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Over the last six weeks, Development Mentor for Western Africa Michael Osei Nkrumah has organised two important events for his region – the first was a Members’ Meeting in Ghana, and the second a Learning Event in Nigeria. This is a special report by Michael about both events.

Members’ Meeting in Ghana
The name Misean Cara in English means mission friend, and as one of the newest Development Mentors my role is to support our members’ efforts in development work. It is in this regards that I organised a country meeting, and workshop with members at the Samaritan Villa in Kumasi, Ghana from the 13-14 of May 2015.

The object of the event was to give an insight into Misean Cara (funding schemes, sector policies, applications, available support and criteria), the mentorship programme and to further understanding about grant proposals.

The workshop brought together 13 participants representing 8 out 9 member organizations. They included Sisters of Saint Louis; Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles; the Spiritans; the Redemptorists; Saint John of God Brothers; Missionary Sisters of Holy Rosary; Daughters of Mary and Joseph; the Christian Brothers; and Daughters of Charity.

Highlights of the event included an overview of the various funding schemes and policies; the mentorship programme as a support to enhancing quality; demonstrating results; and reinforcing sustainability in members’ work. Participants conducted a stakeholder analysis on a case study using tools like a stakeholder matrix; investigating problems (needs assessment) by means of a problem tree analysis and solution analysis; building results chains; and how to set indicators (qualitative and quantitative) for projects.

Learning Event, Nigeria
The first of its kind in the region, the members’ meeting was held at the Eucharist sisters, Saint Leo’s parish Ikeja Lagos from the 27 to 28 of April 2015. The event came off the heels of an evaluation conducted on selected educational projects in Nigeria. It was an occasion to share the findings with members to understand what went well in education, what can be improved, and how to collaborate to form partnerships to scale up projects in education.

The event brought together 24 participants from 6 member organizations including the Presentation Brothers; Sisters of Saint Louis; Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception; Dominican Fathers; Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul; and the Infant Jesus Sisters.

I facilitated the event with support from Elizabeth Kennedy, the Misean Cara Learning and Development Officer, and Anthony Hannon, Misean Cara Project Officer who explained the policies and guidelines surrounding funding applications. The Education Partnership Centre (TEP) who conducted the evaluation in collaboration with MDF West Africa shared the following results:

  • Over 90% of members’ work in education are relevant to Nigerian government policies, and targets for education provision;
  • Projects have impacted positively on students and teachers; and
  • Internal sustainability i.e. income generating activities, succession of missionaries and capacity development was very encouraging.

Members discussed the issues of striking the balance between equity, providing good quality education and sustainability; and indicators of quality. They also discussed the need for construction committees, and preference for scale up rather than out among a host of others.

A 3-member panel made up of Br. Kirwe Mattias Yelkopb from the Presentation Brothers, Dr. Modupe Adefeso-Olateju, the Managing Director of the Education Partnership centre and Chioma Obi-Osuji from DEEPEN discussed: ‘’The role of partnership/networks and collaboration in strengthening the sustainability and scalability of Misean Cara Education Projects in Nigeria’’ to sum up the perspectives of each panel member, Dr. Modupe stated: “to go faster, go alone but to go further go together.”