Amani UK

UK Charity No. 1073357
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   UK 01494 716505

The Amani Story

Elizabeth Feilden meets Walter Nyasamo, Bible College student with a vision to build a bible college in his home area of Oyugis in Kenya.
Elizabeth asks Michael Green to look at the plans on his trip to Kenya, but he has to cancel his trip and Elizabeth goes herself. Michael’s bishop friends encourage a community development for rural poor farmers, rather than a bible school. A second visit with George Pulford to look at land and talk with the community.
Followed by a third visit, with tent (bought from Ron Clarke of Grove Community Church) pitched on Walter’s land and called Mavuno and with first volunteer, John Ashcroft, verger at St Aldate's Church.
Inadese Formation provides books for distance learning and support training local leaders in Kachieng and Kirongo, followed by farming subjects for the farmers.
Hepatitis forces Elizabeth home in November 1986.
John fails to get a work permit and returns to England in April 1987. Elizabeth back and 5 student volunteers come with second tent.  Schools are visited and dressmaking classes held with visits to farmers and sick children. First building started, with office, kitchen and garage (used for accommodation for two staff) while Elizabeth and the students live in Walter’s house.
A clinic is held on the veranda, with the Diocese mobile clinic weekly taking an ante-natal and babies clinic. Teaching meetings held under a tree.
Broke away from Mavuno and registered Amani Christian Community Development Project as a self-help group under the Kenya Social Services. First Annual Show, later to become a 2-day event, judging farms and produce, with choirs, volley ball and football. First cows from Send-a-Cow and a donkey with cart from Animal Draught Power (Nairobi University) and ploughing trainer.
First links with World Vision and Bread for the World.
Links with Manor House Agricultural College in Kitali, who provide training for our first workers. Trained further staff on an 18 month course and later learnt Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA).and formed networking with 25 other similar projects.
First links with Jersey Overseas Aid, Proposal accepted to build a Community Centre.
Elizabeth’s architect son Richard visits Kenya and plans hall, office, kitchen and classrooms.
Jersey Overseas Aid send a work party to build the Community Centre, with foundation and blocks prepared by the Community. Aprotech provided the block and tile machines, funded by ITDG who also provided a diesel engine for a Posho machine (to grind maize). Demonstration plot and tree nurseries started on both sites.
Store and offices built at Kirongo. Bread for the World funding begins and pick-up made available.
Amani UK registered as a Charity in UK.
Loan funding to individuals and small groups tried by the Diocese for 3 years, but unsuccessful due to repayment difficulties.
Another Jersey Overseas Aid work party add 6 bedrooms to make Seminar Accommodation, also funding a kitchen, office and 4 further bedrooms.
Farmers groups registered for Bio-intensive Agriculture and forestry with help from the Ministry, teaching and encouraging soil and water conservation. Now have 30 staff, full and part-time. Evaluation by external evaluators for Bread for the World.
The Diocese give a cow to Kirongo and make a spring protection. Ministry of Fisheries fund a fishpond. HPI give 12 more cows and Send-a–Cow fund a motorbike and artificial insemination equipment. Zero grazing at Kachieng and a bull is donated.
After a few years zero grazing of cattle on the Amani compound becomes no longer viable due to variable water supply to the top of the hill location. Decision to switch to pigs and add more chickens.
A Nursery School is built at Kachieng with money raised by Jim Caulfield from Jersey, followed by El Nino (5 small houses for staff and the girls programme). Kirongo store becomes a Nursery School. With money sent from Jersey more bedrooms are built and it makes a £5000 profit.
A house-help training programme for girls. Orphans from Kisumu are given one-year training. Chapel each morning gives everyone time to listen to God and each other.
Elizabeth’s granddaughter Rachel comes with 5 student friends and they start a children’s holiday club called JAM (Jesus and Me) Factory. 40 young people trained in leadership and 400 children come to camp. This continues every Sunday afternoon. Kennedy Okoth Otieno is sent to train as a social worker for the HIV/AIDS programme. School fees and vocational training provides jobs for some of our young people. A broken arm sends Elizabeth back to UK.
Work on buildings extends to a local secondary school with help from Jersey. Funds come in from Anton Jergons Trust, Kate Ferguson, and Beson Foundation used for staff houses, a large store, water tanks and a pump. Staffing problems emerge and Neville Agoro is appointed manager. Action Aid, Bread for the World, and Government Ministries provide training and help with field days and the Annual Show. Problems begin to emerge with one difficult family, led by Erastus, whose 2 years of UK education Elizabeth had funded(!)
Further problems with this small but very aggressive section of the local community.
JAM continues to transform from a club into an outreach arm of Amani, concerned particularly with the widows and orphans resulting from the escalating HIV/AIDS pandemic. HIV/AIDS networking with other agencies.
The cattle population has grown to 130 Ayrshires and the project gets an evaluation.
A Primary School Choir goes to the National Festival in Nairobi but the event is abandoned due to the terrorist bombing of the US Embassy while they are there.
Elizabeth’s mother dies aged 98 and Elizabeth spends some time at home, giving opportunity to meet with Holy Trinity, Hazlemere who send a team of school leavers and staff to work with JAM, having had to abandon a planned trip to Zimbabwe due to problems there. Pastor Derek Hopwood continues with teams each year.
In January Pastor Derek Hopwood brings a small group of adults which includes Jim Leftwich who is later to take over from Elizabeth Feilden as Co-ordinator of Amani UK. JAM, now led by Kennedy Okoth Otieno, becomes a fully independent project with its own Community Management Board and serving more than 150 widows and 700 orphans. Holy Trinity, Hazlemere takes up the sponsorship of JAM, with organisation channelled through Hazlemere JAM as a subsidiary of Amani UK.
