News Story

Church Contribution to Human Development in Kenya

In 2005, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints instituted the Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) in Kenya. This was four years after Gordon B. Hinckley (1910 - 2008), the then fifteenth president of the Church, announced the formation of the fund in 2001 to the membership of the worldwide organization in a Semi-Annual General Conference. 

Since then, the fund has blessed the lives of close to 300 young men and women throughout the country. The program started by making loans to members of the Church in Nairobi, Kenya, and has expanded to other parts of the country including Eldoret, Chyulu and Mombasa. The program has also helped the Church develop working relationships with many institutions of higher learning throughout the country. In 2010, the directors of the fund in Kenya, Leon and Brenda Flinders were invited to give a key note speech at the graduation of over 1000 students at DALC Education in Nairobi. At that ceremony, Leon Flinders spoke about how the PEF program is helping in human development in Kenya.

While announcing this program in 2001, President Gordon B. Hinckley stated that this education program was anticipated to act as a revolving fund in which those who qualify for loans would benefit and then repay to help others as well. In that address, the motivation for establishing the PEF program appears to have been threefold; offering a humanitarian service, developing leadership, and teaching the participant self-reliance principles. The program was to be made available to ‘ambitious, worthy and needy’ youth of the Church between the ages of 18 to 31.

Those who qualify for the loans receive up to 130,000 Kshs per year to pursue a vocational education program. They make minimal monthly repayments (currently averaging Kshs 450 a month) while they are in school and as soon as those repayments are made these funds are made available for others to borrow making it truly perpetual. When the participants graduate from school they are given a grace period of six months to find better employment before the balance of these loan is spread over a period of up to eight years into equal monthly repayments. So far 55 participants of the program have graduated from college and most of them have been successful in improving their careers.

Recently, while speaking to a group of the beneficiaries, the outgoing director of the program, Joe Lurf, asked the participants to also give back to the society by becoming mentors for others in the society who are less privileged. Joe Lurf further stated, “The PEF program brings hope to many.”

A prophet's promise is thus beginning to be fulfilled in Kenya. President Henry B. Eyring, a member of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has observed, “This modern Perpetual Education Fund is far more than just a loan program. It is a catalyst with far reaching impact on individuals and families, and on the entire Church.”

The program is funded through contributions of Church members and others who support its mission.

A testimony from a PEF participant: Winnie Wataka, 22, Upper Hill, Nairobi.

“It has always been my desire to get a good education and I’m grateful for the PEF program for the many opportunities that it has opened up for me by giving me a chance to further my studies in preparation for the competitive job market.

“I’m now pursuing a Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology, communication and tourism studies at the University of Nairobi, which has always been my desire.

“I now feel that I can be able to achieve my goals through the opportunity that I have been given to develop myself as a woman and also contribute to the development of my community. It is really an inspired program and  I am forever grateful to our Heavenly Father for it.” 


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