GCF meets in Nairobi, Kenya

by BeckyD on May 13, 2013

GCF5 cover

When the Global Children’s Forum gathered in Kenya we had two main goals:
1. To advance the work of our on-going global projects
2. To explore the potential of Africa’s church and children to bring about long term change and to catalyse African-based partnering initiatives

The first two days saw 65 people from all over the world focused on projects in 5 key areas – advocating for children, training workers and emerging leaders, focusing on families, empowering children and providing resources. Highlights of this time were the presentation of the inaugural issue of the AimLower Journal, the addition of Children-at-Risk to the advocacy discussion, the expansion of KidsHubsTV into Francophone Africa, an exploration of how all of us can be more involved with open source sharing of resources, the plan to convene a series of Family conversations in 2014 – the UN Year of the Family – and the maturing of ideas for the one-year leadership development experience.

At the end of this time, we were joined by an additional 75 people, primarily from Africa. The next three days were focused around Africa as a case study, guided by a team of Africans from within GCF. A focal piece for this process was a group exploration of God’s work in children’s lives and the ways in which our individual and collective activities can act to serve this work. This took shape as together we built a circular diagram of post-it notes on the floor. Rev Aiah Foday-Khabenje, Head of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, also addressed us on the strengths and challenges of children’s ministry in Africa and these were experienced as we visited local child-based projects. Much time was spent listening to the Africans, rejoicing in their strengths, sharing their pain and celebrating their dreams. As Africans and non-Africans listened to each other, it resulted in some thoughtful and honest dialogue and repentance.

DSC00844As the picture of children and children’s ministry in Africa was painted, the desire for multi-lateral partnering and innovate ideas grew. Delegates from other regions shared their experiences of starting GCF-style partnering and the group commenced a process of ‘courageous thinking’ to explore new ideas and directions. Some of those new to GCF had the opportunity to join existing work teams while others considered the next steps for African collaboration. The three key needs of training, resources and developing young leaders were identified and teams began to work on addressing them. Others began planning for GCF-style gatherings in their countries.

A focus on the centrality of Jesus as initiator, leader and provider also acted as a baseline for all our deliberations. This was expressed as he was placed at the centre of the exploratory process and as we looked at the metaphor of the Body of Christ in our devotional times. We left GCF5 determined to follow close after Christ our head and work better together as his Body.

SOME COMMENTS:

My attendance at GCF has been an eye-opener. The openness and transparent ways of sharing and confronting difficult issues was awesome. Already I have agreed with my colleague to have a meeting to begin to strategise. Thank you for helping me to be a part of such an amazing group.” (Ruth Chikasa, Zambia)

This was a great experience: the facts, the processes of discovering what God is saying, the learning from others, the knowledge of what’s happening. Thanks for organising this.” (Nancy Kahuthia, Kenya)

Thomas Malande May 13, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Thanks for the GCF5
I met very useful contacts and will be starting a process of bringing together and sharing with children workers in Eldoret first and nthwe countries where Family Impact works. The Lord willing I will be visiting Paul and John in UK to discuss training of trainers for Children workers. Today I was sharing with 13 workers as a pilot. Bravo and God bless.
Uncle Tom Malande.
Family Impact.

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