGE of HOPE
One of many warm welcomes from people in Kenya.