Faith-based institutions empowered to play greater role in national development
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Officials from faith-based institutions across St. Kitts and Nevis spent Wednesday enhancing their capacities in project planning in order to play a more meaningful role in addressing social ills impacting the community they serve and the federation as a whole.
Some 46 church representatives attended a one-day workshop dubbed “Project Management Training for Members of the Church Leadership and Christian Ministries,” organized by the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs, at the Solid Waste Management Corporation Conference Room.
The session is part of the ministry’s strategy to foster closer relations with and greater collaborations between the state and the church. The training was welcomed by participants.
“I say thanks to them because they decided that they want to empower the church and our citizens to be able to work with government to help develop the country along these lines,” said Minister Roxroy Campbell of the Salvation Army, who added that his organization deals with matters relating to disaster mitigation, humanitarian relief, poverty reduction and housing solutions, among others.
The Rev. Stacia Williams-Christmas of the Methodist Church stated that her interest in the workshop was spurred by the information sharing on developing projects and applying for grant funding. “I find that this is a very good idea,” she said. “It was something to embrace and to encourage and I think out of this that we will have [people] who better understand the way forward in developing their own projects and what are the right ways of doing things.”
Child delinquency is of particular interest for Williams-Christmas, who explained that this is influenced by the negative attitude that some adults have toward children and the choices of a few misguided parents. She added that strategies on ways to correct the related issues are “a work in progress” for her church and the training will help in this regard.
Facilitator Azilla Clarke, who works within the Ministry of Community Development, led the participants through a number of sessions including: Introduction to Production Management; Risk Assessment and Mitigation; Sustainability Planning; and Project Communications, Responsibility and Charter.
“Definitely we would want to see the churches take back some of these tools to their fellowship, whether it be management or the greater body, and begin to flesh out some of the things that they are seeing to move away from this chaos of gloom and doom to a concept of hope,” Clarke said.
The participants were challenged to review their organization’s strengths and weaknesses, identify social issues in their communities and develop a clear plan of action to address a particular issue.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour Ron Dublin-Collins noted that engagements will be held in the near future for representatives from other religions to empower them in a similar fashion.