Global MSC Intensive – Nairobi, Kenya

For the second time, the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion and the Global Engagement Incorporated (GEI) are honored to bring the MSC training to Kenya. Together, we have created a unique opportunity for you to support local citizens and professionals to attend alongside you (at little or no cost) the same MSC program and, as a result, grow a local network devoted to compassion and self-compassion training. This is possible while you get to take the course yourself (for the first time, or as a repeat) and also to travel, study and experience the local culture, geography, and people.

9-16 February, 2020
Nairobi, Kenya

(with optional extension)
  • Day 1: Personal welcome at the airport and welcome dinner
  • Day 2: Program briefing | exploration of the city and the host culture
  • Day 3-6: MSC Intensive training for participants and local colleagues
  • Days 7-8: Cultural highlight: Safari in the sought-after Mara Naboisho Conservancy
  • Day 9: Free time, personal farewell at the airport (or start of an optional post-program extension)
  • Day 10-13: Optional Extension at Mara Naboisho Conservancy (view itinerary here.)

Kenya Itinerary

View Complete Itinerary above

Extension Itinerary

View Optional Extension Itinerary above

“Daily, during the MSC Intensive in Kenya, I was reminded that by sharing our personal stories we help others to have courage. This profoundly resonated throughout our whole group on the day Sister Sara broke into song singing a local church hymn: Nasema Asante. Some of the local Kenyan participants joined her in singing and created this beautiful deeply moving moment that was literally and figuratively full of harmony. Many of us wept and were overcome with a sense of humanity. The boundaries around our hearts cracked wide open and love and hope poured in. This was why we were all here. Compassion…the wish that all beings, including ourselves, be free from suffering.”

– Burmese meditation teacher

The Location

Kenya is one of the most diverse countries in Africa. It offers white, sandy beaches, the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and volcanic mountains in the Great Rift Valley, stretching from the vast savannas to the lacustrine highlands near Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater lake on the continent. Cultural traditions converge in Kenya, making it a dynamic and vibrant place to visit and experience. Kenya has the potential to become the political and economic leader in East Africa: It features a flourishing manufacturing industry, and tourism remains an important industry that provides service jobs and much needed foreign capital. Kenya’s agricultural exports of coffee, tea and cut flowers compensate the scarcity of other resources. Recent investments in energy, technology and communications have also proven to have big economic potential for Kenya’s growth. But the overarching challenge Kenya is facing today is to generate economic growth that is more inclusive, in order to more effectively reduce poverty across the country. Levels of poverty are persistently high and regional disparities are strong, such as limited access to basic services, inequality and unemployment, with youth, women and other vulnerable groups particularly hard hit. Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, is the country’s most dynamic and largest city with a population of nearly four million. Nairobi is also known as the “green city in the sun.” Being a city full of contrasts, it’s old enough so you can feel its past and experience Kenyan culture that blends people from all cultures and walks of life — yet it’s modern enough, too. It’s a city that never sleeps; Nairobians juggle work, personal and family obligations while still finding time to enjoy their social favorites and contribute to the community. The city is also home to numerous local and international businesses and organizations, e.g. in the field of conflict transformation, peace building, and trauma-informed healing practices. The MSC program itself takes place at a lovely conference center in the hill town of Limuru outside Nairobi. For the past 25 years, the conference center has been bringing back an indigenous forest and quite recently, colobus monkeys have discovered the place and taken up residence. The conference center is also adjacent to iridescent green tea plantations. It is a perfect setting for an MSC intensive – expansive and beautiful, yet a place of refuge. The accommodations are comfortable, the buffet meals are delicious, and, despite occasional news stories, Kenya is a safe, warm and inviting place to visit. The optional safari extension of this program visits the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, which is currently redefining the identity and purpose of tourism in a more intentional direction. As much more than a safari destination, Mara Naboisho pioneers a community-based conservation initiative that partners with and empowers over five-hundred Maasai landowners, giving rise to an unprecedented story of overcoming the challenges facing a disappearing local culture and precious ecosystem. On this safari, you will have the opportunity to visit the homes of Masai people, converse freely with our Masai guides, and get closer to lions, elephants and other big animals than you ever thought possible. It is an extraordinary experience of an ecosystem in balance, much like it was thousands of years ago. And all this takes place in the Rift Valley where human beings first walked the earth. Together with the safari extension, this journey to Kenya is an experience of deep ecology with humans and nature. Not to be missed!

Our Partner

In Nairobi, CMSC began a collaboration in 2017 with our local partner, Amani Counselling Centre and Training Institute (ACCTI). Amani is the oldest and most established counseling service provider in Kenya and in the East African region. Founded in 1979, Amani provides clinical services and psychological support for caregivers across Kenya, especially for those doing trauma work. It also provides professional training in counseling, social work and community development. Additionally, for those who cannot undergo long-term training, Amani offers various seminars, workshops and outreach programs in cooperation with a variety of organizations, including businesses, community-based organizations, NGOs and the Kenyan government.

In our first MSC intensive training, CMSC was able to meet and support the staff at the Amani Centre, their community members, and other professionals living in Africa. Subsequently, we are sponsoring two community leaders in Kenya (who were at the training) to go on to become Trained MSC Teachers and bring quality self-compassion training back home. CMSC has also initiated a book drive to enhance the Amani professional library in Nairobi.

Foreign participants at the MSC intensive were unanimous in their sense of being warmly and deeply received by our Kenyan friends and colleagues and we had unforgettable experiences of compassion and common humanity.


Marta Alonso, Licensed Clinical Psychologist specializing in mindfulness and compassion treatments and has obtained Europsy certification as a European Expert in Psychotherapy by the EFPA. Marta is an MSC Teacher Trainer and Mentor and the first certified teacher in Spanish language. She has taught more than 40 editions of the MSC program, which she introduced in Spain. Marta is a founding member of the Spanish Association of Mindfulness and Compassion and acted as president until 2017. She is currently a member of the honorary council. Visit Marta’s sites: Here (MSC Teacher Training Pathway), Here (MSC courses), Here (Mindfulness and Clinical Psychology), Here (Resources and Audio practices). “I have seen how the MSC has helped thousands of people from different cultures and contexts because it teaches us to remember that all human beings have a compassionate heart full of seeds of love to be watered. Self-compassion is our universal legacy and it is a privilege to teach this program”.

Martin Thomson-Jones, Ph.D., is a Certified Teacher of MSC. He first encountered loving-kindness meditation, one of the core elements of MSC, when he took MBSR in 2010. From there, he gradually found his way to Kristin Neff’s and Christopher Germer’s work and was invited to be part of the CMSC’s first teacher training course, led by Chris Germer, Kristin Neff, Michelle Becker, and Steven Hickman in 2014. He has been teaching MSC ever since, and his MSC website is here. Martin adds: “Practicing self-compassion has transformed my life, and teaching these practices to others has brought me so many more rewards. I’m honored and excited to help bring MSC to parts of the world where it’s not so readily accessible.” Martin is English, but he has been living in the U.S. for more than half his life. He is a philosophy professor at Oberlin College and has taught philosophy at Princeton University and U.C. Berkeley. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford University, and a B.A. (Joint Hons.) in physics and philosophy from Oxford University. You can read more about his work as a philosopher here.

Recorded webinar about GEI – Kenya: October 2018