April 23, 2014

ZIMBABWE: Church and its DFPs Challenged to be More Aggressive

Church-and-its-DFPs-Challenged-to-be-More-Aggressive

HARARE, April 22, 2014 (CISA) -Professor Ranga Zinyemba Vice Chancellor of Catholic University in Zimbabwe has advised the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference ZCBC and its Developmental Funding partners in a meeting held recently at Africa Synod House that “…Both the Church and its funding partners need to learn new skills, and develop new capacities, new attitudes and have the adaptability to work differently in order to maximize development aid.”

Proffesor Ranga Zinyemba was speaking during one of the roundtable sessions at a gathering of 50 participants which included all the bishops together with funding partners which for the first time included non-church partners who all had a goal of hammering out a plan for a better coordination of new evangelization to the locals.

In his presentation, Professor Zinyemba   offered six tasks that the Church in Zimbabwe together with its DFPs should partake “at this time in history were developmental aid from Europe is dwindling.” One of those tasks was to do a, “joint scenario mapping at Diocesan level.”

“Joint scenario mapping by the church and DFPs at Diocesan level would surface the needs of the Diocese in the first instance before any consideration as to financing the developmental needs is contemplated, this will in turn allow DFPs to indicate what they are able to fund and advise the Diocese on who the Diocese could approach for funding of what is outside the partners’ portfolio.”

Prof Zinyemba urged both partners to become more aggressive and competitive and scout for more opportunities. “Imagine a scenario; instead of applying for a grant application on its own, CARITAS may leverage its profile and chances by forming a consortium with like-minded organizations, especially at an ecumenical level,” reported ZIMCATHOLICNEWS.

He also felt that ZCBC should engage itself with the new era of development aid, creating an enabling environment for self-reliance. “Many donors are currently eager to fund governance and human rights work in Zimbabwe….it would therefore be relevant to make applications for humanitarian and Justice and Peace commissions ZCBC to be given NGO status a position that will make  Developmental Aid more accessible,” he said.

Professor Zinyemba said the Church should be more business-like and innovative in its development structures.

“By becoming more business-like and innovative, the church in Zimbabwe would be doing what its sister churches elsewhere including what those in other African countries are doing; Uganda runs the largest private bank in that country while the church in Kenya runs a successful insurance business,” he said.

In response Rt Rev Dieter Scholz Bishop of Chinhoyi Diocese was of the views that trust issues and corruption will always derail such efforts to be business minded.

“Time and energy I had to spend in labour cases involving my corrupt managers of our programmes are just out of this world,” he said. “Translate this into finding managers of major programs like starting an insurance company or a bank for instance,” he continued, “who would you possibly entrust considering a cancerous culture of corruption that has recently devoured our country.”

Rt Rev Alex Thomas Archbishop of Bulawayo diocese stressed the essential need to change the mindset of the whole Church and professionalizing Catholic institutions for developmental purposes.

“We need a different strategy towards development than what we already have,” said Archbishop Thomas.

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