The African Christian Initiation Programme (ACIP) is a community based participatory programme of the Eldoret-based Gender and Development Network(Eldo-GADNet) which is an inter – denominational, inter-disciplinary and inter-ethnic initiative. It serves to help meet the mandate of Moi University to translate knowledge generated in the University into practical development for communities at the local, national, continental and global levels.
Our mission is to empower young people by providing them with information and life skills to enable them make transition from childhood to adulthood without falling victim to challenges such HIV infection, drug abuse and lack of self-esteem.
Our vision is a national participatory, community-based initiation process that produces confident, successful and responsible young African adults.
The programme was preceded by advertisements and invitations for young girls and boys. High turn-out for the event was one of the great expectation.
This year event was one of the interesting moments of the programme. Two things among many brought about this. One of them is that there was quite a good number of initiates drawn from Testimony homes and its neighborhood. All the events unfolded as scheduled though there couldn’t miss some challenges here and there due to the busy schedules over the short duration of the workshop.
The total participation consisted of 28 initiates, 2 caretakers, a number of facilitators and coordinators, parents plus some important guests especially on the graduation day as well as in between the major events.
This activity involved two sessions;
The session started with a pre – counseling session for the boys to prepare them for the entire initiation process. The boys seemed fully confident to face the exercise after the counseling was done.
The following day after further counseling, 18 boys were circumcised. The boys were courageous and confident that they were commencing a new stage of adulthood. Circumcision was carried out by a biomedical health practitioner. The doctor frequently visited the boys to monitor the progress of the initiates so as to ensure every thing was going on well. The doctor was on call throughout the period (24/7).
Every morning the boys were engaged in a devotion of worship with their two caretakers. This included prayers, singing and reading the Word of God. They were reminded of their need to stay close to God even as they got to a new stage in life.
Devotion and Evening Classes (1st Week)
As cited earlier there was a need for the initiates to relate with God. Devotions came in to service both in the first and the second week before the daily events could set off.(It is important not to forget that every learning session for the whole season was punctuated by relevant selected Bible references)
The evening classes went on for three consecutive nights. The teachings dwelt on a captivating topic; SHAPING MEN FOR LIFE. This was done by pastor Chege and Mr. Mugambi (his co-worker)
It should be noted that the evening classes this time round overlapped with the second week events. It could be best done entirely on the first week.
Health Care Taking (1st & 2nd)
This was a continuous process that cut across the first and the second week. It was done effectively to make sure the initiates were getting well in good health. Any needed attention from the doctor was promptly done- (Warren & Mureithi were in charge of this).
In line with medical checks, the health of the initiates was enhanced through assured balanced diets-breakfast, lunch and supper at the scheduled time. Right coordination between the caretakers and the kitchen staff was ensured for effective meal delivery.
It is important to note that the caretaking this time was a bit cumbersome due to the high number of the initiates and the absence of one of the last years caretaker-Teacher Kiarie; his absence was felt significantly. However, without succumbing to this loophole everything was worked out well.
Though the two weeks event went on well, this was and has never been the end of caretaking process. This is because the process is a lifetime one that demands all the initiates to abide to the moral teachings inculcated into them for those two weeks. Hence, contact between the caretakers and the graduate initiates was emphasized.
-For gender balanced role-modeling a female caretaker for the girls may be essential.
-Registration can be done earlier enough to gauge the number of caretakers fit for the whole
Parents Meeting and Girls Enrollment (2nd Week)
A new week was ushered in by a parents’ meeting with some facilitators- a parent session. A topic on Parenting Adolescents was dealt with. The Called to Care workbook on Parenting was used.
Enrolment of girls for the workshop was done simultaneously as the parent session was going on. A total of 10 new initiates was recorded for the day. (8 girls and 2 additional boys from the Testimony homes)
NB: Among the 8 girls registered half were from the homes, 3 more joined as the workshop was in progress.
Workshop (2nd Week)
The workshop went on for 4 consecutive days.
It was structured into 2 hour sessions with enough breaks in between.
The workshop was marked by thorough training on the following topics and by competent facilitators as recorded in the schedule below:
ACIP Workshop time-table 2009
An excursion is a trip by a group of people, usually made for leisure or educational purposes. It is often an adjunct to a longer journey or visit to a place, sometimes for other (typically work-related) purposes.
In this case ACIP excursion formed part of the co-curricular activities. it was both for leisure and for educational purposes. A group of 35 participants went to Umbrella falls about 7km away from Eldoret – Kitale Road.
There were 5 Key facilitators of the week (Emily & Eunice, Kelvin & Lawrence (Moi University), and Kandie ( a rehabilitating victim of drug abuse).
Also with us were two caterers; Marco & Victor (both from Testimony Homes).
The excursion centered around inspirational story from a fully rehabilitated drug addict-Kandie. The youths received quite a good package of info for Drug use and Abuse.
Other Co-Curricular Activities
Leisure activities that were interesting for the evening after the excursion included:
Reading of books such as “I Bought Aids in a Bar”, “Boys and Girls” among other relevant books.
Story telling and
Tuning on to the Radio.
NB: AUDIAL VISUAL MATERIALS RELEVANT TO DAILY SESSIONS WOULD ALSO BE APPROPRIATE FOR SUCH MOMENTS .
Graduation preparation & evaluation.
All the initiates were involved in guided preparation for the graduation ceremony. Classified presentations that included songs, news and a skit for the big day were rehearsed
For evaluation purpose the participants were introduced to filling in of 2 questionnaires touching on varied subjects of the entire workshop.
Graduation marked the peak of the events with a good turn out from visitors and parents. Invited guests also attended especially from Moi University Deputy Vice Chancellor’s office. The presence of ACIP chaplain was also felt. Awarding of certificates to the graduates followed by commissioning was done by the Chaplain himself.
A session of communal feasting plus photo-taking preceded the departure. Long awaited wonderful ACIP T-shirts made the photo session colorful. Everyone was free to leave at their own pleasure.
Major captions for the events
ACIP 2009 was such a busy and inspiring moment that leaves every participant with great desire to participate for another time.
It involved Initiation, evening classes and caretaking for the first week. And another week of workshop and excursion.
Morning devotions every day made the daily events lovely by bringing people close to God.
For an effective running of the programme the following things can be checked;
Time span for the whole workshop should be increased to at least 5 full days of training.
Planning of the events can be effectively done early enough to ensure proper running of the programme.
There should be enough mentors for girls.