Virtues and Community Development for Kenya

by Virtues Project International Association
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Virtues and Community Development for Kenya
Virtues and Community Development for Kenya
Virtues and Community Development for Kenya
Virtues and Community Development for Kenya
Virtues and Community Development for Kenya
Virtues and Community Development for Kenya
Virtues and Community Development for Kenya
Virtues and Community Development for Kenya
Virtues and Community Development for Kenya

At a time when a pandemic is affecting all parts of the community, leading to increases in violence in the home, school, and community, The Virtues Project is making a positive difference. 

Here are evaluation comments from participants in virtues training held for the staff of the Child Protection Desk:

"To have self-esteem and believing in yourself through practicing all the gifts of character will better the next generation."

"Having facilitators break down all the virtues helped me to understand with ease, hence changing my mental perspective in a positive way."

"Attending this workshop was enjoyable and opened my inner mind to understand the changes possible."

"Virtues Training can help me change my family, village, community, and even the nation."

"The Virtues Program has positively changed my life and that of my family members.  We are more peaceful and ever grateful to our facilitators."

 By using the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project, and the random Virtues Pick, an activity, we are influencing the community to identify teachable moments thus preventing the harmful effect of violence on children, family, community.  We are transforming the attitude of those who come to us.

We continue to work in the Child Protection Unit where we are able to lower the number of juveniles referred to the judicial system.  

We trained  a group consisting of 20  school board members and teachers on 22nd May, 2021.

Their evaluations were uplifting:

 "I have learned to teach young children using the Virtues way."

"I appreciate the presenters for their commitment to teach us about Virtues. They were determined and loving."

"I learn  to set goals in raising up children."

"The workshop has transformed me to associate with family members and friends."

"The workshop has just been amazing, educative, informative, and motivating."

We are in the process of translating virtues cards into our native language so that we can share more easily with those we serve.

We continue to help our students advance in school as we raise the funds or receive donations.

Thanks to your generosity and support we continue our work and we want you to know it is making a positive difference in the lives of those we touch at home, school, and in the community!  

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As the pandemic continues to impact Kenya government operations, commerce, schools at all levels, our community, and now our own families, we continue our virtues training throughout the community with courage and care.

Since most of our activities are carried out face to face, at this time we have limited ability to meet and provide training in our groups.  Our Virtues trained groups carry out their activities with collaboration and solidarity through phone contacts.  We  continue to carry out counseling using the Virtues Strategies and Virtues Cards in the community, Children Protection Unit, Kakamega Police Station and through the Lutonyi Catholic Church Gender Based Violence and Children Protection Desk.    We have continued to receive requests for training but are slowed by government restrictions at this time. 

  • Faith communities are embracing virtues training throughout their communities saying, "it harmonizes their relationships."
  • As a woman peacemaker and a virtues practitioner, I intervened when the sexual assault of a school girl  left residents threatening to kill the perpetrator and harm his family because he was free to walk the streets.  I called on my courage and talked to the area Assistant Chief of police.  We agreed to work toward peacefulness. I convinced him that what the residents required was Virtues training as, "it has yielded harmony elsewhere." He agreed to mobilize the residents for Virtues Training and that the attendees would be Covid – 19 regulations compliant. We provided training to 100 residents at a local Catholic Church, 70 finished the training. I am pleased to report that no chaos has taken place and that the residents embraced peacefulness.
  • CHILDREN PROTECTION UNIT, KAKAMEGA POLICE STATION The power in counseling using Virtues Strategies and Cards can be seen at this unit within the police station. Many matters affecting the family, e.g. failing to provide food for the family, family conflicts, disagreements with children, are resolved without being referred to the courts.
  • LUTONYI CATHOLIC CHURCH GENDER BASED VIOLENCES AND CHILD PROTECTION DESK. The Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Bonface Kibaki, All Angels Lutonyi Parish, who is Virtues Trained and Catholic Diocese of Kakamega Education Secretary, organized for Virtues Training for leaders of the parish. His intention was to roll out training to other Church groups. Covid – 19 situations raised many challenges in the families and community. Arising from cases which have been handled at the church, we discussed with the priest and he has established the Lutonyi Catholic Church Gender Based Violence and Child Protection Desk. The committee who were elected to handle matters at the desk are Virtues trained. The Parish Priest is the Patron and I am the coordinator. We have a vision to establish a child/adult rescue center, a Virtue school and other relevant projects as resources allow.

