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1. 0- Location/context
Turkanaland, which is home to the Turkana people is a land occupying the area of North Western Kenya to the west of Lake Turkana in the Rift Valley Province. Turkana is the largest district in Kenya and covers an area of 77,000 square kilometers. It borders Marsibit and Samburu Districts in the East, Baringo and West Pokot Districts in the South; in the North it shares international boundaries with Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda.

For administrative purpose the district has been divided into three constituencies: Turkana North, Turkana Central and Turkana South, and recently, each of the constituencies have been made to be a district. The expansiveness of the districts and the poor road network makes it difficult for transportation of people and their goods. Banditry, cattle rustling and insecurity render travel very risky, particularly early mornings or late evenings.

1.1- Climate
Turkana is hot and dry for most part of the year. Average rainfall in the plains is about 300-400 mm falling to less than 150mm in the arid central parts. Rainfall is erratic and unreliable and famine is a constant threat. Turkana has a very poor agricultural potential and is only suitable for extensive rearing of indigenous livestock. The urban population has no real economic alternatives for survival. Due to low productivity of the rangelands and the high variation of rainfall, pastoralists are forced to move frequently from one place to another to search for water and pastures. Yet this movement has to be carefully calculated and monitored due to security situation. Relatively safe areas in the central parts of the district have high concentration of pastoralists as compared to Northern, North-Western and Southern areas, which are prone to armed conflicts and cattle raids.

2.1- Population
Estimate of the population of Turkana varies; however, a provisional figure of the 1999 National population census of Turkana district was 450,860 people. This number does not include 70,000 refugees in Kakuma camps. 70% of this population is nomads and therefore the concentration of this district population is always determined by rainfall, water and browse.
The population density varies between one and seven persons per square km with a sex ratio of male/female 92:100. This low population density is due to the harsh environment conditions. Many deaths occur due to raids, diseases, and drought (which lead to famine and lack of water and pasture for the livestock).
Mortality rate is high. In 1996 the infant mortality rate was 159 deaths for every 1000 live births, as compared to the national rate of about 62 in every 1000 live births.1 Besides, HIV/AIDS is a threat to the Turkana population. According to the District Medical officer (July, 2001), some 34% of the population were already infected by HIV/AIDS virus.2

2.2- Socio-economic Situation of Turkana
Turkana are nomadic pastoralists. Traditionally the Turkana survived using a basic subsistence economy centered on livestock - such as goats, sheep, cattle, donkeys and camels. However, due to a number of factors such as recurrent droughts and famine, raiding and animal diseases, numbers of Turkana are now engaged in fishing, agriculture, handicraft production and various forms of wage-employment. Agriculture is practiced only in few places along Turkwel River where irrigation is possible.
Life in Turkana is generally difficult. Illiteracy, ignorance, diseases, draught and famine, lack of employment opportunities and unavailability of adequate development funds, are some of the factors that compete to make Turkana a poor and dreaded place to live and work in.
Besides being poor, Turkana people have limited access to basic human needs such as food, clean drinking water, health care services, housing, education and security. Many people depend on relief food supplied by the non-governmental organizations, churches and sometimes the government.

2.3- Socio-Cultural and Religious Values of the Turkana People

  • Turkana are religious people. They are conscious of God’s presence in their community. They invoke God in times when there is severe famine, drought, and before significant events in their lives.
  • Turkana are said to be violent people, but the fact is they are peace lovers. The fact that most Turkana want to live in peace is unquestionable. Peace is cherished even in places that are ravaged by conflicts and violence. In Turkana religious consciousness peace and peacemaking are considered both spiritual and moral values. They believe that peace promoted and preserved in the community is a blessing and gift of God, and that observation of the norms of righteousness, good relations, and submission to the God-given law is a requirement for peacemaking and peace sustenance. Violence only comes where there are misunderstandings, greed, and strong cultural attachment to animals.
  • The Turkana value reconciliation as requirement for peaceful coexistence. Where relationship has been breached and social harmony has been broken, Turkana organize reconciliation ceremonies.
  • Resilience to hardships. In spite of poverty and difficulties in life the Turkana are joyful people.

  • Strong attachment and appreciation of cultural values and traditions.
  • They are nomads, and therefore have strong attachment to domestic animals.
  • Intelligent and sociable people.

