, 07 November, 2019 / 4:23 AM
African nuns have been encouraged to have a positive view of the media and engage them in a bid to give visibility to their ministry among the people of God on the continent.
“In this age, the use of media is a key component in the sisters’ life,” Ms. Doreen Ajiambo told over sixty nuns who were attending the Catholic Sisters Initiative conference at Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.
“It is through the media that the work of the sisters can be known (since) media is the voice of the innocent and the voice of the marginalized people in the community,” Kenyan-born Ajiambo who is the regional correspondent of the Global Sisters Report (GSR) covering Africa and the Middle East told the nuns.
At the same event, the head of Catholic Sisters Initiative, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Sr. Jane Wakahiu regretted the silence on the impact of the ministry of religious sisters on the continent.
“The stories of the sisters are not told, we therefore need to communicate the stories, we need to tell the impact of the work of the sisters, the impact on communities, and the impact on institutions,” Sr. Wakahiu underscored.
“Communication is central, that is how we tell our stories showing the leadership of the sisters in the places where they are working,” Kenyan-born Sr. Wakahiu who is a member of the institute of the Little Sisters of Saint Francis told the nuns.
The dozens of nuns at the Lusaka conference were drawn from 11 African countries. Nuns from Europe and the United States of America (USA) were also in attendance.
“Communication is not only for the work of the sisters, even for the dioceses the story of the Catholic Church has to be told and it has to be told with numbers,” Sr. Wakahiu reiterated.
The three-day conference which concluded October 25 was the 3rd Africa convening of the Catholic Sisters Initiative, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation after the first that was held in Ghana in 2017 and the second that was held in Uganda in 2018.
Themed as “faith, hope and learning-owning and communicating the stories of sisters,” the religious nuns were also encouraged to collaborate with other women religious congregations and other partners so as to monitor the impact of their services in the society.
“Sisters alone will not be able to do everything, we need to work hand in hand with the communities where we serve (including) the government, the local communities, the poor and the vulnerable,” Sr. Wakahiu said.
“Sisters are facing similar challenges whether in the global North or global South,” Sr. Wakahiu said and continued “there is need of working together so that sisters from the North can teach sisters from the South and vice versa.”
She probed, “If we are working in the same space and all of us carrying out the same ministry, how can we work together to deliver to the people in a better way?”
The 3rd Africa convening was funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and hosted by Zambia Association of Sisterhoods (ZAS), a women religious association formed to unite all women religious congregations in Zambia to share their experiences under one platform.
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