Nairobi CCM Facilitators Forum

In August 2015, 122 Church and Community Mobilisation (CCM) practitioners from many organisations gathered in Nairobi to inspire and excite one another about the heart of God to transform the Church and Communities. Sixteen Mothers’ Union representatives from across the World joined the meeting.

Church and Community Mobilisation empowers people to holistically transform their themselves and their communities using their God-given local resources.

In 2014, the Friends of Umoja (an international partnership of CCM practitioners including Mothers’ Union) with the Council of Anglican Provinces (CAPA) in Africa had a vision to host a first forum for key practitioners of the CCM process. We planned for 30 people to attend; however, we were quickly overwhelmed by the level of interest from across Africa and further afield. This showed the level of excitement by practitioners about how this process is changing churches and communities, on an unprecedented scale.

One of the striking quotes from the keynote address by Agnes Aboum, from the World Council of Churches said that “development requires the missing link that is faith.” During the Forum there was a real call for a return to biblical values; genuine agapé Christian love demonstrated as faith in action which draws people to the Church. It is this approach that gives CCM its distinctive ability to transform relationships, including bringing reconciliation and forgiveness in the midst of conflict. This is the Church’s mandate and in many communities, the Mothers’ Union is at the forefront.Mothers’ Union brought together a diverse group of practitioners from Guyana to South Africa and DR Congo, with Jane Groves, the Head of Action & Outreach (Britain & Ireland) and Programme Officers from Mary Sumner House also attending. The work of the Mothers’ Union is unique and ground-breaking with the development of Literacy CCM with Awaken and hybrid models such as EAGLE. Even our CCM work in Zambia and Zimbabwe which intentionally engages the whole church in moving through CCM together is innovative. The breadth of experience that Mothers’ Union has to offer with highlighting women’s voices; CCM in conflict and francophone contexts is different and exciting is key to the evolution of this process.

At the close of the conference, several Mothers’ Union Community Development Coordinators commented “I never realised how far we have gone” and “I didn’t realise that I knew so much”. It was really inspirational to see Mothers’ Union members enthused and reinvigorated to go return to their communities filled with shared learning from across the continent. Lena, diocesan president from Guyana concluded with, “I now think like a CEO, I can see lots of fresh opportunities to make small changes that can have a huge impact”.

The conference provided lots of opportunities for national and regional networking. Over the last five to ten years, many partners have invested heavily in resourcing local grassroots organisations in the CCM approach. Now, as an outcome of the conference, there is an energy for national-level and regional sharing and learning, to develop local ownership to resource each other as local CCM practitioners and scale up the work within their own contexts. As local communities take hold of these resources and embed this philosophy as a lifestyle, the opportunities are endless.