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Kenya: priest wins human-rights award for work with urban poor

Catholic World News - April 23, 2012

A Catholic priest in Kenya has been named the recipient of a human-rights award from the French and German governments.

Father John Webootsa, a Comboni missionary in Nairobi ,was honored with the Franco-German Human-rights Award for his devotion in improving the living conditions of residents in two low-income settlements in the city. The non-monetary award comes with a one-week trip to France and Germany to meet human-rights activists in those countries.

Since 2005, Father Weboosta has set up multiple community-based projects. In 2011, he started a fund that has disbursed micro-loans enabling more than 300 beneficiaries, mainly women and young people, to start small businesses.

Father Weboosta says that he was appalled by the violence, insecurity, deprivation, and hopelessness that he encountered when he visited the slums of Nairobi 12 years ago as a seminarian, and vowed to help the people of those neighborhoods. He has managed to set up a primary school and health-care center for slum residents, and persuaded Nairobi’s city council to move a dump further away from a residential area.

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