Recently, members of African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)’s Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) program held a “Partners Workshop” in Kenya and Ghana. The 3-day workshop in Kenya was held from June 13-17, 2018 and the workshop in Ghana was held from June 27-July 1, 2018.
The “Partners Workshop” brings together members of ASEC’s USA staff, ASEC’s Africa staff, SLDI Workshop Facilitators and Secretary Generals of different associations of congregations.
The workshop’s objectives are to provide participants with greater knowledge of ASEC and the SLDI program, facilitate sharing among SLDI partners for the enrichment of program delivery and evaluation and discuss and collect feedback on the SLDI program.
Another goal of these workshops was to plan for the next phase of SLDI – which meant bringing in stakeholders that were a part of the initial planning and other phases to prepare for the next phase.
Phases in SLDI operate on a three-year period. Phase IV, the current phase, ends in 2018.
As SLDI prepares for their next phase, workshops must be ironed out and ready to go.
In collaboration with an ASEC partner, the Christian Organizations Research and Advisory Trust of Africa (CORAT Africa), original SLDI agendas were created. These agendas described each aspect of the SLDI workshops in conjunction with the facilitator running it.
As they worked on future agendas for workshops, each facilitator from each section (administration, finance, technology) was able to look it over.
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Tara Lopatofsky, ASEC’s Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) Evaluator, attended the workshop in Kenya.
According to Lopatofsky, some big changes are on the way for the next phase.
Overall, the workshop proved to be effective and helpful for the attendees.
“I think it was really well received, we got a ton of really great feedback,” said Lopatofsy. “It was so helpful to hear from them.”
In addition to discussion of ASEC and SLDI, there was also discussion focused on understanding the culture of women religious in Africa.
“A majority of the facilitators are male, they’re professors and corporate businessmen, but a lot of them don’t know a lot about sisters,” said Lopatofsky. “And being a facilitator for these workshops in the SLDI program, it’s the first time they’ve ever really interacted with sisters.”
Facilitators said the sisters have a spirit of togetherness and a culture of service.
“They’re human beings and they show great resilience, and they’ll go to the most rural area to have a relationship with those people,” said one facilitator.
Lopatofsky mentioned that she hopes to focus more on the impact that the program has in future evaluations and reports – what is the program really doing?
Right now, they are able to learn what sisters are achieving through story submissions or site visits, but she is hoping to keep constant and regular contact with participants and alumni.
Another point of discussion was the importance of meaningful partnerships and engaging with one another.
“Partnership with ASEC is consistent and engaging, we are always in dialogue. Without discussing you wouldn’t understand each other’s needs,” said one secretary general.
“Separately we cannot get there, but together we can join hands and we can get there. Commitment and faith is needed, joining together makes us stronger,” said one facilitator.
Lopatofsky said the workshop had a collaborative spirit and that it was great to meet everyone.
The SLDI program is bringing together people from different African countries to make a difference.