The Proposal of the Province of KENYA: "The theme evangelization and human promotion has a charismatic dimension for us Comboni Missionaries, as we know from the experience of the founder and our Rule of Life. Therefore, how do we interpret this sign of the time within the perspective of the Comboni charism?

(Evangelization and Human Promotion)

In order to answer this question we propose a meting of representatives from pastoral experiences (already established) in the social field, and a common reflection by Comboni Missionaries and Comboni Missionary Sisters on the same. We envisage:

- To start from our Comboni experiences in the different provinces around the world
- To encounter and dialogue with the bigger world (WSF)
- To analyse together the reality
- To make a theological and ministerial reflection
- To suggest some concrete guidelines for action.

The Context

The World Social Forum (WSF) will take place in Nairobi from the 20-25 January 2007. For the first time civil society from all over the world will gather in Africa. The theme of the forum will be “Another world is possible: people’s struggles and people’s alternatives” and it will promote reflections and guidelines for action on the world economic and political structures that adversely affect the majority of the world’s population.

The 2003 General Chapter itself was characterised by the awareness of the impact of globalisation on the world, especially the South and the poor, hence on mission. Civil society movements of resistance searching for more humane socio-economic and political alternatives are undoubtedly a sign of the times that we cannot ignore. Themes such as justice and peace, reconciliation, and participation among others are today taking into consideration by the ecclesiastical hierarchy in various continents (cf. Lineamenta of the 2nd African Synod).

Our Proposal

The theme evangelization and human promotion has a charismatic dimension for us Comboni Missionaries, as we know from the experience of the founder and our Rule of Life. Therefore, how do we interpret this sign of the time within the perspective of the Comboni charism?

In order to answer this question we propose a meting of representatives from pastoral experiences (already established) in the social field, and a common reflection by Comboni Missionaries and Comboni Missionary Sisters on the same. We envisage:

- To start from our Comboni experiences in the different provinces around the world
- To encounter and dialogue with the bigger world (WSF)
- To analyse together the reality
- To make a theological and ministerial reflection
- To suggest some concrete guidelines for action.


1. To have a fraternal sharing on our already established grassroots pastoral experiences in the social field
2. To make a charismatic reading of the signs of the times, in particular on globalisation and marginalisation
3. To acknowledge and endorse Comboni guidelines in social apostolate (a contribution too Ratio Missionis and suggestions for formation in view of social apostolate)


1. Preparation:
- Every Province will identify a specific experience of social apostolate to share at the meeting and to attend the WSF
- Forming a secretariat to organise the Comboni event (Fr: Daniel Moschetti and Bro. albato are available to be part of the team).
- Preparing a brief written report on each experience that will be represented in Nairobi; this will be forwarded to the Secretariat before the WSF.

2. Orientation:

ON January 19, 2007 the Comboni group will gather to:
¬- Get an orientation about the events presented at WSF
- To reach a consensus on the focal points for our participation to WSF
- To select the activities/events we want to attend
- Guidelines for the common reflection, sharing and documentation

3. Participation to WSF

4. Comboni Group Workshop at the end of WSF (26-27 January):

- Reflection of the events and themes
- Charismatic reading
- Evaluation of the paths of social apostolate
- Conclusions

Languages: Italian and English
- The decision on whether to go for the proposal is needed in the context of the Intercapitular Assembly.
- By the end of October the provinces will communicate which experiences have been selected for the Nairobi meetings and appoint their representatives.
- At this point the Secretariat will forward the outline for the reports on the experiences of social apostolate
- By mid November the reports will be sent in to the Secretariat, which will then prepare clusters of experiences for the meeting, taking into consideration also the themes of the WSF.


