Africa Youth Message 2014
« Be conscious about the future and act now »
Biblical background: I Timothy 4:16/ Genesis 1: 26
We are twelve young participants representing the youth of the Africa Regional Expression of the Lutheran World Federation, attending the LWF Youth Advocacy Training on Ecological and Economic Justice from 13 – 18 May 2014 in Meaglent Hotel, Adenta, Ghana in conjunction with the Africa Regional task Force on Poverty Alleviation. We have had the opportunity to meet and share our experiences on Ecological and Economic justice in our various contexts. We have also had the chance for a joint session with the Poverty Alleviation Task Force in Africa.
The Prophetic voice of the church on economic and ecological justice
We young people believe that God has given us the responsibility to take care of His creation; therefore we have to take action on behalf of future generations. We believe that the Church should be committed to this core responsibility by raising her voice to protect the rights of all people and to safeguard the future for the unborn generations. Poverty in Africa has many reasons: So we should speak out about this from the political, social, economic, gender and generational perspective.
We all have the right to justice. Speaking for the voiceless and the under-privileged we call on all authorities, stakeholders and concerned parties to significantly help in reducing the problems of poverty and injustices affecting our livelihood. We are all one people. We need peace and not misunderstanding among ourselves.
It is therefore our call on all Christian bodies and the government to ensure that we are able to fulfill our basic necessities adequately through fair sectorial distribution of resources in the best interest of all beneficiaries. Basic needs such as food, shelter and education are still fragile in the lives of many people. Therefore it is paramount to carefully address this and not to lose sight of these basic human rights.
It is our aim to live and serve the Lord in good health and spirit, therefore our welfare should be first on the preferences list to ensure sustainable growth and development for all.
We now live in a world that is experiencing extreme weather events that are increasing in frequency, and we need to speak and act now to save our environment and our people.
We call on all authorities and concerned parties to put effective policies and measures in place. Those measures have to ensure that people’s livelihoods are not damaged as a result of man-made pollution but rather protected from being harmed or endangered. Therefore there should be equity and transparency in setting policies to address climate change that is reason for increasing poverty.
We would like to bring the following points to your attention as heads of our churches in Africa.
Communication and youth participation
The LWF Africa Regional Expression is a very strong communion of churches with many different members and a lot of resources.
We observed that some members, especially from poor countries, lack the means for information sharing. We recognize that the internet is the easiest way to communicate on a global level. The majority of young people in Africa is already using social media but due to financial or technological reasons, access is still difficult. That limits our full participation within the communion.
Although youth are actively involved within the communion, we still lack the necessary experience and resources which our generation needs most. Therefore, we call for open help on facilitating that we are not only youth representatives as a quota but can be fully and helpfully involved at all levels of communion life.
According to that, we would like to ask the LWF communion office, as well as each member church, to make an effort to use common ways to communicate. This includes the use of the internet. However it also includes local media like newspaper, radio and mobile phone to share information and good practice. Meeting is the best way of communicating and information sharing, so it is important to use all opportunities to be able to meet regularly.
Action plan for the local, national and regional level
In the Bible, Christ taught us to be one as He is with the Father. The church is spiritual but also social: the development of our faith needs an equitable and just social environment.
Departing from this, we young people know that climate change is global and affects not only our church but also other churches and denominations.
It is with this in mind that we should develop concrete actions for more justice.
We know that this is not an easy task but with the commitment of all the young people and also our leaders, we can achieve concrete results.
We are proposing the following action plan for the coming years:
- Ecumenical Bible studies on ecological and economic injustice;
- Sunday devotions dedicated to these themes (we suggest the first week of June which is the International Environment Day);
- During the synods of churches, dedicate one day to the environment and to social welfare (planting trees, a plastic-free day, fast and give the meal budget to people in need) etc.
- Apply the national State regulations towards protection of nature and environment to our own church levels.
- Apply laws and regulations of the State for social balance (due to unfair distribution of resources/corruption)
- Accompany the above mentioned actions with advocacy towards the local, regional and national authorities.
- Set up an Youth Network in Africa to work on Climate Justice
- Develop further cooperation with the Program on Poverty Alleviation in Africa
Technological advancement is the hope of all, but there is a big question mark when it becomes detrimental to the livelihood.
We strongly believe that our call will be responded to and we pray in the name of God, for it is said that with God all things are possible.
Submitted by the participants of the LWF Youth Advocacy Training in Accra:Mr. Philip Owuor Adika, Evangelical Lutheran Church In Kenya Ms. Lily Kwao, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana Mr. Sunday Archibong Mfonobong, The Lutheran Church Of Christ In Nigeria Rev.Helvi Nasiwa Muremi, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia Mr. Tuelo Immanuel Shadrack Villander, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Botswana Mr. A. Elijah Zina, Lutheran Church in Liberia Ms. Mami Brunah Aro Sandaniaina, Malagasy Lutheran Church Mr. Pascal Kama, The Lutheran Church Of Senegal Ms. Rosemary Mushi, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania Mr. Tsegahun Assefa Adugna, Ethiopian Evangelical Lutheran Church Mekane Yesus Mr. Kwasi Sapong, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana Mr. Emmanuel Avor, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana