March 12, 2013
The Church in Africa has been urged to, as much as possible, raise funds locally to support its socio-economic and pastoral programmes. This call was made by Rev. Fr. Nicholas Afriyie, Secretary General of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference in a presentation on Strategies for Resource mobilization and Self-reliance for SECAM during a meeting of Secretaries General of National and Regional Episcopal Conferences that is currently taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa.
According to Fr. Afriyie, “ the time is long overdue for Africa to be self-reliant in carrying out its numerous projects without depending too much on financial resources from foreign partners” He wondered what would happen to these projects if we fail to get foreign support. He said that the writing is on the wall that this may happen as funds are dwindling due to limited funds being raised by our foreign partners since they are facing economic challenges in their various countries.
Fr. Afriyie suggested the setting up of a Fund-raising Committee at the level of SECAM. Such a Committee, he feels, may be able to identify and tap resources and opportunities within the continent. He also hoped that a decision taken by the Plenary Assembly of SECAM last year to take a collection on a given Sunday annually if implemented will go a long way raising funds locally. He therefore appealed to bishops, priests, religious and the laity in making this a reality. “We have to look within Africa to raise the needed funds without depending on about 90% on Partner Agencies.” He emphasised.
In the course of the meeting the participants were taken through a workshop on the use of New Social Media in enhancing the profile of SECAM and in the process of reconciliation, by Mr. Dave Duarte, Managing Director of The Ogilvy Digital Marketing Academy. The negative and positive aspects of social media were looked at. In order to improve the sharing of communications among the Secretaries General, each one of them created a Twitter Account. The workshop was highly appreciated since for most of the Secretaries it was the first time to use this form of social media.
Regional reports were presented on developing key strategies and priority actions towards the celebration of the Year of Reconciliation at the Continental and Regional levels. This is to be in fulfillment of one of the decisions taken by the Plenary Assembly of SECAM.
The presence of the Secretaries General of CCEE and FABC at the meeting was highly commended, as it was seen as a sign of closer collaboration between SECAM and other Continental Episcopal Conferences. It may be recalled that SECAM and CCEE have been holding joint programmes for over a decade.
The meeting has as its theme: “The role of Secretaries General of National and Regional Episcopal Conferences in the reconciliation processes, Good Governance, Common Good and Democratic Transitions in Africa, in the light of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortations: Ecclesia in Africa and Africae Munus.”
From the Communications Office of SECAM