AEFJN, what is it about?

Last month, confreres asked me what does “AEFJN” mean and what is it about?

AEFJN is the abbreviation for “Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network,” (in French “Réseau Foi et Justice Afrique – Europe”). AEFJN is a Faith-based International Network present in AFRICA and in EUROPE, established in 1988 by Catholic Religious or Missionary Institutes present in Africa and Europe. Nearly fifty Institutes are AEFJN members.

We as Missionaries of Africa are very much involved in supporting AEFJN through providing resource people as well as making an annual financial contribution. Actually, Fr. Martin Grenier represents the M.Afr at the annual AEFJN General Assembly and he works on the Steering Committee of AEFJN, based in Rome. In my function as JPC-ED Coordinator, I collaborate with the AEFJN team in Brussels. Several confreres in Europe are very active in the AEFJN ANTENNAE (national groups), such as Wolfgang Schonecke in Germany, Ted Wildsmith in UK and Miguel Larburu in Spain.

The AEFJN International Secretariat in Brussels does advocacy and lobbying work with European Institutions on issues relevant to Africa. The aim of AEFJN is to promote international economic justice and to be the voice for Africans especially for those who are exploited and marginalized through land grabbing, extractive industries and the unfair trade system.

In order to be efficient and to bring up relevant issues regarding Africa, AEFJN needs local information concerning economic injustice in Africa. This information can only come from you!

Indeed, every Missionary of Africa is a member of AEFJN along with the tens of thousands of members in the other fifty missionary institutes. That is a lot of people. Let us actively become the voice of exploited and marginalised people in Africa!

For more information, discover the new website of AEFJN Brussels: http://aefjn.org/fr/accueil/ or http://aefjn.org/en/home/

Andreas Göpfert
Coordinator of JPIC-ED

See also the presentation of AEFJN on our own website.

Are the multinationals that vertuous?

Please note that the video at the bottom of the page (ARTE +7) is only available until 8 August. Watch it ASAP! Note as well that it is very interesting but ONLY IN FRENCH! Introduction to the video: Would a growing share of official development assistance be diverted to large multinationals in the agri-food sector? A staggering survey conducted in three African countries: Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania. Continue reading “Are the multinationals that vertuous?”

Pour une mobilisation de l’Europe contre trafic des enfants (Pape François)

Le pape François a envoyé un message, lundi 3 avril 2017, à l’Organisation pour la Sécurité et la Coopération en Europe (OSCE) dont la « 17ème Conférence de l’Alliance contre la traite des personnes » se tient à Vienne, comme nous l’annoncions le jour-même: le pape appelle à la mobilisation de l’Europe contre le trafic des personnes, notamment des enfants.

Le message a été lu par le p. Michael Czerny, SJ, sous-secrétaire de la Section migrants et réfugiés du Dicastère pour la promotion du développement humain intégral.

Le Saint-Père a appelé le problème « une forme d’esclavage, un crime contre l’humanité, une grave violation des droits humains et un fléau atroce » et il a affirmé que, dans certains cas, « l’évidence fait douter du réel engagement de certains acteurs importants »

Lire le document intégral en français sur le site de Zénit

 

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.

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

Integrity of Creation in Kasamba (Zambia)

Like elsewhere the phenomenon of deforestation raises a lot of concerns in Zambia. People cut down trees for various reasons. Due to the current electricity problems in cities people use charcoal as their source of energy more than ever before. Hence burning charcoal has become the main source of income for people in rural areas. Thousands of bags of charcoal are taken to Lusaka and Copperbelt day and night. Luapula province which used to be a land of vegetation is gradually losing its identity.

As Missionaries of Africa working in Kasamba, we felt that we had to do something about this phenomenon. In view of raising awareness about the care of our environment, last year we undertook a tree planting project in our Parish. So far we have planted about 3,500 pine trees. We wish to extend this project to at least 10,000 trees in the coming years.

What is more encouraging is that the people of Kasamba are now becoming aware of the importance of planting trees. At the end of last year Caritas Mansa gave to each parish 200 seedlings of pine trees to give to their members. Personally I was amazed to see how people literally fought over those seedlings. Because of this increasing interest in planting trees we are planning together with the Justice and Peace group of Kasamba to have a seminar about how to make nurseries in order to produce more seedlings. In this way we hope that our mission of caring for our environment will extend to the entire Parish and hopefully to the entire Diocese.

Benjamin Itungabose, M.Afr.
(taken from SAP Blog)

Do not classify others – Pope Francis

“Do not classify others in order to see who is a neighbor and who is not. You can become neighbor to whomever you meet in need, and you will do so if you have compassion in your heart. “, declared Pope Francis. He wanted to encourage and fortify all those who strive for a Land, a Work, a Roof. That is what he wrote in a message dated 10th February, a message addressed to the participants to the Popular Movements Meeting in Modesto, California, from the 16th to the 19th of February 2017.

Read the News on Zenit Website

We must cultivate peace daily – Pope Francis

We must cultivate peace daily, with our own hands, so that it spreads to the rest of our suffering world. According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis gave this encouragement to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on the three images of the dove, rainbow, and the Covenant, present in the day’s First Reading from the Book of Genesis, in which Noah releases a dove after the flood.

Continue reading on Zenit Website

Review of “Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians” of John Paul Lederach

Since I got involved with peace studies, peace education and training on conflict prevention, several times I came across the name of John Paul Lederach, an international peace practitioner, scholar and mediator. Various books and articles on peacebuilding make references to his work. Different concepts and approaches about conflict analyses Continue reading “Review of “Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians” of John Paul Lederach”