WorldShare has been supporting the training of Chaplains linked with the work of HEAL Africa since 2016. Through the programme and the annual training sessions, over 70 Chaplains from local communities have been well-trained and even better equipped to return to their respective communities full of inspiration.
The initial basic training consists of classroom and practical sessions covering the following topics:
- Counselling and Pastoral Care
- Missiology and development
- Clinical Psychology
- Biblical Hermeneutics for a holistic care
- Professional Practice in various locations; hospital, school, prison
While a 6-week training period may seem significant, unfortunately there is a lack of personalised education for the Chaplains to apply to their environments once they return home. This means that the Chaplains have the basic knowledge, but are left to develop their skills with limited follow up or mentoring.
Fortunately, one of WorldShare’s partners has been heavily involved in funding some of this work. It has encouraged WorldShare and HEAL Africa to develop a follow-up programme, using very experienced and highly qualified locals from neighbouring African countries. One of the goals of this programme is to train the HEAL Africa Chaplaincy team so they can gradually supervise the coordinating and mentoring work. Hopefully by Spring 2021, this plan will be fulfilled; Covid-19 permitted.
Once Chaplains are selected, the first year of this programme will be launched by means of three contact blocks with external facilitators. While this approach may be slightly different, consistent visits and encouragement of each Chaplain will help ensure its success. In that way, the skill level, reach and impact of the Chaplaincy programme will be greatly enhanced.
Listening is a skill, meaning that once learned, it should also be cultivated. A key aspect of this training will be to help the Chaplains learn just how to listen. They will then be able to encourage the communities to share what they have learned from each other, and apply that to their own lives.
Over the recent years, rural communities have had to deal with many challenges including the impact of; civil war, terrorism, Ebola and more recently Covid-19. With much dedicated work, the goal is for the HEAL Africa team to transition into the primary mentors and supervisors, bringing confidence and encouragement to local communities.