Two African Sisters Selected for Catholic Nuns’ Pilot Doctoral Scholarship Program

Sr. Esther Wambui Gitee and Sr. Kiden Christine Janet, the two sisters selected for ASEC's pilot Ph.D. program.
Credit: African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC).

Two African Sisters, one from Kenya and the other from South Sudan, have been selected to pilot a doctoral scholarship program, an initiative of the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC), which facilitates access to education for women religious in Africa, the world’s second largest continent.

The two candidates, Sr. Esther Wambui Gitee and Sr. Kiden Christine Janet are expected to undertake their studies at ASEC’s partner institution, Kenya-based Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), an October 21 report by the initiative indicates.

Sr. Esther, a Kenyan-born member of the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi (ASN) will be pursuing her doctorate in Financial Management, a field she was drawn into “after observing a need in her own and other congregations for stronger financial planning and management policies.”

Her doctoral research will seek to analyze “the effect policies (e.g. financing, investment, cash management and risk management) have on health institutions managed by the Catholic Church in Kenya,” ASEC leadership has reported.

“She understands earning a Ph.D. is a way to help her Congregation, as well as to support other congregations struggling financially,” ASEC leadership says referencing Sr. Esther who describes herself as “proactive, logical, and focused.”

Besides being an adjunct finance lecturer at CUEA, Sr. Esther also teaches Business Studies and Catholic Religious Education at a Kenya-based high school.

On her part, Sr. Kiden, a native of South Sudan and member of the Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary (MSBVM), will be pursuing a doctorate in Education.

“Sr. Kiden’s research examines internal quality assurance policies of public universities in South Sudan, seeking to understand how these policies are implemented, their relevance and obstacles to their implementation,” ASEC officials say in the October 21 report seen by ACI Africa.

They add referencing Sr. Kiden’s research area, “There has been a recent governmental push in South Sudan for lecturers to hold a Ph.D., as well as a general need for highly trained educators.”

The Kenya-based nun who enjoys reading, gardening and singing previously served as Head of the Department of Education, and Dean of the Arts and Social Sciences at the Catholic University of South Sudan (CUSS).

According to the leadership of the U.S-based education initiative, the pilot doctoral scholarship program will support the Sisters through their education and research requirements, as well as engage them in professional and learning opportunities.

Developed in 2020 under ASEC’s Scholarship Program, the capacity building initiative seeks to support two women religious in Africa pursuing doctoral degrees.

Established in 1999 by four Catholic universities in the U.S. and their respective Religious Orders, ASEC’s mission is to facilitate access to education for women Religious in Africa, leading to enhancement and expansion of the education, health, economic, social, environmental and spiritual services they provide.

In the last 21 years, ASEC has facilitated the education of at least 5,300 Sisters spread across 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]