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From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 13 Dec 2002 20:10:15 -0800

December 16, 2002

AANA Bulletin is an ecumenical initiative to highlight all endeavours and 
experiences of Christians and the people of Africa.  AANA Bulletin is 
published weekly and, together with the French Edition - Bulletin APTA - is 
also available through e-mail.	For editorial and subscription details, 
please contact: 

AANA Bulletin	: Acting Editor - Mitch Odero		
Bulletin APTA: Edition en frangais, ridacteur intirimaire : Sylvie Alemba

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Churches Seek Food Aid For  Pastoralist Communities

POKOT, Kenya/GENEVA(AANA) December 16 - Over 242,800 people are threatened 
with severe hunger in West Pokot and Turkana  in the mainly arid- and 
semi-arid districts of Northern Kenya.

Church leaders in the region, including the main ones, Evangelical Lutheran 
church of Kenya ELCK, Anglican Church, Catholic Diocese of Lodwar, the Full 
Gospel Church of Kenya among others have, raised concerns that the famine 
situation in their areas is serious.

The ELCK approached the ACT Nairobi Forum (ANF), through Norwegian Church 
Aid (NCA) Regional Office in Nairobi with a proposal showing large 
population facing serious famine threat.

ANF has taken an immediate response to consider the famine concerns raised 
by Churches. The Churches particularly, requested for professional 
assessment of the situation, to help them consolidate a co-ordinated appeal 
that would cover West Pokot and Turkana districts.

ANF has mandated NCA to be the lead agency in this appeal while the 
grassroots churches will take lead as implementing partners.

With close co-ordination, ANF commissioned a consultant to evaluate the 
drought situation, who carried out a Rapid Appraisal exercise, covering 
West Pokot and Turkana districts during November 11- 22.

The appraisal showed that in West Pokot this season's rainfall amounts and 
distribution was the worst ever experienced in the district since 1984. The 
amount received was neither adequate to neither sustain planted food crops 
nor support the regeneration of pasture and browse for livestock.

This has led to a near total crop failure with mixed farming zones 
realising less than 10 percent food harvest. During this year's harvest 
season (which normally starts from September to October) the main food 
producing zones in the district registered a 97 percent drop from the 
normal maize production levels

Further, apart from the poor rains this year, there was a decrease in 
acreage of arable land under maize crop occasioned by poor prices and 
delayed payment of delivered produce to the National Cereal and Produce 
Board (NCPD) by farmers last year.  This affected the farmers ability to 
timely procure and utilise the necessary farming inputs.

With West Pokot experiencing only one planting season per annum, failure of 
the rains implies food shortages will continue unless rains surfaces. 
Hundreds of the pastoralists and agro pastoralists have relocated their 
livestock to neighbouring Trans-Nzoia district and Uganda.

This has complicated further the household food security of the remaining 
family members such as children, women and the elderly.

In Turkana, pasture availability within most dry season grazing areas is 
worse than normal for the season with deterioration forage for livestock. 
Most surface water sources are drying up forcing pastoralist communities to 

There is an increased number of animals offered for sale and prices have 
started to drop, with average sale prices of goats and sheep dropping from 
US $US 12 during September to	US $US 9 in October this year.

This downward prize trend has partly been triggered by increased prices of 
cereals, indicative of the significant drop in pastoralist purchasing power.

Community security and peace is also threatened as large herds of livestock 
moving from East Baringo through West Pokot to traditional dry season 
grazing areas in South Turkana is frequently creating tension and conflict 
along the Turkana/West Pokot borders.

A rapid rise in malnutrition levels in the three divisions of  Lokori, 
Kakuma and Lokitaung is particularly severe among households that had not 
fully recovered from the effects of the previous droughts.

Both the situations in West Pokot and Turkana warrants urgent humanitarian 
intervention. The rapid assessment has confirmed the concerns of the 
looming famine disaster indicated by the churches.

