MACODEF launched in 2004 as a partnership between our international board of trustees and our local board of governors, resting on friendships formed more than 30 years ago between trustees and community members. Dave, Matt, Jan Kees, Martha, Yumiko, and Kristy all taught in the Vihiga area (shown below) during the early 1980s. Brooks was a teacher at Vigina Secondary School in the late 1980s, and Steve lived in the area as a student on Earlham’s Kenya Program in the mid-1990s. Karen’s parents hail from Maragoli, and she spent time there as a girl, while Sango attended high school in Vihiga. Wade and Patty, who joined the trustees during MACODEF’s second decade, are former teachers at nearby Ideleri Secondary School.

The idea for a partnership arose in 2003 as a way for trustees to remain connected to the Maragoli area and to give back a small token of appreciation to communities that had been so instrumental in shaping their own lives. Their lived experiences in Maragoli provide the trustees with a working knowledge of daily life and allow for smooth communication with the local board, based on long-term friendships built on trust.