November 4, 2013 | Posted by: Succeed Africa

We are currently in Western Kenya where the poverty rate is high actually considered among the top 3 poorest provinces in Kenya. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is higher in this region and that has resulted to a lot of orphans and widows. 
Given that the life expectancy has been reduced to 38 years for men and 45 or less for women, Succeed Africa saw a need to address and to change the situation as it is now.
When it comes to jobs and employments, basically there are no jobs. Kisumu city is one of the nearest cities that we work in and it is mainly supported by farming and fishing. Now I want you to imagine, the above challenges and that only leaves women and children as the only source of family support. This means that they have less time to go to school.
As Christians we can not watch and see the same history repeat itself and that is why we exist. We believe and know that there are millions of organizations out there who are ready to support Africa and have played a role in changing Africa but there is only one simple element that they are missing.: a link to God. "TRUE TRANSFORMATION COMES FROM GOD." And that is it.
It does not matter how much relief we give, how many start businesses we support, how much money we raise, how many children we send to school if we do pray for true transformation. Just as the bible says "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. (Psalm 127:1)"
Succeed Africa then came with a plan of starting community churches and business churches. This is something that nobody has ever done and our strategy is that every business we support, people who it employs or work there must have a day of worship, they should be going to a church, they start their day every morning with devotions and if possible include their families and clients too.
Another example is the houses of hope that we run. These houses are used by locals in the community at least once every week and mostly on Wednesday evenings as center points for bible studies and spiritual mentorship.
Now here is a challenge; Say a person living on less than a dollar a day is supported by any organization and moves from living on less than a dollar a day to making $5 a day. This person is not trained on how to save and use the extra $4 he/she makes everyday. The next thing we will be dealing with and I am talking out of experience because I lived there, I know them and understand life in the most marginalized parts of Africa among other developing nations. There will be a moral and ethics problems starting to develop in this family and once this happens the family is going to grind to a halt, then death and circle of poverty reoccurs.
On the other hand if people are first changed from within, if they are transformed by the true gospel, if they understand how to respect and value human dignity at both family level and publicly, then there is a better, a successful generation in the make that will break the poverty cycle as they work in unity.
There exist resources that as yet have not been fully tapped available for the future. And so, we are trying to empower people to get into are; farming, small business like convenient stores, basketry, arts, hand craft works among others.
But some of the challenges we meet doing these are lack of education, unreliable weather for farming, health challenges, lack of capital, lack of of business advises to entrepreneurial minds, role models and financial planning.
So what Succeed Africa is doing along side relief, empowering youths widows, and supporting children, we first give a one month basic business information class to people who want to be self employed. We train them in their own languages, finance management, challenges of being self employed, and how to serve God in all that they are doing among others.
It is never easy but we are taking it one step at a time. What we want to see is the value we create in the few we work with than to attempt to support millions and change nothing. Little by little, God will cause us to touch more lives.
Joshua Okello.

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