In Zambia, we have Sisters from many congregations that have attended all the HESA courses and we can already see the fruits of the efforts that have been put into the various courses. We have over forty websites that have been created over the years, and proposals that have raised funds for various communities.
The Zambia Association of Sisterhoods (ZAS) Facebook Page, which was created as a result of these courses, now has almost 1,300 people following it, mainly religious. This page is intended to connect all the sisters in Zambia via Facebook. We have also created a ZAS Facebook group to connect sisters in Zambia, including the ZAS website which was a result of the Website Design course. All these technology additions have made communication easier among congregations.
A large group of sisters are now able to use gmail, and with the mentorship strategy, it would be no surprise that most sisters now have an email address and are accessible via WhatsApp. The use of email among Sisters has increased tremendously as we receive email and Skype messages from Sisters all over the country. Several sisters running schools make their own printed materials such as booklets, calendars, hymn books, flyers and labels from their knowledge of Microsoft Word and Publisher. All the Sisters who attended the Basic Technology courses can make PowerPoint presentations.
Sisters now follow Pope Francis on Twitter (@Pontifex) and have WhatsApp groups that include Sisters from Zambia, Kenya and Uganda communicating regularly with each other about the HESA courses. Sisters from all over Africa can communicate with each other and see the coursework that is being done via the ASEC Facebook Page. Sisters in the ASEC courses are also required follow course developments on the ASEC Facebook page.
Sisters also follow the Hilton Foundation on Twitter to see upcoming projects and funding opportunities. We have also seen sisters use social media to spread positive messages. For example, a former student in the Website Design class, Sr. Astridah Banda has a Facebook page with over 250 followers and a website where she shares positive messages on faith. The first group of HESA students from Zambia have now started graduating from CUEA and we are more than certain they will make positive contributions in their communities.
Words of gratitude are sent to the staff at ASEC in Scranton, Pennsylvania and Marywood University who have been very helpful over the years. Thanks to Telecom too for providing technical support to ensure that the program runs smoothly. Much work and effort goes into managing and organizing the courses in the various countries and we have to thank God for the wonderful opportunities and contributions the Hilton Foundation has made to this project. I am certainly happy to have been a part of this exciting and wonderful program. With time, all Sisters’ projects in Zambian communities will be accessible online.