Meetings held with many local dignitaries over the problems with Katinda (Erastus) people. We lose Ralph (head of agriculture), George (bookkeeper) and Deborah (Seminar accommodation). TravelAid sends a team from Oxford. Bread for the World provides a new pickup. Jim Leftwich takes over as Treasurer of Amani UK but in Kenya a serious fraud problem is discovered and Katinda group take over the compound. Team visits are still possible from Oxford, Swindon and Hazlemere who stay at the local Pentecostal compound while Elizabeth’s grandchildren, Tim and Susanna with friend Ben, lead a team of 15 and stay at Kirongo. Elizabeth has a bad dose of malaria and returns to England, handing over the Co-ordinator role to Jim Leftwich and becoming Patron of both Amani UK and the Kenya projects. A restructuring sees the project split into two separate and independent units of Amani (Kachieng) and Kirongo. Swindon College team start the Clinic Project by laying a foundation and building the initial structure.
Elizabeth finally finds time to have the major knee surgery she has needed for some time. The Trustees make the painful decision to withdraw all support from Amani CCDP due to the unwillingness of an unrepresentative board to work within the agreed structure. Focus switches to working directly in the communities through JAM and Kirongo. Bread for the World withdraw financial support for Amani CCDP.
From the loyal elements of the original Amani CCDP board and staff a new project group is created to operate in the Kachieng area: United Christian Community Integrated Project (UCCIP). Kirongo begins to emulate JAM in its direct role within the community.
The clinic, started by Swindon College, is finally completed and opened as the Swindon St. Elizabeth Clinic, with significant help from St. Alkmund’s Church in Derby. Bread for the World rejoins Amani UK in supporting JAM, specifically the Home Based Care programme (HBC). Kirongo Nursery School becomes a primary feeder school, having increased in 4 years from 60 children and 1 teacher to 140 children and 3 teachers plus 2 new classrooms built in 2005. Four (4) schools in the area now linked to 4 schools in the UK, 3 in the Hazlemere area and 1 in Derby.
Nine (9) affiliated nurseries teach 500+ children each day, all taught by widows, many on a voluntary basis.
The United Christian Community Integrated Project (UCCIP) becomes Umoja CCIP, which means united in Swahili and Umoja will be the name by which the Project is known. Following visits by Gordon Ross and Helen Bean the Schools Link Programme, coordinated by Gordon Ross, becomes an official part of the Amani UK programme, with a wider and growing UK base of participating schools.
A detailed review of the governance system operating in the JAM Project revealed a marked difference of approach between Amani UK and Bread for the World. After much discussion, the Trustees of Amani UK decided to withdraw all support from the JAM Project, as did Holy Trinity Church, Hazlemere. Five members of the JAM staff applied to join the Amani UK supported Projects and were accepted. They began working with a newly affiliated project: the Imani Rural Women’s Action Group, comprising mainly widows and orphans and with one Youth Group. By November 2007 the three partner projects of Kirongo, Umoja and Imani came together as a federation to form a fully Kenyan NGO: Upendo Foundation International. Anton Jurgens Charitable Trust funds the installation of solar power in the Kirongo Project compound and enables the pumping of water from a deep well.
ElectricAid of Ireland begins supporting the Projects, enabling growth to nearly 40 community groups embracing just under 3,000 people.
Trade Relief, a charity supporting small business development, begins to work in collaboration with Amani UK, contracting Upendo Foundation International as their agent for the Oyugis area. The Trade Relief aim is to help stimulate and develop those small businesses which have employment and social impact potential.
Anton Jurgens Charitable Trust enables the significant upgrading of facilities in 6 of the 10 Early Childhood Development Schools.  The Amani UK Board of Trustees is strengthend by the appointments of Ruth Hopwood, bringing the average age down significantly, and Peter Fish, already identified as a potential future Coordinator.  Work began on the Ted Rayner Memorial Clinic at Kirongo, driven by Jan Rayner in memory of her husband.
January 26th sees the sad passing of our Patron and founder, Elizabeth Feilden, who suffered a bad fall from her mobility scooter in November 2011 and was unable to leave hospital again.  The year also sees the Keep a Girl in School campaign gather strength, with an increasing number of girl students being supported with a supply of sanitary towels to avoid the regular absences suffered by many of them during their menstrual periods.
Further strengthening of the Amani UK Board takes place with the appointments of Trish Harding as the Treasuer and Rob Insley from Derby as a Trustee who, together with his wife Yvonne, has been instrumental in starting and developing a project, supported by the St.Alkmund's Church fellowship, to build four brick built class rooms at St. Charles School in Oyugis.  The year sees the completion and registration of the Ted Rayner Memorial Clinic.  We were delighted to welcome the Chairman of Upendo Foundation, Vitalice Otieno Oduor, to the UK for a visit of understanding and to deepen the bonds between Amani UK and our sponsored Kenyan NGO.
The decision is taken in Kenya to streamline the project base by combining the Imani and Umoja Projects under the Imani Board and by the federation of projects in partnership with Upendo Foundation being managed by a federation management team in place of the CEO position.  The year also sees the passing of John Rapemo from the consequences of HIV/AIDS.  John had been a field officer and was an inspiration to many UK visitors over the past 8 years as he battled with AIDS.


                     The year climaxed a period of change in the Board of Trustees, which included Trish Harding standing down as Treasurer following the birth of a second  son and was replaced by Adrian Goode.  Bob Waldron retired and Suzy Bisset became the newest and youngest Trustee.  After 15 years as International Coordinator Jim Leftwich handed over to Peter Fish in a phased transition, while contuing as a Trustee.  Very sadly, as the Board progressed through these planned chnages, came the very sad news that Hazel Prestwich had died after a short battle with cancer.  A truly tragic loss.






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