John Koskei, Servant Leader
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” – Jesus Christ, from Matthew 5:9
This is part of a series of stories from Servant Leaders who have been trained by the Center for Sharing over the past fifteen years. We will be highlighting leaders across the globe who have submitted their lives to serve and now find themselves in positions of leadership. This story is from John Koskei, who was a part of the 2007 Servant Leadership in Kisumu, Kenya. Below are some of his reflections.
The servant leadership course had three areas of critical importance to my life:
- Knowledge was imparted to me and to be honest I did not know there was something called a project proposal. After receiving that training I got to know how to do it and I put it into practice.
- The spirit of servant leadership: I had undergone ministerial training but not as a servant leader.
- It became an eye opener to me, to serve not only the Methodist Church, but the community at large and to encourage all to strive for self-sustenance through income generating projects.
Immediately after the training I wrote proposals for the following projects:
- To construct churches-congregations were worshiping under trees, services could be interrupted by rain, sun or any other distractions. I thank God because through the projects proposals I wrote 3 churches were constructed. Another has been constructed by members themselves.
- To have income generating projects to make the mission area self sustaining. In this we bought a piece of land and planted Tea which is doing well and commercial trees.
In 2010 there was a formation of truth justice and reconciliation commission in Kenya (TJRC). We took the advantage and mobilized the communities in South Rift, where they had been having conflict. We had several consultative meetings with the opinion leaders of these communities. In all the meetings I remember asking them this question “What is this that we cannot pray for and get a solution (peace)?”
Many issues were raised by the communities which include: land and boundary disputes, marginalization, inequitable distribution of resources, cattle rustling, and politics. We all agreed that each community should document their issues so that it can be presented to TJRC, Parliament and the government. In these forums leaders were chosen to lead these communities in their documentation of historical injustices and having come from the Kipsigis community I was elected to be the chair of the committee documenting issues on behalf of the Kipsigis community.
The following are critical issues communities in the South Rift are facing–historical injustices, and violence, especially post election and gender based violence. Out of this, the Centre for Peace and Community Transformation (CPCT) was born, to coordinate peace initiatives and activities.
Here’s a little sampling of what CPTC is currently doing as an organization:
- For women who were raped during post election violence, we meet every two weeks on Saturday to pray with them and give them room to narrate their stories so that they may get healed. We also fundraise for those who need medical attention. Five women have benefited from this.
- Others who were wounded and some who still have bullets inside them receive counseling and medical attention, but we need more resources. We were able to help two individuals, but we’ve identified four more who need bullets removed from their bodies.
- We also are helping these victims with small micro loans from a micro-finance organization.
I have an admission letter from Egerton University in Kenya for my MA in Sociology: Peace studies and conflict management. I will start classes in December 2011, God willing on a part time basis. The course is relevant because I need more skills to carry out organizational objectives, goals, mission and vision.
God bless you all…John