In West Pokot, 160,914, people, (47 percent) are considered to be extremely 
food insecure for at least the next three months.

This figure is predicted to reach a maximum of 221,933 people (64 percent) 
between April-July 2003 and reduce to 120,686 people from August-October 
2003 (35 percent) when the next harvest season in the district is expected.

In Turkana and surrounding areas, a total of over 69,000 people are in dire 
need of relief food while additional 13,000 children less than five years 
old will require supplementary feeding.

Over all, the approximated target population for the entire appeal 
including children in areas, which will be targeted in the two districts, 
are 242,800.

Prepared by Callie Long  (Note- For further information please contact: ACT 
Appeals Officer, John Nduna (phone +41 22 791 6040 or mobile phone +41 79 
433 0592)


Helping Villagers Overcome Challenges Of Drought

Farming is the primary means of survival but is a difficult way to sustain 
the family in the dry landscape of Central Tanzania. Most of the residents 
in Mpwapwa and Kongwa districts in Dodoma region are subsistence farmers 
who rely upon the "traditional burning" techniques of land clearing. This 
has deforested the entire area over the past 50 years and has exposed the 
fragile topsoil to severe erosion during the hard, brief rains common in 
the single annual rain season.

By Daniel Benno Msangya

In 1998, Bishop Simon Chiwanga of the Anglican Diocese of Mpwapwa began a 
programme to organize the members of his diocese into self-supporting, 
cooperatives, strengthen the church, empower the lay people and  reduce the 
load on his clergy.  These groups would become resources for each other and 
work toward sustaining life for members.

It was during small group training sessions that the residents of Mpwapwa 
developed the concept of a sustainable agriculture, micro-lending and 
tree-planting programme.

In late 1999, led by Clear Air Action Corporation (CAAC), this idea became 
the Tanzania International Small Group and Tree Planting Programme (TIST), 
designed to achieve integrated sustainable development objectives including 
taking action that reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the air or a new 
"cash crop" - growing trees for carbon sequestration; conservation 
agricultural management; food security; and basic business management.

The programme also adopted other objectives involving training in computer 
technology, health and nutrition, publishing and administration of a micro 
lending programme to assist in the move towards sustainable and balanced 

According to Chiwanga, TIST also works to provide revenues for participants 
to help sustain themselves during the dry season and "embark upon a 
programme that would enable the residents to reforest their land and 
replenish the soil". CAAC has also developed opportunities for these small 
groups to sell "Greenhouse Gas Credits" from the trees they are planting.

In order to make things go effectively, the Church in Tanzania is 
undergoing some changes according to the economic challenges as adopted 
from the Government Reformation Policy whereby the private sector is 
encouraged to take advantage to involve in commercial and business matters 
by privatization and developing self-supported economic projects.

The Anglican Church in Tanzania took this as a positive challenge and has 
established various development programmes to support the people 
spiritually and materially. In the year 2000, the TIST Board voted to 
create a for-profit organization TIST Ltd, designed to manage the business 
operations of the Mpwapwa TIST Programme.

The TIST Board operates using a structure based on small community groups. 
These groups form around a common interest or goal, such as charity work or 
religious interests and then become involved in the TIST Programme.

"These self-supporting and cooperative small groups, empower their 
community toward helping themselves while TIST helps to provide tools. They 
become families for each other and work toward sustaining life for group 
members,"  says Chiwanga, formerly Education Minister in the 1970s.

Residents of Mpwapwa form small groups brought together by common religious 
interests, community outreach or charity work. They receive training on 
small group organization before joining the TIST Programme.

The Executive Director for TIST Ltd, Kiangi Mchome says that all groups 
receive additional training on agricultural best practices and tree 
planting. "They can qualify for a micro-loan, which allows them to buy 
seeds during the planting season, food during the dry season and farming 

Crops that are frequently planted are maize, millets, groundnuts and trees. 
According to Mchome, the participants are strongly encouraged to share 
their experiences and best practices so that it remains as a continual 
learning process which helps efficiency, productivity and increased yields 
for everyone involved.

