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

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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What started as a vision to train 80 individuals in one community has grown to over 280 individuals in three counties! The change of character is evident by the friendliness, accountability, transparency, and unity shown.  People who have been trained are attracting others. 
Monthly meetings are planned for the trained group members to allow for discussion, problem-solving and virtues activities.  We routinely start our meetings with a prayer, Virtues Pick, Virtues Refresher,  Virtues activities, a Compassionate game, and Table Banking.  In order to maintain unity and strength, we have a schedule for monthly visits to the groups.  We find that group members are dedicated as a result of the friendships that have developed.
After training the students from the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega, the parish priest of All Angels Lutonyi asked me to join teachers and other volunteers to the church Youth Mentorship Program.  He appreciated the strength he experienced in the Virtues Program. I was able to share Virtues activities with the youth.
The past couple of months have been very busy!  We have visited and introduced the Community Development & Virtues Program to six new groups and are arranging for their full training program: ACK Women Group, Kameme Women and Men Group (Nairobi), Bakhana Bitsende,  Ingo Women Group, and Kit Mikayi CBO.   It was exciting after talking to Kit Mikayi.  They broke into dance, and as you can see, I enthusiastically joined in! 
Our groups are becoming strong and self-sustaining.  Funds are needed for the transportation of our trainers, materials, and to keep our center open. We thank you for your generosity and caring!
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Joyfulness Virtues Reflection Card
Joyfulness Virtues Reflection Card

Once I completed The Virtues Project Facilitator Training course, I began facilitating workshops throughout the community. Positive changes were soon noticed in schools: disciplinary referrals and actions declined and performance on exams improved.  Community members were beginning to show interest.

I contacted our local university, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST).  I made visits to the university leadership and offered virtues training.  The training was initiated for students willing to attend and the program slowly began to impact the university community.  A dinner meeting with the Vice-Chancellor and two other master facilitators led to deeper understanding of the program and its potential positive impact.  The Vice-Chancellor arranged training for the senior staff of the university.  On March 15th 2017, Virtues Connection Kakamega (VCK) signed a Memorandum of Agreement with MMUST to deliver training at the university.  The Virtues Project program is now a mandatory training program for all first-year students where we have now trained more than 1200 university students.

Virtues training and refreshers continued in the community.  I approached Christian Partners Development Agency (CPDA) who also provide a community development program and gained their interest and eventual support for our virtues training to become a part of their training.  Trained virtues groups now carry out income-generating projects and have also established a chain for groups mutual support.

Before I joined politics, I attended many Nonviolent Conflict Resolution workshops offered by various agencies.  As a Volunteer Children's Officer, I offer counseling to families, children and in the community.  Now I offer the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project to those families, children and community members.

I find a lot of joy in mentoring others.  As a result, helping spread The Virtues Project in schools, organizations and the community is a perfect fit!  Our community development program brings the strength of the strategies to all those we mentor in Table Banking, Poultry Farming and all of our income-generating projects.  Virtues activities are a part of all of our training.

Bringing Virtues to my community is a joy-filled journey for me and is strengthening and positively impacting our community, our families, and our schools.  Thank you for your generosity.  Your donations help fund our community center, training costs, travel expenses, lodging, meals, handouts, translations, and more!


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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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