Youth Beyond Covid-19 in Africa
In early July our partners at the Arrupe Jesuit Institute (AJI), Ghana, held a webinar to celebrate the first anniversary of their IYNIGO programme (Ignatian Youth Networks Initiating Generational Outcomes). Activities included a campaign to end gun violence and a tree-planting initiative for Laudato Si’ week.
AJI is a research and social action centre in Accra. These young people have been taking part in a variety of social justice activities. Fr Kpanie, AJI’s Director, shared his joy at this milestone with us earlier this week. “If I may say so myself, within Africa, ours is one of the most vibrant Jesuit-led youth groups. And we don’t even have the aids that other places like Zimbabwe or Zambia have of drawing our numbers from Jesuit alumni.”
Youth leaders from different African countries shared their experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic and their hopes for the future. The roundtable started with a discussion of the economic, social and psychological impact of Covid-19 on youth in Africa. Panelists Kazeneza (who wants to be the first female president of Burundi) and Uche (a young teacher in Lagos) described the challenges they face. These include unemployment, subsequent poverty, the rise of crime, loss of community, the unreliability of technology, and the rise of domestic abuse. However, they also emphasised some positives they have observed such as knowledge sharing, better relationships with family and new friendships.
The talk ended with participants being asked to look ‘beyond Covid’. Uche responded that while we cannot yet be beyond the pandemic, “we can create tomorrow with every now that we have”. This encapsulates perfectly the positive attitude of these young people, which should be an example to us all.
To watch the webinar click here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=2760161844217150&ref=watch_permalink
Faith in the Public Sphere
Jesuit Missions is currently supporting another programme by AJI called Faith in the Public Sphere. They are creating a platform for the discussion on Catholic Ignatian and ethical values in to address the decline of Christian teaching in Ghana. To view a recent webinar that Fr Kpanie SJ held with Accra’s Archbishop Palmer-Buckle on sustaining our Catholic faith in difficult times, please see here:
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