Combonian missionaries and lay people’s interprovincial experience

of lobbying on governments


Since 2000, in Italy, the Church and the civil society have been struggling against the Foreign Debt. Since now, quite little results have been achieved. Even the social movements and the missioaries have cooled down on those themes. The foreign debt in Africa has reached 379 $ per person. Moreover, Africa boasts the highest urbanization rate in the world (4,58% yearly). 72% of its population live in slums. For this reason the “WNairobiW!” campaign (WNW) resolves to join Kenya debt conversion to the right to housing and the development of new public housing policies.
The campaign was born following a violent threat of evicting 300.000 dwellers from several slums in Nairobi; it was launched by the Kutoka Parish Network (Nairobi parish network which includes St. John in Korogocho). It was then received in Italy by Combonians’ Peace and Justice Commission, together with groups of lay people (mainly International Alliance of Inhabitants and Tam Tam for Korogocho) and supported by a combonian missionary woman.
A months-long fight assured the suspension of those evictions, unfortunaly not their revocation.
A meaningful coordination between the two combonian provinces has being going on for more than two years now, interestingly involving lay people.


The basic approach:
constantly widening the ‘social grass roots’ who already know and support the campaign (either on an institutional level or not, both in Italy and in Kenya). The aim is lobbying on governments from several sides and, after each formal gained achievment, watching on the real fulfilment of the undertook commitments.
In order it works, we have to have the coordination members of the two provinces constantly talking, so that the actions and the choices in Italy and in Keny interact coordinately.
Young lay people, who grew through our vocational fostering courses, are actively taking part in the campaign. One of them is going to become a member of the Italian Combonian Peace and Justice Commission itself. We do need those cooperations with qualified lay persons, each for his/her field and skills, so that our actions are not extemporized. The missionary gathers people, coordinates the action, linking it to all the situations he’s in touch with and verifying it according to the dynamics of God’s Kingdom. Nevertheless, the qualified work and its deriving insights must come from lay people!

Fulfilled activities
(main focus on those in Italy; in Kenya, many other activities on a political level and to get awareness of the problem)

• immediate pressure after the threat of eviction: through strategies that the campaign coordination commitee organized and spread, 10.000 e-mails from several countries in the world reached in short time the Government of Kenya, the Mayor of Nairobi, the EU commission, the European Investments Bank, UN-Habitat, denouncing the forced evacuation without any alternatives for people living there. This initiative, together with the local mobilization, brought to a holdup of demolitions and forced evictions. It’s the first victory, and the international pressure is seriously regarded by Kenya.

• lobbying on politics: following lobbying on Italy and Kenya to have the Foreign Debt converted into public housing policies (talks with The Italian Foreign Office and Ministry of Finance, with the Kenyan Ministries of Finance and Earth Environment, with the Ambassador and the Italian Ministry of Environment have been carrying on)

• engaging population and local boards: 150.000 postcards were created to be sent to the Italian Ministry of Treasure. The Union of Italian Provinces (UPI) and the Network of Solidarity Communes (Rete dei Comuni Solidali), various boards and institutions (The Region of Emilia Romagna, The Province of Venice, The municipalities of Rome, Naples, Padua, Frosinone, Empoli, etc.)

• involving the Italian Church: the relationship with the Italian Church is on a twofold level:
- lobbying on the Bishops’ Conference so that it takes sides in supporting the WNW; the postcards were sent to the Italian Bishop Conference’s (CEI) president, in continuity with the commitments of the Giubilee;
- cooperation: we involved the Solidarity and Justice Fundation – one of CEI’s branch born in 2000 to manage the fundraising campaign against the Debt.
Many supports to WNW on the territory come of course from parishes and missionary groups, having with them a good cooperation.
The WNW campaign was undertook by the combonian province through its GPIC team and made it known to the Conference of Italian Missionary Institutes; particularly, the province actively cooperates with the Consolate Missionaries, who are present in Nairoby and Italy.

• activities on the territory: a campaign pictures exhibition, books and DVDs have been moving round Italy. Many articles appeared on important daily newspapers and weekly magazines, on more than 10.000 web pages, including the main altermondialist and volunteer movements and Churches websites; dozens of radio programmes and tv interviews were made. The pictures exhibition reached about 100 italian towns, involving dozens and dozens thousands of people. Also the last edition of the Peace Caravan (2004), during its way around Italy and through the recently published book, presented the WNW proposals.

