Social Capital extant in Pax Romana
Pax Romana ICMICA Africa is an organization made up of affiliate groupings in the continent. These groupings come together because of their profession and practice of the Catholic Christian faith. In recent years, efforts have been building to make the continental mother body relevant and effective in the discourses in Africa. Drawing from Agenda 2063 of the African Union, the continent’s revival is premised on sustainable agriculture, innovation, improved access to health and enduring conflict resolution ways among others. With a young population topping at 60%, Africa is in a race against time to find home grown solutions for a myriad of problems ranging from unemployment, poor industrial growth, religion influenced conflicts, corruption and bad political governance systems. In the discipline of business management studies, theorists argue that organisations thrive or survive to the extent they are endowed with strategic resources. This resource based view posits that such resources need to be rare, inimitable, valuable and non-substitutable if they are to endure and be competitive on the global forum. Pax Romana ICMICA Africa can explore the advantages arising out of social capital in order to exert influence, hence relevance in the scheme of things.
A number of scholars have studied this phenomenon called social capital – Putnam, Nahapiet and Goshal, Bourdieu and others. Social capital as explained through networks which account for superior performance in the various aspects of human life, be it educational performance, households’ material welfare, health and well-being, good governance, has garnered considerable attention in the body of knowledge. Pax Romana ICMICA Africa should ride on the trust and social networks which have been built over time and translate or convert this into useful capital consistent with the objectives of the organization. These social connections explained in human relations are strong and may engender abundant trust, reciprocity, information flow, collective action, happiness and ultimately value(Lessler and Cothrell,2001). The world is in an information era, where organisations that have access are in the lead because of the competitiveness arising out of such. Information is about trends in the market place , untapped or yet to be exploited customer bases, useful knowledge about climate change , new insights on sustainable agriculture , improved ways of combating of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Africa has encountered a number of undesirable occurrences like floods, severe droughts, diseases like Ebola, religion based violence. With reliable early warning and detection systems and devices, proactive research methods and free flow of information across borders, the story could be different. The severity of the droughts could be lessened for example, a number of disease strains could be detected early hence prevented and sectarian violence could be stemmed through sharing of information in the networks.
Social capital is a function of trust. Whilst it varies from person to person it remains situationally consistent. The national associations which are affiliated to Pax Romana ICMICA Africa need to utilize the bonds and connections which exist intra as well as inter. Best practices which exist for example in MCCP of Madagascar , should be transmitted to KCP of Kenya and ZCPA of Zambia. In this way, knowledge and skills transfer is done at little cost, hence benefitting the whole movement. Knowledge sharing is done through social interaction, storytelling, mentoring, demonstration and observation. It becomes necessary that all affiliates of Pax Romana ICMICA Africa share and provide details of their conventions, community initiatives, engagements and discussion forums. Sister affiliate movements will organize learning visits and in the process tap into best practices within the continental body. In addition, the regional/continental secretariat can organize webinars, symposia and exchange visits with the assistance of other church bodies like Caritas Internationalis. When local organisations are capacitated, this gives rise to sustainable interventions. Africa is at a place where she needs to find, as a matter of urgency, home grown solutions to the many challenges being faced. Faith based organisations like Pax Romana ICMICA have an inalienable duty to assist in this solutions search. The intangible resource of social capital which exists in the movement or grouping provides ample opportunities in this regard.
Albert Dhafana – president of the Catholic Professionals Network of Zimbabwe