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St. Elizabeth of Schoenau
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Involvement of all the vital forces of the Administrative Units



Meeting of the Commission for the sustainability of the Mission in Africa and Asia

02/11/2015: Madagascar

A second meeting of the Commission for the Sustainability of the Marist mission in Africa and Asia was held on Oct 21 – 23 at Antsirabe, Madagascar. It took place after a first meeting was held in Rome (in Nov. 2014) to meet, to talk and to understand a working methodology, proposed by the professor June Allison Westarb Cruz at Marist Curitiba (PUCPR) in Brazil.

We have not yet started working at the various Marist administrative units in African and Asian countries. But the mere fact of having come to Madagascar to see up close the real life in the Marist works of one of the many countries that need organisational and managerial accompanying as well as financial, has served to further clarify the method of work and make it ‘fit’ better in reality.

Three members of the general administration were present: coordinator of the working team and general councillor brother Víctor Preciado, econome general brother Libardo Garzón and FMSI director brother Mario Meuti. There were representatives of some of the provinces of Africa and Asia: brothers Kiko Baeza of the PACE province, Celestine Okoye from Nigeria, Michel Maminiania of Madagascar and Mervin Pereira of the South Asia province.

June Allison Westarb Cruz and Rony Ahlfeldt of tje PUCPR guided the work during the three days. Jude Pieterse of the Southern Africa province, John Bwanali of the MIC and Tata Oliver of the West Africa district were not able to take part in this encounter.

Brother Sylvain, the Provincial of Madagascar, greeted the participants, stressing the need that his Province and Africa in general has of this accompanying programme.

Brother Víctor recalled briefly the history of this Commission’s work, which was desired by the XXI General Chapter and which has passed through various stages. These stages included a meeting in Malwai, with the members of the International Council of Economic Affairs (Oct. 2011) in which the economes provincial of Africa were invited, a revision by the general council, the appointment of the new “ad hoc” commission with members from Asia, and finally a clear working programme, which began its meeting in Nov. 2014 in Rome.

On that occasion, Professor June Allyson proposed a methodology based on the involvement of all the vital forces of an administrative unit, to direct toward clear objectives and share all the human and economic resources available, together with any external resources, if necessary.   

All members of the Commission were put to work, to have direct experience of the proposed method. They first made a “SWOT ANALYSIS,” then a subsequent “BLUE MATRIX” to highlight the elements considered most effective and productive. Finally, they arranged the methodology around a “final matrix,”ready to be proposed to the General Council for approval and then to the local TEAM for their training, with the aim of course to apply the process to the respective administrative units. During its plenary session in January 2015, the general council approved the methodological process and chose three provinces to start it: Madagascar, the province PACE and South Asia.

The meeting in Madagascar, as mentioned, was not done to begin the process yet, but it has been very useful for the Commission to check many details of the method, carefully studying each stage and especially being physically in touch with certain aspects of the Marist works in Africa, which is difficult to see out of the real context. It served as well to study how to properly and effectively inform the administrative units involved in this process and to ensure the involvement of each of their leaders.

Among the decisions, which arose, there is, in fact, a detailed communications strategy, including a technical document of the process, a disclosure document to facilitate the understanding and the interest of many, a video and other benefits…, not forgetting, of course, a formal letter of presentation by Brother Víctor, coordinator of the Commission.

Significant suggestions also emerged from the meeting for the composition and preparation of the local TEAMS.

Each group will have a formation period of four weeks, of which the first and the last will have proposals for work at a distance, while the two main ones in person.

The scientific responsibility of the programme is entrusted to a team of the PUCPR, coordinated by prof. June Allison Werstab Cruz.

The time and place of the meetings in person were established: Feb. 15 – 20, 2016, in Nairobi with the teams chosen from Madagascar, Nigeria and PACE and representatives of Southern Africa and the West Africa district.

From Feb. 22 – 26, the group of Madagascar will return to continue working in their own country to accompany the start of work of this administrative unit and the participants of PACE and Nigeria, Southern Africa and West Africa District, will continue their work in Nairobi.

The work “in person” at the South Asia province will be from March 7 – 25, 2016, meeting with local teams for different countries: Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan.

It is important to mention and give thanks for the support that this commission receives from the provincial superior, brother Joaquim Sperandio, the econome of PMBCS, brother Jorge Gaio, in allowing that at least six people of the province actively participate in the project.

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