Servant-Leadership, Chickens & Transformation
Jane lives in a region of Kenya where a huge number of charitable organizations (NGO’s) offer services. In spite of that, very little change has taken place over the years! One day, Jane was invited to join a new group that was offering a 6 month course on the study of servant-leadership and its connection with environmental conservation. The group was comprised of 10 representatives from small communities within a specific geographical region. The group learned many things together, such as how to assess community needs, personal and spiritual leadership development, community building processes, financial literacy, and income generating ideas.
Jane felt drawn to poultry farming. Unfortunately, during the course Jane moved to a new community. She didn’t know anyone there, but felt compelled to go to the area chief and ask if she could post flyers around town inviting folks to attend an informational meeting. But…no one came.
So, Jane decided to start her own flock anyway. She managed to purchase 3 hens, and before long, was up to 100 chickens. She had learned during the course, about the critical importance of vaccinating her chickens, as when they contract certain diseases, chickens cannot be cured. A few months later, a disease attacked the chickens in Jane’s new community, killing every single chicken….except for Jane’s. (she did lose 1 cock that she had just bought, which had already contracted the virus). When the neighbors heard that Jane’s chickens were all alive, some thought she must be using witchcraft! A couple of brave souls decided to come over and ask her. When she told them about the S-L course she had taken, and everything she had learned about poultry farming, 3 of the neighbors asked her to start helping them build up their flocks again! In this way, Jane is becoming an agent of change in her new community, leading by example, in ways that bring people together. Responding to critical needs in their lives and impacting the economic and social realities of families there is not charity—but instead, is transformational development.
How did all this happen?! Well, back in 2005, The Center For Sharing was invited by the Methodist Church Kenya, to teach Servant-Leadership development amongst its 300+ pastors. For each course, the presiding bishop allowed his secretary, Roseanne Mbaya to organize our courses for us as we taught around the country. And, she sat through much of each course. By 2011, Roseanne was feeling a strong call to start her own Servant-leadership organization in Kenya! We at CFS were able to confirm Roseanne’s call to this work, and in turn, we invited Vista Hermosa Foundation, whose vision is for sustainable grassroots communities,( Kenya being one of their partner countries) to consider funding for this new start-up. And so, in that way, we all became birth-parents to “Servant-Leadership and Environmental Conservation” or “SLEC International”.
SLEC is now in its second year of life. Roseanne and her team have held courses for 27 participants including 17 from Western Kenya, and10 from the coastal region. Of those 27, three alumni have been able to identify an area of passion for them in response to critical needs they see in their communities:
- A pre-school start- up largely to serve HIV orphans and foster children in a borrowed classroom of a church in a slum neighborhood.
- A start-up foster-parent home for orphans, which also places them in schools.
- And Jane’s poultry project!
We (Cheryl and Glenn) just returned from Kenya, during which time we visited Jane and her family in her new community. Life there is fragile, to say the least. Two weeks ago, their son was brutally murdered right in front of them; however, Jane’s resolve is strong. She has planted maize on her compound, with beans in-between the rows, which puts nitrogen back into the soil. The neighbor next door is so impressed, that he has offered his plot of land for her to farm as well. May God bless the fruit of her labors in that place.