This week, I am embarking on a new adventure.  After returning five months ago from my stint as a World Next Door journalist in Kenya, I’ll soon be jumping on a plane to go back!

But this time, instead of living in the bustling capital city of Nairobi and taking excursions to Mombasa on the coast of the Indian Ocean or to the desert-like area of Marsabit in the North, I’m trekking deep into the tropical region of western Kenya that borders Lake Victoria to a remote village called Kager.  Who knew that for a country smaller than the state of Texas there could be so much to see?

I’m looking forward to the beauty of western Kenya’s mountains and sunsets!

The Project

Partners from Indiana get a chance to meet some micro-loan participants last year in Kager.

While I’m thrilled about this chance to discover a new side of Kenya, I’m even more excited about the people and organization that is hosting me.  Jubliee Village Project is a truly ground-breaking partnership between men and women in the village (Team Kager), and a group of ministry-minded men and women in Indianapolis (Team Indiana) who share a common vision for sustainable and holistic development in Kager.

Lots of organizations exist to fight poverty in Africa, but JVP’s model is unique for several reasons.  First, the leadership is made up entirely of volunteers.  Both the American and Kenyan team consist of people who integrate JVP work with their normal “day job” as CEOs, farmers, ministers, or health clinic administrators.

Solar lanterns are one simple solution JVP is using in Kager.

Second, because both Team Kager and Team Indiana recognize the inter-connectedness of the challenges facing Kager, their projects strive to be as holistic as possible.  So while they are implementing new farming techniques and strategies to increase food production, they are also empowering entrepreneurs through micro-development, expanding the health clinic, encouraging the local churches and making improvements everywhere from kitchens to schools to the transportation sector.  In all, JVP has 8 distinct areas of focus – no small feat for a small grassroots organization.

Third, the people of JVP take the concept of “partnership” seriously.  Each team member in the States who offers his or her expertise to the project, whether it is in the field of education, health, or technology, always works side-by-side their Kenyan counterpart who is responsible for co-creating, managing and implementing the project on the ground.  JVP’s vision is to bring sustainable development to Kager that will result in lasting change and eventually continue without the direct involvement of outside help.

What’s a Jubilee?

JVP has big dreams for Kager based on sustainable and holistic solutions.

To me, anything beginning with the word “jubilee” sounds like a party, and judging by the passion and energy with which the people of JVP approach their work, this jubilee is truly going to be an exciting time.  The title “Jubilee Village Project” recalls the Year of Jubliee instituted in ancient Israel as a time to restore justice, free oppressed people, and redistribute wealth.  The members of Team Indiana and Team Kager are working together to live out that vision in the present by ushering in a new season of justice and peace in rural Kenya, and I’m looking forward to getting a glimpse of it!

Embedded

So what’s my role in all this, you may ask?  I get to serve as JVP’s first short-term intern, and I’ll be responsible for several tasks ranging from documenting the impact of current projects with videos and photography, taking a survey to assess needs and opportunities for future projects, and building the communication capacity between the two teams.  But mainly, I’m excited to go and learn from the people of Kager, to be immersed in the life of the village, and take part in the jubilee that is unfolding there.

I’m ready for another adventure, and I hope you are, too.  Join me in these next several weeks as I jump in and discover what this jubilee is all about!

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About the Author: Jessica Shewan is a journalist with World Next Door. She graduated in 2009 from The University of Evansville with a bachelor's degree in History. She loves making new international friends and is passionate about seeing the global church pursue justice and peace!

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Comments

  1. Sharon said... 

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    April 25th, 2010 at 12:49 pm  

    Godspeed, Jessica! Can’t wait to read about what you observe and learn.

  2. Jim M said... 

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    April 25th, 2010 at 6:12 pm  

    Take care Jess, we all look forward to your reports. You will be in our prayers.

  3. Barry Rodriguez said... 

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    April 26th, 2010 at 10:12 am  

    Can’t wait to read all your articles! Still really jealous that you have seen so much of Kenya… :)

  4. Brad Ruggles said... 

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    April 27th, 2010 at 4:39 pm  

    So excited for you (and a little bit jealous) that you get to go back to Kenya. Ever since I returned from Kenya last month I’ve been wanting to go back. Can’t wait to read your posts and connect more with the country I fell in love with. Pop open a Stoney Tangawizi for me. :-)

  5. fred Faradays said... 

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    April 28th, 2010 at 7:22 am  

    Your sincere passion for this Country is touching.We wait to see what God plans to teach you this time.

  6. Ned Campbell said... 

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    April 29th, 2010 at 9:22 am  

    I can’t wait to see what God has in store for your “jubilee time (aka. party)” in Kager! You are the perfect choice for JVP’s first intern!

  7. Scott Whitlock said... 

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    April 29th, 2010 at 9:35 am  

    Hey Jessica!
    Such a pleasure to get to know you over these last couple months. I am so glad you are on our team with JVP in Kager. Let me know how the laptops are working out!
    -scott

  8. Joel Bwana said... 

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    April 26th, 2012 at 5:16 pm  

    I cant believe I am reading this. We are currently working on a partnership with JVP to work together in the next village called Ngulu. It is so exciting to realize how small our world is.God bless you.

    • Jessica said... 

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      June 11th, 2012 at 10:22 pm  

      That is great news, Joel. I didn’t know that JVP was expanding to Ngulu. Blessings in all your work!

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