We thank you for your continued support and caring.  Your generosity has made our work possible, and our community  more harmonious and tranquil.

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Kenyans have experienced many challenges during the year 2020 resulting from COVID-19 and Government regulations, e.g. stay at home, wear masks, etc. Employers and workers were under instructions to adhere to safety and health regulations issued by the government including COVID-19 Guidelines including all other measures laid down towards stopping the spread of COVID-19. Many people lost jobs etc. There were strict regulations which stopped crowding, curfew, closure of learning institutions, churches and other forms of crowding, e.g. meetings, burial ceremonies etc. Effectively it was a lost year with underperformance all round.   This led to a Memorandum of Understanding between Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) and Ministry of Labor to mitigate the danger that COVID-19 pandemic poses. 

We appreciate our Virtues trained groups for peaceful existence in spite of many challenges at family during this period.

The government has started easing the restrictions. Schools have started partial opening giving us hope that this may be a better year.

One of our major initiatives has been to train community groups in our part of Kenya to help them learn how adopting The Virtues Project can build community and help sustain community members through this crisis.  Our work to train groups at All Angels Catholic Church in Lutonyi has been an eye opener to other parishes.  We were invited to train Virtues to 35 members of the Catholic Women Association (CWA) Shirere, Christ the King, Amalemba Parish. The training was held in a home of one of the members and in attendance was the parish priest. The hosting family had put COVID-19 measures in place. We did a Virtues Pick "FORGIVENESS." After sharing the card, the chairwoman of the group shed tears, emotionally explaining that she had forgiven a group member who gossips about her. She called forward the lady and they reconciled. Many others gave their version of how the discussion had touched them. At the end of the training, the group asked their parish priest for training in The Virtues Project for the church leadership for they feel it is especially relevant during this time.

As the government eases Covid19 restrictions, we will more actively offer community Virtues Training and activities.  

We thank you for your continued financial support.  It is through your generous giving that we are able to continue to bring The Virtues Project to the community!

 

 

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During COVID, let us remember to call on the practices of the virtue of UNITY:  "We experience our connectedness with all people and all life."

Like many who will read this report, COVID – 19 has interrupted our lives, programs, and resources.  Before COVID 19,  we were in discussion to train members of Christian communities and other church groups.  Those are now on hold as is the training of all first-year students at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.

The program for Anglican Church of Kenya schools was interrupted by the Ministry of Education when they required to review all non – curriculum training that was being offered in schools. We have not been able to appeal our case because of COVID – 19 restrictions.

COVID 19 – VIRUS 

Kenya Government put stringent measures following the COVID 19 Virus in March 2020.

  • All Schools system, i.e Early Childhood all the way for the university were suspended. To date, the 2020 academic year has been lost.
  • All examinations were suspended.
  • All social gatherings – political rallies, church, meetings, conferences, training, sporting activities, and all other organized or spontaneous outdoor events, weddings were canceled.
  • Burial ceremonies were limited to 15 family members keeping social distance and wearing masks.
  • Dusk to dawn curfew.
  • People were asked to stay home, keep safe 
  • Many civil servants do not report to work; while the private sector introduced work from home.
  • Working hours were reduced
  • Closure of eateries, restaurants, and bars

The government is endeavoring to open up the economy being guided by the Ministry of Health and COVID – 19 statistics.  Meanwhile, COVID – 19 rules are still enforced by the government.

COVID – 19 restrictions have led to many challenges for families and community:

  • Misunderstanding 
  • Domestic violence 
  • Corruption 
  • Early pregnancies 
  • Defilement 
  • Homicides

These challenges are keeping us very busy in the community and at Kakamega Police Station, Children Protection Unit. We support the families using the virtues cards which I acknowledge to be a wonderful counseling tool.

