Malawi: First stop of Fr General’s visit to the Southern Africa Province

In a momentous event that signals a focus on spiritual leadership and cura personalis, Fr General, Arturo Sosa, embarks on a historic visit to the Southern African Province from 9 to 18 December.

Father General commences his visit in Malawi, a country known for its warm hospitality and breathtaking scenery. Just off the plane, the beginning of his five-country tour brought him to Kasungu, a two-hour trip from Lilongwe the capital. He visited the elementary school and, mainly, celebrated the Eucharist in a very lively parish, St. Joseph.

Jesuit Centre for Ecology and Development (JCED)

Among the Jesuit works in Malawi, Father General learn about the activities of the Jesuit Centre for Ecology and Development. JCED opened its doors in 2014 in response to a context of significant environmental, socioeconomic, and developmental challenges. About 70 percent of the population of the country lives below the poverty line of 1.9 USD per day and a significant number of Malawians are small-scale farmers, involved in agricultural activity in a largely non-sustainable manner. On top of this, the country is prone to severe climate-related events, including cyclones and droughts.

The Centre, rooted in principles of environmental sustainability and social justice, is a testament of the involvement of the Society of Jesus in tireless efforts to foster a relationship of harmony between nature and development. At the core of its mission is a commitment to environmental stewardship. Father Sosa knows about this vision of social development. In his own country, Venezuela, as a professor and researcher in social sciences, he was already promoting these principles and methods that foster social justice.

Convinced that true change begins at the grassroots level, JCED lends its efforts towards promoting community empowerment and building resilience among small-scale farmers who suffer mostly from the effects of climate change. This, the Centre does by forming the farmers in transformative agroecological initiatives in order to help them supplement their sources of livelihood. This also involves the creation of safe water points for the farmers and the promotion of crop diversification.

JCED extends its programs to schools, effecting change in the younger generation to create a link between what is promoted in the communities within the schools. As part of the “Green School” initiative, the Center partners with conservation clubs in schools to promote various approaches of resilience-building in order to prepare those who will be farmers in the future.

In its continued efforts to promote sustainable ecological habits, JCED is engaged in supporting green businesses by providing farm implements, nursery plants and seeds to small-scale farmers to boost their efforts. The Centre also helps with providing ready market access for farmers who cannot bring their harvest to the point of sale.

Another initiative in line with promoting ecological habits is the sensitization of the people living in the rural areas to adopt the use of the “Chitetezo Mbaula” (roughly translated as the “security stove”). It is an earthen stove with a smaller firewood inlet for making a cooking fire; it is different from the three-stone traditional cooking fire. The Chitetezo Mbaulaconsumes less firewood and creates a more concentrated fire that cooks food faster. Furthermore, the production of these stoves is a source of employment for the women involved in their fabrication.

As JCED continues to craft its small but necessary change in the heart of Malawi, the Centre serves as a source of inspiration for similar initiatives around the world. Its integration of environmental sustainability, community empowerment, social justice and poverty alleviation underlines the multi-pronged approach needed to address the complex challenges faced by the Malawian population. Father General’s visit to the Jesuit Centre for Ecology and Development in Malawi sets the stage for reaffirming the Society’s commitment towards transformative ecological change and a sustainable future for those we are called to serve in our mission and apostolates.

In Malawi, Father General also visited the Loyola Jesuit Secondary School and a refugee camp of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). Here are a few photos, souvenirs of the Superior General’s journey to the Jesuit communities and works in Malawi.

Leave a Comment

O seu endereço de email não será publicado. Campos obrigatórios marcados com *

Skip to content