2.4- Negative Forces in Turkana People:

  • Too much attachment to animals, and sometimes at the expense of human life.
  • Violence, which, many times is due to animal raids.
  • Alcoholism, idleness, laziness, over dependency and lack of creativity. These contribute to the poverty of the region.
  • Oppression and violence against women.
  • Internal insecurity and lack of trust and confidence in non-Turkana people. The other is always an enemy of a Turkana no matter who he or she is.
  • Attach little or no value to formal education. Illiteracy and negative attitude towards formal education is a killer-disease in Turkana.
  • Polygamy, early and arranged marriages deny young girls their right and freedom to choose their partner in marriage.

Unfortunately in Turkana many people have not accepted formal education as a social value leave alone as a human right. Many parents still deny their children their right to study and to be educated. In spite Free Primary Education, Turkana districts register one of the lowest gross enrollment, retention, and completion rates in the country:
33% of children with the age group 5-10 actually start school
69.2% drop out before finishing primary school
Around 11% sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE “Standard 8”) exam 4.9% go to secondary schools
22% drop out of secondary school before completing “Form 4”
4% sit Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE “Form 4”) exams.
According to government estimate:

  • 70 out of every 100 adults cannot read and write in any language.
  • Illiteracy is considerably higher in females, with only 15 out of every 100 women able to read and write in any language.
  • More than 50% of school age children do not attend school3

3.1- Education risk factors in Turkana

  • In all Turkana villages and centers there are strong nomadic cultural influence. Nomadic lifestyle makes
    most families to move from place to place to search for water and pasture. For school children this movement is distractive. Sometimes they move and settle in places where there is plenty of water and pastures for the animals, but there are no schools. The children are therefore forced to move long distances to look for schools, or drop out of schools altogether (if that is a better option).
  • Insecurity in the area makes it risky for children, especially girls to move long distances to and fro school especially in the evening hours.
    Many parents deny their children chances of education simply because they want them to remain at home and take care of animals.
  • Girl child education is still very low with many girls leaving school to work at home caring for other children or being married at a very young age for a dowry of goats, cows or camels.
  • High rate of pregnancy for girls and high rate of school drop-outs both for boys and girls between the ages of 14-18.
  • Lack of food security in many families. Many children lack food to eat when they at home. This makes it difficult for them to concentrate at school.
  • There is unlimited access to alcohol and illicit brews in school areas yet there is no alcohol and drug avoidance program in the school and in the community.
  • In secondary and colleges poverty plays a big role in diminishing the overall enrollment, retention and completion rates. In other words many of the children cannot afford secondary and college tuition and other higher institutions of learning.

The presence of the Catholic Church in Turkana can be traced back to the coming of two priests of the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society in December 1961. They came to assist in the distribution of food and to oversee the running of a new camp (famine) which was being established three miles away from Lodwar. Later they were joined by Medical Missionary of Mary Sisters. Since then, the original mandate was broadened to include evangelization. Hence the church became a prominent source of support to the Turkana people in all areas of life. The area had, prior to 1968, been part of Eldoret Diocese. It was set up as a prefecture from 1968 to 1978. In 1978 it was made a diocese with Rev. John Christopher Mahon, SPS, becoming the first bishop. He was succeeded by the present bishop Patrick J. Harrington, SMA, in March 2000. Today the diocese of Lodwar has:

Parishes: 24; priests- 46; religious brothers-8; religious sisters- 49; no Catholic Lay Missionary; Volunteers workers- 6, Commissioned Catechists- 40; Several Catholic church Assistants (Prayer leaders)

It is important to note that most of the priests and religious are either foreign missionaries or non-Turkana pastoral agents obtained from other dioceses.

4.1- The Mission of the Church in Turkana
The local church in the diocese of Lodwar participates in the mission of Jesus Christ; it shares in and makes the central theme of Jesus’ teaching (the coming of the reign of God) relevant to the people it is called to serve. “The reign of God” for Jesus meant Good News for the poor and Liberation for the oppressed, (Luke 4: 18-19). He sought out those “on the periphery” of society-the poor, the blind, the lepers, the hungry, the sinners, the tax collectors, the possessed, the rabble who knew nothing of the law, the little ones, the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

In his compassionate outreach, Jesus turned deliberately to those repressed, those discriminated against and exploited. God’s reign meant the end of their misery and introduction of a new social order and social relations based on the principle of inclusion. No one is excluded from the love of God.

