The training workshop was designed by LUMKO, who have many years experience of working with grassroots groups within the Catholic Church. The course was conducted by Fr Gabriel Afabgegee, SVD, who is the present director of LUMKO. The workshop took place at the Holy Cross Retreat Centre in Lady Selbourne just outside of
Pretoria , which itself is a symbol of defiance to Apartheid in the local area. From an initial group of 20 respondents we ended up with only 8 PACT-enablers attending the workshops. This was due to unexpected work commitments and illness from a flu virus that was making its rounds. The participants were mainly from the Pretoria/Johannesburg region with 3 Enablers from as far as
Mpumalanga coming down to attend.
The session was opened by Sr Lilian Curaming, FMM and continued by Fr Gabriel. The majority were lay people with two religious Sisters attending. There were four males and four females, but all were recognised leaders in their local communities, and all had a love for peace and at the end of the workshop, a love for the Damietta Peace Process.
Participants at the Workshop
The closing sessions on Sunday, 9th September were conducted by Lance Thomas and Freddy
Mnyongani, both staff members of the Damietta Peace Initiative. Topics dealt with at the workshop were, Leadership and Effective Leaders, Raising Awareness and Initiating Groups, Teamwork and Sustaining Groups, The Art of Facilitation, Setting up of PACTS and Planning the way forward. Jane Andanje (DPI Programme Manager), in the absence of Fr Donal thanked the participants and handed out the certificate of participation to all participants with the assistance of Sr Lilian.
The feedback from all those that attended was very positive, with only one negative, referring to time management of the participants. From the assessment sheets everyone was very impressed by what was dealt with. Fr Gabriel’s easy manner in which he conducted the workshop was often mentioned. All participants indicated a renewed desire to get stuck into the work of establishing PACTs in their local communities.
The staff members of the Damietta Peace Initiative also felt that the workshop was a success and the aim of making the Enabler’s feel empowered to initiate PACTs was achieved. The only negative was the poor turnout, yet those that could not make it to the workshop have indicated a willingness to initiate a PACT in there local communities and these will still be followed up.
As a way forward and ensuring the sustainability of the local PACTs in , the Damietta Peace Initiative undertook to train local leaders who showed interest in developing PACTs in their local areas. The purpose of this training was to impart facilitating skills into these leaders, as well as imbue the spirit of
Damietta in these individuals.