Methodist Church supports a wholistic theology of development, inclusive of full development of the body, mind and soul. This is the principle that informs and guides the church’s Rural and Urban Development program in its support for the church’s work.
The Rural and Urban Development Program uses its development agenda to propagate the church’s mission based on Christ’s Great Commission, enshrined in Mathew 28:19-20, and confirmed by His coming to the world. He came so that all can have life in all its fullness, (John 10:10).
Besides carrying out its core business, of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Church relies on Rural and Urban Development program to cater for the other development needs of communities.
Development Program Activities Rural and Urban Development Program undertakes various development activities all over Kenya as well as in our Mission areas in Uganda and Tanzania.
These activities include among others, training in development education, sustainable agriculture, disaster mitigation and preparedness, project development and management, leadership and communication skills, gender issues, community water projects, running vocational training centres, promoting income generating activities, environmental care, conservation of the ecosystem, livestock development and management, crop production and poverty alleviation projects.
The Development Program works very closely with the Health and Women Programs of the Church, in the areas of advocacy, capacity building and project planning and management.
Methodist Church has established Rural Development Centres, catering for different climatic regions of Kenya. There is also a Rural Development Centre in our Uganda Mission area at Nambula in Kamuli district. The Church is also planning to establish a Centre in our Tanzania Mission area at Bunda. The above Development Centres are an avenue through which the Rural and Urban Development Program intervenes and impacts the people at the grassroots level.
Bio Intensive Training Centre in Kaaga, Meru
The Bio Intensive Training Centre in Kaaga, Meru, catering for the highlands region.
The Bio-Intensive Training Centre undertakes agricultural training and demonstration for small holder farmers on sustainable agriculture and appropriate technologies. This Centre is the only one of its kind in the region. It has a well established livestock management unit, demonstration plots for vegetables and fruits, as well as tree and fruit nurseries.
It also creates awareness on the impact of HIV/Aids and the plight of orphans and their guardians. The Centre provides basic boarding facilities for 25 farmers.
Marimanti Rural Training Centre, Tharaka district
Marimanti Rural Training Centre serves the marginal areas of the Eastern Province of Kenya. The centre trains farmers on better farming methods, use of appropriate technologies and on sustainable agriculture. It also provides quality seeds and improved plant materials, with the aim of increasing food production and uplifting the standard of living of the peasant farmers in the region. There are also bee-keeping and honey refinery activities at this centre.
Several farmers’ training programs are conducted here annually. The Centre also undertakes some tailor-made training sessions for farmers according to their training needs. Subjects covered during the farmers training sessions include, among others, crop production, intensive farming and kitchen gardening, organic farming, horticultural production, rain water harvesting techniques, livestock production, resource management and family life education, soil and water conservation measures, food and nutrition.
There is also the Nkondi farm, about 13 Kms from the centre, which acts as the demonstration farm for the Centre. At this farm, there are various varieties of food crops, trees and fruit trees.
The Centre encourages the farmers to start income generating activities. It has well established fruit and tree nurseries and encourages the communities to grow more trees to counter deforestation.
There is a lot of collaboration and co-operation between Marimanti Rural Training Centre, local administration, relevant government ministries, NGOs and agricultural research institutions. It has basic accommodation facilities for 20 people.
Ribe Rural Development Centre, near Mombasa
The Ribe Centre caters for the Coastal region of Kenya. It is still in its initial stage of establishment. The centre was initiated by the Women Fellowship of the Coast region. Its objective is to train farmers in the area on better farming methods, use of appropriate technologies, sustainable agriculture and income generating activities, so as to increase food production and uplift their standard of living.
Presently a zero grazing unit has been established at the centre and there are demonstration plots as well as tree and fruit nurseries. It is envisaged that when this centre is fully established, it will have training and accommodation facilities, livestock development and management, general agriculture with emphasis on horticulture, agro-forestry and community development activities.
Nambula Rural Development Centre, Kamuli district, Uganda
This Centre aims at training farmers in the marginal area of Kamuli district, on better farming methods with a view to improving their incomes and thereby raising their standard of living.
The Centre collaborates with government agricultural research institutions. The Church hopes to impact the community through the different training activities and Rural Development strategies.
Nambula has a two-classroom block and one staff house. There is ample land for expansion purposes. A banana plantation has also been established at the Centre.
Proposed Development Centre at Bunda for Tanzania Mission Area
Arrangements are under way to establish a development centre in our Tanzania Mission at Bunda. When completed, this Centre will be a multi - purpose training and development Centre. Land is available for the establishment of the Centre.
Other Development Projects
Besides the above mentioned Rural Development Centres, there are many projects being undertaken by congregations, circuits and synods in the Connexion in liaison with and advise by the Development Coordinator.
These projects are in sustainable agriculture; community water; income generating activities (such as bee-keeping, poultry and dairy farming projects); HIV/Aids widows’ and orphans’ projects; street, and other disadvantaged children’s projects; environmental and afforestation; educational; micro-finance credit; vocational training and other poverty alleviation activities.