This spring, the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) annual board meeting met at Marywood University. ASEC was founded with a goal to increase access to education in Africa by helping women religious to acquire credentials in teaching, healthcare, spiritual and social service ministries in Africa. At this meeting, board members made a historic step.
Unanimously, the board members voted to pilot a new program—Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA). Marywood University was selected as the testing ground. Preparations for the HESA program implementation are continuing. Other milestones achieved by ASEC include drilling a borehole to provide clean water and a newly completed state-of-the-art Science laboratory at Bigwa Secondary School in Morogoro, Tanzania.
In the summer of 2012, 13 students from ASEC colleges and three faculty chaperons will be spending two weeks at Bigwa Secondary School and also visiting an orphanage in Morogoro. Sr. Margaret Gannon is the lead Chaperon for this trip.
Also, the Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) annual Advisory Board meeting was held. The SLDI program has been implemented in six countries in Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, and Nigeria revealed significant impacts made by the sister participants in the program. The SLDI Program was initiated in 2007, as three-year leadership program to increase technology, leadership, and financial management skills to women religious in Africa. In Phase I, 301 sisters participated in the program and in Phase II 213, sisters participated in technology training and 250 are continuing in 2011-2012 programs. Also, 240 laptops were distributed to the sisters and 300 MP3 players containing leadership materials were provided to alumni during their successful annual meetings. Over $2.6 million has been raised by the participants to improve their projects, creating huge transformation in the participants' ministries.
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