Sisters' Blended Value Project
Transforming Social Ministries into
Social Enterprises in Eastern and Central Africa
The Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA) has partnered with Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship to transform social ministries into social enterprises in Eastern and Central Africa, where more than 30,000 Catholic Sisters serve some of the most marginalized people on the planet.
The Sisters’ Blended Values Project (SBVP) provides practical, hands-on learning experiences, apprenticeships with local social enterprises, and mentoring in social entrepreneurship for Catholic Sisters, enabling them to transform their congregations into social enterprises, with a special focus on women and youth.
This project has two essential components: the Sisters Apprenticeship and the Sisters Accelerator. Local social enterprise partners apprentice Sisters in their successful business models, and Sisters replicate these to start up their own enterprises. Eggpreneur teaches poultry farming to foster women’s economic empowerment. NUCAFE mentors Sisters in sustainable coffee growing, entrepreneurship, and forming local cooperatives. Teach A Man To Fish, which trains Sisters and teachers to lead students through the startup process, and then together they launch school-based social enterprises. Read our 2020 SBVP Field Report for more information.
In the Sisters Accelerator, Sisters build out their own business plan to guide their growth. This program follows Miller Center’s curriculum structure, and Sisters are guided by our mentors. As a result of the accelerator, the Sisters apply for impact investment. In the future, Sisters will replicate these entrepreneurial initiatives within their congregations and for other congregations of Sisters.
ACWECA has extensive experience in leadership training for Sisters, and has initiated the SBVP partnership to enhance the mission of Sisters in this region and foster the sustainability of Sisters’ congregations. ACWECA’s Secretary General Sister Hellen Bandiho said:
“The SBVP is a unique project of acquiring business skills to sustain the Sisters’ ministries which aim to serve the poor and vulnerable people especially children, youth, and women. The Blended Value Project provides income generation opportunities to meet the basic needs of the congregations and the people they serve.”
Miller Center is developing the social enterprise curriculum, and collaborating with ACWECA to deliver it to Sisters in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Miller Center’s Student Fellows are conducting action research to support Sisters in their enterprises (for example, see our 2019 project with Eggpreneur). As it gains experience in social enterprise acceleration, ACWECA will assume progressively more responsibility for the SBVP. This partnership is funded by the Hilton Foundation’s Catholic Sisters Initiative.
“At the Hilton Foundation, we are working to support Catholic Sisters in becoming recognized as global leaders in sustainable human development while building a global sisterhood,” said Angelique Mutombo, senior program officer, Catholic Sisters Initiative at the Hilton Foundation. “Miller Center’s Sisters’ Blended Values Project supports that goal.”
Partners in Social Entrepreneurship
Miller Center’s partnership with ACWECA includes:
- Custom GSBI Accelerator cohorts for Catholic Sisters and Jesuits focused on transforming social ministries into social enterprises. Each participant is paired with Miller Center Executive Mentors who accompany them for the duration of the program.
- “Enterprising Sisters Apprenticeship” places Sisters with Miller Center’s social enterprise partners to acquire practical start-up business skills.
- Global Social Benefit Fellows from Santa Clara University are placed with Sisters for summer fieldwork to provide market research, impact assessment, and business development strategies, and to support the development of the apprenticeship program.
- Specialized curriculum, digital content, and a digital platform that can be delivered using mobile technologies.