[The following is a conversation with World Concern's new Africa Area Director, Peter Macharia.]
Peter Macharia, the new World Concern Africa Area Director, at the opening of a World Concern supported building in Embu, Kenya.
Good morning! Let’s start this off by having you tell me, who is Peter?
Well, my full name is Peter Macharia and I’ve just been appointed as the new Africa Area Director, a position I’m very excited about. I’m looking forward to what God is going to do through me and the other staff who work for World Concern Africa.
I’ve been working for World Concern for the last 10 years. It has been a very exciting time. Every day when I wake up in the morning I always look forward to what God is going to accomplish through us as a team.
Before I joined World Concern it was my prayer that I find a Christian organization that was committed to reaching out to the poorest people, the marginalized that are often forgotten; people that I know are in need of an organization whose mandate spans through both the physical and spiritual.
If you could have any super power, what would it be and how would you use it?
If I had magical powers I would extinguish all evils in the world!
I don’t understand why terrorists do what they do. If I had these powers, I would make bad people know that what they are doing is not good. I would work to change people’s minds so that they care about each other and the environment. But I know I’m limited.
Also, if I had all the powers and money in the world I’d fly to space and travel everywhere. It would be interesting, probably, to feel like I’m on top of the world.
One of the things Peter does best, laugh.
Tell me more about your history working with World Concern Africa.
I originally joined World Concern as a grant writer for Somalia projects. After less than a year I came to the Africa office in the same role but covering all of the countries where we work. Worked in that position for four years until I was promoted to be the Sudan Country Director. I served in this role for another four years. During my time in this role we saw great growth in staff, funding, and projects.
I then moved back to Kenya to be the World Concern Director of Disaster Response. Later I was asked to take on the role of Kenya Country Director, where I have been until being appointed to this position.
How do you feel taking on this new, very important role?
When I received the news that I’d been appointed I had a mixed reaction. For one, I was very excited, but I also knew that there was a huge challenge ahead of me. This is a sacred calling. I know God will be with me in the rough roads ahead and within the new expectations of this role.
What are two facts people may not know about you?
- When I was young I almost drowned in the local river. From that day on I’ve never swam and now I don’t know how to swim at all. For the last five years I’ve been telling myself that I will teach myself to swim again. We will see.
- I love birds. I love birds. I like sitting down under a tree and watching birds come. I especially like the small ones with very funny colors. I like to look at the way they were created, how they are walking. It makes me think, ‘This is so good. This is how nature should be.’
Peter shows off his dance moves at his initiation party in Nairobi, Kenya.
What do you think makes World Concern stand out from other organizations?
I would say that what makes World Concern different are our values – we are a Christian organization and we are serious about it.
We tend to go where other NGOs don’t go and reach very marginalized people groups, “the last, the lost, and the least.” Having worked for other NGOs in the past, I can say that World Concern really represents Christ. Every staff member that joins us joins a culture with Christ at the center, and this is what we take to the field with us.
We don’t just take food to people; we also take the love of God. Our desire is that we reach the people God has called us to reach, not who we believe should come first. And we do as much as possible to reach these people.
Another thing that makes us different is the passion with which we do our work. Every staff feels very called to work here.
Lastly, our projects are holistic – they take care of the entire community and ensure that the future is taken care of. We are careful about the environment and natural resources.
Peter looks at fertilizer during a World Concern farming training.
What are your hopes and vision for the future of World Concern Africa?
As I take over I really want to see our programs growing in two ways. One, I want to see us reaching to more people who are in need, that aren’t receiving benefits from other organizations like us.
Secondly, I want to see growth in terms of funding. Being in a sector that is nonprofit, we require others to come and support what we do. I want to champion the needs of Africa and establish a bridge between the needs and our partners. I want our partners to see themselves as a part of the work we do.
I also want us to continue to be smarter in the way we operate. In an ever-growing industry, I want our team to create solid standards for ourselves.
As we reach our beneficiaries we want to do it with dignity. We want them to feel like they are valued and that they have gotten more than they expected. I want us to improve on the quality of the work we do so that the impact that we cause is long-lasting.
I desire for every staff that works for World Concern to feel like he or she is a co-worker in Christ. My hope is that our staff feel like they are doing what they are called to do – that every day when he or she wakes up to come to work they think ‘This is the best thing I can be doing in this season.’
All of us enjoy what we do. We don’t do it because we are paid, but because this is what God has called us to do. Part of my work is to help the staff feel cared for and that they are serving Christ.
Peter walks with a World Concern beneficiary in Embu, Kenya.
Any words you would like to share with World Concern donors?
To all World Concern supporters, donors, and partners, I’d say a big thank you. We are where we are because of you. We know you give sacrificially – you give because you trust us and identify us as someone you want to work with. We want to ensure you that your support will reach the people we are called to reach. We want you to know you are part of the transformation of people’s lives.
When you support World Concern you are a part of transforming people’s lives – one village at a time, one family at a time, one individual at a time.
We urge you to continue to support us. We know this is a gift you have given us, thank you very much for your sacrifice.
For a video excerpt of this interview click here.