Beneficiaries of Catholic Sisters’ Initiative in Education Creating Jobs in Africa

Some of the beneficiaries of entrepreneurial projects by ASEC's alumni in Africa.

Beneficiaries of African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC), an initiative that supports the education of women Religious across Africa, are creating jobs for thousands of people in Africa through various entrepreneurial projects, officials of the Catholic entity have reported.

“Projects initiated by ASEC alumni Sisters have created 3,800+ jobs in under-served, rural African communities. The businesses founded and run by these entrepreneurial and educated sisters have generated jobs that reduce poverty right in their own communities,” ASEC officials say in the Tuesday, February 23 report.

In the report, ASEC’s leadership highlights the activities of four Catholic nuns who are offering employment opportunities to locals in Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana.

In the East African nation of Uganda, Sr. Maria Teopista Namigga, a beneficiary of ASEC, is the Director of the Cabana Sisters’ Bread Bakery that has provided employment opportunities to 30 people, “many of whom are orphans and school dropouts who need to support themselves.”

A member of the Institute of the Sisters of Immaculate Heart of Mary Reparatrix (IHMR), Sr. Namigga is a 2013 alumna of ASEC’s Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) program, which provides leadership and technology training to Catholic Sisters in Africa.


She is also a 2016 beneficiary of Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) program, an ASEC initiative that offers Catholic Sisters opportunities to study for their Diploma, Undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Africa or online in the USA in fields relevant to their respective ministries.

Through HESA, the Ugandan-born Nun was able to pursue a Diploma in Leadership and Resource Management at Tangaza University College (TUC), the Nairobi-based Catholic institution jointly-owned by 22 Religious Orders.

Sr. Namigga’s education “has provided her with the ability to create jobs for her community,” ASEC officials say in the report and add that the bakery produces about 70-80 loaves of bread per day for the local community, half of which feed children at local schools.

The management skills acquired from the Diploma course have also allowed the ASEC beneficiary to profitably run the bakery and provide additional income for her congregation as well as enable her to save enough to pay some tuition fees for the employees.

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Apart from offering employment, the bakery that is located in Uganda’s Kiyinda–Mityana Diocese also serves as the local technical school’s training ground, where students “can get practical on-the-job experience,” officials of the US-based initiative add.

In neighboring Tanzania, another 2009 SLDI alumna “used her newly acquired administration and project management skills to take on major projects to improve infrastructure” in the country.

Thanks to Sr. Benedicta Anslem’s initiative, her congregation, the Evangelizing Sisters of Mary (ESM), hosted a seminar that employed 21 people and educated 300 women on home management and self-reliance skills within a year.

The Nairobi-headquartered Religious Congregation also facilitated the construction of three classrooms, an undertaking that saw 24 people employed and 600 children educated.

The same year, ESM leadership also facilitated the building of a solar pumping water station that employed 30 people and continues to serve close to 4,000 people, the report dubbed “The Unlikely Women Creating Jobs and Reducing Poverty in Africa” indicates.


“Not only did these projects provide immediate construction jobs, but once completed, the projects have continued to provide meaningful employment to dozens of people across Tanzania,” officials of the 22-year-old Catholic entity say.

In the West African nation of Nigeria, Sr. Justina Ijeoma Elom established St. Helen’s Sewing Centre after completing her SLDI program in 2009 with an aim to “specifically employ the poor.”

“With the budgeting skills I acquired in the SLDI program, I was able to monitor and use our resources very judiciously,” Sr. Elom, a member of the Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd (SJGS), has been quoted as saying in the report.

She adds that she has gained other skills such as leadership, facilitation, team building, and personality type and need assessment, which have enhanced her new apostolate.

Sr. Elom has used profits from St. Helen’s Sewing Centre to purchase additional equipment and establish personal savings accounts for her eight employees to help them plan for their future.

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“Personal successes of employees of the center range from paying off medical debts, to completing home improvements and re enrolling their children in school,” ASEC’s officials recount in the report.

In Ghana, Sr. Stephany Ayomah, a 2009 SLDI beneficiary “is improving nutrition, reducing poverty and creating jobs in her local community through multiple human development projects focused on economic empowerment, gender equality and healthcare,” the leadership of ASEC says.

Sr. Ayomah, a member of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI) carries out her work in the rural area of Ordorme in the Nanumba North district of Ghana that is “overlooked by government assistance and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).”

“Poverty rates are high and the diet is poor in Ordorme, but Sr. Stephany has committed to improving the lives of her neighbors through the Ordorme Rural Women’s Empowerment Project,” ASEC’s officials say in the February 23 report.

They add, “The project began with meetings under a mango tree and has since grown to a 200-capacity meeting hall funded through a grant secured by Sr. Stephany. Through the group, local women can learn a variety of income-generating skills like soap-making and farming.”

The report further indicates that Sr. Ayomah acquired a grant to construct a building and purchase an oven for Ordome Bakery, which “not only serves as a source of income for her congregation, but also provides jobs for the youth, who use their earnings to further their education.”

“Now, Sr. Stephany has plans for a nutritional unit at the clinic which will serve severely malnourished mothers and children and also create more jobs in her community,” officials of the Pennsylvania-based education initiative further say.

“ASEC program participants have applied their education and skills to creating and sustaining jobs. SLDI and HESA alumni projects have created thousands of jobs in under-served rural African communities,” the leadership of the Catholic entity says and invites the people of God to support the education of Catholic Sisters in Africa.

Established on 8 December 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 22 years, ASEC has facilitated the education of at least 5,300 Sisters spread across 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.