Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA)

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To educate a sister is to educate a community

Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) provides opportunities for Catholic women religious in African countries to access undergraduate and master’s level education. We ensure that women religious receive credentials to enhance service to their communities. HESA is delivered through partnerships with higher education institutions in Africa and online in the USA.

HESA is the next step for many of our SLDI participants

ASEC aims to create an education pipeline for Catholic sisters in Africa, whereby sisters can complete one ASEC program and potentially enter into another program that builds upon the skills and education they already received.

SLDI was established in 2007 and has trained African sisters in areas of leadership, technology, administration and finance. In 2013, the HESA program began, with the purpose of supporting sisters in obtaining formal higher education.

Equipped with a strong foundation of skills, SLDI alumnae are well prepared to succeed in the College Diploma or Bachelor degree programs offered through the HESA program. To date, approximately 8% of the sisters who participate in HESA have previously completed SLDI.

HESA Program Structure

  • Model A: online-onsite hybrid, sisters study for one-year online at a partner university in the USA, completing 27 credits.
  • Model B: onsite, sisters study on campus at a partner university in Africa.

ASEC HESA Higher Education for Sisters in Africa Collage

Sisters are averaging an A- to B during their studies both online and onsite.

Sisters are averaging an A- to B during their studies both online and onsite.

Cohort System

HESA recruits sisters to study at its partner institutions as a cohort of 5 to 20 sisters. Together the sisters participate in HESA orientation and annual reflective learning. The cohort serves as a support network throughout the sisters’ studies.

"As for the work I have achieved, I believe you are aware that I have already enrolled into the Master’s degree program. This is a big achievement for me. Were it not for HESA, I would not have been able to do this. I believe a Master’s level of education will facilitate me for a wide area of service and take me a long way in my life."

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Becoming Alumnae

Upon completion of their undergraduate or master’s degree, HESA Alumnae either continue on to higher levels of education or return to their community to serve as congregational leaders. HESA Alumnae are meeting the needs present in their local communities through education, social service, pastoral, and other ministries.

HESA Outcomes

Since the program's inception in 2013, 540 sisters have received college degrees or two-year diplomas.

In the next four years during Phase II (2016-2020)

  • HESA expects to serve over 1,200 sisters at partner colleges and universities, including nearly 400 who will have completed a portion of their studies online.
  • We project that 120 SLDI Alumnae will go on to receive higher education in the HESA program.
  • A Master's Degree option has been added to the program.

Support Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA)

Consider supporting a sister to study in the HESA program for $7,300/year

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HESA Evaluation Reports

For questions regarding HESA, please contact:

Rosemary A. Shaver

Rosemary A. Shaver

HESA Assistant Director