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ISTHA faculty and students join the Africa E-Reader Team and Higher Education and Ministry staff person Rev. Shannon Conklin-Miller for a group photo.

The Africa E-Reader Team met together for their second annual meeting September 15-16, 2017 at La Maison d’ L’Esperance in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Members of this team include myself, Higher Education and Ministry’s Rev. Dr. Beauty Maenzanise, Julu Swen (Liberia), Joe Ndzulo Tueche (Cote d’Ivoire), Pierre Omadjela (DRC), Rev. Thomas Munengwa (Zimbabwe), Perfeito Massamba (Angola), along with guests HEM’s Rev. Greg Bergquist, Rev. Shannon Conklin-Miller, Dr. Amos Nascimento, and Kimberly Lord.

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Entrance sign to ISTHA.

The meeting started on the morning of September 15, we visited one of the E-Reader partner schools, Institut Superior de Theologie (ISTHA)—about 30 minutes from our hotel. We were warmly received by ISTHA Dean Rev. Dr. Marcel Tata and Rev. Dr. David Kouadio, the school’s E-Reader Project Manager, and students with songs, prayers, and greetings. After Dr. Tata’s opening remarks, I met with the students and asked a few questions. Dr. Kouadio mentioned that 10 of the students had just received their e-readers that morning and asked for a training. Pierre Omadjela led the training on the spot, and Julu Swen taught some parts. Massamba and Thomas helped students find their way on the e-readers.

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Africa University professor and E-Reader Project Manager Thomas Munengwa assists an ISTHA faculty member with her e-reader.

After returning to the hotel, we had a conversation about the regularly occurring issues facing the project, such as collecting fees from each school, deeper training of project managers, supporting faculty in using e-readers in the classroom, and creating better documentation for all facets of the project.

We discussed our visit and enjoyed a technology training led by Joe Ndzulo Tueche, Shared Services Manager for GCFA in the Central Conferences. Joe brought out insights, based on the E-Reader Project. He stressed the importance of making sure the devices stay updated and available to internet access. He calls E-readers “the secret weapon of the United Methodist Church for shaping clergy.”