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Governance is a sacred responsibility entrusted to those in leader-ship. Leaders must safeguard just governance that upholds the common good, guarantees peoples’ rights, promotes subsidiarity, ensures the rule of law and equitable distribution of resources.
Failure to do so creates a culture of impunity, violations of human rights, lack of accountability, and corruption. African Bishops have identified corruption as Africa’s major problem and describe it as a “cancer that stands in the way of Africa’s development.” AFJN works to empower communities in Africa to tackle these problems and engages the United States government and the public in addressing these issues.
The African Church Together Against Corruption (ACT) Project is funded by funded by the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities and matching grants from different sources.
2021 Workshops and Events
On May 7, 2021, leaders who participated in the implantation of AFJN’s ACT pilot project in Cameroon came together to evaluate the project and discuss ways to institutionalize some processes which were achieved. AFJN also honored Madame Ferancide Massa, the Coordinator of the Justice and Peace Office of the Diocese of Bafoussam for her excellent transparent management of the funds for the ACT project during the event. This October, a community-wide awareness and prevention follow-up program in the village of Fossang will focus on the corruption linked to birth certificates and will offer the community the chance to register their children’s births with official court officers, invited by AFJN, who will be present at the event. This frees these children, who would have been easy targets for birth certificate corruption, from worry when they grow up because they now have their registered birth certificates.
As a result of our first zero corruption campaign in Fossang, the staff of the Health Center, managed by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bafoussam and under the Diocese of Bafoussam, African Church Together Against Corruption Project resigned. It came to light, that it was common practice for the center’s staff to sell medications stolen from the center, collect kickbacks for offering discounts on services, and referrals to friends clinics. These practices impacted the center’s quality of care, reputation, and its financial viability. After the resignations, the center hired and trained new staff committed to integrity, the results are already promising.
From May 22-28th, the AFJN team, led by Bahati, and Fr. Barthelemy Bazemo, M.Afr., AFJN Board of Directors, held a live radio show and five in-person land grabbing awareness and prevention meetings in Ghana’s Volta, Oti, Greater Accra and Bono East regions. Like preachers, they brought the message in the local languages to people in their villages and in schools. For over a year and a half, the team has been working remotely with partners in Ghana to move these workshops forward.
Sisters, members of AFJN Ghana Chapter, joined the efforts to prevent and bring awareness to the realities of human trafficking, gender-based violence and child labor.
One of the highlights of the trip happened during our first event in Kpekpo where people are struggling with polluted water sources and poisoned environment by agribusinesses who spray chemicals in their farms, land they leased form the community. Through our education program, we were able to change the minds of the landowners who attended, who carefully listened and were persuaded promising that they would withdraw from the talks they were having with an investor who wanted to lease their land. The events were well attended.
July 2021 Ghana Report:
AFJN released the “Land Grab Awareness Campaign Ghana: For Systemic Change, Prevention & Advocacy for Those Living in Poverty and the Powerless” report in July on our efforts in Ghana as part of the ACT Project. The project was funded by grants from the Missionaries of Africa and the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities.
In October, Fr. Aniedi Okure, OP and Fr. Bazemo, MAfr. held a training program for priests, seminarians, seminary professors and Justice and peace coordinators at the Seminary of the diocese of Diocese of Gbarnga. This will be the last event of the ACT pilot program in Liberia under the current funding of Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities.
Past Workshops and Events
Diocese of Bafoussam continues to be a model in the fight against corruption with our partnership. The awareness on the effects of corruption on individuals and society is ongoing. While COVID-19 delayed AFJN’s work in schools, we were able to continue to fight corruption in the government system of issuing birth certificates. We have noticed a decline in the number of people asking for assistance in obtaining birth certificates which indicates that the previous obstacles have also been reduced.
Nineteen people who participated in the Babete Monestary workshop reported to have taken either individual or collective action. Fr. Elie Poundeu, a school Principal, reported that he refused to give bribes to the police twice and instead accepted the delays. He also took to take the fight against corruption to his school and plans to resume as soon conditions permit.
Mr. Kongne Isaac noted the fees posted at the police station for different infraction. When he was cited for for a vehicle infraction, instead of paying bribes, he went to pay the fine at the office, requesting a receipt. He was so proud that he refused to perpetuate corruption by not paying a bribe.
AFJN is in communication with the Diocese of Wa on a campaign to promote just investments and against land grabbing. AFJN is working with Fr. John Kuupiel from the Justice and Peace Commission to hire Projects in African expert to research the current state of these issues in the diocese. This research will be used as evidence in the campaign.
Plans to implement the project of “Promoting a Culture of Transparency and Accountability in Our Communities” was hampered by the restrictions on gathering due to COVID-19. However, AFJN in collaboration with the Bishop of Gbarnga and the implementation team have taken to the radio to keep the project going. Radio Paraclete which covers five counties is currently conducting programs on the subject.
AFJN’s Projects in Focus
AFJN has many projects going on at any given time and please click below to see some of the projects that we are focusing on at this time. Read More