Loans are also available.  These include harvest and planting loans which 
can encourage staring or expanding businesses and many use the loan to 
purchase better seeds, medical treatment and providing education to small 
group members.

Conservation farming techniques are priority and an integral part of the 
TIST training programme, along with organizational development techniques 
and business management principles.

Employees and participants of  TIST are also developing practical 
communication skills. The programme operates a Kiswahili laboratory 
newsletter, Habari Motomoto (literary means "hot information") produced by 
a young man who had just trained in computer literacy at the TIST Centre 
based in Mpwapwa Town.

The CAAC has invested some US $ 500,000 of its own resources in the 
development of Phase I of the pilot programme.	CAAC continues its 
involvement and support of the TIST Programme by providing assistance for 
the reporting and quantification process;
mentoring and guidance, assistance to the residents in management 
techniques and democratic procedures for the board of directors.

CAAC also supports initial and current training sessions for all of the 
working groups; outreach with the Diocese of Mpwapwa and government 
officials; establishment of the necessary infrastructure for quantifying 
the carbon sequestration; and facilitation of the sale of the Greenhouse 
Gas Credits.

CAAC had also committed further resources for Phase II	of the pilot 
programme, which will continue to expand the programme, plant 1.5 million 
additional trees as well as continual monitoring and evaluation of the 
programme. This phase was expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Apart from coordinating, CAAC also markets the greenhouse gas credits to 
various companies desiring to demonstrate their commitment to both economic 
and environmental results. Many international companies seeking to 
accomplish a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions are willing to purchase 
emission credits from participants in TIST.

The Dow Chemical Company (DCC) became the first international firm to 
involve in Mpwapwa Diocesan Economic Development Programme.  Chiwanga and 
CAAC executives met with DCC authorities to discuss the progress and a 
possible future of alliance to support TIST Programme.

In early, 2001, the DCC committed US $ 1.2 million to the Institute for 
Environmental Innovation, a non-profit organization, for the 
three-year-development of Phase II of the TIST Programme and its 
replication in other locations.

Since then, DCC's involvement has been recommendable as it has played a 
very significant role: Helping to develop Mpwapwa TIST Programme, to 
document its results, creates a solid foundation for expansion and 
replication of a similar operations in other appropriate locations.

Review Reveals Shortcomings In Church Project

Some 26 years ago, the Catholic bishops in Eastern Africa instituted a new 
mode of evangelisation building - Small Christian Communities SCCs - as a 
way to bring the Christian message closer to the people. But this has not 
been very successful as Rev Fr Rodrigo Mejia, a former regional Superior 
for the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) Catholic Order for Eastern Africa, 
explains in a recent review.

By Osman Njuguna

Under the title, Small Christian Communities in Eastern Africa 26 Years On; 
Lights and Shadows, Fr Rodrigo Mejia, a member of the Jesuits Catholic 
Order, has recently reviewed a pastoral project undertaken by the Catholic 
bishops in Eastern Africa.

The Catholic clergyman, who has also lectured at the Tangaza College, a 
constituency of the Nairobi-based Catholic University for Eastern Africa, 
has raised a number of issues that tend to show that despite its intended 
positive fruits, it has run short of them.

His review has also disclosed that most of the SCCs are composed of a great 
majority of women. " Men do not seem to be attracted to them," the review 
on this regional church project has further found out.

The SCCs pastoral project was undertaken under the auspices of the regional 
Catholic Church body of the Association Member Episcopal Conferences in 
Eastern Africa AMECEA during   the Bishops' Study conference, held in the 
Kenyan capital, Nairobi in 1976.

AMECEA groups together Catholic bishops in the eight African countries of 
Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Malawi and Zambia.

