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CBF provides emergency relief in response to severe drought in Kenya

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March 15, 2017

By Aaron Weaver

DECATUR, Ga. — To respond to the worsening drought in northern Kenya, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has contributed $5,000 in emergency relief for vulnerable children in communities where the Fellowship has a long-term presence.

Funds are being designated for the purchase of maize, beans and oil to feed vulnerable children at churches, nursery schools and an integrated child development center in northern Kenya. Africa Exchange, a nonprofit organization which seeks to enhance the lives of marginalized and neglected populations in East Africa, is coordinating the emergency drought relief efforts.

Sam Harrell, who is associate coordinator of CBF Global Missions, founded Africa Exchange in 1998. Prior to joining the CBF staff in Decatur in 2015, Harrell served with his wife, Melody, as CBF field personnel in Kenya. African Exchange has established 14 child development and education centers among vulnerable populations across Kenya since its inception.

Kenya’s current drought has worsened in recent months and left more than two million people in Kenya without enough to eat, according to the United Nations. The drought impacting communities across northern Kenya is part of a severe system affecting the horn of Africa —extending from Somalia across southern Ethiopia to South Sudan, where it is most acute due in part to political instability.

“If you’re relying on rain-fed agriculture, then having the right water, predictable water is crucially important,” Macharia Kamau, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. and Special Envoy to the U.N. on Climate Change, told the Inter Press Service News Agency.

According to news reports, large areas of northern Kenya are facing acute food security issues as well as ongoing acute malnutrition following a poor rainy season from October through December of last year. Portions of the country could be on the verge of a significant crisis in the absence of emergency food assistance, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

Harrell said the emergency drought relief will offer a “critical bridge” for vulnerable children seeking to survive until the expected arrival of rain next month.

“The emergency drought relief will provide a critical bridge for children in targeted communities as they attempt to survive until the arrival of rains anticipated in early April,” Harrell said. “Ironically, parts of southern Africa have been experiencing flooding in recent weeks, all this due to the increasingly erratic nature of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), the predominant weather system in the equatorial belt of sub-Saharan Africa.”

Harrell asked Cooperative Baptists to pray for the vulnerable children and their communities.

“Please pray for these affected areas and communities — for peace, endurance, resilience and rain,” Harrell said. “Pray also for open hearts as we bear witness to the love of Jesus through this act of practical solidarity.”

To learn more about the work of CBF Global Missions, visit www.cbf.net/missions.

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CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry eff­orts, global missions and a broad community of support. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.

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