Kenya Youth Employment & Empowerment Initiative
Meaningful work and a secure home are what dreams are made of in Kenya. With over half a million youths graduating high school each year and a job market that can accommodate only a small fraction of them, many young people can fall victim to petty crime, violence, and substance abuse.
Servant Forge helps local leaders facilitate, mediate, and broker partnerships that will ignite job readiness, creation, and sustainability. Partners from the business, government, education, and the faith communities have united to address these serious conditions and alter the trajectory of Kenya’s future toward prosperity.
Famine Relief in the Horn of Africa
The drought in the Horn of Africa – the worst in 60 years – has had devastating consequences. It has undermined agriculture and caused famine, impacting 12 million people. The political chaos in the country of Somalia has complicated global action to respond to the famine and provide desperately-needed humanitarian relief. Refugees pouring into Kenya and Ethiopia from Somalia have complicated an already severe health and safety crisis in the two host countries. The city of Dadaab, Kenya, originally established to handle 90,000 refugees from Somalia, now has about 400,000 people. Right now, Dadaab is the fourth largest city in Kenya, and new camps are emerging each week..
SAI’s client, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, INC. (NCMI), identified ways to respond to this current crisis. Cosmos Mutowa, Regional Coordinator for Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in Africa, has challenged the denomination to raise $500,000 to initiate and be part of a global effort to respond to this crisis by providing water, sanitation, food, shelter, and services to protect women and children. The famine requires an immediate response and swift action. However, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries is committed to building capacity in its congregations and NGOs to address the systemic issues around health, education and safety. SAI, in our role as Global Resource Coordinators for NCMI, was asked to help assess the current capacity and opportunities for NCM-Africa to develop a response to this famine and drought.
Because of SAI’s current work in Kenya with the Kenya Youth Employment and Empowerment Initiative, we began looking at Kenyan resources and opportunities for collaboration in response to the famine. We conducted a site visit to Garissa and then to Dadaab on August 4-6, 2011. During these visits, SAI met with Kenya Red Cross, Food for the Hungry, UNICEF, UNHCR, Samaritan’s Purse, CARE International, and OXFAM to assess what current efforts are focusing on, where the greatest need is, and what contribution our team could make to be most effective. Based on these meetings, SAI is currently working with NCMI to finalize an action plan. Part of this plan will include both addressing the current needs caused by the crisis as well as building long-term capacity to increase longer-term resilience among vulnerable populations.
Medical Camp & Detoxification
A young entrepreneur in the Korogocho slum in Nairobi, Kenya has a vision of his friends and neighbors living drug-free. Drug use is rampant in all Kenyan slums and Korogocho is no exception. Services are available to only a small fraction of those who want to find treatment.
Servant Forge supported Blue Cross and Brian Odour, a young entrepreneur, for the Medical Camp and Home Detoxification program. This was a two day workshop with a 30 day follow-up period. The audience was those living on Korogocho interested in stopping their dependency on drugs. The two days provided information on health and other key issues. The 30-day follow-up period was supported by community health workers, counseling, and other key detoxification components.
The two-day event had a remarkable outcome. Only 40 patients were initially targeted, but the team recorded a high of 59 patients. Out of the 59, 20 of them met for three weeks and almost ten had remained dry through counseling for the three weeks. The remaining 39 appeared in the two days of the camp.
Some key outcomes of this effort are not only the ten people who remained drug free, but also the relationships being built with Ministry of Health officials and the positive reception of radio publicity. Many challenges lay ahead for Blue Cross and the Korogocho slum, but systematic, locally-driven approaches are being explored with success.
Methamphetamine Treatment & Prevention Program
With funding from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Office of Community Oriented Policing (COPs) at the U.S. Department of Justice, Servant Forge Fellows facilitated Methamphetamine: The National Summit to Promote Public Health, Partnerships, and Safety for Critically Affected Populations. Meth Summit Proceedings Document
This initiative focused on providing services to incarcerated populations, those involved in the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, and women by removing barriers to service and treatment and creating prevention opportunities.
Servant Forge Fellows James Copple, Colleen Copple, and Beth Mattfeld worked on projects to train state and community leaders on prevention, enforcement, and treatment strategies that respond to binge drinking and risky behavior. They are currently involved in projects at the University of Louisville and Bloomsburg State University and are also working with state leaders in Arizona, Indiana, and Alaska.
City of Alexandria, Virginia Gang Prevention Task Force
Servant Forge Fellow and Strategic Applications International principal James E. Copple has been appointed by the Mayor to the City of Alexandria Gang Task Force and chairs the sub-committee on drop out prevention. This sub-committee is developing recommendations on transforming the way schools respond to potential drop outs and engaging innovative and creative solutions that will keep young people in school and away from gangs and gang violence.