Bev Wann and Kate Schecter
On May 5, 2015, ADP celebrated our 30 years of support of effective development projects in East Africa. After a festive dinner in St. Paul’s Parish Hall, founding member Bev Wann presented a look back over the years, with images of the resourceful villagers in the programs and the leaders we have come to know. Then the CEO of World Neighbors, Kate Schecter, thanked us for our faithful support and presented a gift of a framed photo of Kenyan children. In her talk she discussed how World Neighbors helps communities organize to solve their own problems in sustainable ways and showed a video of Chris Macoloo, the WN African Director, thanking us and describing his work.
A crowd was dancing in the nave to the syncopated sway of African celebration on Saturday, February 22, 2014, at Trinity Episcopal Church. The HARAMBEE – or “pulling together” – was a celebration of music, dinner, crafts for sale, and presentations for members of St. Paul’s Memorial Church, Trinity Episcopal, and the many local friends and neighbors who make up the African Development Project (ADP). Those attending sang joyful hymns, led by friends from Africa, Anna Githinji and Sarah Simba. Our speakers, Bev Wann and Naomi Oyanji, had made recent trips to Africa and reported on their experiences.
Bev Wann first gave a brief overview of the African Development Project, explaining that we have long partnered with three projects in Kenya: 1. The Kitui Development Center, led by Janet Mumo; 2. Various specific projects of World Neighbors, an international development organization; and 3. Oyani Christian Rural Services, led by the Rev. Peter Indalo. She explained that since Peter’s death in Dec. 2012 ADP has been trying to determine whether the programs Peter put in place will continue. Peter had asked our support for many orphans in his area, many of whom were AIDs orphans. Since his death we have been in touch with the Director of Privilege Academy, a primary school many of these orphans attended. (Following Bev’s presentation, Naomi reported on this school.)
Leaders of a local effort to purchase a bicycle.
Bev Wann visited eastern Uganda projects with Chris Macolo, World Neighbors Africa director. Chris had asked our support for a “young” World Neighbors project in a very poor region north of Lake Victoria. World Neighbors’ approach is to facilitate community organization and development in a region for ten or so years and then move on after the group becomes sustainable. Bev attended a meeting in the rural village of Mayuge, Uganda, of a new project, called MABUTA, bringing together local organizations in three parishes (six villages) working to improve health and agriculture. The WN visitors heard a passionate plea for a bicycle so that travel to the regional AIDS center could be made more efficiently. Chris explained that World Neighbors would not provide the bicycle, but would provide the know-how to organize a savings and credit group that would place the purchase fully in local hands. The potential is here for funding an entire fleet of bicycles, all based on mutual responsibility and entirely sustainable local effort. Bev described this approach as the genius of the World Neighbors way of development. In general, World Neighbors does not provide the equipment or assets needed in a village. Instead they teach the skills for effective community action. World Neighbors may provide a goat or pig to a local family, but the first offspring must be given away. This leads to support of the community and development based on mutuality.
The next speaker was Naomi Oyanji, a young woman from Kenya now working and studying in Charlottesville. On a trip home in December and January, Naomi, on ADP’s behalf, visited the Privilege Academy in Migori, where Peter Indalo lived, and interviewed the Director, Lydiah Vusaka. Naomi showed photos of the school’s collection of basic brick, mud, and corrugated iron buildings and open air classrooms thathouse kindergarten through eighth grade. The compound has no ready source for water. Three small rocks provide a make-do kitchen area outside where meals are prepared. The library is a small cabinet with torn and damaged books. The students need shoes and the classrooms need proper blackboards and all manner of equipment. And the rooms need doors. Students collect the few pieces of rough classroom benches at the end of each day for storage in the only room with a door, a precaution against theft.
Students and teacher at the Privilege Academy in Migori.
To support the African Development Project's work in Kenya, send a check made payable to St. Paul's Memorial Church, with African Development Project in the memo line, to: 1700 University Ave., Charlottesville, VA 22903. All donations are tax-deductible and go directly to help the projects described here. There are no overhead expenses.
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