Summary of SSVP training mission at St. Martin’s Parish, Freetown, Sierra Leone
The training was conducted on June 8-10, 2023 by the Formation and Training Coordinator Africa I, Dr. (Sister) Veronica Nnenna Nwokocha. The program started after the registrations of thirty (30) participants and three observers. The opening prayer was said by the Priest of St Martin’s Parish, Rev. Fr Afo James Agbor, and the welcome address was given by the National President, Sister Rosamond Sannoh.
Formation was offered to the participants on the following topics:
- Expectation of participants
- The essential conditions to become a good Vincentian
- Historical background of SSVP
- Basic report writing template.
- Spirituality life of our founders
- Communication skills
- Team building
- Leadership skills and time management
- Records keeping and accountability
- Conducting effective meeting
- Membership drive and retention
- Fund raising
According to Renato Lima, for one to be considered a good Vincentian, he/she should show love, particularly in discharging all the duties and to view them as personal sanctification of the soul. There should be effective communication, which is one of the problems observed in some places in Africa 1.
Leadership should be considered a service and not a position to order people around. Employing good language to motivate, influence and inspire members to improve their services is part of the strategy. Leaders should sometimes develop a sense of humor in front of their members, create space for dialogue, convey ideas and tasks clearly and listens to other people’s opinion.
Team building is very important as it is the ability to work together harmoniously to achieve the mission’s goals with ease. It involves operating as one family serving both members and our masters the poor.
In addition to the above, a good record keeping and accountability while holding SSVP funds is necessary. There should be high level of transparency and those in authority should be prudent in spending SSVP funds. To achieve these goals, conducting regular meetings will help in monitoring and evaluating the activities performed in the Society.
A courtesy visit was made by the SSVP delegates to the Archbishop of Freetown, Most Rev. Dr. Edward Tamba Charle, who thanked the CGI for the funds allocated to his country for the development of the Society and specifically, for the reactivation of 27 conferences that were dormant due to the civil war. The Archbishop promised to assist the SSVP’s work in Sierra Leone and gave his blessings to the group.
Based on the experiences and observations gathered during the training, the following recommendations were enunciated:
- The participants should offer the training to their conferences. The Handbook of Conferences were given to them to use for further training at meetings;
- There should be continuous, effective and efficient services delivery in SSVP training;
- To the SSVP members in Sierra Leone, those amongst them who have served in SSVP leadership positions in the country, they should serve as patrons and advisers to the organization, particularly to new conferences, instead of backing out or losing interest because they are no longer in leadership positions;
- The conferences should be accountable of their stewardship to the Superior Council as well as keeping a close collaboration with it.
Dr. (Sis) Veronica Nwokocha
SSVP Formation and Training Delegate