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Seeds of Hope: Cultivating Change through Social Entrepreneurship and Environmental Conservation

In this edition of the AJANews Newsletter for May 2024, we explore the crucial intersection of environmental conservation and social entrepreneurship. The need for sustainable practices is more pressing than ever, and combining these two fields can create powerful solutions for some of the planet’s most critical challenges. In 2023 Pope Francis released a ‘sequel’ to his document Laudate Deum, an Apostolic Exhortation Letter which reminds us of the urgent need to act.

This year’s theme of Laudato Si’ Week from the 19th to 26th “Seeds of Hope” is inspired by the symbol of the Time of Creation 2024, “the first fruits of hope”, to contemplate and cultivate seeds of hope for the “suffering planet” (LD 2). We are called to consider how we can plant and nurture seeds to be the hope that the world needs during this time of suffering for our planet (Laudate Deum, 2).

The Jesuits have identified four Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) to guide their mission and work from 2019 to 2029. These preferences are interconnected, each supporting and enhancing the others to create a holistic approach to service and spirituality. For the Jesuits and collaborators, the 2nd UAP: Walking with the excluded is a call to all of us to partner with local marginalized communities find ways of providing resources and support to uplift their dignity and rights. The 3rd UAP Journeying with the young people is a call for us to walk with the young people through creating opportunities for them to engage in community service and empowering them to take initiative. All this requires “being among the people, especially among the young, with a gaze of hope that is the way to go beyond the provisional and partial predictions in which we live” (Acts CG XXIV n. 13). Together with Pope Francis, the conviction is that “there are no lasting changes without cultural changes… and there are no cultural changes without changes in people” (Laudate Deum n. 70).

As explained in the presentation of theme 2024:

“The first fruits of hope can be seen when we think and work collectively; when we recognize how we depend on Creation; when we listen to the cries of the Earth and the cries of the poor, when we listen to the voices of our global neighbors affected by climate change; when we listen to the prophetic voices of our indigenous sisters and brothers; when we listen to the different creatures that are dying out and those that are still struggling to survive; when we listen to the voices of young people and children; when we learn from the slow and powerful cycles of life of different species, ecosystems, and biomes; when we work together with Creation and all creatures for a better future.”

In the Month of May between 15th and 17th the AJAN Secretariat together with two trainees from the Jesuit Youth Social Entrepreneurship Program attended the 7th Annual African Conference on Social Entrepreneurship (AACOSE 7). AJAN Secretariat participated in the Panel discussion to explore the intersection of faith and social entrepreneurship, revealing how faith-driven initiatives are shaping sustainable solutions across Africa.

Fr. Ismael Matambura SJ., AJAN Director is awarded a gift at the end of the Break out session on Advancing Climate Innovation, Healthcare for All, Legal Frameworks, and Faith-Driven Entrepreneurship. Exploring solutions shaping Africa’s future during the AACOSE 7.

The intersection of faith, environmental conservation, and social entrepreneurship holds immense potential for transformative change. By leveraging the moral and spiritual imperatives of faith, the innovative solutions of social entrepreneurship, and the urgent need for environmental conservation, we can create a more sustainable and just world. In this journey, we are not just caretakers of the Earth but also stewards of hope and change. Let us embrace this intersection with commitment and creativity, knowing that our efforts today will shape a better tomorrow.

I invite you, dear reader, to peruse through this month’s newsletter. Inside, you’ll find inspiring stories, important updates, and insightful articles that highlight the latest updates from our AJAN field centres. We hope the stories, engage, and inspire you to join us in our mission. Enjoy the read!”

By, Dennis Owuoche

AJAN Communications Officer.

Dennis Owuoche

Dennis Owuoche Shadrack is the AJAN Communications and Research officer, Having joined AJAN in 2022 he has a broad experience in content writing; statements, press releases , website management, brand development, developing communications strategies and managing the social media, disseminating knowledge products, preparing flyers, reports and spreading other materials in order to enhance awareness about HIV and support Holistic development of the young people as a AHAPPY Trainer.



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