VMM Partner Organisation – (KAP) Kitale Community Advancement Programme
KAP is one of VMM International’s newest partners in Kenya. It was originally established as Kitale Aids Programme by the Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMM) in 1993. In December 2009, the Programme was registered as a national Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) separate from the Catholic Church. KAP’s Motto is: “Working together for a Peaceful World Free of AIDS and Drugs, for All.” In 2017 it rebranded as Kitale Community Advancement Programme (KAP) in recognition of the the wider work than HIV which the programme has become involved in over time.
Grass-Roots Community Education
KAP is an education programme which empowers people at ‘grass-roots communities’ level. It does this through (i) training of community resource persons, (ii) provision of professional counselling services, and in line with sustainability KAP is in the process of developing (iii) delivery of trainings for a fee.
The programme works with people from all faiths, denominations, ages, gender, tribes and organizations (including schools and colleges). KAP believes in the value of voluntarism and focuses on the most vulnerable members of society. Networking with other relevant organizations is also highly valued and pursued. KAP’s work is based on a strong and practical spirituality with an ecumenical and inter-faith character. The programme works not just in Kitale town but in the greater Trans-Nzoia county.
Programme Thematic Areas
Training of Community Resource Persons for Trauma & Peace
Through working in small groups followed by plenary sessions participants reflect deeply on their traumatic life experiences and on peace. The Munyaka area was hard-hit during Kenya’s 2007/8 post-election crisis. KAP has observed the urgent need to address trauma in order to achieve reconciliation, real peace and to break the ‘vicious spiral’ of traumatic events, addictions, risk-taking behaviours, HIV infection and violence. Community Volunteers go through workshops on Trauma Healing, Reconciliation, Active Non-Violence, Conflict Prevention and learn how to help others to do the same.
Trauma / Conflict Prevention Activities
Hand-in-hand with its volunteers, mid the tensions again surrounding Kenyan elections, in 2017 KAP organised a series of sessions in which participants of all ages and genders were helped to reflect on their emotions and to consciously plan how they can address issues in their lives and communities towards non-violence and peace. In these activities there is special attention on balancing; justice, truth, mercy, peace, how to win and how to lose, the acceptance of bad news, use of positive and negative ethnic identity, management of hate speech in family and community and other urgent matters arising. The results have been surprisingly encouraging with participants renewing friendships with angry neighbours, campaign teams stopping disrespectful behaviours and many other positive examples.
Participatory Educational Theatre (PET)
PET is used as an integrated approach in all of KAP’s sub-programmes. It aims at engaging audiences which are hard to reach with regular community education activities. Its contents relate to important and sensitive contemporary issues. As part of a series of performances, the KAP-trained Mantrix Theatre Youth Group from Mitume – a shanty town area of Kitale – here performs an episode on election-related violence in Folkland Market in July 2017. Actors facilitate and discuss with the audience on ways of preventing violence and trauma.
Steps to Healthy Living. Community-Based Abuse & Addiction Workshops
Drugs and alcohol abusing or addicted clients work through their problems in workshops through educational input, counselling and also by playing out real life situations followed by discussions. In March 2017 KAP held its 1st phase of the ‘Steps to Healthy Living’ approach with 15 participants abusing and/or addicted to alcohol and drugs in the Soko Moko shanty area in Kitale. The workshop was facilitated by KAP’s professional counsellors assisted by especially trained Community Resource Persons. The latter, living in the area themselves, consequently follow up the participants in between the workshop phases. In this way clients are helped to maintain their efforts towards abuse/addiction-free lives.
Vulnerable Youth Activities
KAP has observed that there is a fast growing number of young people who live extra-challenged, opportunities-poor and highly vulnerable lives. KAP is running workshops and follow-up activities for these youngsters in which their self-esteem and emotional capacity is built up. Thus participants have been able to start addressing their many challenges and engage themselves in healthy and hopeful activities. Last year trainings were held for new groups in Maili Saba and Kachibora, with follow-up activities in Chepchoina, Kapkoi and Kitale.
Reconciliation Ceremony with ‘Unreached Youths’
During workshops and sessions participants often become painfully aware of the challenges in their relationships with others and with themselves, which block their efforts towards better and happier lives. Reconciling with self and others helps participants to break their restrictive bonds with past, unfortunate events and to work freely towards the future.
VMM International and KAP, Continued Partnership
VMM International has recently got funding from Misean Cara to support KAP in its work and has placed a management mentor to develop the capacity of the organisation and the team. This is an opportune time for such a placement as KAP is just in the process of developing its first Strategic Plan. This plan will be used to set priorities; focus energy and resources; strengthen operations; and ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working towards common goals.
VMM International is very happy to be working with KAP and looks forward to a fruitful partnership. If you would like to volunteer on such inspiring, grass-roots, capacity building projects check out our international development and short-term volunteering opportunities. Find out more about VMM International, read volunteer blogs, donate and be sure to keep up with the latest news by following us on Facebook: @VMMInternational, Twitter: @VMM_Int.