Last weekend's This American Life included a great Planet Money segment about GiveDirectly, a charity that gives poor Kenyans not food or equipment or livestock or training but cash. The idea is that, whatever risks or downsides exist in just giving people money, these are outweighed by a) extremely low overhead, and b) the fact that the poor actually know best what they need.
Kenyans were sent reeling by a report made public in September by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Cult of Devil Worship in Kenya. Reactions range from ridicule to alarm. Others wonder what the real reasons are behind the sudden release of the report after four years of delay and secrecy.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has reported that its baptized members totaled 4.54 million in 2009—a net loss of 90,850 members and a one-year drop slightly larger than losses in the previous two years. Its number of congregations declined by 48 last year from close to 10,400 churches nationwide.
Standing on a dusty Nairobi roundabout amid exhaust fumes and blaring horns, several hundred young men raise their hands north to the unseen shrine of Kerinyaga, or Mount Kenya—the second-highest mountain in Africa and mythological birthplace of the Kikuyu, Kenya’s largest tribe.