Neo-Pentecostal Churches and Alleviation of Domestic Water Scarcity in Tigania West Constituency, Meru County, Kenya
Atheru, Kiambi James Thambura
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Alleviation of domestic water scarcity is a participatory role of all stakeholders including the churches. However, the role of NPCs in alleviating domestic water scarcity, which now stands at 97 percent in Tigania West constituency is not felt. This study aimed to analyze the role of Neo-Pentecostal Churches (NPCs) in alleviating domestic water scarcity in Tigania West constituency of Meru County, Kenya. The objectives of the study were: to determine how Neo-Pentecostal churches’ religious practices informed them in the alleviation of domestic water scarcity; to determine their domestic water advocacy initiatives; to assess NPCs water stakeholders’ training initiatives; and to assess NPC’s initiation of domestic water projects. The study was guided by theological reflection theory and economic theory of the church, under interpretivist philosophy and phenomenological research design. Twenty two pastors, taken through census were used for this study. A sample of 59 out of 594 members belonging to the 22 neo-Pentecostal churches was obtained using the 10-30% formula, followed by cluster and simple random sampling techniques. The tools used to collect data were interview schedule for the 22 pastors and documentary analysis for their churches. Focus Group Discussions for the 59 members was then held in 4 groups of 12 members each and one group of 11 members, at their agreed cluster centers/churches respectively. The tools were pre-tested accordingly to enable testing of validity and reliability. Data collected was purely qualitative and was analyzed using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA). This entailed reading and listening to transcripts and audios respectively to grasp respondents’ concepts, informing the subordinate themes that followed superordinate themes, before drawing final analytic narratives that led to findings, conclusions and recommendations. The findings indicated that there was a misconception by neo-Pentecostal churches that spiritual warfare supported by prosperity gospel could solely alleviate water problems through faith healing and deliverance, and prophecy for the best political candidates to be elected for water improvement. Additionally, although NPCs were not antithetical to physical roles of alleviating domestic water scarcity, majority felt that these physical roles such as advocacy for water rights, stakeholder trainings and water projects initiation did not fall within their mandate. The study recommended need for neo-Pentecostal churches to study theology based on reflection theory and economic theory of the church in bible schools or through conferences and seminars organized by faith-based organizations and other accredited institutions. Such organizations needed to organize conferences and seminars to train neo-Pentecostal Churches on water advocacy, stakeholder trainings and initiation of domestic water projects. Overall, Neo-Pentecostal Churches should orient their religious practices with alleviation of domestic water scarcity; advocate for water rights, educate community on alleviation of domestic water scarcity; and initiate domestic water projects, thereby benefiting the constituents. The study is valuable in contributing new knowledge in social and practical theology and have enormous implications on religious practices.