Inclusivity is Jesus’ message. The reign of God, therefore, is present to all people. It is manifested more clearly when the rich and the poor, oppressed and oppressor, sinners and devout embrace and are embraced. The mission of Christ is one of dissolving alienation and breaking down walls of hostility and indifference, of crossing the made-made boundaries between individuals, the sexes and the groups of people. In a nutshell, the “Reign of God” meant a radical change in the existing socio-economic and political and religious order of his time. Our mission in the diocese of Lodwar is to live concretely and effectively this mission of Christ. “We in Lodwar”, says Bishop Patrick Harrington, will be faithful to this mission “only when we reach out to all people and embrace every dimension of their life.” 4

During its forty-five years among the Turkana, the diocese of Lodwar has endeavored to reach out to people in every corner of Turkana -dialoguing and working with them and embracing every dimension of their life. The diocese provides a wide-range of services in the field of spiritual and human development, with emphasis on sustainability, self-awareness, human dignity, and liberation from all kinds of deprivation.

4.2- Apostolate and human development projects in the diocese
Under the leadership of its Bishop, all pastoral services and developmental projects of the diocese are organized into departments- each of which is specialized in a certain field. Among these are: Health, Water, Famine Relief, Development, Education, Justice and Peace, Youth, Social Ministry, Nomadic Life, Finance, Women Development, Communications, and Pastoral and Lay Apostolate.

The Comboni missionaries came to the diocese of Lodwar in 1975 as a response to the invitation of bishop John Christopher Mahon (SPS). Several factors prompted this invitation:

  • The need to drill boreholes and shallow wells to make water available for the people
  • There was need for personnel to open the new Mission of Katilu. Opening up of Katilu was a long term dream of Bishop Mahon.
  • There was also need to open up and develop new mission stations in order to carryon the pastoral plans of the diocese.
  • The need for a new and alternative approach to evangelization; an approach that touches the life and heart of the people. The bishop believed that the Comboni missionaries could bring novelty to the diocese. The methodology of evangelization was to be direct evangelization (without forgetting socio-economic development and human development).

The Comboni missionaries in this diocese, therefore, were challenged to be a sign of God’s presence among God’s people through our methods of evangelization as well as our own struggles to live and witness to the Gospel values. Some of the very first missionaries came from Karamoja in Uganda. This was an added advantage since they knew Karimojong Language and could work well in Turkana.

The Comboni missionaries who worked in Turkana include: Fr. Bernard Lennon, Fr. Antonio Giudici, Bro. Mario Pietta, Fr. Luigi Benedetti, Fr. Mario Riva, Fr. Marcello Vulcan, Fr. Bruno Tinazzi, Fr. Lino Zucco, Fr. Giuseppe Andreon, (Fr.) Sergio Daniele, Fr. Giuseppe Ceriani, Fr. Giancarlo Guiducci, Fr. Antonio Dolzan, Fr. Aaron Cendeja, Fr. Daniel Villaverde, Fr. Giuseppe Ambrosi, Fr. Franco Moretti, Bro. Mario Vermi, Bro Gerardo Fuente, Bro. Ramon Bayotte, Bro. Efrem Martinato, Bro Jose Gordinez, Fr. Vittorio Girardi, Fr. Pedro Quilla, Fr. Simon Rodriguez, and to this date (2008), Fr. Rafael Cefalo, Fr. Elia Ciapetti, Bro. Laurencig Dario, Fr. Rico Hernandez and Fr. John Kennedy Onoba.

5.2- Comboni Communities and personnel
The Comboni Missionaries have been present in the diocese of Lodwar since 1975 when we opened our first mission station in Katilu. In 1991, we opened the mission of Lokori dedicated to St. Daniel Comboni. In 2000 we handed over Katilu mission to the Guadalupe Fathers and opened a new mission station in Lokichar- formerly an outstation of Katilu. In 2003 we opened another mission station at Nakwamekwi in the outskirt of Lodwar town. In 2006, we handed over Lokori to the Incarnate Word Missionaries.

