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From left to right) Newton Midamba, Senior Manager of Partnership; Linet Ochieng, Senior Manager of Business Support;Justus Muinde, Senior People and Culture Strategic Partner; Catherine Wamiti, Senior Manager of Program Support; Samuel Wambugu, National Director; Christine Musau, Director of Program Operations; Gregory Papoi, Assistant General Counsel; and Bishop Shadrach Oloo,  Member of the Compassion International Kenya Board.

On Wednesday, August 30, 2023, we celebrated and co-sponsored the signing of the Code of Conduct and Governance Guidelines for the Church in Kenya at the All Saints Cathedral Trinity Centre Auditorium. It is the first of its kind in Kenya and was developed by the Hesabika Trust to unite churches in matters of ethics and governance. Compassion International is a Christian holistic child and youth development organization that works to release children from poverty.

We partner with four hundred and sixty churches in thirty-one Counties across Kenya to lift children and youth out of economic, physical, spiritual, and social poverty. We need to ensure our partners share our belief that every child should be loved and protected.  The Code demonstrates that the Church can effectively and objectively self-regulate. The Code of Conduct and Governance Guidelines for the Church in Kenya covers core values, ethical responsibility and personal conduct for church leaders, the Church as an institution, and its congregation. It provides for the stewardship of church finances and other assets (savings and investments, fundraising, remuneration, tithes and procurement). It has disciplinary and complaints handling, and dispute prevention and resolution procedures.

Churches that sign the Code demonstrate a commitment to good governance and conduct with their leadership and congregation and respect for internal and external resources. They will need to build the internal capacity to adhere to the Code. It will support their Christ-centred capacity to uplift the communities they serve, align with our mission, and make them more effective partners in our work to lift children from poverty.

The development of the Code was driven by the need for the Church to model good governance and accountability, even as we demand the same from political and government leaders.

In February 2018, about 250 church leaders under the National Council of Churches in Kenya (NCCK)  requested Hesabika Trust to develop a Code of Conduct and Governance Guidelines. The NCCK made several proposals about regulation of religious institutions in Kenya, including:

  1. Creating a legal framework for religious societies separate from the Societies Act in which every religious institution has internal self-regulatory mechanisms.
  2. Establish a registrar of religious societies and define their functions through sectoral consensus.
  3. Transfer other religious functions like marriages to the registrar of religious societies.
  4. Establish a religious societies’ commission (formed religious societies) to support the sector, promote religious freedom and manage inter-religious issues.
  5. Establish a viable and funded shared regulatory function between the commission and umbrella institutions.

We endorse the Code of Conduct and strongly encourage our four hundred and sixty Frontline Church Partners to sign it. Together, we will lift every child and youth from poverty in Jesus’ name.