Many priests, especially parish priests, are afraid that by establishing 
SCCs their authority will be diminished. They look at them as an improper 
way of democratising the church, says the church report, adding: "When the 
parish priest does not accept them, they cannot exist".

In many parishes there are SCCs that only have the name. The reality, Mejia 
has explained in his review, is quite different because they are exactly 
like the traditional pious religious movements that have always existed in 
the past.

His review has also disclosed that most of the SCCs are composed of a great 
majority of women. " Men do not seem to be attracted to them," the review 
on this regional church project has further found out.

According to Mejia, SCC's are almost non-existent among the rich and high 
middle class Christians. "There is not yet a pastoral version of SCCs 
adapted to them and attracting them," the Catholic clergyman further notes.

According to his findings parish priests are too busy and they are not 
always qualified to do it.

SCCs, he has pointed out, demand pastoral and spiritual on-going formation, 
while stressing that  "when such on-going formation is lacking the SCCs 
decline and they even die".

Some SCCs, especially in cities, tend to group themselves according to 
tribes so that they may use their mother tongue, according to Mejia, who 
hastens to point out that  "this kills the openness and universality proper 
to the church".

As often happens with all leaders, the leaders of the SCCs tend to be 
authoritarian and become "leaders for life," the Catholic priest has stated 
in his review on this church pastoral project.

In many parishes, SCCs exist at the same level as other traditional 
movements but not as a new structure of the parish, he has further found 
out. Therefore, he reasons out, they cannot really contribute to the common 
good and progress of the parish as a communion of communities.

The review also has some reservations about some parish priests. According 
to the report, some parish priests exaggerate the role of the SCCs and make 
it compulsory for all parishioners to become members of a SCC in order to 
be allowed to have their children baptized or enjoy other privileges.

This, the author has explained, prompts a negative reaction among 
Christians against SCCs. In African cultures, Mejia has explained, the 
youth do not feel at ease in an SCC composed of adults, especially if their 
own parents and relatives are members.

Mejia has complained that there are very few attempts in progress to offer 
an appropriate version of the SCCs adapted to them.

He summarises that  "to mention the shadows" is not enough. "We have to 
analyse why these problems happen and what the pastoral solution might be," 
he adds. SCCs, the Catholic priests further notes, are not a magic and 
infallible pastoral strategy.

If we examine these problems closely, we will discover that they are due, 
not to the nature of the SCCs but to human nature, because they are human 
groups and therefore, they cannot be perfect, the clergyman states.

  Much of the disenchantment about SCCs come from wrong expectations about 
them, says Mejia, stressing that "they were taken as a pastoral solution in 
order to make the work of the parish priest easier and that fact that they 
add a pastoral concern to him".

He is concerned that some interested parties analyse the slow 
implementation of SCCs in Eastern Africa by comparing their origin to that 
of the SCCs in Latin America.

He explains that whereas in Latin America they say the SCCs were born from 
the initiative of the Catholic faithful, in Eastern Africa they were born 
out of a decision from "above" - from the Bishops' Conference.

In fact, Mejia stresses that it is not fair to analyse the Church in terms 
of "below" and "above," a pattern that does not fit into the ecclesiology 
of communion and family of God proper to the SCCs themselves.

  Without the strong support of the bishops in Latin America the SCCs would 
have never developed in Latin America, says Mejia.

He further added that "moreover, the value of a pastoral option does not 
depend on whether it comes from the people or from the bishops, but on the 
relevance of the option itself".

Up to the present time, the ecclesiology and pastoral establishment of SCCs 
is not a current item of the curriculum in formation in major seminaries, 
faculties of theologies and religious houses of formation, he has further 
pointed out.

It is also true that very few dioceses have established structures to 
facilitate the establishment and on-going formation of the SCCs, he says, 
while posing the question:

Do the Bishops of AMECEA still believe that SCCs must constitute a pastoral 
priority for the new evangelisation in the years to come?

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