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AJAN anniversary: The war isn’t over yet

The war against AIDS hasn’t been won yet. Much has been done, but there still more to do, and it ought to be done in a better way, possibly the best.

This call to sustained action to fight AIDS emerged during an assembly of several days that was held in Nairobi by the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN). Running from 17 June onwards at the Mary Ward Centre, the meeting was part of events held by AJAN to mark its 15th anniversary.

Opening the AJAN Assembly, the head of the Jesuits in Africa and Madagascar, Fr Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator SJ, exhorted directors of Jesuit AIDS projects across the continent to employ more creativity and innovation, and to streamline their efforts. He encouraged them to re-discover their strengths and to capitalize on what defines and differentiates AJAN from other service providers.

Fr Orobator quoted Fr Arturo Sosa SJ, the Jesuit Superior General, who has elaborated the Jesuit concept of the Magis of ‘doing more’ by also emphasising doing ‘better’ and making ‘the most’ of what is already being done.

However, Fr Orobator also said that this service to people affected by AIDS was not the premise solely of individual Jesuits; rather, it was about participation in the very mission of Jesus Himself, and hence a work that all were called to share: “We are all collaborators in this.”

For his part, Fr Elphege Quenum SJ, Director of AJAN, promised to keep AIDS on the agenda not only of the Jesuits and co-workers working in this field but also of the entire Society of Jesus and the rest of the Church.

The assembly consisted of intensive days of discussion about policies and procedures, guidelines, and operational manuals. These were validated and approved by the field project directors and delegates with further suggestions for implementation across the network. 

Further, AJAN's strategic plan 2016-2020 was updated, and strategic choices clearly articulated. Two significant choices are to mainstream AIDS in various Jesuit services across Africa, and to tackle persistent challenges together, by building on our best practices in prevention, care and advocacy.