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Is Financial Management only about money?

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

Sr. Elsamma is all smiles as she unpacks her new laptop provided by ASEC's generous funder, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

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Sr. Elsamma reflects on her SLDI Finance workshop and how it opened her eyes to the areas of stewardship, accountability, integrity and ethics, all of which are important for good finance practices.

I want to express my deep gratitude to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for the educational programs they are sponsoring for all religious ministering in Africa. Programs in both finance and administration are being offered. The knowledge gained from these programs is greatly aiding the improvement of all institutions in which the enrolled religious are ministering.

Having been away from any scholastic formation for quite some time, I was happy to be asked  by my Congregation (MMM) to enroll, and excited to have been accepted by AWRIM (Association of Women in Religious Institutes in Malawi). I chose the Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) Finance Track I which I attended during June and July, 2017. This was an opportunity to strengthen my present work by learning new technology applications. I encourage as many sisters as possible to take this course. Besides fundamentals of finance, there is much to be learned about stewardship, accountability, integrity and ethics, all of which are important for good finance practices.

I discovered that this program also taught me personality development, and allowed me to interact with colleagues working in the fields of healthcare, accounting and education. I was especially impressed with the way in which AWRIM arranged this program to be affiliated with Catholic University, and with the effort made by the facilitators to come to us to teach their areas of special expertise. It was a great challenge for all of us to understand that our success in our coursework is a positive step in our ability to prepare the people and society in Malawi in little ways that will have a significant effect on forming future generations as civilized societies.

We were left with some questions to ponder. What is meant by Financial Management? Is Financial Management related only to money? Was our coursework only related to business and dealing with money? Since money is a need demanded by all walks of life, what can I do to assure its growth in value so that it is available to all people? How does my own sincere, dedicated, responsible understanding of time management relate to working together for a better society?  How can I teach others to use their own time and energy better, forgetting selfishness and greed in order to serve humanity by bringing about equality, justice, peace and harmony? Do I understand that risk and initiative are good for growth? Am I committed to personal and organizational goals that assist me in living with people of different understanding, different backgrounds, different cultures while promoting open communications and positive thinking?

Thank you, Hilton Foundation, for enabling me to see that now is the time to wake up and see the possibilities for development in my surroundings, and to understand that this begins with my own ability to set and achieve personal and communitarian goals.

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Employee at St Mary’s Rehabilitation Centre in Dowa District - Malawi  

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