The establishment of the FWCC Africa Section in 1971 represented an important new development for communication and cooperation among Friends on the African continent. The Section, which is based at the Friends International Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, is in touch with yearly meetings and groups of Friends in Africa on a number of subjects within the context of FWCC’s aims and purposes.
Intervisitation is encouraged and continues to grow as more international gatherings bring Friends together from all parts of the continent. The Section representatives meet twice in between the section Triennials whilst the representatives and other Friends holding various responsibilities in their churches meet every three years for a Section Triennial. The Section has held several Triennials that were truly representative of the Section, beginning in 1987 at Lugulu, Kenya . Further Triennials were held as follows:
1993 Kaimosi, Kenya
1996 Kampala, Uganda
1999 Limuru, Kenya
2003 Kanamai, Kenya
2007 Kampala, Uganda
2010 Mabanga, Kenya
2014 Eldoret, Kenya
2017 Kigali, Rwanda
2021 Mwanza, Tanzania (proposed)
Friends attended from across Africa, as well as a few visitors from other Sections. In recent years the Section has witnessed a widening of scope to become truly African, rather than just a Kenyan body.
The Section is proving a useful point of consultation for other FWCC offices, for other Quaker organisations and for international matters such as FWCC representation at UN conferences, especially at UNEP and HABITAT headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. On a number of occasions, the Section has helped to facilitate the work of Friends United Meeting and Britain Yearly Meeting’s Quaker Peace and Social Witness.
The Section was able to launch a strategic plan in October last year and during the past year it has embarked on training various leaders and members for both fundraising sustainability and ownership of the Section. The Section also plans to have a Peace Conference in order to assume its role as a consultative forum for both peace work and sustainability. The Section has vibrant executive members who are capable of measuring up to the task of driving the Section to a higher level. The Section has created an MPESA Paybill number for online payments which will help fundraising with an easy way of remitting the money to the Section.
The Section is coordinating through its Planning and Development Committee World Quaker Day activities by sensitising and educating the yearly meetings about the event.
A Brief History of Friends in East Africa
The Christian missionary work started by American Friends at Kaimosi in 1902 developed into the largest yearly meeting in the family of world Quakerism. East Africa Yearly Meeting became self-governing in 1946, became responsible for all property and projects in 1964 and was reorganized into nine regions (spread all over Kenya) in 1973.
The numerical strength of EAYM was mainly in Western province (Kakamega and Bungoma districts), but there were many outlying churches in Nyanza Province, in Rift Valley Province and in the large towns of Nairobi and Mombasa. The central office of EAYM was in Kaimosi. Evangelisation also took place in Tanzania and Uganda as Friends from Western Kenya settled in those countries after 1950, and separate yearly meetings were eventually established.
The educational, medical, industrial and social work initiated by Friends Africa Mission and its devoted servants, both from Africa and elsewhere, matured and modified over 30 years. Since Kenya became independent in 1963 the government has taken over responsibility for primary schools, some of the secondary schools and the Friends Teachers Training College at Kaimosi. Friends remain “sponsors” of these schools and institutions, and local meetings have close relationships with the primary and unaided secondary schools in particular.
The Friends Theological College trains pastors (both men and women) for all the yearly meetings in Kenya, while Friends College at Kaimosi (founded in 1971) offers courses in secretarial skills, accountancy, commerce and management.
Following a period of re-organisation, three autonomous yearly meetings were set off in 1979 – East Africa Yearly Meeting of Friends (South), Elgon Religious Society of Friends and East Africa Yearly Meeting of Friends. (See the following pages for a list and descriptions of the yearly meetings in the Africa Section.)
There are groups of Evangelical Friends in Kitale under the leadership of Bishop Kennedy Wakoli, in Uganda under the leadership of George Walumoli and in Nairobi under the leadership of Abraham Madegwa. Newly formed FUM-oriented yearly meetings yet to affiliate with FWCC are Kamusinga , West and Musingu.
|1971-1991||Filemona F. Indire||Kenya|
|1992-1996||Duduzile Mtshazo||South Africa|
|1995-1997||Barnabas Lugonzo||Kenya (acting)|
Young Quakers Association Africa (YQAA)
After the world gathering of Young Friends held at Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA 19th – 26th July 1985, the African Youth who participated in this world event gathered together with a view of making follow ups of the World Gathering of Young Friends (WGYF). They requested the FWCC African Section to co-ordinate this process.
On 8th December 1985, Young Quakers Association was launched at Mbale Friends School, Kenya. It was initiated by FWCC Africa Section. In 1991, it held its first International Gathering at Chavakali Friends School, Kenya.
A vibrant unified Spiritual Association of Young Adult Friends.
- To promote Quaker mission and service work in Africa and help those seeking spiritual experience to meet Christ/Light.
- To promote consultations amongst Young Adult Friends.
- To encourage Young Quakers as stewards to give some of their time, energy and property.
- To promote Young Adult exchange programs. To help build bridges of co-operation, love, understanding, peace, unity and global networking amongst Young Friends.
Young Quakers Association has been and is involved in various activities that encourage and boost the morale and participation of Young people as contained in its objectives. Such activities include Triennial Conferences, leadership seminars and workshops, and inter-yearly meeting visitations, among others. Since the last triennial we managed to have three triennials: Kenya in 2003; Kanamai, Mombasa in 2005; and Kigali, Rwanda in 2006. The Triennial attendance ranged from about 150 in 2003 to about 200 in 2006. Between the triennials, we managed to have a leadership workshop at Mabanga in Kenya. In this workshop, the Association embarked on developing leadership skills to the emerging youth who in turn have started picking up active leadership roles in our yearly meetings and the Quaker fraternity. The youths have also managed to learn the diversities of Quakers around the world.
Besides the three major events, the Association, in partnership with other young people from all the Sections of the world, participated in the planning and organizing of the World Gathering of Young Friends that took place in Lancaster, England in August 2005. Many young people from Africa could not attend because they were denied visas by the British. Out of 70 young people from Africa Section who had applied for the visas, only 6 managed to get them. However, a similar gathering was arranged in Kenya and those who had failed to attend the Lancaster one joined the rest at Kanamai in Kenya.
- To hold a leadership seminar, dates and venue to be communicated.
- To hold future Triennial Conferences.
YQA appreciates the cooperation and support rendered to it by FWCC Africa Section through the clerk and the executive secretary and the World Office.