• foreign contacts: WNW attended the World Urban Forum (Barcelona), the Americas Social Forum (Ecuador), the European Social Forum (London) and the Mondial Social Forum (Porto Alegre), the Italian Campaign “Sdebitarsi” (“Pay off”), in Germany (display of the exhibition in collaboration with the DSP)


The Signs of the Kingdom:
• combonians meet in an interprovincial Justice and Peace Project: let’s overcome the (diabolic) reasoning of isolated actions and let’s experience a safe and hard network of social-ecclesial action (cf. the fragile relation between the first Christian communities scattered in the Mediterranean)
• politics is forced to bring to account outcast people’s rights and aware people’s requests (cf. the relation between Jesus and His times’ powerful figures)
• in March 2004, evictions in the threatened areas were hung up in Nairobi; in Italy, people saw the little outcomes gained by the campaign, thus having evidence that a tight dialogue with institutions is possible. Those signs of hope strengthen the struggle when the goal is still faraway (cf. the signs that Jesus reported to John in prison: good news is proclaimed to the poor)
• in Italy, many people learnt about Life in the slums and proved the economical apartheid. For many of them, becoming aware of all this resulted in commitment and daily choices.

Evaluation on methodology and cooperations:
WNW has properly developped its role of lobbying on governments, making the most of alliances with movements of the same guidance but more experienced. The campaign is properly using all communication media and pressures; the internet and direct meetings between the committee and politicians or responsbile people were the most utilized tools. For this reason the campaign appeared bigger than it perhaps actually is: at the moment, the committee is formed by about ten persons, but it created a broad movement and pressure.

There are several difficulties: within the Combonians, a poor engagement of other missionaries; a hard time in communication (probably due to our limits, too), resulting into the impression that it’s a small group’s deed.
Hard time in communication within the committee, too, and in coordinating distance actions (virtual communication may arise misunderstandings or weaken confrontations).
In Italy guaranteeing a continuity to the several connections with the civil society is a hard task: we see a great sensibility on those themes, but nevertheless a discontinuity in following them. Even we, the referring people for the campaign, did not take care of improving the follow-up with those who first supported the campaign.

With the global movements, WNW goes against the mainstresm, whereas many of them (rightly) insist on considering the debt illegitimate and refusing to pay for it.
Discussing the debt conversion bound to public participate policies means preventing corruptions in managing money; nevertheless, it requires a strong connection with the social base, in order to prevent that every form of politics just becomes the aristocracy of the powers that be.
Here lie WNW’s insight and capacity but also its risk: strengthening more and more the social base of every political action is absolutely necessary.


I’m going to attend the WSF in order to strengthen the network of ‘operative knowledge’ (in Italy we call it sharing the ‘good practices’): exchanging experiences with associations, organizations and religious groups committed for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.
As missionaries we need more and more to cooperate with qualified lay people, as I was saying at the beginning, to be advised by them, to work in team and create international networks.
Moreover, meetings such as WSF and combonians committed in social pastoral can bring to mature cooperations inside networks which do not relegate our pastoral provincially.

Elements of Comboni’s charism which can bring a contribution to WSF:
- passion for communication (Comboni himself had clear in mind that his Plan and insights shoud be known on as more levels as possible, to gain alliances and together procede)
- ‘catholic deed’ (as a consequence of point one: sharing our own goals and being willing to cooperate with all the forces dedicated to Africa)
- heal Africa with Africa (still today a prohetic intuition)
- freedom for slaves (to be carried out)
- deep relation with God, the base of all his commitment (even though WSF is a ‘lay’ event, our spiritual contribution is vital; the missionaries’ role is to give a reason of our hope which does not only come from the results we achieve)

p. Dario Bossi


1 - Justice and Peace work in “K E N Y A”

2 - The context
Short report about some aspects of the general situation of the country

