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ASEC Forming Effective, Collaborative Agents of Change in Malawi

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

Malawian sisters who graduate from ASEC's programs are invited to annual Alumnae and Reflective Learning Workshops. This enables sisters to continue networking and continue their education through presentations and discussions on relevant topics and emerging issues. Pictured: Participants of ASEC Alumnae Workshop in Malawi (February, 2020).

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"ASEC programs need to be commended and encouraged," says Rev. Fr. Dr. Alfred Chaima. "We pray that the sponsors continue to invest in these programs."

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Let me take a few moments to reflect on my experience with ASEC's programs. First, where I have been involved to facilitate a few workshops with the sisters under this program. Second, my observation working with them in my own backyard, the Archdiocese of Blantyre.

Indeed, I have had opportunities to facilitate workshops with several groups of ASEC being it Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) orientations, reflective learning and alumnae. What has always struck me is the choice of themes to cover. I have always found them to be challenging, relevant and enriching. They are both informative and formative which for me, is what the Church and society at large need. It does not help to do themes that can hardly make a difference in one’s life; themes that just remain academic and can hardly be applied in real daily lives of the participants and that can hardly make a difference in one’s ministry and apostolate.

I must say, that ASEC program in this regard is giving the African Women Religious to wrestle with the contemporary challenges of both the Church and Society. It is my hope that the future ASEC will not divert from this approach as we clearly see that the Religious today are more effective in the manner they are living their varied charisma and in the way they approach ministry. This brings me to my next and second point.

The expectation of both the sponsors and the organizers of the ASEC programs is that they change, contribute and influence the events of the world through the Women Religious who undergo these programs. This is only possible, if we have women Religious that are effective on the ground as they live their charism and are engaged in pastoral work. Most of the Religious members who have undergone this program are demonstrating that. We are able to see in them qualities like confidence, orderliness and result oriented in the manner they approach ministry.

In the alumnae, we are able to see tangible successes within their own personal lives, within their Congregations and in the Archdiocese of Blantyre. As mentioned earlier on, we have the Religious, who are demonstrating that they have come to make a difference and to offer to both the Church and Society, an alternative way of living as Christian and as a good citizen. Noticeably, they are able to engage and challenge the people and move them to change and development. We see them helping the local Church and the local communities to move towards self-reliance which today is a very noble and urgent project. 

Like this, ASEC programs can be summed up as helping to form true and effective collaborative agents in the local Church. It will not be surprising that within the next few years, we shall begin to see a different image of the Church and Malawian Society altogether. ASEC programs need to be commended and encouraged. We pray that the sponsors continue to invest in these programs.

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Sisters who participate in ASEC's programs are learning leadership skills that make them effective on the ground as they live their charism and engage in pastoral work. Make a donation to a sister's education today to make a long-lasting impact in African communities where sisters are serving.

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This article is addressing the following UN Sustainable Development Goal(s):

Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
Rev. Fr. Dr. Albred Chaima

Rev. Fr. Dr. Albred Chaima
Author
Lecturer, Catholic University of Malawi and Chancellor College; Pastoral Coordinator, Archdiocese of Blantyre - Malawi  

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