Advocacy… to be a voice for the voiceless…

On March 24, 2017, a training seminar was held at the General House of the Missionaries of Africa on “Advocacy and Lobbying as Mechanisms for Advancing the AEFJN Plan of Action” (Africa-Europe Faith and Justice Network / Africa-Europe Faith and Justice Network).

The two members of the team in Brussels, Mr. Gino Brunswijck and Mr. José Luis Gutierrez, trained to “advocacy” thirty religious men and women from various missionary congregations. They explained their commitment to the European Union on the various issues at the heart of the AEFJN. They also shared their experiences of networking with other civil society and religious organizations in Brussels and in Africa.

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The goal of their advocacy is to be the voice of those who are voiceless in Africa. Advocacy is a non-violent form of making known internationally the injustices committed by land grabbing, mining, etc.

The plea reminds us that it is concrete people, women, men and children who suffer and are the victims of economic exploitation in Africa.

The means used by advocacy are multiple: publication of information received, petition, exposure of photos, various forms of public action, training and animation, etc.

Today the social media offer even more ways for advocacy: the website (www.aefjn.org); Twitter (@AEFJN); Facebook (in development).

The Brussels team works on behalf of our respective congregations, it offers their services to us who work in Africa and for the African world. It seeks to intensify collaboration with Africa. I personally retain two requests from them.

  • For international advocacy to be more effective, it is essential to receive important, relevant and reliable information from the grassroots level in Africa. As a result, we are on the ground of the necessary intermediaries for the causes of the poor and exploited to be heard on an international scale.
  • For AEFJN advocacy to have more influence with politicians and the structures that matter, it is important to show our strength as a number. This becomes for example visible on the Twitter account. By becoming an AEFJN “follower” on Twitter we are strengthening the voice of the voiceless.

In this time of Lent, let us offer our strength and our means to make the voices of the poor, the exploited, the voiceless of Africa heard!

Bon Carême

Andreas Göpfert,
Coordinateur de JPIC-ED

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