Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA
Beneficiaries of the Catholic Care for Children (CCC), an initiative aimed to help create awareness on holistic family and community-based care for the vulnerable children, have express eagerness to be instruments of transformation on packaging messages on their works.
The CCC program has been rolled out in three Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) countries; Kenya, Uganda and Zambia and are managed by Religious congregations under their umbrella bodies: Association of Sisterhoods in Kenya (AOSK), Association of the Religious in Uganda (ARU) and Zambia Association of Sisterhoods (ZAS) who run various Child Care Institutions (CCI’s).
In a recent collaboration between AMECEA Social Communications Department and the three CCC’s, the program has been offering mentorship sessions to help mentees know and understand ways on how to create awareness on CCC activities.
“The training and mentorship program have been beneficial to us and to the people we serve,” one of the beneficiaries Mr. Joseph Wichenje the CCC-Kenya Case Manager said during an overview of the program on Thursday, March 11, adding “Training has opened another paradigm shift in terms of how to package the message of the works we do.”
Mr. Sentongo added, “Each and every activity has brought us to the attention on how we present the work in form of print media or even broadcast. I look forward to engaging more in a one-on-one forum.”
“I appreciate a lot the inter-disciplinary approach the training offered especially when it comes to the scope,” another beneficiary Sr. Lilly Driciru the communications officer for CCC-Uganda highlighted during the online session and continued, “It was quite enriching and brought out the moral teaching authority of the Church especially the reminder on media ethics and the principles of Catholic Social Teachings.”
On his part, Mr. Eddie Moses Chilongo from CCC-Zambia acknowledged that the sessions have been beneficial noting that, “We hope what we have learnt will be helpful to the children especially the vulnerable and we look forward to more sessions that will positively impact on what we do.”
Speaking during the session that brought together about 30 participants from the three countries, the AMECEA Secretary General Fr. Anthony Makunde encouraged Secretary Generals of the Associations of Sisterhoods to continue working in collaboration.
“This move has proved to us that it’s possible to collaborate, to work together, to plan together, and to implement together without interfering with each other’s identity or structure,” Fr. Makunde told participants adding, “We only need to remove the curtains of fear and prejudice which normally prevent us from carrying out possible activities together.”
When we work together, he said, “We can access more resources to help us fulfill our mandates and mission in our respective countries. I appeal to everyone that we consolidate our efforts in building up what we are doing now for the benefit of the entire region.”
Highlighting some thematic areas, the project was to focus on during mentoring sessions, the AMECEA Social Communications Coordinator Fr. Andrew Kaufa said that the main activities that were to be implemented in 2021 included, “responding the findings during the need assessment, continuation of mentorship for capacity building on communications in the CCC’s and dissemination of news CCCs activities.”
Other areas of concern were “to look at the messaging focusing on the issue of stigma and how it affects children in CCC’s, creating awareness among the Bishops’ Conferences about the CCC approach in the care of the children, and give technical support to CCC’s with regard to the most appropriate means of communication including use of website and social media platforms,” Fr. Kaufa narrated.
He disclosed that even-though the implementation of some activities were achieved as planned, some activities still need to continue this year as the Covid19 pandemic affected the implementation of 2020 plan.
Facilitator for the four months training period Ms. Miriam Ayieko awarded the mentees for their active participation during the sessions in three categories – attendance, active participation and creative story writing.