Methodist Church supports a wholistic theology of development, inclusive of full development of the body, mind and soul. This is the principle that informs and guides the church’s Rural and Urban Development program in its support for the church’s work.
The Rural and Urban Development Program uses its development agenda to propagate the church’s mission based on Christ’s Great Commission, enshrined in Mathew 28:19-20, and confirmed by His coming to the world. He came so that all can have life in all its fullness, (John 10:10).
Besides carrying out its core business, of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Church relies on Rural and Urban Development program to cater for the other development needs of communities.
Development Program Activities Rural and Urban Development Program undertakes various development activities all over Kenya as well as in our Mission areas in Uganda and Tanzania.
These activities include among others, training in development education, sustainable agriculture, disaster mitigation and preparedness, project development and management, leadership and communication skills, gender issues, community water projects, running vocational training centres, promoting income generating activities, environmental care, conservation of the ecosystem, livestock development and management, crop production and poverty alleviation projects.
The Development Program works very closely with the Health and Women Programs of the Church, in the areas of advocacy, capacity building and project planning and management.
Methodist Church has established Rural Development Centres, catering for different climatic regions of Kenya. There is also a Rural Development Centre in our Uganda Mission area at Nambula in Kamuli district. The Church is also planning to establish a Centre in our Tanzania Mission area at Bunda. The above Development Centres are an avenue through which the Rural and Urban Development Program intervenes and impacts the people at the grassroots level.
Bio Intensive Training Centre in Kaaga, Meru
The Bio Intensive Training Centre in Kaaga, Meru, catering for the highlands region.
The Bio-Intensive Training Centre undertakes agricultural training and demonstration for small holder farmers on sustainable agriculture and appropriate technologies. This Centre is the only one of its kind in the region. It has a well established livestock management unit, demonstration plots for vegetables and fruits, as well as tree and fruit nurseries.
It also creates awareness on the impact of HIV/Aids and the plight of orphans and their guardians. The Centre provides basic boarding facilities for 25 farmers.
Marimanti Rural Training Centre, Tharaka district
Marimanti Rural Training Centre serves the marginal areas of the Eastern Province of Kenya. The centre trains farmers on better farming methods, use of appropriate technologies and on sustainable agriculture. It also provides quality seeds and improved plant materials, with the aim of increasing food production and uplifting the standard of living of the peasant farmers in the region. There are also bee-keeping and honey refinery activities at this centre.
Several farmers’ training programs are conducted here annually. The Centre also undertakes some tailor-made training sessions for farmers according to their training needs. Subjects covered during the farmers training sessions include, among others, crop production, intensive farming and kitchen gardening, organic farming, horticultural production, rain water harvesting techniques, livestock production, resource management and family life education, soil and water conservation measures, food and nutrition.
There is also the Nkondi farm, about 13 Kms from the centre, which acts as the demonstration farm for the Centre. At this farm, there are various varieties of food crops, trees and fruit trees.
The Centre encourages the farmers to start income generating activities. It has well established fruit and tree nurseries and encourages the communities to grow more trees to counter deforestation.
There is a lot of collaboration and co-operation between Marimanti Rural Training Centre, local administration, relevant government ministries, NGOs and agricultural research institutions. It has basic accommodation facilities for 20 people.
Ribe Rural Development Centre, near Mombasa
The Ribe Centre caters for the Coastal region of Kenya. It is still in its initial stage of establishment. The centre was initiated by the Women Fellowship of the Coast region. Its objective is to train farmers in the area on better farming methods, use of appropriate technologies, sustainable agriculture and income generating activities, so as to increase food production and uplift their standard of living.
Presently a zero grazing unit has been established at the centre and there are demonstration plots as well as tree and fruit nurseries. It is envisaged that when this centre is fully established, it will have training and accommodation facilities, livestock development and management, general agriculture with emphasis on horticulture, agro-forestry and community development activities.
Nambula Rural Development Centre, Kamuli district, Uganda
This Centre aims at training farmers in the marginal area of Kamuli district, on better farming methods with a view to improving their incomes and thereby raising their standard of living.
The Centre collaborates with government agricultural research institutions. The Church hopes to impact the community through the different training activities and Rural Development strategies.
Nambula has a two-classroom block and one staff house. There is ample land for expansion purposes. A banana plantation has also been established at the Centre.
Proposed Development Centre at Bunda for Tanzania Mission Area
Arrangements are under way to establish a development centre in our Tanzania Mission at Bunda. When completed, this Centre will be a multi – purpose training and development Centre. Land is available for the establishment of the Centre.
Other Development Projects
Besides the above mentioned Rural Development Centres, there are many projects being undertaken by congregations, circuits and synods in the Connexion in liaison with and advise by the Development Coordinator.
These projects are in sustainable agriculture; community water; income generating activities (such as bee-keeping, poultry and dairy farming projects); HIV/Aids widows’ and orphans’ projects; street, and other disadvantaged children’s projects; environmental and afforestation; educational; micro-finance credit; vocational training and other poverty alleviation activities.
In August 1996, Methodist Church in Kenya established a Disability Programme. The founder of the Programme was Mr Paul Roger Lindoewood, a Mission Partner from Britain. The programme is Connexional and is based at the MCK Conference Office in Nairobi.
During the seven years of its existence the Disability Program has been involved in three main areas of work:
- Developing and increasing awareness of disability and the needs of disabled people, throughout the MCK Connexion.
- Working with what is loosely referred to as the disabled community (organization or group that is working with disabled people or their families).
- Developing a Disabled Children’s Centre which is at present known as the Disability Community Centre a Community Based Rehabilitation project, based in Maua and operating within the Meru North District.
Various cultures view disability in three ways: one, by its cause; two, by its effects on valued attributes, and three, by the status of the disabled person as an adult. Social Model defines disability as a form of oppression by the society, encouraging and reinforcing an attitude of dependency of disabled people. The emphasis of the social model is on changing the attitudes and systems that impose barriers to full participation in society.
With regard to cause, people are treated well or poorly depending on cultural beliefs about how and why they became disabled. For instance, some cultures explain disability by witchcraft, reincarnation, divine displeasure and genetics. In others, disability has a positive association e.g., in northern Mexico and Botswana it is reported that the birth of a child with disability is evidence of God’s trust in a parent’s ability to care for that child.
With regard to attributes, if a society values physical strength, then people with physical disabilities are at a disadvantage. If society values intellectual accomplishments, then the fact that a person uses a wheelchair is not as limiting.
As for the adult status, the willingness of a society to give resources to people with disabilities often depends on whether or not that individual will have an adult role in the community. Will that individual have a job? A family of his/her own?
Thus, people with disabilities are far more limited by society’s view of disability than by their actual disability.
According to the Bible, every human being is created in God’s likeness regardless of their physical or mental capacities. The love that God has for every being also applies to people with different kinds of disabilities. God’s wish to save every human being and the whole creation from evil is a wish he also has for those who live with disabilities (John 3:16). This means that God’s command that we love our neighbour as ourselves (Lev 19:18) also includes those who have disabilities.
Methodist Church encourages an attitude of love for all people. All must be included and integrated in the church. We also preach peace because we understand that conflict and terrorist activities are some of the major causes of disability.
Currently, the church sponsors the following institutions:
- Meru School for the Mentally Handicapped
- Portreitz School for the Physically Handicapped
- Njia Special School for both the deaf and the mentally handicapped
- Kaaga School for the deaf, and
- Maua Disability Community Centre
We are also encouraging primary schools to have special units for the deaf and the mentally handicapped. This trend is picking up well in Meru North and parts of the Kenya Coast.
We have congregations for the deaf and are looking forward to having more in future.