Today we are present in two communities/parishes- Lokichar and Nakwamekwi. Lokichar is composed of four full time members: Fr. Rico Hernandez who is the superior and parish priest, Fr. Bruno Tinazzi, Brother Dario Laurencig, and Fr. John Kennedy Onoba. In Nakwamekwi there are three priests: Fr. Rafael Cefalo who is superior and Parish priest, Fr. Elia Ciapetti, and Fr. Aaron Cendejas. The three are gracefully aging, but active in ministry.

5.1- Needs and Opportunities- Mission of the Comboni Missionaries in Turkana
Our presence is a valuable asset. As Comboni Missionaries our main mission is of first evangelization and integral development and promotion of the poorest and most neglected people. In the diocese of Lodwar, we carry out this mission through faith formation in small Christian communities, catechetical formation towards reception of sacraments, formation workshops on various issues and topics relevant for human and spiritual growth, formation of catechists and other pastoral agent, women promotion, formal and informal education, health, Justice and Peace ministry, youth ministry, and education of children with physical disabilities.

A-  Catechists:
Criteria to choose the catechists, content of their formation, and the involvement of the Christian community in their selection are found in the catechist’s constitution of the Diocese of Lodwar, articles 2-4. In summary, the baptized, confirmed, and practicing candidate must:

  • receive a vocation from the Holy Spirit to be a catechist
  • be presented by the community and receive sufficient training and formation
  • if married, he or she be married in the catholic church in accordance with the requirements of the sacrament of marriage.
  • Role model in the community
  • Regular reception of the sacrament of Eucharist and reconciliation
  • Personal prayer
  • Positive qualities in the candidate should be:
  • faith that manifests itself in their piety and daily life
  • love of the church and communion with its pastors
  • apostolic spirit and missionary zeal
  • love for their brothers and sisters and willingness to give generous service
  • sufficient education (at least standard 8)
  • the respect of the community
  • human, moral and technical qualities necessary for the work as a catechists or church assistant such as dynamism and good relations with others.

Content of their training is determined by the catechetical training center. Catechists to be commissioned must have completed one year of full training at the catechists training center, two years of pastoral work and assessment, and satisfied the parish priest and community with their performance. He/ she is paid by the diocese of Lodwar.
Catholic Church Assistants (CCA-untrained catechists) must have completed at least two-three months of short course organized either at the training center or deanery or at parish levels. Such are paid by the parish/respective Comboni community.

B-  Sacraments
Formation for the reception of sacraments is an important aspect of our evangelization mission. In this the sacraments of Christian initiation and marriage are fundamental. For baptism, we follow the practical guidelines given by the diocesan policies on infant baptism (refer to chapter 16, article 45 of the statutes and policies of the diocese of Lodwar), but we also implement the steps of RCIA.

  • We expect the candidate for adult baptism to come freely after a general invitation in the church, during family visitation or in the small Christian communities.
  • We expect them to have the desire to belong to the church
  • Readiness to attend the instructions on regular basis
  • They must be assessed and found ready for the sacraments
  • Willingness to continue catholic and Christian practices.
  • After instruction and reception of the sacraments, we expect them to have good knowledge and understanding of the catholic faith
  • To participate in the life of the church through the small Christian communities and to join the different groups for their continual formation in the faith.

Role of the small Christian communities towards catechumenate:

  • they are involved in identifying the catechumens and encouraging other candidates to enroll
  • they help the candidates and motivate them to attend instructions
  • They journey with the candidates after the sacraments.

Content of the instructions is provided in the instruction materials provided by the diocese. They focus on the general teachings of the church on sacraments, especially on the respective sacrament, e.g. baptism, underlying the roles of parents and godparents in the upbringing of the children/candidates.

For the sacrament of Marriage, courses are prepared at diocesan, deanery and parish levels. Courses at diocesan levels last at least one week, while deanery and parish level courses lasts between 3-5 days. Contents of such courses include, but not limited to:

  • General teaching of the church on the sacrament of marriage
  • Challenges posed by the Turkana culture to the celebration of the sacrament of marriage, e.g. expensive dowry, polygamy etc…
  • Love and relationship
  • Awareness on HIV/AIDS.

