Across the world, Catholic sisters (often referred to as nuns) called to the vocation of religious life dedicate their work to the greater good, in service of God. Through their apostolates, or ministries, sisters address the needs of their local, regional and national communities, focusing on education, healthcare, infrastructure improvements, social services, environmental concerns, human trafficking and an array of other urgent human development needs.
Fortunately for communities in Africa, the sisterhood is growing; between 2005 and 2015, the number of Catholic sisters in Africa increased by 22%.1 As this growing number of sisters continue to play a powerful, even if somewhat hidden role in serving millions of people across the continent, the need for sisters’ access to higher education and professional training grows as well. In order for nuns to effectively carry out their important ministerial work, they must possess the knowledge, skills and resources that are relevant to their work.
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The African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) seeks to address the need for higher education and professional training among Catholic nuns in Africa, serving sisters in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Approximately 71% of sisters in these countries lack access to higher education and their numbers are on the rise. Between 2012 and 2018, there has been a 19.5% increase1 in the number of women religious in the countries ASEC serves, with the largest increases in Kenya, South Sudan and Cameroon.
1See, Holy (2018). Statistical yearbook of the church 2018. Vatican City: Liberia Editrice Vaticana.
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