- Economic situation and poverty:
The country’s assets have been completely dissipated during the last government’s long rule. Strong measures are now in place to reverse the economic and moral decay. A National Economic and Social Council for national reconstruction is being set up to oversee social and economic reforms and to provide independent professional advice on an ongoing basis, together with monitoring and evaluation. Some progress has been made in ensuring good governance, a sound macro-economic environment through foreign investment, better infrastructure and social services. A new Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation (ERSWEC) 2003-2007 was launched in November 2003. The hope is to transform Kenya into a modern prosperous nation through economic recovery. The Kibaki government is theoretically committed to a working Kenya of greater social and economic equity. Efforts are being made to create the promised 500,000 new jobs per year as promised in the election campaign. But the unemployment figures are still well above acceptable levels. The economy has been fully liberalised so that market forces determine interest rates and prices of good and services. The democratic space for economic development and human rights has been expanded. The government is also concentrating on the strengthening of COMESA (Common Market for East and Southern Africa) and of the EAC (East African Community). With the private sector as the driving force of the economy, there is hope for increased opportunities for gainful employment.
Areas which need to be addressed, and are now beginning to be, are the high cost of energy, communications and capital, interest of 19%, and the country’s deplorable infrastructure. Kibaki is taking officers to a venue: Kenya School of Monetary Studies for ongoing formation.
Crop failure due to drought on one hand, and floods on the other hand provoke increases of prices, food prices as well.
Concluding we can say that in spite of some progress and the fact that the country is on sound economic footing, we are far from good governance. Unequal distribution of wealth, big corruption, insecurity and tribalism remain its darkest side. Politics is too narrowly focused on tribal, regional and personal interests. All these elements continue to hold many people in extreme poverty. And “Poverty has a feminine face”.

- Education:
The introduction of compulsory free primary education in January 2003 increased the enrolment by nearly 2 million students that year, and it is up by 1 million again at this year’s enrolment in Standard 1. This innovation by the NARC government is hailed as its greatest success to date. The unplanned decision brought many problems related to inadequate numbers of school buildings, shortage of teachers and overcrowded classrooms. However schools are adjusting slowly and the problems are being dealt with. The effects of this sudden influx of students into schools and the quality of education has yet to be ascertained. The growing problem of street children has been transferred from the streets to the schools and to youth and training centres.
Nevertheless 47.5% of public spending on education goes to the riches 20% and only 6.1% to the poorest section of the population. There is inequity in gender and location across the country. “ Girls are still neglected, and trafficking of children is present in Africa an in the world”.

- Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases:
The government of Kenya spearheaded by the president, has begun an aggressive campaign of outspoken awareness-raising and education to tackle the “silence” surrounding the pandemic and to call for behaviour change. The problems of over one million AIDS orphans, child-headed households, economic destitution and discrimination and marginalisation are also being addressed, though mainly by Church groups and NGOs. The feminine face of the pandemic is a major concern in the fight against AIDS and efforts have been made to deal with traditional and cultural practices that increase the vulnerability of women and children. Though drugs are slowly coming on line, there are still beyond the ability of many, especially the rural population. The infection rate is believed to stand at 6.7% to 9.4% depending on what statistics you believe. But there is an open conversation around AIDS pandemic which is the most positive step so far. Over 60% of the richest 20% benefit from health care in the country, with only 4.1% of the poorest. Double the amount is spent on hospital patients on the richest (26%) in comparison with the 13% on the poorest. The government started a campaign for free health services.

- Human Rights and Women Rights
Some time ago, on Human Rights Day, the acting UNHC for Human Rights stated that the “universality of human rights remains formal rather than real in the contemporary world. Inequalities and unjustices against women and children are commonplace, and racism and racial discrimination have far from receded. Poverty has not declined. For nearly a billion people the economic, social and cultural rights of the Universal Declaration remain illusory”.
Rape and sexual abuses, domestic violence, early marriages, female genital mutilations, these are all problems that women have to face in this country. The many international and national organizations which are working on these issues speak about some successes, but there is still a very long way to go although the Parliament passed a “Sexual Offences Bill” for protection of women and children.

3 – Social Apostolate, Motivations, Activities

“The principle of solidarity highlights in a particular way the intrinsic social nature of the human person, the equality of all in dignity and rights and the common path of individuals and peoples towards an ever more committed unity”.
Principles of the Church’s Social Doctrine, N 192
“Moved like Jesus with compassion for the crowds, the Church today considers it her duty to ask political leaders and those with economic and financial power, to promote development based on respect for the dignity of every man and woman”. From the message of Benedict XVI for Lent 2006.

