During these days, we have not only been evaluating, planning and working. The mutual trust and listening we have experienced while here in Loyola is the result of being concious of our shared mission. At the same time, it is also an essential ingredient to strengthening our level of coordination and creating more generous institutional relationships.
More and more, we are looking beyond “I” and acting as “we”.
During this fourth day, we divided into groups based on our networks. Each network had the opportunity to evaluate all of the work carried out over the past year.
The Xavier Network meeting started by briefly reviewing the activity of the organizations involved. The Network recognized that it has been strengthened with the incorporation of the Secretariat of Missions from Australia in 2014. Currently, the overall annual network activity amounts to 65 million Euros, divided equally between Africa, Latin America and Asia. Over the past years, members of the network have been dedicated to monitoring international volunteer programs, emergency management and project support to other networks.
The greatest innovation has been the definition of collaborative projects with other networks of the Society of Jesus such as the Pan-Amazon Project from the Latin American Conference of Provincials (CPAL), collaboration with the emerging Fe y Alegría educational network in Africa and the work of disaster prevention developed within the Philippine Province.
The Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN) on migration has decided to adopt hospitality as the common theme of the group, but adapting to the needs and dynamics of the different local situations.
The group also evaluated advocacy activities developed in different parts of the world, trying to identify the most effective method of work based on different circumstances. The network has identified the promotion of hospitality and defending the rights of migrants and forcibly displaced people as the main focus of their advocacy efforts.
The GIAN on Governance of Natural and Mineral Resources presented advances in three advocacy projects that had been completed or were near completion: advocacy work supporting a local community facing oppression and inequity relating to an internationally-led coal mining project in India; a collaborative campaign around conflict minerals and a research project in Honduras that could later be used as an advocacy tool to assist the local community in dealing with mining companies, and also inform efforts to improve living conditions.
The network also focused on improving the advocacy capacities of communities through different initiatives such as editing books and brochures on mining justice issues. Finally, looking toward the future, the need for enhanced communication was identified as a key priority.
Today, GIAN Ecology had the opportunity to visit the high school EGIBIDE in Vitoria, Spain, where they met with students that are being trained to work on environmental issues. The members of the GIAN network raised awareness amongst students regarding some important issues such as clean water, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation in places such as India, the Democratic Republic of the Congo or the Philippines.
Finally, the GIAN Right to Education shared progress made in planning and the current situation of the right to education in different countries, especially in those places where accessing education means risking one’s life. At the same time, an evaluation of edujesuit.org was made as a communication tool, and the team worked on the design of an awareness raising campaign on the right to education that will take place in 2016.