TOP IMAGE: © Courtesy of Kentro Christian Network
The problem of poverty is vast—felt both locally and internationally—and no one person or organization can conquer it on their own. For nearly 40 years, Kentro Christian Network (formerly the Canadian Christian Relief and Development Association) has connected more than 50 Canadian relief and development organizations whose combined efforts contribute more than $800 million annually to address poverty and injustice worldwide.
Kentro is the central place of connection for Canadian Christian agencies and individuals where they can pull in the same direction and work together.
Collaboration is at the centre of who Kentro is, and cooperation has an impact.
In 2021, Kentro members Thrive for Good and Food for the Hungry Canada began partnering together in the Ethiopian community of Sasiga. Thrive provides organic agricultural and nutritional training and has helped Food for the Hungry introduce “Life Gardens” into the Sasiga community. The organization plants organic gardens dense with highly nutritious foods and disease-fighting plans and herbs year-round—utilizing small land plots, even in areas with scarce rainfall.
Food for the Hungry has been working in Sasiga for many years and is excited that farmers are now harvesting, consuming, and selling produce from their Life Gardens. As a result, the feeding culture of many farming families has improved. Some have said they didn’t know their land could support so many vegetables; they feel like they’ve started a new life.
Kentro members FAIR, the international development arm of the Fellowship Evangelical Baptist Churches of Canada, and Medical Ministry International have formed another life-saving partnership in the Amazon. For many years, people living deep in the Amazon Rainforest did not have access to medical care. In only the most urgent situations, the Colombian Airforce would airlift patients to a nearby city for medical care. But over the past nine years, Medical Ministry International has worked to meet some of their medical and spiritual needs. In the Leticia region, in particular, they have established both a cervical cancer screening program and a prostate cancer screening program.
When COVID-19 hit, remote communities faced added barriers to accessing the medical support they needed. But because of Medical Ministry International’s long-standing relationships with many of these remote Amazon villages, they were uniquely positioned to respond.
Through Kentro, FAIR heard about Medical Ministry International’s work in the Amazon and knew they wanted to be involved. By harnessing the power of their expansive church network, FAIR was able to support Medical Ministry International to respond to COVID in these remote Amazon communities. After this initial COVID response project, FAIR decided that they also wanted to more regularly support Medical Ministry International’s medical work in the Amazon Jungle amongst First Nations communities. This partnership allows the generosity of Canadian members of the Fellowship Evangelical Baptist Churches to partner with people in remote Amazon villages towards greater health.
Kentro members are accomplishing more together than they could alone. The network of relationships and useful online tools such as activities mapping provided by WayBase and an online platform for member organizations to connect helps Canadian organizations have a deeper impact on the world. Allison Alley, President and CEO of Compassion Canada, says: “Kentro’s centralized hub and digital platform helps us work more effectively together across the international relief and development sector in Canada, ultimately empowering us to partner to affect positive change and reduce global poverty.”
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Kentro Christian Network moves people and organizations from a position of disconnection to connection. We link individuals and organizations into the bigger picture, so that we ALL know that we are not alone in this important work of addressing poverty and injustice