Strathmore University Trains Catholic Sisters on the Foundations of Social Entrepreneurship
Determined Catholic sisters from various Congregations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia have in the months of August and September 2023 embarked on a journey of empowerment and transformation. Strathmore University Business School (SBS), in partnership with the Association of Consecrated Women of Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA), has been training sisters on the Foundations of Social Entrepreneurship Management (FSEM) Programme. The FSEM module is designed to equip sisters with the skills and knowledge to manage their social enterprises effectively. This initiative is part of the Sisters’ Blended Value Project supported by Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
The training that attracted thirty-one participants from twenty-seven congregations in Kenya was held between 14th and 18th August. The comprehensive training curriculum covered various topics tailored to empower the participants in various aspects of social enterprise management. One of the central themes of the training was leadership, with sessions focusing on self-awareness and effective management of teams. These topics were designed to enhance the leadership skills of the sisters, enabling them to drive their enterprises toward success with a clear vision and self-awareness. Reflecting on the training, Sr. Mackline Adema of the congregation of Sisters of Mary of Kakamega noted that she has learned that she is responsible for her team and that she would be constantly checking on them to ensure they walk together.
Thirty-two sisters from twenty-two congregations attended the training at Mbaghala Spiritual Centre in Dar es Salaam Tanzania between the 21st – 25th of August 2023. One highlight of the training was the utilization of an “insight tool” which aided participants in discovering their individual strengths and traits. This tool served as a guiding light for the participants, enabling them to delve into a journey of self-discovery, where they could unearth their unique strengths and intrinsic qualities. This emphasis on self-awareness and personal growth stood out as a defining feature of the training experience in all four countries: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
The training also delved into the core principles of managing social enterprises. Participants gained insights into understanding the unique dynamics of social enterprises, which operate at the intersection of business and social good. Topics such as record-keeping, sustainability strategies, and social impact measurement gave sisters a holistic understanding of managing their enterprises while ensuring their longevity and positive contributions to society. As one sister from Zambia eloquently put it, “This training opened our eyes to the transformative power of combining business acumen with a compassionate heart. We have learned that effective record-keeping not only empowers us to make informed decisions but also enhances transparency in our operations.” Topics such as sustainability strategies and social impact measurement gave sisters a clear understanding of managing their enterprises while ensuring their longevity and positive contributions to society.
Sisters also explored effective communication strategies to connect with stakeholders, partners, and beneficiaries. These strategies were poised to magnify the reach and influence of their respective enterprises. Sr. Teresia Muia from the Daughters of St. Anne, expressed her enlightening perspective, stating that the training experience broadened her understanding. “I’ve come to realize that flawless communication between two individuals is an aspiration, not a reality. Yet, the frequency of our communication significantly bolsters our capacity for trust.”
Twenty-three sisters from eighteen congregations participated in the FSEM training in Zambia. In Uganda, twenty-eight participants from from seventeen congratulations attended. The success of the training reflects the commitment and dedication of all involved parties, including the organizers, trainers, participants, and supporting organizations. It’s a testament to the significance of fostering sustainable social enterprises and empowering individuals with the necessary skills to contribute positively to their communities and beyond. It reflects a shared commitment to empowering Catholic Sisters to become effective change agents.