Monday 20 January 2014

YOUFRA interact with SFOs in Buru Buru- Bro Aphrodis ofm and Richard ofs December 2013

World day of Peace at Gigiri UN


December 13-15, 2013 Franciscan Youth in Uganda met in Soroti diocese in the East of Uganda for UZIMA an international Eucharistic Centered Youth retreat. In all were 4,736 youth from 11 dioceses, and two countries – Uganda and Kenya.

At the First International Franciscan Youth Assembly (2007), it was agreed that the Youfra draw closer to the Eucharist and invest in ongoing formation that is enriched by spiritual retreats. The relevant conclusions of the 2007 assembly in pusuit of which the Franciscan Youth of Uganda organized this retreat are here below:

    • The Eucharist for the Franciscan Youth
      • Like Francis, we too are called to recognize the sacrament of God’s body in the Eucharist, and to live the Trinitarian experience on the basis of the Word and the Eucharist.
      • For the Young franciscans, the intimate relationship with Jesus and His word is fundamental in order to be able to live the Eucharist.
      • Minority, humility, innocence and poverty, are values that help to understand and live the Eucharist.
      • As Franciscans, we must celebrate the Eucharist in true community; prayer, formation and mission have no meaning without community.
·       Ongoing formation must be enriched with spiritual retreats or other activities at the Regional or National level. The contacts through internet with other YouFra realities can also help the growth of the Young franciscan or the group. The Local Assistant must promote a greater approach to the young members of the Fraternity.
This  retreat happens once a year in Uganda. Before Soroti it had happened in Nabbi diocese. While originally animated by Franciscans as youth 2000, the retreat has come to be a collaborative effort between the Dominican and Franciscan family in the east African region. The retreats in Uganda in the last five years have all be organized and hosted at the prompting and active engagement of Franciscan Youth in Uganda. We thank the office of JPIC Franciscans Africa in Nairobi for coordinating the invitations and logistics of participation of the Franciscan family.

Thursday 24 October 2013


The office of JPICFA organized a workshop on the theory and practice in employment contracts. It was held on the feast of St. Joseph the worker aka Labor day at the Dimesse Sisters in Karen a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya. There were 46 participants from over 17 nationalities and 22 religious congregations. Most of the participants were superiors and administrators from Franciscan religious houses and facilities in and around Nairobi.
History has it that the feast of St. Joseph the Worker on 1st May was promulgated by Pope Pius the XII in 1955. The choice of the month and date was to counteract the atheistic communisms celebration of May- Day. Secondly, it was to emphasize the dignity of labor, Christian ideals in labor relations and the example of St. Joseph as workman. Fr. Gian Francesco Sisto ofm, the director of JPICFA had indicated a week earlier that “the workshop was organized in view of the canon law requirements”. Administrators of temporal goods of the church are invited to accurately observe the civil laws relating to labor and social life in making contracts of employment. However, the socio-economic situation in which the administrators find themselves may vitiate their compliance. Our facilitators will help us explore the possibilities within the law.

Sr. Noelina Nakato, DM., made a presentation on the Church perspectives of the theory and practice in employment contracts. She is a Ph D candidate in Canon law at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. Her presentation was based on her doctoral research she is doing on domestic workers of 5 religious institutes in Uganda. She explored the history of contracts in Scripture and the wealth of guidance from the social teaching of the church since Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum in 1891.

Of particular emphasis was that while there is freedom of contract, the amount of wage shall not be less than enough to support a worker who is thrifty and upright. The reactions to her talk pointed to the fact that not all religious employers paying enough to their employees. “We would like to pay a just and fair wage but we cannot afford it” said one participant. Another participant confessed that her community pays the equivalent of 30 Euro a month to a cook who has three dependent children!!! “Actually this cook is privileged since we accommodate her, treat her when she is sick and are sending her to a tailoring school”, the participant added. Sr. Noelina emphasized that since the civil law requirements are usually minimalist, catholic employer should rise above them and follow the counsel of the social teaching of the church.

Mr. Richard Kakeeto made a presentation on the civil law perspectives of employment contracts. He is a lawyer and practitioner in the field of social justice by virtue of which he serves as an intern at the JPICFA office. He explored the essential ingredients of the contract of employment in Kenyan law and Common law. Of particular emphasis was the common law distinction between contracts of service and contracts for services. This distinction seemed to feature so often when claims for injury at work of wrongful dismissal were made. The presentation provoked a lot of discussion ranging from whether to draw up all contract or not, through the measure of wages to that of terminal benefits. It seemed that the level of compliance to the existing civil law is still low though more research has to be done to measure the level of compliance. The Government in the region has in the past three years updated their laws under the influence of the International Labor Organization. The Kenyan laws in particular are as recent as 2007. The inference is that since compliance to these laws in respect to Labor relations places an employer within the internationally accepted standards.

