“ASEC/SLDI wametutoa mbali,” literally translates as “ASEC/SLDI has brought us far.” Such an utterance was on the lips of sisters during the Administration Training I attended in the month of May 2017. We have come from a place of insecurity in our ministry to a new world of understanding expectations of us and having the skills and knowledge to accomplish these. It is such a good feeling, but more importantly, it is vital to the future strength of religious congregations and to the church and nations they serve. So let me share my story, the course content, its incredible match to my professional needs, and some applications of my new knowledge which touch the lives of others.
Being the secretary of my congregation at the regional level and also the administrator of a radio station, it was a new experience for me when I chosen by my congregation to fill a vacancy as a school administrator so that the prior sister-administrator could pursue higher education. I am a journalist by profession but had no clue about what is expected of a human resource manager (administrator). But there I was, expected to lead a group of 22 staff. This part of the world is famous for placing church personnel in positions for which they are not trained. So it was some consolation to me when I arrived in the ASEC/SLDI Administration Training I class to find many sister colleagues in the same predicament. We all had the sense that the time was ripe for us to step up to the challenge, pay attention, acquire appropriate skills, and return to our new ministries full of confidence that we can now meet the highest of expectations. We realized that what we would be learning was a perfect match to our ministerial needs.
The Administration Training I course ran for four weeks. Week one kicked off at a slow pace to allow sisters time to settle into the new environment, get to know one another and relax a bit from the often very demanding ministries. The topics treated included:
- effective management
- effective leadership
- writing skills
- computer skills.
I felt these topics were chosen for me and that whoever sat down to make a choice of the topics to be taught to the sisters knew exactly what we needed.
In the second week, the topics were
- human resource management
- staff recruitment, selection and placement
- labour laws
- employee records
- staff retirement and pension plans
These are very ideal for my work as an administrator and also secretary of the Kenya region.
The third week introduced the hardest topic, strategic planning. It was extremely engaging and very powerful for the way forward for our congregations. Topics taught included:
- Introduction to strategic planning
- strategic issue identification
- strategy formulation (including how to come up with vision and mission statements)
In collaboration with all the sisters who have attended ASEC Administration training and the help of an external expert, we are determined to come up with these statements.
In week four came the long awaited topic ‘Project Proposal Writing.’ Writing project proposals is very complicated. One must come up with objectives, justification, activities, targets and outcomes measures.
Since the completion of the training, I have written one project proposal using my newly acquired skills. I am looking forward to positive results.