Announces New NGO Management Program in Kenya

The Center for Policy, Planning, and Performance has just signed a memorandum of agreement with Western University in Kakamega, Kenya to provide a new 4-year undergraduate program in NGO management. In conjunction with this program, the University will create a new NGO Department. The Center will develop the curriculum, provide the instructors, and — in partnership with the University — promote and develop the new Center for NGO Management on the University campus.

This is the first NGO college program in East Africa. Instructors from the United States will provide the training for undergraduate students in a partnership with practitioners and existing Kenya NGOs who will help to ensure translation, cultural appropriateness, and action learning that builds the capacity of the NGO sector countrywide. Instructors interested in co-teaching under the Center's contract should contact us either at our main office in St Paul or in Nairobi and request more information. Classes are scheduled to start with the January term of 2007.

Report on Kenya Hunger Appeal Efforts • Feb 2006

On behalf of the people of Kenya and particularly the people of Garissa and Ijara districts, as well as on behalf of the Center and myself personally, I want to thank friends, colleagues, well-wishers and all good people of the United States for standing tall with the suffering people in Kenya. By donating to the Kenya Hunger Appeal, and by helping to provide desperately needed powdered milk, sugar, rice, maize meal, and tea leaves to the needy, you have snatched a starving Kenyan from the jaws of death. We in Kenya will forever treasure your prompt and generous help at a time of our greatest desperateness.

Born and raised in what I would now call the privileged part of the country, I had never imagined there are parts of Kenya where families literally live in the shrubs of a semi-desert. The prolonged drought and the death of camels and goats have forced them to seek help and to attract attention by relocating alongside the rough road that stretches through the region.

In this place essentials like a simple bath have become a luxury; and I have personally seen women filling little containers with stagnant brown water from the previous days’ rain for drinking and cooking. I was so touched that our donation of powdered milk was going to be dissolved in this dirty brown water. (Thank heavens for Womankind Kenya, a Garissa-based NGO which provides water tanks and clean water.)

The heart-rending sight of wasting and emaciated people, including children, the disabled, and the elderly — some of whom are unable even to gulp milk — invites action, and to this end both international and local humanitarian agencies are making considerable effort to alleviate suffering in this region. But the problem is far from over. For instance, in addition to the districts of Garissa, Ijara, Wajir, Mandera and Moyale, famine has struck also in the north rift and eastern regions of Kenya, thus further increasing the need for intervention.

I am under no illusion that the good-hearted Americans or other compassionate people of means hold the answers to the famine situation in Kenya or anywhere else in the world. Ultimately the people of Kenya will themselves bring pressure to bear in search of sustainable long-term solutions to their predicament. But I believe nonetheless that together we can act to save lives and that by sacrificing to save a life we will have done our part as responsible citizens of this planet.

And as we do our part, I sincerely hope that those who survive the famine will start asking tough questions. Why must Kenyans beg the world for food while their leaders enjoy lifestyles comparable to that of the Hollywood stars? How can a cabinet minister in Kenya ride in a $200,000 car when the people are withering away with famine’s torturous death? Kenyan officials are well advised to understand that one day hunger will give way to anger and the Kenyan people will demand answers.

Until that day, to you I say Asanteni sana na karibu, (Swahili for "Thank you and welcome").

Evans R.O. Mirieri, Daraja Program Director
Center for Policy, Planning, and Performance
Nairobi, Kenya

Thursday, February 9, 2006