Over the last year, the community development arm of the Diocese of Lebombo, Acção Social Anglicana – ASA (Anglican Social Action) has been busy using a tool that many other Dioceses in the Southern African Province are using for their Social Development work. This tool is called Church & Community Mobilization Process- CCMP, mostly called by ‘Umoja’, which is a Swahili word meaning Unity, Working Together. It is a process, developed by Tearfund, which enables and empowers the church together to be able to holistically serve itself and the surrounding communities spiritually and physically.
Umoja calls the Church to first look inside, mobilise people, identify needs and use local resources for problem solving. The methodology consists of envisioning the leadership of the church, selecting and training lay people to be facilitators, working with congregations, identifying problems and finding solutions for the problems and celebrating successes.
So far 49 clergy and catechists from parishes have been envisioned about the Umoja process and how community development can flow from this. Then facilitators are chosen and trained from these parishes over 3- 4 days. As a result of the trainings, the facilitators go back and envision their congregations about Umoja, mobilize people to voluntarily belong to the Church Coordination Group (CCG), which is a group that will support the work of the facilitator and carry on with the process. Here are some examples of some of the initiatives that have emerged from this process:
- In the Parish of Trevo, the Mother’s Union Groups began a sewing initiative for liturgical vestments and school uniforms and to also assist the needy and elderly with basic products.
- In the Parish of Nhamavila, they are using straw to produce baskets, bags, hats and other goods to sell. With the profits, they have managed to build a Parish office which also serves as the room where they work and sell.
- The Congregation of Matutuine, have identified a lot of natural trees which are good for producing coal. They are also doing this environmentally responsibly.
For more information, have a look at the Anglican Social Action Facebook page.