It was a momentous gathering that brought together Province Social Delegates from various regions across Africa and Madagascar, with the aim of strengthening JENA's collective effort to build the Conference, as well as plan towards the universal mission of the Society.
The first day was one of reflection during which the social delegates were reminded to approach the Universal Apostolic Preferences, through the practice of discernment, collaboration and networking. As a network of social apostolates, it was also an opportunity to share experiences from the six provinces and one region, discuss the challenges and setbacks faced, share best practices and commit to working together towards our common identity.
The meeting was also crucial to highlight the social delegates' role as Advisory Board members, who will be supporting to advance of the mission of social justice and ecology. Furthermore, this will certainly be a platform to ensure effective coordination, collaboration and communication within JENA, collaborative public-policy engagement, information sharing and knowledge, collaborative research and common partnership engagement.
The highlight of the gathering was the realisation that the pressing issues reported from the provinces are interconnected, integral and universal. We recognize the local efforts made as we strive to achieve our objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those related to poverty reduction, health and well-being, inclusive quality education, good governance, food security, refugee rights, and so on. While there has been progress over the years, the end of world injustices is still far off.
In summary, the social delegates agreed that there is a need for sustained action and proper structures that ensure social apostolates work together as an apostolic body. Prioritisation of the focus areas was done, especially those that JENA must urgently address. While it was hardly a comprehensive discussion, this was a solid introduction to the kinds of concerns facing our world today and actions that must be taken. Amongst them are setting small milestones as social delegates to build efficiency and effectiveness in our work, partnering with others in the development community (especially those that are involved in similar work), complementing each other in various capacities, deeply and consistently engaging to come up with global plans on how to respond to crises. The impact will be felt if we think globally but act locally.
We have just begun our journey together – and we are committed to making things happen. This is the work of God, and we will pursue what makes for peace.
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