Streams in the Desert
Kakuma, Northern Kenya
In the last 30 years, native trees and grasses in Kakuma, northern Kenya have disappeared, leaving the land prone to devastating floods and rendering it unusable. Pioneers team leader John Eyanae and the Pioneers Kakuma Team have decided to change that, using land restoration as a church planting strategy. This is Innovation and Flexibility on a grand scale and, by offsetting your flights, you can help John and the Kakuma Team restore both the land and the people who live on it.
Pioneers Kakuma Team
The Kakuma Team is one of two Pioneers teams in Turkana, the rural northern desert region of Kenya. Kakuma is not only home to this incredible group of pioneers - it is also the location of the largest refugee camp in the world. Kakuma refugee camp was established in 1992 to house refugees from various East African conflicts, including the 'Lost Boys of Sudan'. The camp has now grown to a population of over 200,000 people.
The Kakuma Team focus their time on direct church planting, discipleship and leadership training both in Kakuma town and in the refugee camp.They are working to start a leadership training school to equip church planters in the bush, and they use agriculture and agroforestry as a means of discipleship and community development.
Kakuma Tree Nursery
John Eyanae and his wife Pamela, along with many of the Kakuma Team, grew up in Kakuma. They have watched the land become more and more dry and have witnessed the loss of trees and vegetation over the last few decades. They have experienced a rise in temperatures, a decrease in rain and an increase in flooding due to the bare and hardened soil.
John and Pamela believe that it is their responsibility to care for the land and the people God has given them, so they have begun to act on a dream to restore the land and use that land restoration as a catalyst for evangelism, discipleship and church planting among the UPGs on their doorstep. Their vision is to plant 3 million trees in the Kakuma area in the next five years through the development of a tree nursery that will provide saplings to areas of Kakuma town and the Kakuma refugee camp.
What are they doing?
The Kakuma Team's tree planting project is not only an initiative to stabilise the soil, decrease local temperatures and provide food and employment for vulnerable people. The trees will also provide shade and a windbreak for a tree nursery, where the team will produce and store seedlings to be distributed throughout the area, including the Kakuma refugee camp. The tree nursery will provide an avenue for relational evangelism and will become a hub for discipleship.
Fruits and vegetables are an essential component for healthy development in children and adults, but inexpensive produce is hard to come by in Turkana. The Kakuma team have planted dozens of fruit trees and have begun a vegetable garden - including watermelon, okra, sorghum and green peas - which they will use to feed vulnerable families. Some of the produce will be sold and the proceeds used to support the team's living costs and a local orphanage, and to provide education for vulnerable children.
Alongside planting trees and vegetables, the team are preparing environmental awareness training courses to educate local people about climate change and teach them how to adapt their practices to combat its effects. They will train locals on the importance of restoring forest cover, planting green belts and managing pastureland responsibly in order to combat severe drought and hunger. They will use these trainings to develop relationships and introduce the gospel and the idea of caring for the earth as a godly calling.
Sharing and showing the love and care of Christ among the unreached people of Kakuma is the team's ultimate goal. In this hot and dusty climate, people will naturally be drawn to the cool of the new forest and a sense of community will grow. The trees will eventually provide a cool and shady space where discipleship groups, church meetings and leadership trainings can take place. Provision of trees and produce to the Kakuma refugee camp will provide inroads for relationships and the gospel as well.
Support the Kakuma Team's Work
by Offsetting Your Flights
In Pioneers, we fly A LOT! We have to in order to fulfil the call that God has placed on our lives. Unfortunately, our large carbon footprints adversely affect the poor and vulnerable -- the very people we're trying to reach with the gospel. We can't stop flying, but we can voluntarily support projects that are actively removing carbon and other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. The Kakuma Team's tree nursery is just such a project, and by supporting their work, you not only offset part of your carbon footprint, but you also fund church planting among the unreached. Everyone wins!