Need for More Funds for Africa Emphasized at Jesuit Entity’s Workshop on “climate justice”

Participants at the JENA Workshop. Credit: Magdalene Kahiu/ACI Africa

The two-day “strategy building workshop” that brought together representatives of member and partner organizations of the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa (JENA) in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this week to discuss “climate justice and integral ecology” emphasized the need for increasing funding for Africa.

In an interview with ACI Africa on the sidelines of the workshop that concluded Tuesday, June 14, JENA’s research and policy analyst for food and climate justice who organized the workshop said participants explored “the most important priorities for Africa for climate”.

“In this workshop, based on other dialogues, the most important priorities for Africa for climate right now are increased funding for adaptation,” Bryan P. Galligan told ACI Africa during the June 14 interview.

Bryan Galligan SJ.  The research and policy analyst for food and climate justice at Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa (JENA). Credit: ACI Africa

Galligan, a member of the Society of Jesuit (SJ), underscored the need for “a strong loss and damage mechanism that would compensate countries and especially communities for the losses and damages they've already suffered.”


The Jesuit Scholastic explained, “We know that climate justice is important especially from an African perspective because communities and people in Africa did so little, in fact, we can even say nothing concrete to cause climate change but are already suffering from it.”

The native of the U.S. said that the workshop that was organized under theme, “Integral Ecology and Climate Justice” also discussed how funding can reach affected communities rather than getting stuck at the national level where it is channeled into administrative duties.

“We need to find ways for funds to reach communities and to support community organizations rather than national budgets, where we see so much of that funding go to administrative costs,” Galligan told ACI Africa June 14.

The two-day workshop that JENA, a department of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM), convened, also discussed how African countries can “step up their mitigation and emissions reductions”, he said, and recognized the challenge of achieving the goals of mitigating climate change as discussed at the workshop.

Some of the participants during group discussions at the workshop. Credit: Jesuit Conference for Africa and Madagascar (JCAM)

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The Jesuit Scholastic said, “We are shooting at the stars and these goals are really difficult to achieve, but as Christians, our definition of success is different… it is more important to God that we are good and to be good now means fighting for climate justice.”

The two-day workshop also focused on how the environment is connected to human well-being, human livelihoods, and also to policies and political economy, he told ACI Africa, and outlined the main focus for each of the two days.

The first day of the workshop focused mainly on the impacts of climate change in different countries, and the key issues that need to be given first priority were presented by representatives from various countries, Galligan said.

On the second day of the workshop, he said, participants “focused on taking the issues that we selected as important and turning them into action both in advocacy and also in education.”

The Jesuit scholastic said that most of the issues presented by representatives from various African countries cut across the continent and appeared related in one way or another.


“We can see that some of the issues cut across the continent,” he said about the input from participants in the June 13-14 workshop drawn from Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Congo Brazzaville, Togo, and the Philippines, and highlighted “the immediacy and severity of loss and damage that communities are already experiencing.”

He added, “We've already seen really large declines in agricultural production because of climate change.”

In the June 14 interview with ACI Africa, Galligan underlined the importance of oceans as part of solutions to climate change, and regretted the fact that oceans are in most cases sidelined when it comes to climate change solutions.

Some of the participants during group discussions at the workshop. Credit: Jesuit Conference for Africa and Madagascar (JCAM)

He explained, “The Oceans are incredibly important and the coastal region is important when it comes to climate change. Oceans regulate the global climate and also provide really important services like food provision for coastal communities.”

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The Jesuit Scholastic expressed optimism that some of the issues that participants in the JENA workshop raised on climate change do not fall on “deaf ears”.

“I would say that even among people who have livelihoods that are environmentally destructive, I don't think it falls on deaf ears. I think they really do want to change. I've heard this from people producing charcoal that they often feel guilty and conflicted internally,” he said.

Galligan said that those who destroy the environment such as those in the charcoal selling business doing it to fend for their families can be assisted in a polite way rather than exposing them to serious punishment.

He explained in reference to those who cut down trees for charcoal, “I think they really do want to change and we need to support them in doing that, and we need to do that at all levels, accompanying them, amplifying their stories, and letting them speak for themselves.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.