16 October 2013

Central Africa: ACWECA, Uniting Catholic Sisters for Evangelization in Eastern and Central Africa

press release

Nairobi — Founded in 1974 and headquartered in Nairobi, the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA) has formed a unity front for catholic Sisters in evangelization across Eastern and Central African countries namely: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Republic of Sudan, Republic of Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

ACWECA, which is an aggregation of National Associations of Catholic Sisters from the Eastern and Central African countries is committed to accelerating the spiritual and pastoral impact among communities that are characterized by complexities of poverty, poor health, insecurity, inadequate food and shelter, and violence prone political election seasons. Existing in different religious orders, the Sisters run hospitals, schools, youth programs, women programs/projects and community technical institutions just to mention but a few. Some of these activities are located in very remote and insecure areas where infrastructure is barely developed making transport and communication very serious challenges.

In carrying out those activities in fulfillment of their vocations in service to Catholic Church and the world, the Sisters have relied on partnerships with respective governments, well wishers and donor agencies. The partnerships have sometimes failed to create necessary productivity and motivations owing to unexpected situations and systemic changes in the times. The recent economic crunch in developed countries was quite a phenomenon and has seen the donor relations shift levels of support downwards. A call for paradigm shift has been unavoidable.

ACWECA has risen to arrest the situation and champion the adoption of new approaches to embrace the new social and economic approaches and key in practice is running a sustainability project. The project was inaugurated at ACWECA General Assembly in Uganda in 2011 where the sisters present from all the nine countries voted in agreement the paradigm shift to self sustenance of ACWECA and the affiliate Religious Congregations. The self sustenance initiative is to see ACWECA build capacity from within and scale up the resource potentials that would see the Association gain strength and worthiness to depend less on foreign support. This initiative has generated a spectrum of activities and projects first being the upcoming ACWECA Friends' day on 6th December 2013 at St Austin's Multipurpose Hall as an attempt to mobilize resources to support the secretariat and development center project that will serve as the headquarters of ACWECA in the Region. Currently, ACWECA Secretariat operates in a rented office and the new premises will be a step towards self reliance.

The second project is the Inauguration of ACWECA Friends Association that will serve as a family of friends in partnership to build a capable body of consecrated religious women in service to church in Africa.

The journey to sustainability shall be long and the realization of its objectives lies with the investment of people of goodwill, friends and the larger communities the religious women live with and serve.

ACWECA chairperson Rev Sr Margaret Aringo, Superior General of the Franciscan Sisters of St Joseph - Asumbi and ACWECA Secretary General, Rev Sr Catherine Okari IBVM have the pleasure to invite all people to become members of ACWECA Friends Association. The ACWECA Friends Association opens doors to healthy and wealthy interactions of the Catholic Sisters and the lay in partnership to serve the Church and the World. Anyone who has always wanted to serve God through/with the Sisters, the invitation is open. Come and join us in building the capacity to serve and live the Gospel. We will all benefit!

Sr Margaret Aringo, FSJ

Chairperson - ACWECA.

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