Profile - Kyle Johnson - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Kyle Johnson

Year Joined MKLM:

Country: Tanzania

Town: Mwanza

Ministry: 1) Mabatini Catholic Parish: livelihood and economic development training. 2) Archdiocese of Mwanza – healthcare systems improvement

Ministry Area: Education and leadership training, sustainable development.

Nonviolence Focus: Prevention. 1) Sustainable economic development can help lift people out of poverty, thereby reducing the risk of being a victim of violence as well as a perpetrator.
2) Systems/processes and leadership/management are often root causes to poor health care delivery and outcomes. Without systems improvements, poor people in particular will continue to suffer needlessly and experience injustice.

Goals of Ministry:

1) In partnership with Mabatini Catholic Church and local nonprofit groups, provide small business development and entrepreneurial training to vulnerable populations.
2) In partnership with the Archdiocese of Mwanza, provide leadership and management training to Bukumbi and Sumve hospitals and assist with critical projects as needed.


Ministry Context:

1) Tanzania has one of the fastest growing populations in the world. Its population growth exceeds its economic growth. The unemployment rate for younger workers is over 12%, and most people live on an average of $2 per day. Climate change and world politics are vastly impacting food security, and despite significant economic gains over the past few decades, Tanzania faces daunting financial and social challenges. Job opportunities, job training and access to lending continue to inhibit economic growth, especially for those living on the margins.

2) In 2019, the African Epidemiological Association identified “poor leadership and management” as one of the top three challenges facing health care delivery systems in Africa. Training and capacity building were listed as the No. 1 solution (followed by increases to funding) to help improve healthcare delivery. Due to a lack of financial resources, personnel and formal leadership/management training, it is often difficult to coordinate training and education programs for hospital and clinic leadership.


Current Ministry:

1) Kyle teaches entrepreneurship and small business development skills at multiple organizations in and around Mwanza. His students consist mostly of younger people from poorer economic classes and from different faiths. They attend the classes simply because they want to learn new skills to improve economic security for themselves and their families.

Additionally, Kyle is working with existing Savings and Loan Groups (SLGs) and helping set up new ones. SLGs are self-managed groups of 10 to 30 individual members who meet regularly to save their money in a safe space, access small loans and obtain funds for emergencies. In this way, vulnerable populations, particularly women, are able to pool their resources and over time are able to improve their economic condition and reduce challenges related to health care and food security.

2) Kyle works with the healthcare leadership at Bukumbi and Sumve hospitals, which fall under the Archdiocese of Mwanza, as well as some rural healthcare clinics at identifying and addressing root causes of current healthcare problems. In addition, to assisting with data analysis, system surveys and advising administrative leadership, Kyle lends project management expertise and support for mission-critical infrastructure.


Personal Data:

Since arriving in Mwanza, Kyle has observed how his background in business and entrepreneurship as well as his experience in the healthcare industry have allowed him to see opportunity in some of the everyday challenges that exist in Tanzania.

It is a win-win situation because Kyle enjoys learning how things work as well as sharing some of the skills and knowledge that he has gained over the years. It is this fusing of cultures and ideas that ignite his passion to learn and to share. At times the challenges can be overwhelming, but it is the Tanzanians, with their authenticity and patience, who continue to teach him to be more humble, more patient and ultimately to be more faithful.

Prior to joining Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Kyle was a business leader in the healthcare industry and most recently worked as the executive director of Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Economic Development Authority in Sequim, Washington. He and his wife, Anna, have been foster parents, and together with their three children — Josephine (12), Collin (10), and Charlotte (8) — previously volunteered for a longer period at an orphanage in Mexico. It was that experience that led them to commit to a longer-term mission as a family.