It was evident from the audiences that more workshops like this one were necessary to help influence practice. Some participants floated the idea of networking and collaboration among religious employers to enjoy the economies of scale in meeting their obligations under labor law.      


The Office privileged to indicate that it carried out all the activities as had been planned for the year 2009.

Journalism Course
As a center for advocacy, lobbying, communication and animation of the Franciscan Family in Africa, the office conducted a short course in Journalism for Justice and peace. It was conducted in the period between February and March 2009,for four Saturdays. The course was attended by 60 participants including Franciscan priests, brothers, sisters, members of the Secular Franciscan Order and youth from the various places of ministry for the friars and the sisters. The aim was to empower the participants with the tools they need to make use of print and electronic media to inform and alert the public on crucial issues happening in their locality.

The facilitators were experts in the fields of Newspaper editing, Radio Reporting, Television production and Internet journalism. The participants were involved in practical work in which they wrote articles and made audio and video recordings. The best articles were published on the website of the office. On major achievement is that some of the participants were inspired to take journalism to a higher level and have been allowed by their spurious to undergraduate degrees in Social Communication.

World Water Day
In line with our concern for the Integrity of Creation, we animated the Franciscan family to join the World Water Day Celebrations on March 22, 2009. The event in recognizing the irrefutable scarcity of water had the theme “Shared Waters Shared Opportunities”. The organization of the event was a collaborative effort between JPICFA and the Jesuit Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations Hekima College that has a strong programme on managing trans-boundary water conflicts.

The activities started on Friday 21st with academic presentations from scholars in the water sector. On Saturday 22, speeches from local and national politicians were made. Fr. Benedict ofm Cap addressed the gathering on the spirituality of water. Emphasis was laid on involving the young children in these activities to sensitize them on the necessity to manage water well. In this line, certificates were awarded to the winning students who had written reflective essays, poems and made artwork on the theme first above-mentioned.

Research on GMOs
Within the first quarter of 2009, a research was done on the prevalence of genetically modified organisms in the Eastern African Region. It is the case that GMOs are highly prevalent in the said region yet there is an absence of legislation to regulate their use. In the parliaments of Kenya Tanzania and Uganda, Bills have been tabled but the unrevealed sponsors of the said Bills are the usual multinationals including Monsanto.

Monsato has vested interests in the unlimited promotion of GMOs and has roots in the United States, which is not a signatory to the Cartagena Protocol on Biodiversity. Monsanto and other multinationals are taking over research centers in this region through funding and outright influence peddling among the scientific community to literally market the uncritically good side of GMOs. This state of affairs may predispose this region and Africa as a whole to some level of Agricultural dependency on the said multinationals in future.

We have sent the preliminary findings to various Franciscan theologians for an input on the theological reflections on the said findings. When this is ready we will do a planning session to prepare for action. In the mean time we are networking with several civil society groups that are involved in awareness on the implications of GMO foods. Our hope is that we will find a network of groups willing to promote the growing some of the original seeds that are still surviving. Some Franciscan Brothers in Molo in the Rift valley Region in Kenya are running and a sustainable Agricultural College and are promoting more cautious means of propagation. The same brothers have obtained land in the North Western part of Uganda to establish a similar project. 

Labour Day Celebrations
The office organized a one-day workshop on Civil and Cannon Law perspectives of Employment Contracts on May 1, 2009. A total 46 participants including religious superiors, bursars and administrators attended the workshop. These religious employers were enthusiastic about the topic and yearned for more. The questions and answers raised in this session raised a need for a deeper social analysis into the compliance to labour relations’ law by religious employers.

As a result, a survey was done in the months of June and July 2009 covering 70 religious houses in and around Nairobi. The data gathered, has been analyzed and awaits a theological reflection. These two will be combined, on consultaion, with basic tips on good conduct in employment and labour relations before it is published in the course of 2010.

Fraciscan Non- Violence Workshop in Molo
The Franciscans brothers in Molo invited the office of JPICFA to facilitate a two-day workshop on Franciscan Non Violence, August 12-13, 2009. This area of Molo was on of those worst hit by the Post Election Violence in 2007/2008. The participants were field workers of the Baraka College of Sustainable Agriculture. It was becoming increasingly obvious to them in their work that teaching people about livelihoods without touching questions of peace building was a hollow approach. The participants were led through the theories of conflicts and the impact of socialization on the predisposition for violent conflict in any society.

