At CRS Strategic Plan Launch for East Africa, Kenyan Catholic Archbishop Lauds Entity’s Collaboration with Local Church

Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba of Kenya's Kisumu Archdiocese making his remarks during the launch of CRS 2023 to 2030 Strategic Plan at Nyeri House, Westlands in Nairobi on Tuesday, 18 June 2024. Credit: Screenshot from Capuchin TV.

Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kisumu in Kenya has commended Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for facilitating the realization of initiatives in the East African region through partnerships at the grassroots. 

In his remarks during the launch of the CRS 2023-2030 strategic plan in the East African Region in Nairobi on Tuesday, June 18, Archbishop Muhatia highlighted and explained three ways that the humanitarian arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has fostered collaboration with the local Church, including strengthening of the governance structures, resource mobilization, and responding to emergencies.

Strengthening governance

CRS has been instrumental in strengthening governance “for purposes of efficient and effective evangelization of the local Church,” the Local Ordinary of Kisumu Archdiocese, who doubles as the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said.

“It is a very important thing to strengthen the governance of the local Church to do things by itself, teaching us to fish and not just giving us the fish,” he further said, adding, “I find this very nutritious in our partnership with CRS.”


Resource mobilization

The relationship between CRS and the people of God at the grassroots in the East African region has been “strong”, Archbishop Muhatia noted.

This relationship has greatly enhanced evangelization efforts by extending the Church's reach, particularly to the vulnerable, he further noted, recognizing the partnerships that have been realized through resource mobilization.

“In addition to strengthening governance, we seek ways to continue evangelization. I find these two areas of collaboration between the Church and CRS crucial for looking toward the future and promoting the true purpose of the Church's existence in Kenya,” he said during the event held at Nyeri House in Westlands, Nairobi, the headquarters of CRS in the East African region.

Response to emergencies

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Archbishop Muhatia went on to laud the US-based organization for being a partner in the emergency response when Kenya was facing the challenge of flooding in April and May.

 “You are aware that recently we had a serious problem of flooding. Your response to emergencies is also an important area of collaboration which we must appreciate,” the Catholic Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in February 2010 as Bishop of Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Nakuru said.

He described the partnership of CRS with the local Church in the East Africa region as “long-term”.

“We are very grateful to the Church in the USA through CRS because of these special engagements we have with you, and we pray that God may continue to bless us so that we have more of these engagements going forward,” he said during the launch that was preceded by Holy Mass, presided over the Local Ordinary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi (ADN), Archbishop Philip Anyolo.

The 56-year-old Catholic Archbishop, who has been at the helm of Kisumu Archdiocese since 19 March 2022 underlined the importance of partnerships, adding that “networks, collaborations” are vitally important for the people of God and are “more needed today as we go into the future.”


Also speaking during the June 18 event that the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen, in attendance, the CRS East African Regional Director, Matt Davis, described the seven-year strategic plan launch as “a kickstart of the journey of hope.”

“It is an opportunity for all of us to familiarize ourselves with the strategy and see the direction CRS is headed,” Mr. Davis said at the event that also had Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Kenya’s Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa, and Bishop John Mbinda of the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar in attendance.

The launch, he went on to say, “about solidarity and the ability for CRS to strengthen our mission not only here in Kenya but also in the US.”

“We hope that those involved in this journey of hope will become messengers for us, spreading awareness about the impactful work we do in collaboration with the leadership of KCCB here in Kenya and across East Africa,” Mr. Davis said during the June 18 had that had two U.S. Bishops in attendance, Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama Pasqualetto of the Raleigh Diocese, who serves on the CRS Governance board, and his counterpart from the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, Bishop Edward James Burns, a member of the CRS Foundation board.

The Nairobi-based CRS official expressed his satisfaction of the mission of CRS in Kenya, saying, “It has been an incredible experience for me, having lived in various regions and countries around the world with CRS. Kenya holds a particularly special place in my heart.” 

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“We see Kenya and Nairobi as a hub for CRS in the region, for the continent, and globally,” Mr. Davis said. 

He commended CRS staff in Kenya for their resilience and industrious spirit that he said manifest both at regional and global level. The CRS official said, “There is an incredible talent base here in Kenya and we hope to continue to draw up on that as we move forward.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.