Meru Diocese, Kenya – One of our Six Linked Dioceses
The striking thing about Mothers’ Union in this community was that lots of them were young, strong looking women who all looked healthy, as did the older members, and all had shoes.
When the Umoja/CCMP project started in the area, the largest group involved was Mothers’ Union. As a group they identified a number of challenges, but primarily the problems of alcoholism and insecurity - theft and the feeling it was not a safe and good place. This is a fantastic story about how ten Mothers’ Union members changed the whole community.
Brewing of alcohol was the major income generator for women in the community – and MU members admit most of them were brewers but after they identified the problems of insecurity and illicit brewing they looked at other opportunities. They realised that the dairy cooperative they were establishing, and improved farming, would more than offset the income raised from brewing. So they brought all the women in the district together and decided that, en masse, they would visit the Chief and ask his permission to tell everyone that in one week’s time they would go and destroy all drinking dens and illicit breweries. He gave his permission and illicit brewing reduced by 80%.
They now have a dairy cooperative that involves over 1500 people with an amazing income, and as drinking reduced, so did the crime. The women realized that it was not thieves stealing chickens and goats but their husbands – for beer money! They were able to change how they worked as Mothers’ Union and had also restored and rebuilt their families. One of the old men said the women used to bicker and argue with little purpose and were quite useless. Now they worked effectively together, relationships had been restored and he respected them.
The church and Mothers’ Union also had projects - a new church building; a new vicarage and an orphan project (self-sustaining and run using resources from the community). They had also built a new house for a widow, and the church and community had built a road to the new church and the village.