The group was then introduced to the Franciscan Non –Violence through the stories of St. Francis meeting the Sultan, the Wolf of Gubbio and Francis and the Thieves. The participants were also introduced to the concepts of Integrity of creation that they were very familiar with but had never addressed them from a Franciscan perspective of fraternity with nature that disposes man for peaceful conduct. This two-day session bore the necessity of conversations for social change among communities affected by violence. The Director and assistant of the office have attended introductory courses in conversations for social change. This is something the office considers promoting in the coming year.

East African Youth Training and follow up
The office conducted its first regional JPIC youth training at Dimmesse Sisters from Thursday 19-22 November 2009. Members of the Franciscan Family in the five East African Countries identified the young people.

The guidelines for identification were that the young people be aged between 18 and 30 years of age; Having demonstrated leadership skills or potential to lead; Of college education or qualifying for college education; Associated with a friary or other regular or secular Franciscan institutes; Disposed to develop interest in the Catholic Social Teaching with particular reference to justice, peace and integrity of creation in the Franciscan spirit; Willing to start and animate JPIC youth groups in their locality within six months from the conference. Four countries (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda) sent four participants each except Tanzania, which sent only one.

The participants were led through several informative and practical sessions that are in conformity with the mission and mandate of the office. In line with the office’s mandate for justice and its involvement with the FI on the human rights question, the participants were led through a session on the Human rights reporting mechanism and the universal periodic review. This session was facilitated by a professional from Pax Romana one of our collaborators on the question of human rights.

Following the office’s mandate for peace and the conflict ridden East African region, the participants were guided through a two relevant sessions. One was psychosocial response to conflictual environments and another on active non-violence. The relevance of these two sessions could not be over emphasized given the manner in which politicians use the youth in committing acts of violence. These two sessions were cemented by a recitation of the Decalogue for a spirituality of Franciscan Nonviolence by Rosemary Lynch, O.S.F and Alain Richard, O.F.M.

In line with the mandate of Integrity of creation, a session was given on Stewardship of Creation. The session followed the pattern laid down in the book The Earth Community; In Christ Through the Integrity of Creation. This book was prepared by the Integrity of Creation Working group of the Commission for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) of the Union of Superiors General of Woman (UISG) and Men (USG) Religious, Rome and was given a Franciscan introduction. The approach was to give the young people an insight into what the issues are in stewardship for creation. In view of the climate change conference (Copenhagen 2009), this session fulfilled the requirements for the workshop that had been planned for the same time by the environment desk. The office had planned plant trees in commemoration of Cop 09 in the month of December and so the youth accepted to plant these trees in the respective countries. The office has supported them in this respect.

The volume of knowledge here above highlighted would have been incomplete if it was not crowned with the tools for application. The young people were accordingly introduced to the principles of social analysis and following the pastoral circle in issues of social justice. The session emphasized the need to use the catholic social teaching as a paradigm and framework for dealing with many of the issues that the young people may observe in their countries.

The young people resolved to work together as a team though spread over the whole East African region. They plan to start JPIC youth groups around them wherever they are staying to continue constructive dialogue on the issues raised at the training. It was agreed that the young people are going to be the JPIC listening ear on the ground in the East African region. The challenge will be in systemically following them up in their activities. The implication of these activities will be an expansion of the mandate of the office to enter more into the geographical region within which it operates. For this reason, the office is pleased to indicate that it carried out a successful visitation of all the youth groups in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania in the month of December. On this trip, an assessment was made on how best the youth can insert themselves into their own communities.

The JPIC youth groups have already began obtaining permissions from their local communities with the support of the friars. The permissions include those related to obtaining land for community tree planting or just for doing basic research on social justice issues. This proper insertion it is hope will help the office meet its objectives better.

World Aids Day
On the 1st of December 2009, the office of JPIC organized the Franciscan celebrations of World Aids Day. The celebrations were held at the Tangaza College in Nairobi and were graced by Msgr Januscz the councilor to the Nuncio in Kenya. In the runner up to the celebrations, essay, poetry and artwork competitions were organized in schools run by Franciscans across Kenya. The themes for these competitions were: “Holistic Approach to Aids Prevention” guided by the Pope Benedict XVI and “Compassion towards the infected and affected” guided by St. Francis’ kiss to the leper.

