Happy New Year 2023!!
In this first edition of AJANEWS, January 2023, African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) is grateful to God for the various achievements realized in 2022 and as the New Year rolls in, let us turn to each other with warm wishes of health, success, and happiness in the year ahead!
AJAN has outlined the 2023 work plan, that focuses on the scale up of the AJAN HIV and AIDS Prevention Program for the Youth (AHAPPY) and AJAN Youth for youth initiatives in all our AJAN Centers in Africa. The pledge is part of AJAN’s continuing efforts to fulfil the 3rd (Jesuit) Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) of Accompanying young people in creation of hope-filled future, which aims to listening to young people and learning from them, putting them at the center of our intervention to impact our communities. From the AHAPPY Training of Trainers (TOT) carried out in 2022, the young people who took part in the training stand as sign of hope. Their energy and resiliency to AJAN’s mission, are a desire for the future and their willingness to learn.
Today, our young people mixed with the current technology at hand are explorative in nature, they are anxious to discover and re-discover themselves, they face enormous challenges such as unemployment, discrimination, growth of all kinds of violence, degradation of environment, diminished access to education, hunger, forced marriages, etc. These challenges make it difficult for them to find a road where they can build supportive personal as well as family relations based on solid moral, spiritual, financial, and emotional foundations. To accompany these young people, we are called to offer a compassionate listening ear, and ultimately to point to Christ, who Pope Francis calls “our great light of hope and our guide in the night” (Christus vivit, 33).
AJAN will also be looking at revamping the AJAN HIV E-learning Program (AHELP) with a quest to provide accurate information, value-based education, and professional skills to tackle HIV in the African context. Through this program AJAN seeks to empower pastoral agents and people working in the field of HIV and other related issues with proper and accurate information on an up-to-date basis.
Moreover, access to health is a basic human right that we all need to promote. In this issue we also bring to you the news on the launch of the joint initiative named Africa Health and Economic Transformation Initiative (AHETI), by The Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network – Africa (JENA) together with the Africa Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) that took place during the Africa Afya Conference, on 11th and 12th January 2023 in Kigali, Rwanda. The newly unveiled initiative will deal with Advocacy, global health, Medicine manufacturing, and eradicating Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Africa. This initiative is articulated around 7 priorities to achieve its objectives.
The AHETI initiative comes in the wake of the exposure of the vulnerability of Africa’s Healthcare systems as the pandemic hit and scramble for vaccines ensued. Therefore, the conference presented an opportunity for participants to present alternative models to incentivize pharmaceutical production in Africa and give a comprehensive picture of key issues in the promotion of local pharmaceutical production in Africa, and State-private sector-academia collaboration, etc. in the fight for an Africa-free diseases continent.
By, Dennis Owuoche
AJAN Communications Officer