Murt Curry SJ has spent a packed fortnight in Zambia, with two consultants, Anne and Brenda (pictured here) from the International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTARC), London. They were evaluating the ability of the Mission Office and the Zambia/Malawi Province to handle what they call integrated funding, a simpler, less paper-ridden method than the project- and salary-funding used at present; it involves submission of a comprehensive plan, and then receiving the appropriate funding in a lump sum. Read more below about the evaluation. The consultants visited every major Jesuit project in Zambia, and quizzed the directors in a precise and well-thought-out way that Murt found impressive. Because their questions were so good, they got a fantastic explanation of what went on. “For the first time, said Murt, “I understood the GC 35 phrase: A fire that lights fires. You could see how one project generated others.”
Anne and Brenda were clearly impressed by the quality of the work they saw in the centres for Appropriate Technology (Chikuni), Agricultural Training, Theological Reflection, Inculturation (Frank Wafer), in the Chikuni radio station, in Charles Lwanga Teacher Training College, in the City of Hope, run by Salesian sisters who receive funding from Murt’s office; and in St Ignatius’ parish in Lusaka. They met the Irish Aid person in the Irish Embassy, and Josephine and Dermot, the JVI volunteers who went out in September (pictured here with their Jesuit mentors, Charlie Searson and Declan Murray).
The INTARC team has still to produce its report. They could see that the Jesuits, having survived 450 years, are not a fly-by-night operation. They could see that John Guiney, the Mission Office Director, having handled a budget of €10 million in the East Africa Jesuit Refugee Service, would not be daunted by the sort of funding in question. Murt feels that the trip was worthwhile.