BEACON is a regional non-profit making Trust founded as a fellowship of Churches, Church related organizations, NGOs, and individuals working for holistic development of communities in East and Horn of Africa. The geographical coverage of BEACON includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti. Preceding the creation of BEACON were the Ecumenical Participatory Development Programme-East Africa, 1994 (EPDP-EA, 1994) and the African Network on Churches Participation in Development of 1996 (ANCPD, 1996).
EPDP-EA 1994 was a culmination of the World Council of Churches (WCC) consultation on “Peace, Democracy and Violence
The Church’s Mission in Africa Today” held in Windhoek, Namibia in December 1993. EPDP-EA’s mandate was to enhance and increase the capacity of the Church and peoples of Eastern Africa to play a central role towards the building of a just, peaceful, participatory and sustainable society. ANCPD on the other hand was a network of Churches organized within the regional context working to enhance, facilitate, coordinate and provide people’s platform for unity in diversity. ANCPD which was an offspring of the WCC Commission on Churches Participation in Development (CCPD) focused on the role of the church in holistic development and in particular the poor.
During a follow up consultative meeting held at Lenana Mount Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya (29th July-1st August, 1996) on the theme “The Role and Place of Faith Communities and NGOs in Strengthening Civil Society”, it was agreed that the mandate and functional scope of ANCPD was limited and therefore needed to be made more inclusive to incorporate the non religious organizations as well as the broad issues of governance, human rights and development. The name BEACON was thus proposed and adopted.
As a network BEACON is founded on six key principles namely, community building, good governance, respect of human rights, peace, justice and sustainable development. During the first general meeting constituting the Assembly held on the 22nd -28th May 1997 in Asmara, Eritrea, the participants resolved that BEACON be registered as an independent network with its headquarters based in Nairobi, Kenya with each member country setting up national chapters in their respective countries.
In October 1997, BEACON was formally registered with the Government of Kenya as a Regional Trust. The programmatic focus of BEACON was six broad areas aimed at improving the regional capacity in order to foster peace and justice, combat poverty and build an enabling environment for sustainable development.
However, in view of the changing social-economic environment and the various challenges in the region, BEACON shifted its focus from six issues, which included peace to four with a main focus on economic justice while recognizing the intertwined nature of issues. Values such as good governance and peace come out amongst the core values of the organization