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JASCNET and Social Apostolate Coordinators' annual meeting

Saturday, August 4 - Lusaka, Zambia: The JASCNET and Social Apostolate Coordinators' annual meeting is being held at Kasisi Retreat in Lusaka, Zambia. The Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM) President, Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator SJ opened the session. He talked about the need for collaboration and networking as part of the process of re-energizing, revitalizing and re-branding the network.

The President later launched the JASCNET Strategic Plan 2019 – 2023 and emphasized the need for the network to go beyond the words of the strategic plan and implement every part. He also called on all centres to collaborate and make the strategic plan work.

During the sessions on the first day, it was underscored that there is need to institutionalize the vision and objectives of the network. In an effort to achieve this, it was agreed that the network should be collaborating with institutional centres that are specialized in the respective thematic areas the network is working on. This will also ensure that the thematic groups are efficacious and have a standardized succession plan.

The second day of the meeting started with a session on communication and marketing led by Yuyo Nachali-Kambikambi, a communications expert. The discussion centred on knowledge management in JACSNET and overall effective communication strategies. She also emphasized the importance of M&E in communication strategy to ensure that the communication is delivering the impact intended.

Part of the morning session was a discussion on issues raised from the migration compact research that was conducted in Ethiopia from January to July 2018. There was suggestion to extend the research to other African countries with high migration rates like South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria and compare the results. There was a call to attention on not only the issue of the Mediterranean Migration Crisis but also the intra-Africa migration issues.

The afternoon session involved discussion on Gender mainstreaming in the JASCNET strategy and programming. The discussion was led by Dr. Evelyn Tembo and Lusako Sichali, gender experts based in Zambia. It was highlighted and agreed that gender inequality is currently one of the most pervasive injustice in the world and a driver for poverty. Participants at the annual meeting participated in group exercises brainstorming on best practices of implementation of gender mainstreaming in the JASCNET program.

As the meeting concluded on the August 6, 2018, the JCAM President, Fr. Orobator SJ urged the delegates to be ambitious, to be bold and to be global as they take all the lessons learnt and begin to implement the much-needed social change in Africa. He further emphasized the need for the delegates to recognize the clout they possess and use it to think expansively and amplify the social impact of the network.

The JACSNET Director, Fr. Charles Chilufya, underscored the need for the network to institutionalize its vision and objectives and collaborate with different specialized organizations to expedite the impact of the network. He also re-emphasized the need to incorporate programs that will be make the network self-sustainable in the coming years.