Archive | May, 2014

Successful second workshop in Guyana for ‘Awaken’ programme

13 May

In a hot and clammy room last week, 15 facilitators from across the Diocese of Guyana (made up of clergy, MU members and youth leaders) came together to spend a week learning about the next stage of the ‘Awaken’ process (otherwise known as Church and Community Mobilisation Process).

The journey began in 2011 when the Mothers Union first prioritised CCMP as the way forward for the Diocese, and in 2013 the first workshop was held. This recent workshop is the second of four workshops to be held to build the skills and confidence of facilitators, empowering them to go out into their church, then their community, to engage with locally identified needs and challenges, having first focused on what the bible can teach us about issues of poverty and social challenges. Already many of the facilitators have completed a series of interactive and thought-provoking bible studies in their own church communities and much of the feedback has been positive; “we didn’t know the bible could be so accessible and relevant like this” and “we are so hungry to study the bible more in this way” were just some of the comments facilitators received. So often the bible is presented to poor communities as something that is ‘black and white’, and something that only the privileged can access and debate. But through CCMP, church communities are encouraged to think deeper about bible scripture, and explore what it might say about how they should interact with their fellow communities. CCMP is ultimately about switching mindsets from dependency and fatalism (someone else will help me, I can do nothing to help my own situation) to one of hope and empowerment (as a community we have these resources and we can work together to solve our own problems, we don’t need to depend on anyone but God) and this transformation is already starting to begin in grassroots communities across Guyana.

As we’ve previously discussed on this blog, the journey is a long one, and quick wins won’t happen. But the change we see will be lasting, and deep, and Mothers’ Union will be responsible for helping to facilitate that! With several more workshops to go, the facilitators in Guyana need your prayer and encouragement  – even more so given that they are the only Mothers’ Union group to be doing Awaken (CCMP) outside of Africa, and they will hopefully become a strong case study for other countries in the region to be able to adopt CCMP.


Here the facilitators are preparing their role plays for the bible studies; this is Jesus walks on water.



Some of the workshop was spent reviewing creative skills such as drawing – so much of Awaken is based on being able to creatively help people to visualise the bible as well as their challenges and ideas, so it’s key that the facilitators feel confident in their ability to deliver things creatively!



Here, (from L-R) Thelma, Patricia, Father Alfred, Corville and Albertha are demonstrating the different ‘lenses’ people view life through, as part of a discussion in understanding how people approach life and why that might be.



And in this last photo, you can see some of the facilitators who are joined at the table by some community members. We spent one day of the workshop visiting a church community of one of the facilitators, near New Amsterdam. Here the facilitators were encouraged to practice their newly learned skills for getting to know a community; in this picture the facilitators are drawing a seasonal calender getting the community members to fill in as much as possible. Along with resource mapping, and a history timeline, these three skills were taught to facilitators to enable them to go out into their communities and map out all of this information as the next stage in the process. When this is done, the needs and challenges will emerge, as identified by the communities, and the next stage of the process can begin – finding solutions to those problems and dreaming dreams as a church and community. 

Hopefully this gives you a bit more insight into what goes on in the CCMP process; it can often sound more complicated than what it really is all about – connecting churches and communities back together again; mobilising them to act together to solve their challenges. And MU is at the heart of this!