On Wednesday February 22, 2023, the ASEC U.S. headquarters team met with members of faculty from DMI-St. Eugene University to sign a framework of reference (FoR) agreement to foster academic opportunities for ASEC sisters in Zambia. It is especially noteworthy because it is the first university that ASEC has partnered with in Africa that was founded by religious women.
The partnership was officiated together via Zoom, where members of ASEC U.S. staff met with ASEC country coordinators from Africa and faculty members of DMI-St. Eugene University. ASEC Senior Program Manager Dr. Rosemary Shaver noted that the partnership is being created for the “mutual interest for providing education to sisters in Africa.” ASEC sisters who are enrolled in the Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) program will have the opportunity to receive scholarships to complete their education with the university. The HESA program was designed to give sisters access to undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Dr. Shaver explained,
“We are excited to begin a partnership with DMI-St. Eugene University to benefit women religious in Zambia. ASEC, DMI-St. Eugene, and our partners are mutually interested in opening educational pathways for women religions in Africa. This new partnership will provide opportunities to Catholic Sisters in Africa to benefit from the many degree programs offered by DMI-St. Eugene through the HESA program. Sisters who received their higher education through HESA and doing groundbreaking work in their communities and serving people living at the margins. We look forward to following future HESA alumnae of DMI-St. Eugene through this partnership and to the work they will do to transform their communities.”
The partnership came as a suggestion from the Zambia Association of Sisterhoods (ZAS), who reached out to ASEC to propose the partnership. DMI-St. Eugene University is run by Daughters of Mary Immaculate and their partners in Zambia. Together with ZAS, the university sponsors sisters as they obtain their degrees in counseling or social work. Through this partnership the hope is to expand the types of degrees offered to sisters to include medical and healthcare programs.
According to their website, DMI-St. Eugene University:
“landed in Republic of Zambia on the invitation of the Zambian Episcopal Conference and the Archbishop of Lusaka and [it] started functioning in 2007, from Archbishop Medardo J.Mazombwe Campus, at Woodlands. The University is named after Saint Eugene De Mazenod, the Founder of OMI.”
There are three campuses, all which are accredited by the Higher Education Authority in Zambia.
We look forward to working with DMI-St. Eugene University and ZAS in order to help more sisters access the education that will help their congregations and communities thrive.