The Department of Human Development at the National Catholic Secretariat (NCS) with the various Catholic Diocesan Development Offices (DDO) throughout Ghana, which forms Caritas Ghana are poised to consolidate the success of the Catholic Church’s mission of charity in the country.
With support from Misereorand a Change Management Consultant, the capacity development for the DDOs and efforts made thereof to improve the Church’s charity work in the country is steadily improving, as more Diocesan Development offices are streamlining their programmes and systems to infuse progressive changes in their operation.
This came up during the DDO Capacity Development Review Meeting in Accra on recently, which attracted DDOs from all the 20 Arch/Dioceses in the country and other international partners.
Mr. Samuel ZanAkologo, Executive Secretary, Department for Human Development (DHD) at the National Catholic Secretariat (NCS), said the change process which is to help improve the Church’s development efforts was not just about supporting the DDOs but to also impact on DHD.
He said a lot of work has been done and their advocacy and visibility has improved both at the local and international policy spaces, as well as strengthened their membership in the global Church charity work (Caritas Internationalis), but stressed that effective monitoring and evaluation was helping tract the success of the programme, which was in its first year.
As part of the review, the Dioceses were required to give feedbacks on their achievement and challenges, and to identify the gaps that still exist in their capacities as well as discuss with partners the next follow up steps.
So far, Mr. Akologo stated that the progress of the programme was positive, in view of set targets.
“We have made significant inroads with fifty per cent of the Dioceses taking concrete steps to reform their Diocesan offices among others and more than 15 Dioceses are now doing follow up meetings to improve on their development efforts,” he said.
He noted that the work was revealing new gaps but assured that they would address them.
Most Rev. Gabriel A. Mante, Bishop of Jasikan and Episcopal Chair for Human Development, in an address noted the essence of change, stressing that “change is an inevitable condition and a process necessary for every human being and organization”.
“We Ghanaians want change of structures, change of political leaders and other changes, but we ourselves never change” said the Bishop, who bemoaned our attitude of not willing to change to ensure the holistic development of Ghana.
He said “every successful and positive change begins and ends with individual person, because of the strong influence personal attitudes have on accepting or adjusting to change,” and entreated Ghanaians to reflect on their lives and endeavour to change.
Noting that change requires a catalyst, Bishop Mante said change efforts required accompaniment, adding that leadership or political support was essential for sustaining any change process.
He emphasized that “even though change processes are ongoing, Dioceses can learn from the change process and adapt to plans to initiate development,” adding that it was necessary and important to examine, evaluate and assess the change efforts the DDOs have made over the years.
In an overview, Mr. EdwardAloysius Prah, the Management Consultant handling the project, said the objectives of the whole programme was to strengthen the capacities of the DDOs to carry out their function of planning and implementing relevant projects and to do the works they were set up to do, in line with general ongoing changes at the National Catholic Secretariat.
Mr.Prah acknowledged that some progress was made in the project, but said a lot more could have been done, entreating the DDOs toattach more urgency to achieving the objectives of the project.
He said there was need to appreciate the new trends of the Church’s approach to development and public policy engagement in order to ensure holistic development, and urged the DDOs to deepen their understanding in development. “Understanding ultimately translates in an attitude that improves on overall mission of the Church in development,” he added.
*Participants at the review meeting.
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