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In 2009, Father George Busieka came to UMSL to learn how to navigate his new post running two Vincentian parishes in Nairobi. He came to UMSL at the behest of Tom Beck, an UMSL graduate and the provincial treasurer at the headquarters of the Vincentian Midwest Province in St. Louis.
According to Busieka, the general population in Nairobi knows very little about nonprofit organizations, and nearly all of the existing nonprofits at the local level are religious-based. Although he received his degree in theology and social communication at Tangaza College, the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Busieka said in Kenya, there is little, if any, nonprofit training available to students.
Busieka believes that it is important for the church to look into offering and encouraging more nonprofit courses for its missionaries in Africa, in order to provide more practical information for managing the religious congregations and be able to aid in their missions.
Busieka is from Kakamega, a town eight hours from Nairobi in western Kenya, and grew up with six brothers and three sisters. In 1999, he began his training with the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian order) in Nairobi. Ordained in 2005, Busieka has worked alongside the Daughters of Charity in Karen, an area near the Kiberia slum, the second largest slum in Africa. The Daughters of Charity run a clinic, and the priests and seminarians educate the community members about the services provided by the clinic, as well as provide the spiritual and material needs of the local parishes, schools, seminaries, and other social services.
Upon completion of the certificate in 2010, Busieka returned to Kenya and is using his education to help run the two Vincentian parishes in Nairobi. He hopes that the training he received from the NPM&L program will help form the younger generations into leaders for their communities. “This field is a great gift to these [African] communities.”
Adapted from article first published in NPML enewsletter Spring 2009.