ASEC Research Initiative

Recent News & Reflections

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Sisters are undoubtedly creating sustainable change in Africa, but their work is not well-documented or widely known. In an effort to increase awareness of their integral role in the future of Africa, our Research Initiative has the following goals:

  • Provide workshops for sisters and help them to get their research published
  • Collect data about women religious, their roots, reach, and impact
  • Develop opportunities for women religious to engage in research initiatives
  • Create a central repository of research data related to sisters in Africa

Disseminating Research

Voices of Courage

Voices of Courage Book The book Voices of Courage (2015) shares the work and lives of sisters in Africa. Because of our research workshops we anticipate more research to be developed by our participants.
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Transformative Partnerships

Transformative Partnerships Book ASEC's second book, Transformative Partnerships: Role of Agencies, Foundations, Institutions in Promoting Strategic Social and Sustainable Change for Women Religious in Africa (2019) invites us into an emergining field of research on women religious in the Global South.
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Teaching Sisters how to conduct research

We are committed to teaching Sisters how to conduct research, evaluate ministry projects, and collect congregational-level data. That's why evaluation and evidence-based strategic planning are built into the SLDI program curriculum.

In 2015, we began offering research training workshops. Our first research workshops, for Sisters and religious life scholars, were held in Kenya (November, 2015) and Ghana (January, 2016). Over 60 participants learned about qualitative research and data gathering.

Visiting Scholar Program

In 2016, ASEC partnered with Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) to initiate a Visiting Scholar program for African Sisters. A Sister who is well-qualified to conduct research spends 6 months working with researchers at CARA to develop her own research study focused on Sisters in Africa.

Visiting Sister Scholars:

Since completing their time as Visiting Scholars, Sr. Bibana and Sr. Florence also contributed chapters to ASEC's book, Transformative Partnerships (2019). Both Sister Scholars have also completed research reports on Catholic women in Africa and women entering religious life in Nigeria, respectively. Prior to her time as Visiting Scholar, Sr. Hellen completed a comparative study examining the education levels of two congregations in Tanzania. Her research was also published in Transformative Partnerships.

In October, 2018, ASEC staff partnered with Fr. Thomas Gaunt at CARA and Srs. Bibana and Florence to present at the Society of Scientific Study of Religion Conference. We look forward to more collaboration opportunities with CARA and Visiting Scholars.

Research Initiative Results

researchers funded

To date, 35 African researchers (including sisters) have been funded to conduct their research.

Research Partnerships

Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA)

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is a national, non-profit, Georgetown University affiliated research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church. Founded in 1964, CARA has three major dimensions to its mission: (1) to increase the Church’s self understanding, (2) to serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers and (3) to advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism. CARA has more than 50 years of experience in quality social science research on the Catholic Church and offers a range of research and consulting services for dioceses, parishes, religious communities and institutes, and other Catholic organizations.

Education is the key to long-term sustainability in Africa

You can provide hope to the future of Africa, one life at a time.

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For questions regarding our Research Initiative, please contact:

Tara Lopatofsky, Ph.D., CCLS

Tara Lopatofsky, Ph.D., CCLS

Research and HESA Evaluations Manager