Supporting selected projects of members of the communion is a core task of the UEM and one of the specific contributions of the UEM to missionary witness. To further professionalize this work, a workshop for project officers of the UEM member churches in the Africa region was held from June 10-14, 2022. It was hosted by the Eastern and Coastal Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT/ECD) in Zanzibar, coordinated by the regional office of the UEM. Fourteen staff members of the church working in project management participated in the workshop. The participants came from Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Africa.
The UEM had commissioned two experts in project management to lead the workshop. Elie Leuwe from the Evangelical Church in Cameroon (EEC) and Safari Kanyena from the Baptist Church in Central Africa (CBCA) helped participants brush up on the basic principles of the Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (PMEAL) approach promoted by the UEM. The two experts will also lead a second planned workshop in 2022, targeting francophone members of the region.
The workshop was hands-on and participatory. Participants drafted their own project proposals and presented them to their colleagues. The workshop also provided an opportunity to visit projects of the Church District of the Eastern and Coastal Diocese in Zanzibar such as the "Upendo House" in Stone Town with its interfaith women's project and interfaith center. Since the UEM had funded an income-generating project in 2019 in conjunction with the Upendo Women's Center, the workshop participants were able to critically evaluate the original project proposal and report afterwards. However, all of them would have supported it in the same way as the UEM did.
The goals of this workshop included collegial exchange, learning with each other, sharing the new funding criteria and reporting formats for UEM projects, presenting the standards and processes for the UEM project funding, and how to correctly fill out the UEM application forms.
The organizers of the workshop drew a positive picture. Above all, the exchange with others and the collegial feedback were of crucial importance to them, as Zakaria Mnkai, UEM Programme Officer, emphasized: "This workshop bridges many gaps: the one between our colleagues in the member churches and us the UEM staff. We will now move closer together and better understand the interrelationships in the churches. In addition, the workshop strengthens our participants, as they now know that they are no longer alone, because a network of these professionals will be built within the UEM Africa region."
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