Initiated in 2013, the Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) program provides Catholic sisters with access to undergraduate and master’s level education that aims to enhance their service in the community. ASEC partners with 23 colleges and universities to make this happen. HESA sisters study as a cohort at ASEC's partner institutions in ten countries in Africa and online in the U.S. Together, each cohort participates in orientation and an annual reflective learning program.
Since HESA's inception, more than 1,000 sisters have enrolled in colleges and universities through HESA and nearly 200 have graduated. Phase I of the program (2013 to 2017), facilitated 280 sisters’ pursuit of higher education, while Phase II (2016 to 2018), is anticipated to support more than 800 sisters in diploma, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.
HESA welcomed approximately 600 sisters since 2017. Between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 (HESA Phase II, Year 2), 235 sisters joined HESA and since July 1, 2018 (Phase II, Year 3), approximately 300 new students enrolled in diploma, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Each new student joined a cohort of sisters enrolling at a HESA university/college partner and participated in an orientation workshop.
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Seventy-four sisters graduated from HESA between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018. More than 100 additional sisters are due to graduate from 10 partnering colleges and universities by the end of 2018. Congratulations to our 2018 HESA graduates! We are so proud of you!
- Catholic University College of Ghana - October 2017, October 2018
- Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Kenya - November 2017, October 2018
- Chemchemi Ya Uzima Institute, Kenya - November 2017, October 2018
- Tangaza University College, Kenya - May 2018
- Veritas University College, Nigeria - December 2017
- St. Francis Hospital Nsambya Training School, Uganda - September 2018
- University of Kisubi, Uganda - February 2018, March 2018
- Uganda Martyrs University - November 2018
- Mwenge Catholic University, Tanzania - November 2018
- Saint Augustine University, Tanzania - December 2017, December 2018
Among the graduates, from Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) and Catholic University College of Ghana (CUCG), are sisters who began their studies online at Marywood University and Chestnut Hill College. Through partnerships agreements between these institutions, these sisters completed one year of coursework online before transferring onsite to a university in Africa. The first cohort of students from Chestnut Hill College online graduated from Catholic University College of Ghana in October 2018. Fourteen sisters received Bachelor of Education degrees through the hybrid online-onsite program.
HESA’s first Master’s degree graduates will matriculate in 2018.
ASEC Country Directors and Coordinators were present to support HESA graduates at each of the university ceremonies. Additionally, ASEC Executive Director, Sr. Draru, attended the graduation ceremony at Catholic University of Eastern Africa in October 2018 and Dr. Jane Farr, ASEC Board member, attend graduation at Uganda Martyrs University in November 2018.
Congratulations to all HESA graduates from this year!
In May and June 2018, 13 reflective learning workshops were held in 10 countries for continuing HESA students. Ninety-six percent of enrolled HESA students attended reflective learning workshops. The annual workshops, which bring together HESA cohorts in each country for reflection, learning and networking, covered topics including prophetic roles in the school environment, social media, globalization, time management and research methods, among others. Sisters studying online through U.S. university partners, met with instructors at Marywood University and Chestnut Hill College via video.
Between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, ASEC renewed several partnership agreements for HESA, as they concluded four year terms. Agreements were renewed with:
- Catholic University of Eastern Africa - September 2017
- Chemchemi Ya Uzima Institute - September 2017
- Saint Augustine University, Tanzania - July 2018
- Catholic University of South Sudan - July 2018
- Catholic University College of Ghana - July 2018
Additionally, ASEC signed new partnership agreements to expand existing online-onsite degree programs and offer new opportunities to women religious in vulnerable countries. ASEC signed two new partnership agreements to expand the online-onsite Bachelor of Business Administration degree program offered by Rosemont College. Agreements were signed with:
- Catholic University College of Ghana - March 2018
- University of Kisubi - August 2018
A third partnership agreement will be signed with Catholic University of Eastern Africa by the end of the year. This added to existing partnerships with Veritas University in Nigeria and Catholic University of Cameroon, enabling sisters in Uganda, Kenya and Ghana to participate in HESA through this hybrid program.
ASEC also engaged an entirely new partner, Jordan University College (JUCO) in Tanzania. An agreement was signed in October 2018. Executive Director, Sr. Draru, visited JUCO in October 2018. HESA will implement this partnership in the future.
ASEC Staff and Board members visited HESA sisters throughout the year. Site visits were conducted in Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania and Lesotho. ASEC Executive Director, Sr. Draru, HESA Assistant Director, Rosemary Shaver, HESA Evaluator, Tara Lopatofsky, SLDI Assistant Director, Jaime Herrmann and Assistant Director of Evaluation, Jennifer Mudge, visited Zambia in January 2018 for a staff meeting. The meeting provided a space for the Executive Director to introduce herself to the ASEC Country Office staff and facilitate team-building and organizational development.
HESA Assistant Director, Rosemary Shaver, HESA Evaluator, Tara Lopatofsky, SLDI Assistant Director, Jaime Herrmann and Assistant Director of Evaluation, Jennifer Mudge, traveled from Zambia to Kenya in January 2018. Site vistings in Kenya brought together ASEC staff from the U.S. and HESA students studying at Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Tangaza University College and Chemchemi Ya Uzima Institute. Nearly 100 HESA students greeted ASEC staff at CUEA. Welcoming staff by singing their self-composed HESA song, the students shared stories of their education and ministry. Amazingly, the students of CUEA, Tangaza and Chemchemi, have developed a student association with an executive committee. The students animate mass once a year at CUEA and are active in the student community.
In Kenya, ASEC US staff visited, Sr. Felistas Jematia Chesire, a SLDI and HESA Alumna, who is currently enrolled through HESA in a Master’s of Business Administration program at CUEA. Sr. Felistas is currently the Financial Administrator of Kwetu Home of Peace and other congregational projects. The Kwetu Home is for boys who formerly lived in the slums, some of whom abused drugs and alcohol. Mukuru, Kibera, Githurai and Ruai slums, among others throughout Nairobi, are served by the home. Sr. Felistas is also the executive of the HESA student association at CUEA.
There are also more site visit summaries in the HESA Phase II Year 2 Evaluation Report (Download PDF).
HESA Student Handbook
HESA administrators, with the support of graduate and research assistants, began to develop a HESA Student Handbook in January 2017. Over the course of one year, staff collaboratively constructed the handbook based on formal and informal program policy. During the January 2018 ASEC staff meeting in Zambia, HESA administrators introduced a complete draft of the HESA Student Handbook to ASEC Country Directors and Coordinators. After seeking input from ASEC headquarters, country offices. and Board of Directors, students received the HESA Student Manual in October 2018. The Handbook will be updated on an annual basis and serves as a resource to students, stakeholders and ASEC employees.