Year Joined MKLM: 2011
Focus: Economic Development and Education
Project(s): NGO Capacitar Tanzania and
Archdiocesan Health Department
Project Goal: Provide support for and empower women’s cooperatives to improve the livelihoods and well-being of their families
Chris comes to Maryknoll Lay Missioners from Charleston, SC, though he is originally from Mississippi. He graduated from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC with a BA in Sociology and a Masters in Social Work. He has extensive volunteer experience and has also worked as an International Student Advisor and an Adjunct Instructor at the University of South Carolina. He became interested in working overseas after two years of service with AmeriCorps. He first learned about Maryknoll Lay Missioners from his wife Katie who also serves with him in Tanzania. Chris says, “After years of domestic service we chose Maryknoll Lay Missioners because of its social justice focus and the respectful approach to the cultures in which it operates”.
Chris is currently working with the NGO Capacitar Tanzania to provide logistical and moral support for women’s cooperatives as they establish projects and create a sustainable future for themselves and their families. Capacitar Tanzania’s primary focus is to train women in simple health and wellness exercises to help alleviate the physical and spiritual strain of daily life. There are currently over 100 women involved in his group. They come from diverse backgrounds and have limited education. Some have steady employment and a decent standard of living while others do not. Most are single women supporting children or other relatives and struggling to make ends meet.
Chris tells us, “These women know their problems, and ultimately, they know the solutions too. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is empowering these women to recognize that they themselves have the ability to improve their circumstances. They hold so much potential but many are simply convinced that they cannot make a change on their own. Yes, there are very real problems to overcome – poverty, illness, lack of opportunity. My goal is to provide guidance to help these women to help themselves”.
A secondary ministry which Chris is involved in is working for the Mwanza Archdiocesan Health department. His responsibilities are to provide training to the staff on various computer software and systems, develop a departmental website to be fully bilingual, train the staff on how to update the website with information, review the office procedures and suggest upgrades as needed. Chris is also responsible in assisting to implement the department’s strategic plan, seek out and apply for funding grants and assist with the implementation and monitoring of the departmental projects.