Originally published in the June-Sept Edition of Around Africa. By Aniedi Okure, OP.
On May 19, 2014 I set out on an eleven day trip to Accra to prepare the groundwork for AFJN’s empowerment project workshop scheduled for the fall. While in Accra, my host Fr. Eric Wiafe, director of the Center for Justice and Peace at the Catholic Institute of Business and Technology (CIBIT), who also serves as the Justice & Peace Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Accra, arranged several meetings with community and opinion leaders. He connected me with Msgr. Jonathan Thomas Ankrah– President of CIBIT, with Fr. Patrick Murphy Amos, director of Governance, Justice and Peace office at National Catholic Secretariat of Ghana.
Fr. Eric Wiafe also created a forum for me to address the Ghana Association of Catholic Social Scientists. Members of the association were very receptive to the empowerment project and look forward to contributing and participating in the training workshop. I also met and discussed with the coordinators of the office of Justice, Peace & Good Governance at the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) office, the continental secretariat in Accra, and addressed our Lady Seat of Wisdom Catholic Community on AFJN and the empowerment project.
Regarding the number of participants in the training workshop, the original plan of was to conduct a training workshop with participants drawn from one deanery in the archdiocese. The consensus from our recent meetings and consultations in Accra is that we do an Archdiocesan wide training instead of one deanery. Although the implication of this new suggestion is that the number of projected eighty-five participants is double what was originally expected, we agree with this suggestion and are working to find means to accommodate the eighty-five expected participants.
The advantage of this new strategy is that it will be more effective to have all units of the archdiocese on board with the project at the same time. It will also make it easier, should the need arise, for the archbishop or his delegate to issue a common, archdiocesan wide announcement on a given concern, or rally people around a common issue.
Following the consultations, the challenge was to find a conference center to accommodate participants since the archdiocese does not have such a conference facility. After several contacts, we secured the Presbyterian Women Conference Center for empowerment training workshop from October 8-11, 2014
We are grateful to Raskob foundation and the Institute for Policy Research at Catholic University who make it possible for us to conduct the empowerment training workshop.