Changing Communities from Within

Changing Communities from Within

Andreas Steffensen – December 12, 2016

Kenya is famous for its stunning wildlife, but there’s another side to Kenya that is as overwhelming as its wildlife is awe-inspiring — its slums. Pastor Viterlis and Andreas, one of our team members, are standing next to his school made from simple tin sheets. Yes, that’s an open sewage trench they’re standing over, and yes, to get to school the children must jump the trench. If that wasn’t bad enough I saw a pipe that looked like the waterline supplying the community with drinking water running through the sewage trench. So how do we change this and the thousands of other issues we see in impoverished communities? Do we throw stacks of money at issues and rattle off Western solutions? That rarely works because those are our solutions to their problems.

At World Poverty Solutions, our solution is to teach people how to change things for themselves. We get behind those who want to see change. We teach them how to mobilize their communities, and empower them with education in health, hygiene, and income generation. Most importantly, we open the Bible and show people how God sees them — made in His image and valuable. Once people see that, things begin to change. The culture of poverty erodes, and gives way to a culture of faith. The fruit of that faith is a new perspective on life, family, community, and the resources God has placed all around them. In Pastor Viterlis case, the first glimmer of that change looks like a small savings group, where neighbors each deposit 50¢ a week to start small businesses.