- Written by Jessica Dewhurst
The third in a series of ERI workshops on human rights and advocacy in Africa took place in Johannesburg last month. Here is a report on the workshop from a recent Edmund Rice Network South Africa newsletter.
"The training took place in Johannesburg from the 24th to the 26th of September and equipped participants with valuable information on social justice issues and the mechanisms in place to advocate for these issues. The 28 participants consisted of teachers, Edmund Rice Network people and Christian Brothers from all over South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. These participants were invited to the training as they play a vital role in their specific community with regards to living out the vision of Blessed Edmund Rice. Amongst these we were blessed to have Br Revy Hang'andu and Br Chris Nhete from the District Leadership Team of the new South Central District in attendance.
The training equipped the participants with the knowledge of Edmund Rice International and the United Nations history and structures. This highlighted the various ways in which social injustices could effectively be advocated against in order to encourage large-scale social change. Br Brian Bond shared his knowledge of advocacy mechanisms as well as current social and ecological injustices in Southern Africa and the world.
Participants enjoyed the three day stay at the Lumko Retreat Centre, taking advantage of the sunny gardens, welcoming hospitality and delicious meals. The training was further enriched by Br Michael Chalmers who led two thought provoking Bible studies of "Social Justice and Scripture‟. These Bible studies emphasised the importance of courageously challenging the social system in order in improve the lives of those most vulnerable.
At the end of the training, participants teamed up to create practical plans for advocating within their current contexts. This brain-storming yielded a number of brilliant plans for advocacy in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia in the form of petitions, awareness campaigns, education, research, the use of social media and many more. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of these extraordinary plans in the future.
The Social Justice and Advocacy Desk is proud to have been a part of this hugely successful training. We are grateful to Br Brian Bond, Br Michael Chalmers and Edmund Rice International for their invaluable contributions and we look forward to seeing the positive ripple effect of the training in the South Central District through our participants."
- thanks to Jessica Dewhurst, co-ordinator of the ERNSA Social Justice and Advocacy Desk for this report