“Reconciliation, Justice and Peace in Africa; Students commitment to the “New Evangelization”
We organized two sub regional formation sessions on the above theme within the period under review. The first was for West Africa Anglophone and Francophone countries, held in Lome, Togo from 6 – 12 April 2013, while the second was held in Maseru, Lesotho from 6 – 10 January 2014 for Southern Africa Countries.
The workshops were organized acknowledging the fact that the socio-economic and political situation of many countries in Africa presents a picture that can bring feelings of frustration to even the most courageous young person! The situation has created unjust structures, which has increased poverty, conflicts and suffering in the continent. Coupled with the ambiguities; and genuine and irrepressible questions on the meaning of life that come with youth age,the situation have created a deep faith crisis among the youths that has consequently caused increase in violent conflicts experienced in recent years in different parts of Africa. In an attempt to solve these crises, so many youths have fallen into the temptation of legitimizing the unwarranted separation of faith from life i.e. they try to separate Gospel acceptance from the actual living of the Gospel in various life situations. This act of separating life and faith has contributed to worsening conflict situations in the students’ milieu, in Africa and the society at large.
As Young Catholic Students, we see it as our primary role to take action to bring faith and life together and to help other young persons do same in order to build peace and to promote justice for sustainable development. We understand Reconciliation, Justice and Peace not as some specialized functions suited only to those specially trained but as part of deeper process of evangelization that needs the full participation of the youths. Thus, we decided to have these formation sessions that will properly educate the young people and equip them with basic skills and tools to develop strategic networks that will enhance their participation in constructive transformation of their countries through applying the Gospel values in their daily life situations.
Specific objectives of the sessions were:
1. To educate students on the concept of the New Evangelization and to deepen the application of the Psychosocial Conflict Analysis, the Sacred Scriptures and the Catholic Social Teaching to build peace and promote reconciliation & justice in 21 countries in Africa.
2. To provide young people with the opportunity and platform to share best practices and form strategic networks to evangelize and promote peaceful co-existence in their countries, especially through use of modern communication tools such as Facebook and twitter
3. To equip the participants with relevant advocacy skills to challenge and overcome oppressive structures, which promote injustice and conflicts or that hinders peace building processes.