- Objectives of my work – To promote a more just and peaceful world where Gospel values and good Governance are in place, where the legal system is respected, Human Rights are upheld and the Environment is protected for the common good of all the members of the society especially of the poorest and more neglected.

- Activities – According to areas of concern: Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation, regarding international and national issues for both urban and rural areas also through workshops and through direct involvement in practical advocacy and lobby. A lot on: Women or Gender issues, on Human Rights, On the Millennium Development Goals, for good Governance and against Corruption, about the Kenyan Constitution, Campaign for the Cancellation of Debt.
Meetings, organization of actions like rallies for Peace and for the Environment, ecumenical and interfaith activities, mobilization, lobby and advocacy through meetings or conversations with ministers and other politicians, with ambassadors, with people in charge of international and national organizations, etc.
Grassroots work through visits, workshops, conversations with the people in the slums.

4 - Inspirations and challenges

Inspiration? The personality and the work of Daniel Comboni.

Challenges? The change of the “structure of sin” is a long process…. A lot of patience and the true Christian hope is needed. The poor people would like to be protagonists of their development, but the whole current is against that. Modern slavery is the “reality”. Women are still in a “second class” row in the society.

I am a member of various networks. Some of them are Catholic Church networks. But I am networking also with other Churches and with other Faiths, with Hindus and with Muslims, and of course with many International and National NGOs. A part from the fact that this is the best way, the only way, to reach the objectives, it is also very positive to live “togetherness” in the sense of belonging, of being the Family of God, where we all can address God as the only Father / only Mother of all peoples, and simultaneously we can address people on issues regarding local and global issues. At the same time, it is necessary and good to “think globally but to act locally”, we also emphasize the work on local issues for instance of the pastoralists in the remote neglected areas of Kenya and of the slum dwellers of the City of Nairobi.

5 – Conclusion

Considering the situation of the world, the message of Daniel Comboni is very up to date. The Comboni Charism should be present at the World Social Forum (WSF) through us, carried in our hearts, towards a commitment especially to the formation of leaders, of people who may influence the political, economical and social landscape. Do we know what kind of leaders this today’s world need? Do we know how to strategize to be leaders ourselves and to have these other leaders in key positions? I do not mean in high positions only for prestige and having to be proud about, no no, of course in humble service, but in positions where we can influence the “world” with Christian, human values, more and more.

Sr. Teresita Cortes Aguirre
Justice and Peace Desk
Comboni Sisters, Nairobi, Kenya


“I Came So That They May Have Life, Life To The Full” (Jn 10:10)
Susan Coopersmith, CLM

