NAIROBI, Kenya — "Give a man a fish, and you've fed him for a day," reads the old proverb, "but teach a man how to catch fish, and you've fed him for a lifetime." How often is this proverb the policy in the foreign aid of major nations? But 40 kilometers north of the capital city here stands a remarkable example of positive international cooperation: the lomo Kenyatta College of Agriculture and Technology.
Building a Foundation
The college, first opened to students in May 1981, embodies the vision and drive of Kenya's leadership and people. It is a unique success story. Before examining the story of this unusual institution, however, consider first recent Kenya history. Virtually alone as a beacon of prosperity amidst economic continental turmoil, Kenya has steadily built up its national economy and general public welfare since gaining independence nearly 20 years ago. No mean feat, considering that nearly two thirds of Kenya is arid desert. A land of geological contrast, Kenya holds 17 million people in 224,960 square miles — with mountains topping 17,000 feet, glaciers, desert and grasslands — a formidable piece of geography that would challenge any developer! Yet, through the dynamic leadership of the late President lomo Kenyatta and his successors, Kenya has blazed a remarkable path of economic development. President Kenyatta instituted an unusual national policy: harambee (in Swahili), or, in English, "working together." Kenya has continued to enjoy solid leadership under President Daniel Arap Moi, who succeeded President Kenyatta after the latter's death in 1978. As the late president's policy was based on harambee, President Moi's policy embodies nyayo, or, in English, "following in his footsteps." Other reasons for growth include the government's and people's willingness to work toward economic growth and stability and the proper use of economic assistance from without Kenya's national borders. This outside positive assistance accounts for the remarkable story of the lomo Kenyatta College.
In an industrialized world, every country must have technological know-how. Further; agriculture must be adequately developed first to properly feed the people. The late President Kenyatta understood this. He also understood that his people must be properly educated in order to develop his country. So his vision included a school that would ground Kenyans in the elements needed to develop this African nation. The late president first spoke of his country's plans in a 1975 meeting with Plain Truth editor in chief Herbert W. Armstrong in Nairobi. President Kenyatta first envisioned a "self-help" school that would offer seminars to Kenya's farmers and technicians. Mr. Armstrong, himself president of Ambassador College with its two campuses, grasped the idea of this pump-priming philosophy, and committed some assistance through the Ambassador Foundation — an international humanitarian organization affiliated with The Plain Truth. Kenya needed a full academic program to completely train its people in agriculture and technology. But the money and materials to develop such a program were simply not available — hence, President Kenyatta's decision to limit the school's scope. Through a working relationship with the Foundation, friends in the Japanese government saw Kenya's need and responded in a remarkably positive way. The Japanese stepped in and offered no less than US$25 million in aid as an example of the "give" way of life.
Results of Positive International Cooperation
The result? On 500 acres donated by the late president now stands a full college, offering degrees in agriculture, engineering and technology. More than 80 qualified instructors from Kenya, Japan, Lebanon, Hungary, the United States and other countries comprise the faculty. The technology taught utilizes Japanese equipment. In exchange for helping improve the education of this Third World country, Japan, in turn, benefits by developing a market for her industrialized goods. The skills the Kenyans learn will also open doors for United States, European or Soviet equipment. But it is only the Japanese who have, in this instance, begun at Jomo Kenyatta College to teach the Kenyans how to improve "fishing" in the areas of agriculture and technology. The Plain Truth lauds this effort. May other countries nyayo the policy of harambee developed between Kenya and Japan.