C. Youth and young adults:
Unlike in other places in Kenya, youths in Turkana suffer from widespread illiteracy, poverty and lack of information and awareness of some vital issues concerning their life. Some youths lack education and professional skills that should help them to refine their choices and priorities in life. Many others lack basic knowledge and life skills that should prepare them to meet life’s challenges and thus prepare them to make life responsible choices. Others still lack relevant information and awareness on issues which are important for growing up, such as their sexuality, meaning of freedom, self-esteem, health, teen age pregnancy, abortion, contraceptives, etc… Consequently, many of them bump into life unprepared; and due to ignorance, they make irresponsible choices that have drastic and sometimes tragic impacts in their lives.
As a church we feel the challenge to promote youth activities in our parishes. We feel it is our responsibility to design and develop pastoral and formation programs that are relevant for their moral, spiritual, social, economic and even political upbringing. By organizing them and forming them in different aspects of their life as youths, Christians, and citizens, we aim to educate them and empower them to grow into mature people able to make mature and responsible choices in life.

Together with the department of Justice and Peace of Diocese of Lodwar we are giving workshops to the youth on such topics as:

  • Youth and society (their positive contribution to socio-political and moral transformation of the society)
  • Youth and environment (social concerns)
  • Gender awareness and role of women in the society
  • Civic Education
  • Justice, Peace, Security, and human rights issues

With the Diocesan Youth Empowerment Program we run seminars on:

  • Christian Leadership (formation of leaders based on Christian values)
  • Vocation orientation
  • The role of youth in evangelization
  • Adult education and faith formation of nomadic girls and boys
  • Youth and their participation in the small Christian communities and the church
  • How to start and run small scale businesses

Together with the Health Department of the Diocese we organize and facilitate workshop on:

·    HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) and living with HIV/AIDS and issues of stigmatization of the infected and affected people

  • Family life and responsible parenthood
  • Life skills, behavior change, and helping youth make life responsible choices
  • Early pregnancy and abortion
  • Christian moral values and sex education
  • Alcoholism, drugs and substance abuse

So far, the seminars have been very fruitful for them. In school there are PPI and Young Christian Students (YCS) programs.

D. Collaboration with sisters in our parishes:

In Lokichar there are the Evangelizing Sisters of Mary while in Nakwamekwi there are the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi. The sisters make contracts with the diocese of Lodwar. Their terms and work conditions are decided upon by the bishop and their religious superiors. The sisters that are employed by the government are paid salaries by the Government of Kenya, while those employed by the diocese are paid living wages by the diocese. A minimum maintenance allowance is given by their respective parishes to the sisters in charge of pastoral activities.
So far both Nakwamekwi and Lokichar maintain good working and social relations with the sisters.

5.3- Important Developments in the missions
The Comboni missionaries have made several contributions to the development of Lodwar diocese. Such developments include:

  • Founded mission stations at Katilu, Lokori, and Lokichar. The mission in Katilu also gave birth to the mission of Kainuk.
  • Printing of Catechism in Turkana Language (Kiwapakinae)
  • Translated and revived many of the liturgical books used in the diocese
  • Emphasis on direct evangelization and inculturation
  • Constructed several churches and Chapels in the diocese, especially where we work.
  • We encourage and sponsored education programs both formal and informal through construction and development of primary schools, establishment of early childhood education centers, adult literacy, and sponsorship programs for poor students in secondary schools, colleges and universities.
  • Prepared Turkana Dictionary (Bro. Marion Vermi)
  • We lobby for the supply of food and clean drinking water, by drilling boreholes, shallow wells and installation of water pumps in many parts of Turkana. Today there are several water points in all the three districts of Turkana, thanks to the work of Bro. Dario Laurencig.
  • Today we are also involved in human rights advocacy and other areas of justice and peace such as women’s rights and girl-child education and education of people with physical disabilities.

5.4- successes in pastoral work and missionary methodology:

  • We have moved from an individual approach to mission to a more communitarian and zonal approach to evangelization.
  • There has been a paradigm shift in our missionary work. Strong emphasis is laid on faith formation and leadership training. We also emphasize the importance of the sacraments, especially the sacrament of marriage.  We have not, however, forgotten material developmental and human needs of the people.
  • Several pastoral agents and lay leaders working in the diocese are direct product of Comboni missionaries’ work of evangelization.
  • Two local priests (Fr. Joseph Ekomwa and Nicholas Koro, A.J; are direct product of our formation.
  • Several government employees and civil servants working in Turkana and elsewhere are direct beneficiaries of our education and sponsorship programs. Their human status has changed because of the presence of the Comboni Missionaries in Turkana.
  • Many people have become Christians and accepted to be baptized in the Catholic Church and today they lead decent faith-filled life. Several others have accepted to live sacramental life. Their life is changed because of the faith they have embraced.

