ACK Diocese of Thika was created in 1998 from the two mother dioceses of Mt. Kenya South and Mt. Kenya Central. The Mothers’ Union Department office was formed a year later in 1999. The first M.U. President was Mrs. Mary Githiga, the wife of the first Diocesan Bishop, The Rt. Rev’d. Dr. Gideon Githiga, who served in the position for 15 years.
The Diocese started with three (3) Archdeaconries, twenty-three (23) parishes and twenty-six members of clergy (26) serving a population of 9,488 Christians. To date, tremendous growth has been registered with the Diocese having 9 Archdeaconries, 78 parishes, and more than 100 clergy serving a population of more than 34,000 Christians.
The department did not inherit any financial or development projects from the mother dioceses; it began from a scratch. The leadership settled on constructing rental houses for the department. The mothers’ week- “Talent Week” was the period every year when finances were raised for the project. Mothers saved money in home banks for a year then the funds were collected on this week. They also printed T-shirts, barges and scarfs that were sold to raise funds for development. Funds-drives were also held at the diocesan level to supplement the finances raised during the Talent weeks.
After a short period, the Mothers’ Union department had accumulated KES. 5.5 million as the initial capital for the project. The diocese under the leadership of Bishop Gideon donated a plot at St. Luke’s Church, Makongeni for the project. However, the development committee through the leadership of Mr. James Kirika resolved to have the project done away from the church premises. Mr. Kirika finally donated the plot where the project stands. The project was done at a cost of KES.38.5 million. Some of these finances were raised through a loan facility that was cleared in 2015 through a fundraiser.
Continuity of development projects
The department conducted a funds drive to clear the outstanding loan. This provided an opportunity where monies raised in form of rent would be used for more profit making endeavors.
In 2016, the Mothers’ Union department opened uniforms, knitting pullovers and vestments shop- Queen Esther Shop in Thika Town. The department has also printed MU Diocese of Thika Kitenge.
M. U. concern for families
In January, 2017 the Mothers’ Union department did a raffle which raised KES. 5m to go towards the TOTO PARK project, whose development has kicked off. This is an initiative of the department to express our concern and care for families through providing recreational services to families.
Giving back to the Society
To address the plight of the needy in the community, the M.U. department led by Mrs. Mary Githiga, borrowed the idea of Mrs. Abishagi Mahia-ini of donating a dairy goat to families. They were supposed to take care of the goat and once it gave birth to a female kid, the kid would be donated to another needy family. The process was to continue until as many as possible families were reached. The goats offered enough milk for domestic use and for sale to the family. They also provided manure for small-scale farming thereby alleviating the plight of the needy mothers. This was hit by few challenges and was not sustainable- some members who were not among the needy demanded to be given a goat. Some of the women who received a goat never gave up the female kid to the next family.
The department in conjunction with Hand in Hand, is supporting the vulnerable families through INTERGRATED FAMILY MODEL (IFA) formally TOGS, which involves distribution and installation of drip kits to families, water tanks, cow fodder and installed water to the remainder of the families that were yet to be connected. The families are also trained and issued with fertilizers and a variety of seeds namely, Onions, Cabbages, Kales and Spinach.
The MU department has also taken up feeding programme of the Namrata Shah Children’s Home through quota allocation to every archdeaconry.
Clergy spouses’ empowerment
The Mothers’ Union department has been organizing annual retreats for the clergy and their spouses in unison with the diocese. During these functions various speakers’ help in building the capacity of the spouses which helps them support their spouses.
Reorganization of MU ministry
In 2018, the Diocese through the leadership of our Bishop Rt. Revd. Dr. Julius Wanyoike embarked on decentralizing the leadership of the department by creating positions archdeaconry coordinators. This has made the services of the department more effective and efficient. Trainings and recruitments are vibrant hence the record enrollment of 620 members.
MU projects in churches
The diocese provides an opportunity every year when the department is allowed to raise resources or conduct funds drives. The monies raised help churches to start their own development and investment projects. For example, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Thika Memorial Church and St. Luke’s Makongeni have started feeding programme for their church schools among others.
The department has also proved to be the strongest supporter of parishes in raising quota allocations.