I am a Comboni Lay Missionary from the North American Province, working as Project Co-ordinator in charge of training and production at Kariobangi Women Promotion Project (K.W.P.P.) located within Holy Trinity Catholic Parish, Kariobangi. The operations of the Project are mandated to the Comboni Missionary Sisters. Annually the Project assists approximately 100 needy young women (ages 13 – 30) by offering them vocational training in dressmaking, hand loom weaving, machine knitting, tie and dye, and embroidery, and also support courses in Business Education, Literacy, and Character and Spiritual Formation. Students also participate and assist in preparation of daily prayer. Our student population comes from Nairobi’s Eastlands slums, Kariobangi, Kayole, Kasarani, Huruma, Ngomongo, Korogocho, Baba Dogo, and Dandora. Among the challenges our beneficiaries face are poverty, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, exploitation, drug and alcohol addiction, single motherhood, and many others. The inspiration of the Project, to further the church mission by serving young women who are seen by the community as social outcasts, comes from Ephesians 4:12-13 with the sole purpose of building up the Body of Christ to full maturity into the image of Christ Himself. The main aims of K.W.P.P. are to help trainees to discover their dignity as children created in the image of God, to teach them technical skills in order to contribute to their long-term economic independence, to enable them to achieve family, social and economic stability as well as personal integrity, to cultivate their holistic development, and to provide them with the self-assurance needed to overcome situations of crises in their lives.
The Project had its beginnings in the late 1980s, therefore, many approaches already were well established when I arrived on the scene in May 2005. For example, criteria for intake, course curriculum, class scheduling, school rules and regulations, and staff hierarchy, were customary. The sister-in-charge at the time, however, acknowledged she was bogged down with the administrative duties required to manage the Project itself and to satisfy donor requirements, e.g., reports, therefore, she asked for my assessment of the teaching methodologies and assistance in improvements of the same. My observations, through participation in classroom activities and interviews with the instructors, were that many of the instructional staff felt at a loss in areas such as class organization, planning, and classroom management. With the help of the instructors and the social worker I organized a five day seminar in June 2005 covering topics including lesson planning, scheme of work, student motivation, and handling difficult classroom situations. Since that time, instructors have been required to submit a scheme of work at the beginning of each term and lesson plans weekly. During the course of the seminar it emerged that the instructional staff had very little communications amongst themselves. Therefore, we now hold monthly instructors’ meetings where all are welcome to air out their frustrations and seek advice from others.
In addition to working with the instructional staff, I have opportunities to meet with the students on various occasions. At times it is simply check on the balances of their fees but even these instances can open the door to discussions on the diverse life problems the young women encounter. For example, I may discover a student’s inability to pay fees is due to her rejection by her parent/guardian because of her refusal to submit to sexual advances. Or perhaps a student has been misled by a relative promising a luxurious lifestyle in the big city only to find herself sleeping on a mud floor in a windowless mabati roofed room and responsible for the relative’s daily chores. Other times I interview the students one on one, particularly before and after they participate in a one month industrial attachment period. This period of attachment is an innovation I introduced after a discussion with our Industrial Placement and Business Advisor when I learned that many of our graduates, after having been placed in jobs, stopped reporting to work after only a short period of time. It seemed despite our efforts to instil a work ethic in the students within the framework of Character Formation and Business Education classes, something was missing. That something, I believe, was experience on the ground. It is one thing to report daily to the Project, where one knows she will be treated with respect and dignity, where her child will be taken care of by a capable employee, where she and her child will have morning chai and bread, and yet another to be one among many in a factory setting where perhaps the manager is impatient and/or intolerant of any infractions. In my person to person interviews with the students before they left for attachment, many expressed fear and an unwillingness to take the risk to go into the field. With encouragement, and an occasional visit from the social worker and their instructors, each attachee successfully completed her month’s commitment. I think their own comments on returning best express the success of this pilot project. “I used to be afraid to face the world but now I know I can do it.” “I used to feel I was nothing but now I know I am someone.” “I never thought I could have a job but now I know I will.” “I am now prepared to see what God has in store for me.”
The statements above are some of the signs of the Kingdom I can see in my apostolate. In my work, I do not specifically announce Jesus Christ as Saviour through my words. Of course there are times, when encouraging students and staff alike, that I will use the Gospel to make a point. But more often, my work of evangelization is carried out by showing love, concern, caring, and lending a listening ear. As a lay missionary, my apostolate is not restricted to the particular Project I serve. I am not a preacher or pastoral agent as such. Being lay person I have the responsibility to inculturate the Gospel into the concrete realities of life by bringing the values of the Kingdom – peace, justice, truth, forgiveness, and service – out into the community where I live. When I shop in the marketplace, when I stop to greet the drunkards and the glue sniffers others kick aside, when I pray with my jumuiya, when I grant forgiveness rather than seek revenge on the thief who has just stolen my shoes, it is my hope that others will see the Kingdom of God is near.
As for the methodologies I have tried to put in place at the Project, I am compelled by semi-annual reporting to reflect and evaluate. My discoveries are sometimes we succeed, other times we fall short of our expectations. We learn through our mistakes, many of them simply misconceptions of how a particular concept is going to work in an African context. The same is true for “methodologies” of living with the people of Kariobangi although my methods of evaluation differ, i.e., during my period of daily reflection I take time to review my actions and seek God’s forgiveness and guidance in those areas where I see I have fallen short or utterly failed.
As a “Women Promotion Project” I feel we are a bit behind in the context of global movements. Although in Africa, the promotion of women and their rights remains an essential component in advancement, in much of the world, specifically the North, “gender mainstreaming” is the current theme. Organizations are looking not only to the effects development undertakings have on one particular gender but on the society as a whole. Empowerment of a specific group can have unintended side effects, possibly negative, on other groups and this lesson we can draw from the notion of mainstreaming.
I refer to the impact our Project, by empowering women, may have on their familial relations, both negative and positive. For example, an empowered woman in the environs of Kariobangi may meet with some pressures from a problematic husband. On the positive side, many of these young women will now be able to afford school fees to educate both the boy and girl child.
My hopes as a participant of the World Social Forum are that I will meet with persons whose work is in line with my own, those who are working with young, needy women, those who are working in vocational training, those who are working with the marginalized and the excluded. I hope to gain knowledge of methods to speak out more
boldly for those in need and how to teach those with whom I live and work to speak for themselves and for their due human dignity as God’s unique and beloved African creations. This is where I see the charism of Comboni contributing to the richness of the experiences presented at the World Social Forum and in particular the African Social Forum. In the same way that Comboni was motivated by his passion for Africa, it is my wish that during the period of the World Social Forum Comboni’s motto “Save Africa with Africa” will encourage Africans to work to save themselves.