5.5- Registered Failures:

  • Frequent changes and withdrawal of personnel which affect the effectiveness of our activities
  • Inadequate knowledge of the language and cultures of the Turkana, especially by the young confreres, and those newly assigned to the Zone. This too, affects the effectiveness of our ministry.
  • Inadequate preparation of the Christian communities for future self-sustainability of the missions. This is clearly reflected in near-collapse of Katilu parish after several years of evangelization.
  • No much work done in the area of vocations promotion and missionary animation of the local church.
  • Through our direct material assistance to people we have created dependency syndrome which is now difficult to remove from the people. People see the church, especially where the Comboni missionaries work as a providing church.
  • We have not done much in the area of income generating projects for the people. We still want them to depend on us.

Important changes in Turkana- social and religious:

  • The old nomadic way of life is changing due to urbanization and influence of other cultures in Turkana.
  • Increase in the number of children enrolled in formal education sector, although Turkana still registers the lowest enrollment rate in the country.
  • Young people appreciate western and new style of life and incorporate it in their daily life.
  • Increase in insecurity and criminality due to unemployment and love for money.
  • Individuality- traditional attitude of sharing resources and wealth has gradually changed to give way to an individualistic approach.
  • Extended family value is also disappearing
  • Church attendance has greatly increased; men have also begun to attend church services.
  • Gradual transition in the mentality of the people; previously the church was seen as an NGO or supplier of goods and services.
  • If well animated, the people can contribute to the development of the church and its ministry.
  • In the diocese there is involvement and empowerment of the laity in pastoral ministry.

Issues of concern- social and religious:

  • Dependency on relief food supplies, especially in rural areas is still an issue in Turkana.
  • Globalization has brought conflicting values in families: youth and their parents now live in “different worlds.”
  • Alcoholism is a persistent problem
  • Poor sanitation and health; draught and lack of water are also persistent issues.
  • Social infrastructures, schools, medical services are scarce, yet on demand.
  • Early pregnancies, HIV/AIDS cases are on the rise. Lokichar is considered one of the most dangerous places in Turkana; it has the highest infection rate.
  • Poor transport system, poor road and lack of government concern.
  • Corruption, lack of transparency, and accountability is an issue
  • Unemployment, and inadequate development fund
  • Cattle rustling have not stopped and probably will continue in spite of the many peace efforts.
  • Women are still slaves of men; they do the entire household task besides, they are the bread winners.
  • Mushrooming of evangelical churches, yet there is no proper collaboration with the Catholic Church; they are rather aggressive and abusive.
  • The Catholic Church is still dependent on foreign missionaries and Fidei Donum priests. The church is also highly dependent on money from abroad for all its developmental projects. Local contributions towards development are minimal.

Theoretically, at least, it appears that Turkana is changing. It also appears that the government of Kenya is accepting more and more responsibilities for the running of the various services in Turkana. For example, the government has already taken over the running of the education sector, with the churches now acting as sponsors. Health sector is also slowly being handed over to the government. There are also several NGOs working in various social services in Turkana. Are Comboni missionaries still relevant? What direction is our mission supposed to take?

Goals and priorities today:

  • Goal and priority 1: The diocese still needs our presence. The diocese needs personnel to continue to work in the field of first evangelization. In first evangelization we are still a long way to go.
  • Goal and priority 2: Concentrate our apostolate in the areas of formation of catechists, Catholic Church assistants, and lay leaders.
  • Goal and priority 3: Faith formation of the Christian Communities: the Children, the youths and adults.
  • Goal and priority 4: Formation of Christian families, with emphasis on sacraments, especially the sacrament of marriage and reconciliation
  • Goal and priority 5: Development and promotion of education remain our important area of concern; we shall continue to collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to ensure that the Turkana child gets education.
  • Goal and priority 6: Lobbying for and development of clean water facilities remains a unique contribution we are making to development of Turkana.
  • Goal and priority 7: Promotion of people’s health.

