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African Jesuit AIDS Network

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African Jesuit AIDS Network
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AbbreviationAJAN
Established2002; 17 years ago (2002)
PurposeCoordinate Jesuit efforts to fight AIDS in Africa
Location
Founder
Michael Czerny[1]
Director
Paterne Mombé[2]
AffiliationsJesuit, Catholic
WebsiteAJAN

African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) consists of Jesuits and co-workers in sub-Saharan Africa involved in various aspects of AIDS care and HIV prevention. While Jesuit responses to the AIDS problem go back much further, it was in 2002, as the world's response was faltering, that the Jesuit superiors of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM) created AJAN to coordinate efforts.[3][4] With his experience at AJAN to draw upon, Michael Czerny, the founder of AJAN, has become "a key health official for the church."[5]

Activities[edit | edit source]

AJAN strives to develop best practices and to help in the development of new programmes for the relief of those afflicted, their families, widows and orphans, and communities that continue to suffer from this on-going pandemic. AJAN assists AIDS centres that exist in all ten of the Jesuit regions and provinces in sub-Saharan Africa,[6] including advocacy, capacity-building, and resource mobilization. Services offered include pastoral counselling, home-based care, income-generating activities, and educational, medical, and nutritional support. Efforts also include prevention thorough value-based education, curtailing mother-to-child transmission, and testing services especially among the young. A 2006 book co-edited by the founding director of AJAN offered theological reflections on AIDS in Africa.[7] The AJAN Newsletter receives widespread attention.[8]

While some initiatives are directed specifically to deal with HIV/AIDS, others are incorporated into Jesuit work with youth centres, parishes, school chaplaincies, orphanages, hospitals and dispensaries, and Christian Life Community (CLC), a sodality-like work of the Society of Jesus. Special Jesuit centres are run in Burundi, Congo, Madagascar, and Togo while in Zimbabwe the focus is more on youth prevention.[9] Advocacy is a part of most programs as public attention to this ongoing problem has fallen off, while the pandemic persists.

AJAN fosters a holistic approach that supports not only the persons affected but also their families and communities with counselling, income-generating and micro-credit programs, and aid to children and schools.[10] In 2013 AJAN spawned AHAPPY (AJAN HIV and AIDS Prevention Program for Youth) which tries to empower youth to make informed and responsible choices – to discover more about themselves and to find meaning and a place in society. The program was initiated in seven countries of Africa and has spread beyond Catholic institutions.[11] The African Catholic Bishops, meeting in Rome in 2009, said of AIDS/HIV: “It is not to be looked at as either a medical-pharmaceutical problem or solely as an issue of a change in human behaviour. It is truly an issue of integral development and justice.” [12] A visit to AJAN was on Pope Francis' agenda for his visit to Africa.[13][14]

AJAN is under the patronage of St Aloysius Gonzaga and Blessed Marie-Clémentine Anuarite Nengapeta[15]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Skoll Foundation bio of founder. Accessed 25 May 2016.
  2. Mention in Catholic Sun, Syracuse, New York. Accessed 26 May 2016.
  3. "African Jesuit AIDS Network". berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  4. "African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN)". The Communication Initiative Network. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  5. "Vatican Maintains Stance on Condoms at HIV/AIDS Summit". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  6. More on AJAN. Accessed 31 March 2016.
  7. Czerny, Michael. Aids in Africa: Theological Reflections. Nairobi: Paulines. Retrieved May 26, 2016. P. 149.
  8. AJAN Newsletter article in Caritas International Newsletter. Accessed 26 May 2016.
  9. Where we work. Accessed 31 March 2016.
  10. Fuller, Linda K. African Women's Unique Vulnerabilities to HIV/AIDS:. New York: Macmillan. Retrieved May 8, 2015. Director quoted. P. 84.
  11. Wanjau, Pauline (2016). HIV and AIDS Prevention for the Youth. Yearbook of the Society of Jesus: 2017. Rome: General Curia, Society of Jesus. pp. 110–112.
  12. AIDS in Africa. Accessed 31 March 2016.
  13. Catholic Mirror on Pope Francis visit. Accessed 26 May 2016.
  14. Post-factum report on Pope's Kenya visit. Accessed 26 May 2016.
  15. "Africa Jesuit AIDS Network marks its first decade". www.news.va. Retrieved 2017-10-18.

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