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Marist School Leadership Programme for Africa

 

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Meeting of the Preparatory Committee

18/03/2014: Kenya

For over twelve months now a group we commissioned has been working on the development of a program for the formation of Marist school leaders in Africa. From their first meeting it was apparent that there was not only a need but also a strong desire for such a program, and if developed well the program could have deep and lasting effects for our mission in the twenty countries where we work in Africa.

The group has just completed its fourth meeting and are close to finalizing a comprehensive program that has undergone several drafts so as to be sure that it will meet the needs of African leaders as well as being practical and achievable. The program was never imagined as a single event; a 'one-off' workshop that stood in isolation to other programs and activities. It was always understood that the program, while commencing with a significant formation workshop would need to include preparatory and follow-up activities with structures that supported the ongoing development of leaders after their attendance at the first major event of the program.

We envisage many reasons to carry out the program, as:

  • Building a 'culture of hope' among our young people is more likely to happen in schools committed to developing students who will be authentic and competent leaders who learnt this from solid modelling in their schools. 
  • It brings into dialogue and cooperation each of the 69 schools in 21 countries, who educate 57 593 children and young people across the continent of Africa.
  • It will provide us with a comprehensive and systematic approach to the formation of laypeople - an area significantly lacking across the continent, and with over 5000 lay collaborators working with 450 brothers, an area that requires urgent and sustained attention.
  • At a time when too few in government and business recognize the enormous potential education provides in reshaping the countries of Africa, this program, if sustained and successful, could well be a model well beyond our Marist, and indeed, our Catholic world.
  • Our schools, and their leaders in particular, are in dire need of this development. Unless we work at developing leadership capacity and depth the sustainability of our schools is seriously under question.

This program presents a real opportunity:

  • opportunity to change leadership paradigms, characterized by values deeply respectful of God's people;
  • opportunity to create dialogue that will realize collaboration and indeed coresponsibility in a new way;
  • opportunity to build a new vision of the Marist charism for Africa.

The group undertook their work in a spirit of openness and it has brought them to a point where we they are convinced of the potential of this program to do more good than had been first imagined. It has the strong support of the Superiors of Africa and with this pivotal endorsement it has the possibility of achieving collaboration in a way already realized at MIC. It was with these perspectives and hopes that happened the meeting of the Preparatory Committee of the Marist School Leadership Programme for Africa from 6 to 8 of March 2014, in Nairobi.

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Joao Carlos do Prado, Gary Norton, John Kusi Mensah, Maminiaina Michel Razafimandimby, David Hall,  Mario Meuti 

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