In September 2023, seven Cluster leaders from across Africa met for a two day Strategic Leadership Gathering in Nairobi, Kenya. The goal of the gathering was for the leaders to share about their work, come up with ideas and creative ways to grow the work of Arukah, and to find ways of moving forward together.
Here’s some highlights of how the conference went.
The team consisted of Elvis from Zambia, Hormis from Rwanda, Oscar and Moses from Kenya, Gerald from Tanzania, Shora from Malawi and Christabel from Benin. Also present were Sarah, Robins and Brian from the Support Team. Guided by Mona from our friends at CCIH, the team connected through a walk in the forest before having a lunch filled with laughter and stories about each other’s cultures and experiences. The team further dove deeper into their identities on the eve of the conference which made the bond tighter getting into the first day.
Learning from each other
Over the next two days, each leader got the chance to share their leadership wisdom with room for discussion later. Elvis started off with a reflective space for the leaders to understand their identity and purpose which set the course for the gathering. Moses, who is one of the earliest members of Arukah, shared a brief history of the Network before sharing how to monitor and measure progress, and adapt to changing circumstances.
Robins helped the group understand the importance of strategic leadership, Gerald shared on decision making and Oscar highlighted the importance of innovation and how leaders can foster such a culture.
In the evening, the group joined the wider network online for the monthly prayer session.
The next day, Brian started off a discussion on how to communicate in a way that brings results. Sarah then led a reflective session on strategic thinking and planning, highlighting that preparing for future challenges by having a plan can help overcome them if or when they arise.
Mona Bormet, who is based in Nairobi, rejoined the group and shared potential ways that the leaders can work with CCIH and forge strategic engagements in their communities so that they can implement their programs and develop scalable tools.
Augustine Muema, who is the Country Director at Life in Abundance Kenya also joined the group and shared that they work together with the leaders to create sustainable transformation in their communities through empowering their local churches.
Cultivating friendships and fun moments
While the gathering could be termed as ‘important’, there were spaces created for laughter and games. For example, before each session, one leader would teach the group a game or song from their culture which was received with joy.
On the evening of the last day, a ‘mini graduation’ ceremony took place. Keeping with the fun theme, before each leader could collect their certificate, they were required to sing a happy song in their language and have everybody join in. It was a moment of confusion, amazement and joy.
Hope for the future. Looking ahead.
Before the end of the gathering, Sarah led another reflective session with the leaders sharing the strengths of the network, some challenges and opportunities for growth. The leaders emphasized Arukah’s strength in attracting people with a desire to work together rather than purely serve personal interests. And that those involved with Arukah understand that sustainable change is more likely when it emerges organically from within the community. They also highlighted opportunities for global growth through partnerships, connecting with each other regularly, networking and equipping more local leaders.
The group agreed to continue meeting online every month to hold each other accountable and work together for the success of their communities.
Extended time with the Support Team
After the gathering, Brian, Robins and Sarah stayed back and took an 8 hour trip to Kitale town in the northern Rift Valley. During our time there, we visited a long term friend of Robins who pastors a local church. After service, we met and shared a meal with local community leaders to talk about the community's needs and highlight their strengths. We also had the opportunity to speak about Arukah Network on the region's radio station.
Shora's Cluster in Malawi came together and formed a farmer's cooperative to create employment and access to food markets. Read their story here