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Strengthening my finance skills to improve my ministry

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

Participants of the SLDI Finance II Workshop in Malawi (October, 2017)

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As secretary, Sr. Clara acts as the conference treasurer and attended the SLDI Finance workshop with excitement, hoping to gain skills in financial concepts most challenging in her ministry.

I am the current Secretary of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Zimbabwe (CMRS – ZW), a joint conference of both women and men religious within the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The 43-member conference is in the process of establishing itself and I happen to be the pace setter of this dream, the first full-time Secretary of the Conference. Having started the ministry in 2013, one of the conference’s dreams is expansion, that is, having many activities aimed at bringing men and women religious together and collaborating in our ministries.

We believe that we are called to minister and to serve the people of God regardless of the order or congregation each belongs to.  

We believe that we are called to minister and to serve the people of God regardless of the order or congregation each belongs to.  A number of activities have been organized and carried out through the existence of a permanent physical office. Getting aligned with ASEC through our sister conference of Malawi was one of our dreams! In 2016, the first 5 women religious of Zimbabwe braved the long trip by bus across Zambia to Lilongwe, Malawi. Their month-long experience was encouraging! We noted the change in our sisters in their execution of duties.

They began to love technology and the use of it – realizing that the computer could do so much more work in a smart way than the traditional manual systems.  

Their sharing and zeal in the program made me feel very jealous! I wanted to have a taste of the ASEC training program.  

In 2017, an opportunity came across my path. I had longed to take part in this unique program, exclusive to women religious in the Southern region of Africa. I was going to be part of the 2017 SLDI Finance Track II, a participant during the September – October period.  I was inwardly excited, I looked forward to this training. I must admit, accounts and finances are not my area of specialization – I am a marketer, but due to the nature of my ministry, finance is inevitable.

As Secretary, I act as the conference treasurer and looked forward to the finance course, hoping to gain a few skills in those financial concepts I found most challenging in my ministry. I was not disappointed.

The modules on Budgeting, which I evaded at any cost in my office work, its development using MS Excel, Budget Control, Inventory Register and Control, Resource Mobilization, Project Proposal Writing Skills & Report Writing proved handy for my current ministry and as a religious woman.

Gratitude

I am profoundly grateful to ASEC for this life-time opportunity for me to take part in the ASEC Finance Track II training course and of particular mention, the personal gift of a laptop to aid me in my ministry as Secretary of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Zimbabwe. 

I owe the success of this initiative to the Association of Women Religious Institutes of Malawi, the ASEC country coordinators – Sr. Hilari Chombo and Sr. Teresa Mulenga., for going out of their way to ensure that the course was successfully delivered while we basked in the comfort of the ‘warm heart of Africa’.  I extend this gratitude to my own congregation leadership and community led by Sr. Veronica Dingi CPS, the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Zimbabwe for their encouragement, and giving me room to exercise my new, substantive skills.  I thank my colleagues in the training, a wonderful group of “Nuns”. Zikomo!

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Sr. Clara Mangwengwe, CPS


Author
SLDI Finance Track II participant, 2017 - Malawi  

Sr. Loretta Mulry, IHM


Editor
Volunteer Editor - USA  

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