We had walked for nearly 10 kilometres, and the conversation had already started. We discussed politics and economics and the challenges facing development in Africa, but most particularly Kenya. It was then when we concluded that for any development to be fully achieved, people must change their value system, starting with the leaders. We emphasised how it would be far more efficient for instead of the proposals being placed from the top ring of the hierarchy should in fact be taken by those at the bottom, and place them to those further up.
What we noted, with a lot of concern, was that most senior organizations were not doing things according to our expectations, hence the gap between the development partners and the community being developed was rising. They say that if you want to change the system, you have to be part of the system. According to our study, development partners were just giving out handouts without realizing what the people really wanted, and most importantly what they actually needed. Creating change in someone’s life of a person must begin with focusing on what he or she knows and what he could do best, and then brainstorming with him other ideas. Development partners were just bringing in what they knew of best without incorporating the community and its individual qualities and potential assets. That to us was a big problem.
The idea of serving the community differently had just been born in our minds. My friend Álvaro has an enormous heart, he would play with the children for hours on end whilst also learning about and attending their every need. It was this close bond with the youngest members of the community that made us realise that we wanted to create an organization that would serve the entire community, not just different age groups or sectors. We wanted to become the catalyst for those who wanted to drive the development of their lives and that of their country. Here the whole micro-savings idea kicked in. In order to ensure prime communication, wouldn’t it be better if our sponsors could directly communicate with those sponsored?
Unfortunately, Álvaro had to leave sooner than expected and we never finished talking about our plans. The next time I heard from him, he was coming to Kenya for a visit. I was starting a program called Lisha Mtoto (Feed the children). At that time Lisha Mtoto was just a kindergarten class where some kids from Kibera were being schooled and fed. It was run by small donations from the community and our own salary, the teacher was just a local volunteer. My friend really liked it and helped me out with some of the planning. We visited a centre for children with Cerebral Paralysis, we went to see some other schools inside Kibera and after some days together he promised that he would come and help in the future. And I believed him!
Since then we have kept in contact, exchanging emails. It was in mid January 2013 when I finally received an email with the news that he was going to come to start building our big dream… He got here a month ago and it has been one of the most exciting months of my life!
It has been very busy and I think most of our objectives according to our log frame have been achieved. For now things are looking up, my heart and soul is truly with Más Por Ellos. Here in Kenya the community whom we have been serving have welcomed the idea with an open heart and they are praying so that things get into motion soon. This is a program that everyone would love and enjoy; let us join hands and work together to change the lives of many by doing things differently.
ONCE MASPORELLOS, ALWAYS MASPORELLOS 🙂 !!