In the pope’s words:
“…. I would say that one cannot overcome this problem of AIDS only with money…. The solution can only be a double one: first, a humanization of sexuality, that is, a spiritual human renewal that brings with it a new way of behaving with one another; second, a true friendship even and especially with those who suffer, and a willingness to make personal sacrifices and to be with the suffering…..”
words of Pope Benedict XVI on his pilgrimage to Africa 2009.
In the words of St . Francis
) Francis bent down quickly and kissed the horrible hand of the poor leper who looked up with joyful surprise.
“The Lord first demanded of me, Brother Francis, to do penance in this way. When I was still living in my sins, I experienced strong revulsion at the sight of lepers. Now the Lord Himself led me to them, and I showed compassion for them.”

The competitors were to write essays and poems and construct art pieces to reflect these themes. The aim was to have school going children to own these issues and reflect on them and not to wait to be taught in class. The best pieces that were produced will be developed into a booklet that will circulated among the schools run by Franciscans.

Food Security and poverty in Kasarani Area

PROJECT TITLE:   Food Security and poverty in Kasarani Area

SUBMITTED BY: The Following Little Sisters of St. Francis - Kasarani

    Sr. Esther Mwangi
    Sr. StellaMaris Nduku
    Sr. Petronilla Kimanthi
    Sr. Salome Mukami

TO:  Office of Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Franciscan
                    Africa (JPICFA)


A group comprising of four members belonging to the congregation of the Little Sisters of St. Francis namely:

1.    Sr. Esther Wairimu Mwangi
2.    Sr. Stellamaris Nduku
3.    Sr. Petronila Kimanthi
4.    Sr. Salome Mukami

Have been following a course on Civic Education organized by Office of Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Franciscan Africa since February 27th 2010 to date. The above named Sisters are among many other Little Sisters of St. Francis who are carrying out their apostolate/work within constituency in the highly populated semi-slum areas namely: Mwiki, Zimaman, Githurai and Kasarani. Our mission as a congregation is “Reaching out with compassion to the poor and the marginalized in the spirit of St. Francis and Mother Kevin our Foundress.” With this as our guide, we participate in the following apostolates/works among others.
1.    Community Based Health care program for HIV/AIDS
2.    Refugee program
3.    Rehabilitation of street boys
4.    Youth alive ministry
5.    Healing/Health services
6.    Education

Food insecurity involves production, management, storage and consumption of foodstuffs. Kasarani being an urban area, there are no farms for large scale production of food. People depend on buying food, kitchen gardens, sack farming, farming along the road paths, public land and relief food.

Due to the above security background situation/factors, there is a lot of food security in our catchement area demonstrated by the fact that people are not employed and they have low or no source of income. 90% of the people depend on washing cloths, quarry works for a living. Others depend fully on relief food, drug, local brew and illegal sect groups which exhort money from residents and matatu owners by force.

We the Little Sisters of St. Frances are witnesses to these. Every day there are people knocking at our doors asking for cloths to wash, for employment, food, medicine, housing, education, counseling due to social injustices among others.

Malnutrition and diseases are a rampant problem that clearly indicates food insecurity. Most of the Donor projects we implement include feeding programs where many people make long cues just to secure a kg of maize or whatever food supplies.

We have chosen to discuss the topic of food security and poverty in Kasarani area because as sited above, food insecurity is a server problem that seems to worsen with time hence need for immediate and long term intervention/solution.

·      To create awareness on the importance of food security
·      To involve the community in the social  economic empowerment –instigate creativity
·      To empower the community to use the available resources to produce within  their limits
·      The Agricultural extension officers to extend their skills and knowledge to the people in the community hence improving production.
·      To eradicate/reduce poverty.
·      Use productive ways of earning a living for example substituting local alcohol brew with producing income generating activities.
·      To promote exchange programs with other communities for learning purposes.
·      To discourage genetic modified organic foods and promote local foods that suite our climate and promotes health.
·      The Government to organize and initiate safe storage facilities for the communities in a decentralized place where all can access.

v Initiate stores
v Create jobs (Kazi kwa vijana
v Educate people on production, storage and consumption
v Initiate microfinance/loaning with less interest to eradicate poverty
v Local seeds for planting to be promoted and used.
v Plant drought resistance crops which suits our climate.
v Change attitude and though patterns from poor beneficiaries to professionals.
v We recommend both small scale and large scale farmers to be supported in improving agriculture to be a professional career to remove the notion that farming is a low job.

Food security within our area of discussion (Kasarani) is indeed a reality which needs attention for both immediate and long-term solution. It requires serious attention and a collection action by both local and international bodies.
Here below are pictures of the progress during the food security workshop in Nairobi