The LM is a formation programme that is aimed at promoting effective Leadership in the Region, National Associations and in Religious Institutes. In particular, the Programme focuses on addressing gaps in areas of Chapter Celebration, formation, governance and sustainability and the administration of temporary goods.

For as long as ACWECA has been in existence, leadership formation has been a growing need for the sisters in the region. In fact it was one of the reasons that led to the formation of ACWECA in the first place. This need was collectively expressed by leaders of Religious institutes who found themselves in leadership positions without prior preparation.

As a result, the 13th ACWECA Plenary Assembly held in Tanzania mandated the then secretary General to source for funds to organise formation programmes for superiors and provincials. And according to Sr. Chimbali, Hilton Fund for Sisters has been the key partner funding these leadership formation programmes

Then, during the implementation of the 2011- 2016 strategic plan, ACWECA leadership and administration observed that the sisters in the region still needed more support on leadership formation. And when ACWECA prepared its 2017-2022 Strategic Plan, leadership formation featured as one of the key areas to be addressed. Sister Chimbali further explained that that the LM programme was therefore designed in response to this felt need.

Besides fostering effective leadership, the other key objectives of the programme are strengthening initial and on-going formation and fostering self-sustenance in the National Associations and in the Religious Institutes.

Thus in all, the LM programme has five components and one of which empowers leaders in “exercising the power they have received from God through the ministry of the Church in a spirit of service.” This five day programme targeting superiors who have newly been elected to the leadership of their Institutes helps them with skills on how to take on their new responsibilities.

Another programme that targets superiors helps to empower them with skills to administer the temporary goods of their institutes and sustainably manage those goods. And according to the Coordinator of the programme, Sr. Jacinta Auma Opondo, FSSA the temporary goods of a religious Institute are means that help religious Institutes to realise their mission based on their patrimony. She further explained that the temporary goods of an Institute would include its assets (the movable and the non-movable assets – emphasis by the writer) including the human resource – i.e. members of the institute, among others.

And also importantly, one of the modules of the programme trains superiors on how to gracefully hand over the custodianship of the patrimony of the institutes to the next leadership. This module particularly targets superiors who are in the last three years of their leadership.

So far ACWECA has organised two of these courses – for superiors who are in the first three years of their leadership and for sisters who have matured in their vocation in chapter facilitation. Both of these groups will complete their final modules in July 2018, while the first training for superiors who are in the last three years of their leadership will have their training in May 2018.

Although the Leadership for Mission programmes are specifically targeting superiors and sisters who have matured in their vocation, participants who have attended some components of the programme said that it would be beneficial for all sisters.

“The content of this programme is so rich that it would benefit all sisters,” a participant ever Chapter Facilitation training held at the ACWECA Secretariat March 2018 observed. Sister Carmel Abwot of the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Gulu in Uganda could not agree more. She said the three weeks training felt more like a spiritual retreat. And another participant, Sr. Hilda Bamwine of the Society of the Sacred Heart Sisters added: “At one time when the participants came for lunch, I saw people whispering as if they were for a spiritual retreat and to me that spoke volumes.”