The Center for Clinical Pastoral Education and Social Services (CECPES) has graduated 16 Social Workers and 14 Pastoral Care and Counseling Practitioners. The ceremony took place on Friday, August 7, 2015 at the CBC Director of Health Services (DHS) Conference Hall in Bamenda.
The graduates were full of praise for the programme’s transformational value, touting self-awareness as the first step which will help them develop empathy for their neighbours and clients. The pastoral care students dubbed the programme as “a tool for deepening God’s call”, adding that their training as pastors would not have been completed without such a training. New Social Worker, Anabel Wuyika said dealing with different experiences, personalities and circumstances will help them through their practice in hospitals and beyond.
The Director of Health Services (DHS), Prof. Tih Pius Muffih encouraged the graduates to share the knowledge they have acquired, as only in doing so would they learn more, enhancing their ability as comforters of persons in need. Prof. Tih also expressed his delight at having a stock of staff that will increase the knowledge base and care of patients.
Representing the CBC Executive President at the event was the CBC Director of Evangelism and Missions, Rev. Dr. Fimba Felix who acknowledged the training as a rare opportunity in the less developed world. He called on the new Social Workers and Pastoral Counselors to use the chance they had to serve for God’s glory. Rev. Dr. Fimba described social work as a multidisciplinary profession that often involves complex relationships and a wide skillset.
On his part, the Principal of the Baptist Training School for Health Personnel (BTSHP) Banso, Mr. Nkwan Jacob pointed out the need for a mutually beneficial network between the institution he runs and CECPES, encouraging collaboration between schools.
The Director of CECPES, Rev. Dr. Ndongndeh Godlove admitted that the programme will face some challenges as awareness spreads about its benefits. He revealed that the training is already receiving candidates from the Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary (CBTS) Ndu and enthusiasts from the private and public sector, and there is talk of an expansion to make it compulsory for training pastors and chaplains. The CECPES Director noted the need to plough more resources if the number of interested candidates keep rising.
Social Workers are trained to improve the quality of life and subjective wellbeing of individuals families, couples, groups, and communities through research, policy, community organizing, direct practice, crisis intervention and teaching for the benefit of those affected by social disadvantages such as poverty, mental and physical illness or disability, and social injustice. The Social Workers will have the opportunity to practice in different CBC Health Services for the next six months after which they will be evaluated and posted.