Jesuits in Africa Partner with Caritas to Address Continent’s Food Crisis

The Logo of the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network-Africa (JENA) and Caritas Africa/ Credit: Courtesy Photo

The leadership of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM) and Caritas Africa have resolved to collaborate in empowering local communities on the continent to participate in the policy-making processes that seek to foster food security.

In their June 26 statement shared with ACI Africa, officials of JCAM say the collaboration between Caritas Africa and the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network-Africa (JENA) is a response to Pope Francis’ call to create a future filled with hope.

“The core purpose of this alliance is to generate knowledge to influence policy and practice around food systems, both local and international, and to promote African solutions for food sovereignty,” they say. 

In the statement signed by JENA Director, Fr. Charles Chilufya, the Jesuit officials further say, “Caritas and JENA seek to form a collaborative alliance as part of their effort to promote food sovereignty and agroecology in Africa.” 

“The alliance is a continent-wide platform for consolidation of issues pertaining to food sovereignty and marshalling out a single and louder voice by articulating clear and workable solutions,” they say. 


The collaborative alliance, JCAM officials say, will also “identify effective and forward-looking approaches to guide the creation of an elaborate framework for collaboration, and to achieve resilient post-crisis food systems in which climate and disaster risk reduction and social justice are mainstreamed.”

In the statement released at the end of their three-day conference held under the theme, “Food Sovereignty in times of recovery: Building back better through mainstreaming social justice and leveraging ecological agriculture,” JCAM officials say they will also seize the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to respond to the food security needs.

The coronavirus, they say, “has exacerbated the urgency to change the dominant globalized food system and has provided an opportunity for this issue to rise up in the public agenda.”

More than half a billion people in the world do not have access to healthy, nutritious and sufficient food yet there is enough food to feed all humanity on the planet, the Jesuit officials further say. 

“The dominant market-driven food system is not ensuring food security for all and the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and strained this broken system even further, revealing its inequalities,” they further say. 

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The strained food systems mostly impact on the poor and vulnerable members of the society who “are being disproportionately impacted by the food chain shocks provoked by the global crisis, which hampers their ability to fully thrive, realize their human rights and contribute to a new horizon for humanity,” they say.

The JCAM officials go on to note that the current food crisis has many facets, “but at its core are structural inequities and the necessity to reimagine and create new models that leave no one behind.” 

Speaking on the first day of the virtual conference, JCAM President, Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, underscored the need for Africans to have stronger and secure food systems.

“Transforming our food systems is not only a possibility, it is also a necessity,” Fr. Orobator said during the opening session of the International Blended Conference June 22.

The Jesuit Priest said that strong food systems mean that “all children, women and men will have access to the quantity or quality of food they need, no matter their race, no matter where they live.”


Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.