What is a coordinator

On a busy street in one of India’s congested cities, traffic has ground to a halt. Frustrations are high as a young man yells at a hapless policeman. A large tree has fallen across the narrow thoroughfare, and nobody knows what to do. Snarled traffic, glum looks, despairing gridlock. A young woman says in English on her cell phone, “I hate this country.” Then the situation gets worse: it begins to rain. Buckets. A young boy, maybe seven or eight, pokes his head out a bus window. […]

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Integrity of creation: Missionaries of Africa’s contribution (PE nr. 1087 – 2018/01)

Considering the current ecological crisis, the 2016 Chapter was concerned about the question of Integrity of Creation and called for a fervent devotion to eco-spirituality – “With the help of Church documents on eco-spirituality such as Laudato Si’ and available resource materials of the Society, we recommend that recollections and sessions be organized at Provincial and Sector levels” (CA, 1.3.). The Chapter requested that communities be ‘good examples of environmental protection’. Let us be a “Green Church”. It exhorted us to Continue reading “Integrity of creation: Missionaries of Africa’s contribution (PE nr. 1087 – 2018/01)”

Non-violent communication : an example

Conflicts between neighbors are very common. Here is an example of such a conflict and its non-violent and creative resolution. This is an example that can be used as a group to make people think. The link for the original Power Point will soon be at the bottom of the page. You can use the Power Point freely but mentioning the origin:

Andreas Göpfert, Missionaries of Africa, Via Aurelia 269, Rome 00165 © 2017 

Welcome, protect, promote, integrate

Next Sunday, the 14th of January 2018, is the World Day of Prayer for the Migrants, which articulates around these 4 action verbs : to welcome,  to protect, to promote and to integrate.


“Migrations in their various forms are not a new phenomenon in human history. They have left their mark on every age, bringing about the encounter of different cultures and giving rise to new civilizations. Unfortunately, in many cases people are forced to move: by conflict, natural disasters, persecution, climate change, violence, extreme poverty and inhumane living conditions. Our shared response can be expressed by four action verbs: // to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.

To welcome.

A responsible and dignified welcome of our brothers and sisters // begins by offering them decent and appropriate shelter.

To protect.

We are speaking about millions of migrant workers – especially men and women in irregular situations; millions of asylum seekers and displaced persons; and millions of victims of human trafficking. Defending their inalienable rights, ensuring their fundamental freedoms and respecting their dignity are duties which compel one and all.

To promote.

Protecting migrants, refugees and displaced persons is not enough. What is required is the promotion of their integral human development. Responsibility for the full human promotion of migrants and their families begins with their home communities. That is where such promotion should be guaranteed, along with the right to choose to emigrate and also the right not to be forced to emigrate.

To integrate.

Integration, unlike assimilation or incorporation, is a two-way process, rooted essentially in the mutual recognition of each other’s cultural richness.

I believe that taking action in these four ways, as individuals and in groups, is our duty today.

And so the Global Compacts must be inspired by compassion, foresight and courage!

Pope Francis

See also : https://migrants-refugees.va/

A question of Justice for Peace…

I frequently receive from the “Center for Social Concern” the updated calculation of the Basic Needs Basket (BNB) for Malawian Citizens. It is established by comparing accross regions the up-to-date prices of the basic needs of a family of 6 (two parents and four kids). It is very well done and should challenge all the people who are employing personnel (especially unqualified personnel), paying them far less than fair wages. They often ease their consciences by following the legal minimums or by doing like everyone else.

I do not always take time to examine the data, but today I did. The Malawian government has just reajusted the minimum wages to 25,000 Malawian Kwacha par mois, or €25 !! But the calculation of the BNB for November 2017 amount to 161,557 Malawian Kwacha, or €187, which is more than 7 times higher than the minimum wages.

And that is for very basic needs, without even counting school fees, uniforms and books, without counting transport (bus to go to work or to school), without any sweet or ice cream and of course, dreaming of a car will never ever materialise.

How much are we, Missionaries of Africa, paying our personnel?

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Philippe Docq, M.Afr.

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.

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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