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International Women Religious Living in Kenya in 2017

Executive Summary: This report presents findings from a national survey of international women religious living in Kenya. The study was motivated by the need to establish the needs and experiences of international Sisters living in Kenya. For the six months I was at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate in Washington, I came to realize that being away from home is a unique experience. Kenya as compared to other African countries is a home to many religious institutes. Many of these institutes are missionary by nature meaning that membership is both internal and external. Understanding the nature of needs and experiences of international women religious living in Kenya forms the basis for laying better strategies that would see them even enjoy their life in the country more as well as becoming more fruitful. A good number of those who participated in this study were students while a smaller number comprised Sisters undertaking different apostolic activities.To obtain the names and contact information for these women,the researcher contacted the executive secretary of the Association of Sisterhoods in Kenya (AOSK) who in turn contacted the major superiors of religious institutes that belong to the Association. Basically, the study was carried out through the collaboration of the researcher, AOSK leadership and that of the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) in Kenya. While AOSK provided information on sisters living, working or schooling in Kenya, ASEC specifically provided the contact information of international women religious schooling in Kenyan colleges and universities whom they sponsor. To begin, the secretary of AOSK invited the researcher to one of their major superiors’ gatherings to inform them about the study. The superiors present, through their Chair, were each given several copies of the survey for their international women religious community members. To accelerate the process, the AOSK executive secretary sent to individual sisters the same survey online.In addition to the meeting with major superiors, several other meetings were held with international women religious students studying in two different universities during which surveys were distributed. The same survey was sent online to those who could not be reached in person. On the whole, 500 surveys were distributed through different means. Of these,a total of 320responded to the survey by December 31, 2017. This represents a response rate of 64percent of the international women religious living in Kenya who are known to these two groups.

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