There were three days of intense debates on current issues
It has been exactly seven years since the International Confederation of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, whose roots are based on being a group of friends rendering selfless service to humanity according to the Gospel, organized its “All Africa Assembly”, which took place in 2015 in South Africa. Following its positive results, it led to this year’s assembly, which has been a success and took place in complete harmony.
There was turn up of concerned leaders in the African regions comprising of Africa 1-2-3 and Middle East & North Africa (MENA), their zonal coordinators, International Territorial Vice-presidents (ITVPs), international observers and as well as Council General International officials of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul that showed a remarkable commitment to service and defense of faith amidst all odds hence they journeyed down from their respective national councils to attend the slated “All Africa Assembly 2022” between the 20th July to the end of 23rd July, 2022 at the Dimesse Sisters Centre in the beautiful city of Nairobi, Kenya.
This all-important event which was carefully planned, organized, and well carried out with the theme “Transformative Advocacy: Serving a Changing Africa” in a post-pandemic era was hosted by National Council of Kenya (Africa 1 Zone 2). Under a young leadership from brother Urbanus Kinuthia, Kenya assumed this responsibility within the shortest space of time as approved by the 16th President General International, brother Renato Lima de Oliveira: they ensured no stone was left unturned to provide a comfy environment for a smooth delegate’s participation at the meeting.
A total number of 100 participants were in attendance: the breakdown is as follows: 41 national presidents, zonal coordinators, 4 ITVPs, international observers, 7 members of the Council General International and Vincentians of the national Council of Kenya. The program of event was planned for 4 days: 3 days event with 1 day of local visits.
In the fore going, the arrival of four ITVPs from Africa and Local Organizing Committees (LOC) on the 16th and 17th July 2022 was a thoughtful approach to received and officially welcome the grand arrival of the 16th President General International of the Society on the 18th July 2022 and other members of the delegation on 19th July 2022 following. Some highlights:
19th July 2022
Also coincidentally recorded meeting housing Presidential visit in a tête-à tête with the National Council of Kenya on issues (300 SSVP brothers and sisters) and reaching a cognitive resolution amidst Holy Mass celebration and PGI meeting with the Bishop of Ngong Catholic Diocese, Rev. John Oballa Owaa.
20th July 2022
Being the 1st day of the assembly featured eventful activities to engage members with such as Opening Mass by Fr. Stephen Omondi And Fr. Humpreys Makokha CM, welcome remarks by the National Council of Kenya, brother Urbanus Kinuthia, and keynote addresses from 1st Vice President General Deputy – Joseph Makwinja and PGI – Renato Lima de Oliveira. The day’s activity also contained celebrating the Vincentian Charism with a presentation from Fr. Humpreys Makokha CM while Joseph Makwinja 1st Vice-president General Deputy gave the progress report after the last All Africa Assembly (AAA 2015). All the ITVPs took turns to give reports of work in their regions. Networking and coffee breaks were used to acclimatize the vicinity.
21st July 2022
The 2nd day of AAA, ushered in Holy celebration, presentations on existing and emerging issues in Africa: “Migration and Internally displaced persons in Africa” from the guest speaker Dee Dungy (Jesuits Services Kenya); as a renowned scholar Dee took participants through the shores of randomly African countries of Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia to give a well-meaning lecture of understanding to the pains these victims experience. Another guest speaker, Wilson Mosbey (Kenyatta National Hospital Nairobi) presented participants with a dignified health talk on cancer and its management.
The members were enthusiastically enriched with captivating lecture expositions from other speakers at the event such as Joseph Pandian, Vice-president General, on “Systemic Change”. “Gender Mainstreaming and Youth Participation” by Fred Olweny (NGO CORAT). Thereafter, general discussions on the day’s topics – moderated by ITVPs – were intensively conducted together with commentary from National Presidents on the role of the SSVP in addressing emerging issues in Africa.
22nd July 2022
The day 3 of the meeting commenced with rising of delegates to prepare a new day; the highlighted program followed suite from speakers: presentation by CIAD by brother Pius Ehiagwina, and “Twinning, Aggregation and Institution” by sister Josephine Obomighie. All the ITVPs moderated the open session for National Presidents remarks. “Effective communication within Superior Councils in Africa” from brother Joseph Makwinja. Remarks by CGI Board members and PGI talk with lots of slides about the last six years of this mandate.
Another highlight was the reading of the resolutions from the Assembly (called “Letter of Nairobi”). This was taken by the 1st Vice President General Deputy, brother Joseph Makwinja. About which country will host the AAA 2027, the PGI gave a final move to set up committee to discuss on. After this, the ITVPs performed the concluding remarks. South African National Council President, brother Peter Keshwar (Africa 2), gave the vote of thanks with a gift presentation to CGI Board from National Council of Kenya. An official picture (family) was taken.
23rd July 2022
After a long 3 day of meeting, SSVP members visited local sites, markets, institutional places, and Vincentian services in the metropolis of Nairobi City, catching the glimpse of the city’s historic and structural embellishments.
24th July 2022
A Thanksgiving Mass was celebrated at the Regina Caeli Catholic Parish, Karen, to bring an official close of the Assembly. All delegates travelled back to their various Councils of origin.
Other highlights and prayers
Youth formation and increase in membership. Effective communication and support to achieve projects. Prayer for credible election of the 17th PGI next year.
“This AAA was the best of all, because in it we were able to debate really fundamental issues for the National Councils. The Council General is very happy to be able to be, always more and more, close to all the countries. I was extremely happy with the final result, and especially with the Letter of Nairobi, which will guide Vincentian actions in Africa until 2027, when a new Assembly will be held”, emphasized President Lima de Oliveira.
The PGI on behalf of the Council appreciated everyone’s show of commitment to make the “All Africa Assembly 2022” a unique and unforgettable meeting with special thanks to the Dimesse Sisters Centre (smooth internet connection, good food and nice accommodation), translators (for providing language support) and National Council of Kenya (president brother Urbanus Kinuthia and team) who took the bull by the horn and ensured a smooth, safe, and successful planning and implementation of meeting engagement in his home council – Nairobi Kenya. In his words, the PGI noted: “Brother Urbanus, I don’t know your mother or father, but they have given values and high education for you. And I thank them for that”.
Lots of pictures and daily synthesis are available. Click here to read:
Thanks to sister Patricia Oluchi ONUOHA, from Nigeria, for all chronicles written.
Presentation by the International President General
Effective Communication – 1st Deputy General Vice-President
Gender equality and youth participation
Presentation by Kenya – 2nd Deputy Vice-President General
Presentation on Africa 1 – Territorial Vice President International for Africa 1
Presentation by Father Flavio and Sebastian Gramajo
Submission on Africa 2 – International Territorial Vice President for Africa 2
Presentation on Africa 3 – Territorial Vice President International for Africa 3
Presentation on Cancer – Wilson Mosbey
Presentation on CIAD – Pius Ehiagwina
Presentation on MENA – Territorial Vice President International MENA
Presentation on Twinning – Josephine Obomighie
Africa Report 2015 to the present – 1st Deputy Vice President General
Systemic Change – International General Vice-President
The throwaway culture – Clement Venter
20th of July