The context of my experience is the Northern Sudan province among the Sudanese of Arab origin and the Southerners. The Sudanese of Arab origin are mainly Muslims while those of the southern origin are mainly Christians. War has rocked these neighborhoods since Sudan got its independence from the British fifty years ago. These are a people that have sought for peace all through their life. The last civil war ended almost two years ago. They have seen peace come and go. Now this peace is here again with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The papers signed have it very well put and defined. It seeks peaceful co-existence that does not promote violence. It seeks to make people feel at home in their country without feeling segregated.
Even though the CPA has it clearly stated about what this peace should look like, the opinion of the ordinary people and simple people seem to differ. It looks like for an ordinary Arab, peace has the meaning that there will be no violence as long as the Christian Southerner submits to the central rule and does not complain about how things are running. For the ordinary Southern and Christian instead, peace means lack of violence and oppression against them, equal treatment between the Arab and the Southerner, equal development in the South as in the North. It means the sharing of resources as they are produced in the country.
The reality we see even after the signing of the CPA is that the implementation does not seem to be as effective because there is still some militia formation that keeps violence going on. Assassination of some SPLA leaders has been evident. So far the demarcation of borders has not been carried out as the CPA foresaw it. Socially speaking, the Southerners still struggle to go back to their origins in the south and if this were to happen effectively it would promote a stronger unity among the southerners and consequently promote a quick and easier separation between the North and the South. Progress is taking a slow pace in the south, initially because there is lack of personnel to take up the new jobs. The newly introduced education syllabus in English started to take shape but not without struggles because many teachers can not teach in English. The learned people continue to move either to Khartoum or abroad hence this brain drain continues to affect the Southern development negatively. Due to low wages there are many ghost workers in many offices hence accountability is endangered.
On the other hand, people have grown in hope with the signing of the peace because it has opened up certain horizons. Many southern exiles have returned, while many states have formed their own constitutions. Above all this, there is an autonomous government in the south; Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS). The unity of the South is presently in the making, while borders to Kenya, Uganda and Congo have opened up. There is hope to introduce a new currency for January 2007. The foreigners who could not move freely without permission can now do so. The new syllabus in education, all in the English language, indicates a new flow in the mind of the nation quite different from the Arab-Islamized one.
The human beneficiaries of my apostolate are the young people (youth). Inserted in a secondary school, I see clearly that what lies ahead for these young people holds great hope and great challenge. It a hopeful time in the sense that if the youth grab the opportunities that have come as a result of the CPA, they will affect greatly their future and that of the society. As an educator, I see a lot of hope in the changing the flow in the mind of the young with the new syllabus which is more geared to education unlike the other one that is more Arab-Islamized. This will help get out of the Arab domination. The biggest challenge is that they have lived through times of discouragement and fear of self-expression hence their sense of self-confidence to face the up-coming opportunities will have to be invoked by every wise evangelizer and charismatic leadership which is not easily to be found.
Hence my experience seeks to address this challenge. I see the call to invoke this self-confidence in the young people so that they can see what hope there is and how much they can do if only they took up their rightful responsibility. The young people in general have seen a lot disillusionment and lack of commitment by the adults hence they do not have much reason to be as serious in the task they undertake. Consequences are seen late coming or even postponing the studies in school.

