On February 14, a workshop on Systemic Change was started in Guatemala by two members of the Commission for Systemic Change. Here is the information we received from the first day:
Two members of the Family’s Commission for Systemic Change arrived to the city of Quetzaltenango, in the western highlands of Guatemala, in Central America, to share their perspective on Systemic Change with organizations that form a collaboration known as ALIANZA. This collaborative group includes: the Daughters of Charity of the Province of Central America, the Sisters of Charity of New York and their Guatemalan organization- the Barbara Ford Peacebuilding Center; and the National health Commission and the Program for Early Childhood Development of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala. Also in attendance is the field team of ALIANZA who are in the process of developing a “model of Collaborative Governance in Health” that seeks to walk with communities in a process of discovery and mobilization of solutions that improve the health and well-being of the population, with emphasis on children. A representative of Ascension Global Mission (affiliated with Ascension, largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system) which has supported the formation of the ALIANZA initiative was also present.
The first day of the workshop was well received as participants had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of systemic change, Vincentian spirituality and the Social Doctrine of the Church, and evaluate each of their individual organization’s own work in the light of this perspective. A participant said: “many of us discovered that we were always Vincentian without knowing it! But this reflection has impacted us, and motivated us to make changes and innovations and to rekindle the passion for service to the poor.”
Jim Claffey just retired from the St. Vincent de Paul Society on Long Island, where he served as Director of Formation and Programs. Jim currently serves as the executive secretary of the Vincentian Family’s International Commission to Promote Systemic Change.