RESPONSE, GAINS, AND CHALLENGES

Our trained groups used to hold meetings with Virtues Refreshers, Virtues Pick, Compassionate game, Table Banking, and other Virtues activities. This enhanced positivity. I am pleased to report that we have created Whats App groups as a way to continue to connect, and so far, we have not experienced negative reports from member groups. This indicates that Virtues are having a positive impact even during these hard COVID 19 times.

Mindfulness Youth Virtues Support Group continues to work on a project to raise rabbits and also grow indigenous vegetables using organic manure.

Members of our trained groups are positive influences in the community as well as the church. They draw strength from the Teachable Moments Strategy of The Virtues Project.

We continue to rent an office in Kakamega for our meetings at  Sh 12,000/= per month.

We are operating in a community that is very poor and that cannot even raise the cost of training materials. The groups carry out small table banking programs, and, so far do not experience conflict among themselves. Three groups are still struggling to raise funds for chicken house rearing chicken as an economic activity.

When the government relaxes the COVID – 19 Control, we hope to restart Virtues Training and also find ways to enhance our income-generating projects. 

We thank you for your caring and continued support.  Your generosity is making a positive difference, especially during these challenging times.  And we thank you for your unity, "unity comes when we value every person, in our family or in our world."


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GROWTH BEFORE THE PANDEMIC
We are pleased to report that the Virtues program has taken off well in the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega, Kenya. Virtues training has occurred within the KICCSA Leadership Induction, Secondary Schools Directors of Education, Young Christian Society, Primary Schools Deputy Head Teachers, Primary Schools Senior Teachers, Secondary Schools Deputy Principals. 
At All Holy Angels Lutonyi Parish, virtues training has been incorporated for Youth Leaders, Shikhambi Station leaders, Ikonyero Station Leaders, Shisasari Station Leaders, Lutonyi Station Leaders. 
There were a total of 1000 participants in all!  The evaluations were very positive!
We have continued our other monthly community activities, which are popular. We also continue to do work with the Kakamega Police Station, Children Protection Unit. The power of Virtues Cards and the Virtues Pick activity cannot be overemphasized as important tools in support of counseling in families and the community.
COVID-19 PANDEMIC CREATES CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many challenges to our program. Kenya's government put in place restrictions in line with international practice. Such conditions as the closure of all educational/learning institutions, closure of churches and places of worship, restriction of crowding, regulations touching burial rites, dusk to dawn curfew, Stay at Home, Early closure time for operating an essential business, closure of bars and commercial eateries, price hikes, etc. Travel has been restricted in and out of certain locations.  
TEACHABLE MOMENTS, OPPORTUNITIES TO HONE OUR VIRTUES...
  • We are unable to continue with public workshops at this time.  So we will use our flexibility and learn more about technology.  We take time to rest, rejuvenate, and stay healthy.
  • Parents have had to stretch their patience with the presence of their children at home, who would otherwise have been at school. Some of those who have received Virtues training, and are on Whatsapp, share their experiences through Virtues). How's that for creativity?
  • There has been an upsurge of domestic violence offering us the opportunity to practice detachment and compassion as we offered Spiritual Companioning to one family. 
VIRTUES IN MY FAMILY
The family of my 4th born practice Virtues. When schools were ordered closed, they visited me. They live in Nairobi. Following restriction in and out of Nairobi, they are still with us. They are students of Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls School. ( ages 17 and 15 ). We do a weekly Virtues Pick and we guide them through practice. They did random picks and have shared their thoughts.  Enjoy the pictures.
We are calling on our resilience during these challenging times.  We thank you for your continued support of our work.  Your donations make our work possible.  We are very grateful for your generosity and caring.

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Virtues Project International Association

Location: Calgary, AB - Canada
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Twitter: @VirtuesProject
Project Leader:
Verona Lucas
Calgary, AB Canada
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