Friday, June 12, 2015

Honoring An Emotional Milestone And Moment For Nuru

Seven years ago, that sign, that building, and that organization in the photo above did not exist... 

It was just about seven years ago that Jake was celebrating the milestone of graduation from the Stanford GSB. Even in that moment, he was focused on recruiting and training a team that could begin implementation and testing the Nuru model, and in September 2008, that team was trained and inserted in Migori County, Kenya. Together with that first team, a small movement of people began joining Nuru's efforts and learning more about some of the incredible leaders of Kuria West, including the late Philip Mohochi.

Nuru has witnessed an array of challenges during these last seven years and we have made our share of mistakes along the way. Each time, we were resilient. We made a way forward. We overcame the challenges. We continued to take ground. In my opinion, it's really hard to be involved in this fight unless you are all in. And when you are all in, you feel the weight of every success and every setback personally.

Our team has grieved together as we have said goodbye to Philip and others, and as we witnessed hunger emerge when Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND) and a drought both made their way through farms in Kuria West. And we never gave up, in spite of many reasons to do so. We kept going. Why? Because the reasons to keep going always outweigh the reasons to give up, especially when we invest so much of ourselves in this fight.  And, because moving this work forward means real and lasting change, choices, and opportunities for our global neighbors who are lacking those very things. 

And today, we mark an incredible moment in Nuru's history, in the fight to end extreme poverty in our lifetime, and in the lives of the people of Migori County. More than 78,000 people have benefitted from Nuru's programs in Kenya, and we are fully confident that Nuru Kenya's leadership will continue to grow and scale impact to help even more people even more quickly.

Me and Jamie with our good friend Julius Nyamohanga back in 2012.
In a time like this, all of us are experiencing a mix of emotions. We have a sense of excitement for the future of Nuru Kenya as it begins to grow and scale on its own and our expat staff leave, just like we planned from the beginning. At the same time we feel a sense of sadness as we make the transition from what our "normal" has been for the last seven years. If you are anything like me, you want to say something, share something, or do something to treasure, cherish, and honor this incredible moment with others, but sometimes it is challenging to find just the right words.

What I feel deep within me is this. I’m honored and privileged to be able to labor together with so many people in this overwhelming mission:

  • Our staff, past and present
  • Our supporters and advocates around the world
  • Our Nuru Kenya and Nuru Ethiopia counterparts

And most importantly…

  • Our farmers and their families who are lifting themselves out of extreme poverty for good.

Together, we are taking serious ground in the massive fight to end extreme poverty, and, as we move forward, may we always make time to reflect, honor, and celebrate the strides we make along the way.

Thanks you to all who made this milestone possible.

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