Missionary methodology:
Objective 1: First evangelization is our main reason as Comboni missionaries of being in Turkana. To carry out the work of First Evangelization

  • We will create programs of visitation to people who have not yet heard the gospel
  • Start up small Christian communities and faith or bible sharing groups and organize regular prayer gathering with them.
  • Organize catechetical instructions towards reception of sacraments- The RCIA and regular scrutiny of the candidates for one full year
  • Make use of all possible avenues of imparting catechetical instruction to children and youth both in and out of school, e.g. PPI, formation workshops on SCC, liturgy, etc…
  • Pastoral care of the sick to be carried out through the Small Christian Communities, regular visitation, and material assistance when requested or deemed appropriate

Objective 2: Formation of catechists, Catholic Church assistants and lay leaders. Our goal is to make the local church in Turkana self-reliant and self-supportive in terms of its human resources. Formation of local pastoral agents is a way to ensure continuity of the church.

  • Ensure that those preparing to be commissioned as catechists attend the one year training at Katilu catechetical center or any other place that offer such training.
  • Ensure that Catholic Church assistants attend the short courses organized at Katilu for them after which they qualify to be community prayer leaders.
  • Organize on-going formation courses for catechists on regular basis at the parish levels (Nakwamekwi is every Monday while in Lokichar it is organized once a month for two days)
  • Ensure that catechists’ allowance is paid. Commissioned catechists are paid by the diocese, while the catholic church assistants (CCAs)  by the parish.
  • Formation of chapel and parish councils to help in the leadership and evangelization work
  • Organize leadership training and other similar courses at parish, deanery, and diocesan level to enhance capacity building of the church leaders.
  • Send leaders to attend workshops and seminars on various themes in and outside of the diocese
  • Organizing regular workshops and seminars and retreats to the different groups in the parish according to their pastoral needs
  • Objective 3: Formation of different groups and associations in the parish such as the youth, missionary children, Catholic Women and Men associations, Catholic Teachers Association, choir, Justice and peace, altar servants/alleluia boys and girls.
  • Objective 4: Faith formation in primary and secondary school through the PPI, and YCS, scripture sharing and catechism classes leading to reception of the sacraments of Christian initiations
  • Objective 5: Concerted efforts to print and avail liturgical books and other resources for worship and pastoral work
  • Objective 6: Elaborate water projects.
  • Objective 7: Collaboration with the deanery and diocesan offices and department and collaboration with the sisters, catechists, and other pastoral agents in the parishes

Projects: so far projects are discussed and decided upon at parish/community levels, except for water projects and some building construction, e.g. the house in Kapedo. With the idea of zone common fund we hope that our projects will be “zonalized.” Choice of project depends on the need of the community. We try to involve local community in project implementation and maintenance.

Finances: The idea of Zone common fund is good; we are ready for it, but only at zone level.

New Comers: are welcomed in our communities. Short courses in Ngaturkana are organized for those assigned to the Zone at the diocesan level. Teaching and learning of Ngaturkana is inadequate for our confreres as well as for other pastoral agents in the diocese. Organizing and facilitating such courses in the diocese by the Comboni Missionaries could be a unique contribution we offer to the diocese of Lodwar. That means setting up a language center. This idea of our past confreres who labored to translate/ write Ngaturkana dictionaries has not reached its maturity.


  • Focus on both pastoralists and settled communities
  • Missionary animation- the annual feast of St. Daniel Comboni organized at Nakwamekwi is an important opportunity for missionary animation for Turkana.
  • Vocation promotion- more work needs to be done in the area of vocation promotion
  • Missionary animation in school could be done
  • Keep smaller parishes and few big out stations in view of becoming parishes in the future.
  • Focus on youth formation
  • Continue with water projects
  • Development and promotion of education is still part of our priority in mission
  • In Lokichar, there is need to develop Lochwa and Kangakipur with the hope that they can sooner or later become independent parishes.

1 Turkana District Development plan, 1997-2001 (see Diocese of Lodwar Pastoral Plan 2002-2007), page 2
2 See Diocese of Lodwar Pastoral Plan 2002-2007), page 2
3 Turkana District Development plan, 1997-2001 (see Diocese of Lodwar Pastoral Plan 2002-2007), page 2
4 Ibid.