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Bishop Andrew Adano Fund

Supporting schools for Kenyan nomads


YouTube Vicar resurrects camel

Ten years on from the legendary Oxford to Cambridge camel trek, Canon Graham Kings has brought the story of Cleo the Camel back to life on YouTube to raise the profile of the Adano fund.

Relive the YouTube vicar setting fire to the 2007 CMS Christmas card mid-sermon here

Bishop Andrew Adano Fund

Supporting Schools for Kenyan Nomads

Mission Statement

To further the initiatives of Bishop Andrew Adano (1948-1996) in developing and maintaining the educational work of the Anglican Church of Kenya in the Marsabit District of Northern Kenya.


For the people of Northern Kenya who practise nomadic pastoralism, education is now essential for their survival. There are six schools in the semi-arid desert area, at Badasa, Sagante, Bubisa, Balesa, Mado Adi and Uran, all of them Christian foundations. They are in desperate need of funds for:
  • building repairs
  • equipment and books
  • bursaries to cover children's boarding costs

The Fund

The Adano Fund was started with £25,000 raised by the 'Oxford to Cambridge with a Camel' walk in June 1999 which celebrated the life of Bishop Andrew Adano and 200 years of the Church Mission Society, founded in 1799.

It is administered by the Church Mission Society in Oxford, UK.

Committee Members are:

Chair: Graham Kings, vicar of St Mary's Church, Islington
Secretary: Peter Hilken, formerly British Council, Kenya
Treasurer: Adrian White, CMS Finance Director
Kenya Member: Joseph Galgalo, St Paul's University, Limuru
Kenya Member: Robert Martin, Assistant Bishop in Marsabit

Interest from the capital is given as an annual grant, following reports from Kenya.

If you would like to give to the Adano Fund, please click here.

Bishop Andrew Adano

Andrew Adano was born in 1948, 70 kilometres north of Marsabit, to a family of camel-owning nomads, of the Gabbra ethnic group. He was the first of his people to be literate, and the first to become a Christian, being baptised at the age of 17. He was trained as a teacher, then went to Bible College, first in Kenya (St Andrew's College, Kabare) and then in England (All Nations Christian College, Ware). He was ordained at the age of 28.

Andrew's life as a priest was dedicated to the holistic development of the people of Northern Kenya, bringing them to Christ and working for improvements in education, animal husbandry, water provision and also in opportunities for income generation, during a period when the survival of the nomadic way of life was becoming more and more difficult.

Christianity built on some of the insights of African Traditional Religion, but there were also some conflicts, for example over the treatment of women and twins and in the use of violence to settle differences between clans. Andrew remained steadfast and was the mediator preferred by both the traditional elders and by the Kenyan Government. "We must be peace-makers, as well as peace-lovers," he said. "Andrew is the best solution for peace in northern Kenya," was the verdict of the District Commissioner.

In 1993 Andrew became Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Kirinyaga. In this position he was able to work with the National Council of Churches in Kenya, with World Vision, Food for the Hungry, and the German aid organisation GTZ. At the same time he used every means to help the people to be self-sufficient. He was a great Christian teacher and preacher, as well as a skilled negotiator.

Tragically, Andrew was killed in a helicopter accident in Marsabit in 1996. His biography is by John Mwendwa, The Gospel on a Camel's Back: the story of Andrew Adano Tuye, (Nairobi, Kenya: National Council of Churches of Kenya, 1998) and the article concerning him, by Alfred Sheunda Keyas on the website the Dictionary of African Christian Biography may be read here.

Kenyan Nomads

The Gabbra inhabit the semi-arid desert area in Marsabit District, Northern Kenya. Most of the people practise nomadic pastoralism, rearing mixed herds of cattle, camels, goats and sheep. Of these it is the camels, with their amazing ability to go for days without drinking, that are best suited to the conditions. Their primary role is to transport water, and the herdsmen and their animals are constantly on the move, always seeking better pasture and water.

The climate in this part of Kenya is harsh. The scorching heat and the uncertain rainfall make it one of the world's most hostile environments for human habitation. As the population increases the conditions for survival deteriorate. Some people are settling, but that is hardly a solution to their problems, for the aridity of the land makes sedentary farming almost impossible.

Since the 1930s Crosslinks mission partners have been working with local Christians to bring the gospel to the Gabbra people and other ethnic groups in Northern Kenya. Bob Beak was an Assistant Bishop in Marsabit prior to Andrew Adano and Robert Martin, since 2008, is the Assistant Bishop.

Despite the difficulties, the Christians in Northern Kenya are struggling to maintain and expand the Church communities, but their numbers are hardly adequate for the immensity of the task.

Oxford to Cambridge
(© CMS)

Oxford to Cambridge with a Camel

In June 1999, Graham Kings and Joseph Galgalo led a party on a six-day walk from Oxford to Cambridge. They were accompanied by a camel, Cleo, and were celebrating 200 years of the Church Mission Society, walking in memory of Andrew Adano and raising money for the schools he founded. In Cambridge, Graham was the director of the Henry Martyn Centre for the study of mission and world Christianity and Joseph, a great friend of Andrew and previously a primary school teacher at Bubisa school, as a PhD student in theology.

Twenty four men and women, from Kenya, Britain and the USA, walked the whole of the 90 miles. Others joined the cavalcade for one or more days, and when Cleo strolled through the West Door of Great St Mary's Church in Cambridge, more than 200 pilgrims followed on her heels.

The party assembled on 21 June at Hertford College, Oxford and were sent off by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford and the General Secretary of CMS. The route lay through farms, woodland, picture-postcard villages and the grounds of Wimpole Hall and Woburn Abbey.

Parishioners of churches in Aylesbury and Bedford provided generous hospitality, and there were evenings of music, stories and information about the Kenyan schools and the Gabbra people. As the miles slipped by, many stories were told and friendships forged. One couple even got engaged to be married.

Signs and Seasons: a guide to your Christian journey
(Book cover - front)
In Cambridge, after a welcome by the Vice-Chancellor and the Bishop of Ely at King's College, and a service at Great St Mary's, accomodation and a feast were provided by Selwyn College. The next day, the walkers were met by Prince Philip, the Chancellor of the University and former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, who was in Cambridge to receive an honorary doctorate.

The oldest walker to complete the journey was Fr William Robbins from the USA, aged 87. Bishop Bob Beak, in his 70s, who had served many years in Northern Kenya, walked with William Waqo, a close friend of Joseph Galgalo. William became Assistant Bishop of Marsabit in 2004, but tragically died in an aeroplane crash in 2006, near the site where Andrew Adano had died 10 years beforehand.

In 2008, Canterbury Press published a book, which raises money for the Adano Fund, by Graham Kings. It is dedicated to the memory of Andrew Adano and William Waqo, Signs and Seasons: a guide to your Christian journey.

View Signs and Seasons front and back cover [PDF 249kb]

For an article on the book in the London Evening Standard, 18 September 2008, click here
For an article and photo on the book in the Islington Gazette, 18 September 2008, click here

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