Poverty, church, and development in Kenya : a case study of Kiberia slums in Nairobi
Muvengi, Daniel Mutua
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This study was aimed at unearthing the underlying factors for the Church's poor engagement in poverty and development and to propose an appropriate strategy for transformational development in Kibera. The research asked "What are the underlying factors for the Church's poor engagement with poverty and development that will inform a comprehensive strategy for transformational development in the Kibera area" This was shaped strongly by the believe that God has strategically positioned and mandated the local church as the agent of both spiritual and social transformation in communities, more so in Kibera. The study focused on the stakeholders of change or development in Kibera, who included church leaders, government representatives, non–governmental organizations, civil society organizations as well community members. In addition, the study also targeted key informants who have critical information on the subject of study, within and outside Kibera. The study applied purposeful sampling to identity respondents. This was because purposeful sampling is easy, flexible and helps one to target the right respondents with the right information for the right questions. It also saves a lot of time. Both structured and unstructured questionnaires were used to carry out interviews with the sampled groups. Overall the response to the study was almost 80 per cent, which is a good representation. Data was coded and analysed and a report generated, which formed the basis for presentation on the findings guided by the main research question. The Bible is very clear on issues of poverty and development and sets the foundation for human engagement for transformation. All good development can be traced to Scripture. It was very clear that Kibera faces a huge problem of poverty, which is complex and multi–faceted in nature. Despite the various efforts by many players including the Church to alleviate poverty, the situation has remained unchanged. Although there are many churches that are seeking to impact the poor in this sprawling informal settlement, their influence remains untapped. The study found out that several factors combine together to make the church's engagement in integral mission very low. Some of these factors include, low educational levels, lack of adequate and relevant training that empowers the churches to engage in holistic ministry. In addition poor and uncoordinated approaches as well as ignorance on the part of the church, still contribute greatly to this problem. Hence an urgent need for an appropriate strategy that seeks to engage the local churches fully in bringing transformational development in Kibera. Following these revelations, the study has identified several elements that should be considered in developing an integrated transformational strategy for Kibera. Some of the key elements include partnerships, empowerment and capacity building on the part of the churches, holistic programming as well as a strong focus on advocacy to help confront the systems and structures that continue to perpetuate poverty in Kibera. Towards that end, the study recommends a three–legged model: Sustained Transformational Model (STM) for Kibera that focuses on sustained holistic programming, sustained partnerships as well as sustained advocacy. The primary focus of the model (centre) is to ensure sustained well being of communities. In the end the study has made some critical recommendations for key stakeholders in Kibera. The churches are called upon to embrace a more holistic and sustainable approach to ministry. The governments and other development partners are challenged to consider and include in their strategies ways and means to strengthen the local churches as the sustaining community institutions to bring authentic transformational change in Kibera. Finally, those interested in further studies are provide with some key areas that they can investigate further, key being the specific contribution of churches in development in Kibera.
- ETD@PUK