The role of the church in addressing food security: a case study of Victory Life Church in Kinyaata Division, Yatta district
Mwawughanga, Barzil M
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There are over 5 million people in Kenya who are extremely food insecure and only 47% of the country's population is food secure and the Government is solely unable to address the situation fully. The problem of food security has affected the country for many years and no good solution has been found to rectify the situation. Kenya is one of the countries struggling with food insecurity and is ranked at number 21 in food insecurity out of 163 countries in their 2010 Food Security Risk Assessment as reported by a United Kingdom-based risk consultant called Maplecroft. A different approach is paramount if the situation is to be curbed and the country is to improve in its food security. Christianity comprises 78% of the total population of Kenya with more than 10,000 registered churches with branches scattered in every conceivable location in the country. (Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) 2011). The .Church in Kenya with its existing infrastructure and representation could be an important role player and partner in formulating and implementing development strategies and initiatives addressing the food security situation in the country. This research project focused on the role of Victory Life Church in Yatta District in addressing the food security situation affecting the community. The study reviewed literature on the causes of food insecurity and examines the role of the church in addressing the societal needs in the community and also explore on sustainability of initiatives to address food insecurity. The objective of this study was to examine the role the church has played in providing farm inputs, building capacity in appropriate farming technologies, awareness creation in climate and environmental issues and sustaining food security. The variables in the study were identified and summarized in the conceptual framework and table of operational definition of variables. The study was carried out in Kinyaata division in Yatta District targeting the church members and community members through questionnaires using random sampling method. Purposive sampling was used to get data from the agriculture specialists and the leaders of the church and local administration in the area through the use of interviews and focus group discussion. A sample size of 154 members was used. The primary data was collected using questionnaires, observation, and interviews and secondary data was collected from reports, books, journals and newspapers. The data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics and data was presented using frequency tables and percentages. The research revealed that Victory Life Church(VLC) has been involved in building the capacity of the community in Yatta through trainings on appropriate farming technologies, provision of farm inputs, creating awareness on environment, mobilization of community to build water dams, linking the community to various resource institutions and markets which in turn led to the improvement of the food security status in Yatta District. This study helps to challenge the church to participate in addressing the needs of the society other than just I addressing solely the spiritual needs. The study also challenges policy makers, the government and other NGOs that the church has much to offer in developmental issues and that they should explore partnerships with the church in order to address the plight of the community.