JENA MILLER CENTER Social Enterprise Workshop
Ever dream of changing the world or making a difference? Well, this is the dream and vision of Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network in Africa (JENA). For this dream to come to reality Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network in Africa (JENA) in collaboration with Miller Center laid a foundation in the past few weeks by training 27 participants from the Jesuit Social Centres . The workshop took place from the 26th to 28th February 2019 in Nairobi at the Dimesse sisters conference hall.
The workshop began with introductory remarks from Fr Charles Chilufya SJ the director of JENA reminding the participants on the mission of network that is to, “accompany the poor, and give them power to overcome poverty”. He stated that the network’s mission is supposed to bring change and value to Africa. He noted that ,the social enterprise workshop is important for the network members in these modern times emphasizing that it was time, “to give value to our work, develop new strategies and change the way we have been working in order to develop financial stability and be innovative”. Therefore, Miller Center came in to accompany the Social Centers by offering mentorship, practical tools, and rigorous programs that helps the centers to find answers to difficult situations of our time.
This workshop was a continuation of what the participants had learnt in the previous workshop of remodeling Jesuits Social Ministries in Africa in November 2018. In addition, all the Social Centres submitted their social initiative for social enterprise and the facilitators gave feedback on them and what needs to be improved . Most Social Centres shared their visions and selling point of their work that is what makes them outstanding. The Social Centres had one common end goal that is to accompany vulnerable people and empower them to participate in the job market, lead them to be innovative so that they can create jobs, produce products that they can sell and transform the society.
The participants also learnt more about developing business plans for their Social Centres incorporating following components in their business plans, executive summary, mission statement, vision statements, objectives, business impacts, metric impacts and marketing strategies among others.
Participants were also advised to always ensure that they engage working partners and see who they can work with. They could look at governments or donors as working partners that help them to achieve their end goal.
On the last day, mentors from Miller center interacted with the participants but most of all listened to what plans, works that the participants engage in their Social Centres. They were guided on what direction they should take in regard to some of the activities that the centres engage in. They were also asked difficult questions to help them to be more critical, innovative and have sustainable projects in the Social Centres.
Article by Elizabeth
JENA communications officer