Thinking through my approach, I find myself teaching with an aim geared towards the future. I see myself confronted with the responsibility to help the youth think about the future of the New Sudan. I aim at raising the self-confidence of the young people seeking to empower them so that they can feel that they can make a difference. They feel suppressed under oppressive structures hence I feel that I have an aim to persuade them to work hard enough so that they may become the voice of change, the agents that will change the old mentality, to make a better future. Hence I feel the call to be a voice of encouragement, a cheerleader who calls them to go on without shying away from the challenges. I feel the call to invite them to pray so that they sense the nearness of our God in their efforts and hopes.
My main activity is that of an educator. In my teaching I am seeking ways to promote and uphold the self-esteem of the young people. I am therefore not just a teacher instilling knowledge but one who helps them discover their gifts and talents. The overall motive is to prepare leaders who will make a better Sudan from a religious and a civil perspective.

There many signs of the Kingdom that I see in this neighborhood. Most evident of these is unity and communion among the people as well as a great sense of hospitality. It is very clear that no one is left alone when whenever there is a misfortune such as death or disease. Whenever such misfortune happens, people feel united with the one who has lost a loved one or the one who is sick. People gather in big numbers in that house so that they can express their solidarity. Here there is no question of saying that one will go after the job or after school. The latter two become secondary and the priority is the one suffering. For them death and disease are reality bigger than job or school.
The aspect of union with others and hospitality is very felt among the people. This starts right from family set up whereby; it is easy for family members to move from one house to another freely even if they are not close relatives. In this way it’s possible to find that a house if full of relatives close and distant, sharing all the resources together. The value of welcoming is also extended even to strangers. If someone gets stranded anywhere, they will not suffer want, those who live close by take care of them according to their needs.
I myself feel part of the people. In this context, I see a great possibility to arrive where people are and to start my apostolate from here. In the context where I am I feel that the most important job is that of preparing leaders who can lead their people. Here in the school, I see the need to sensitize the students of how important their role for the future will be. With the building of the New Sudan, the present youth stand as instrumental in making a big difference in the future. In the field of education, there is a new syllabus in English, and the current teachers do not seem to be very ready to handle it since they have no preparation. It is in English, which is still a foreign language to many of them, so they might not be able to learn it and use it as a media for teaching. This is where the present generation of the young people need to be called upon so as to rise up to meet this occasion. I feel that my role is going to be that of a cheer leader calling them to take themselves more seriously, so that they can help influence the mind of the young children and consequently eliminate the mentality of war and conflict.
At the present moment most of the pastoral agents and civil organizations are working towards the building of the New Sudan. This means that there are many people working towards the same goal and therefore I see the aspect of collaboration very possible. Those willing to work in the field of education are my closest collaborators. Not only in this neighborhood but in Sudan as a whole there is high possibility of a positive form of collaboration.
As far as globalization is concerned, there is such an inspiration that can be drawn from the people that I am working with. If globalization could be understood from their sense of communion and unity among the peoples then, this is the kind that would make sense. So is economy, whereby people here share their resources with others even though it is so little. If the economy of the world were to be shared according to the needs of the people no one will be lacking in anything. If the world at large would listen to voice of the suffering and needy everyone will be taken care of with no differences such as; First World, Second World, or even Third World.
As a conclusion, I think that my involvement in the WSF will help me be in solidarity with people seeking common good for the peoples. I look forward to being enriched by other people who might have found some solutions to what they struggle with. I see the charism of Comboni coming alive again with all these people coming to seek collaboration in order to be the voice of the voiceless. I see from here an effort to connect the worlds that seem to be far apart in mentality and struggles. I see an effort to bring the two hemispheres to listen to one another.

Sr. AnnLucy Njoroge Cms
North Sudan Province

Nairobi, 19-27 January 2007