Caravan launched, online justice pilgrimage progresses, RECOWA Church on the move

AEFJN | 2 December 2021

Caravan launched, online justice pilgrimage progresses, RECOWA Church on the move

by Chika Onyejiuwa
After being disrupted by the Covic-19 crisis in 2020, the third edition of the caravan CGLTE-OA has eventually commenced.  Caravan CGLTE-OA, what is it? It is a regional coalition of CSOs, Faith based actors and Social Movements to link communities together for common struggle of protecting their land, water and farmers’ seeds for and with the Communities. It is led by the the CGLTE-AO (Coalition Globale des Luttes pour la Terre, l’eau les semences – Afrique de l’Ouest) The caravan organizes the communities under two strategies: Provide Support and Solidarity for the communities directly impacted and empowers them to be actors and take their future in their hands rather than being beneficiaries of the work of the Civil Society and Faith based actors.
How does it work?
It is organized through plethora of activities (town hall meeting sometimes with funfair) in communities with concrete cases of resource grabbing: land grabbing for agro commodity, natural resource extractions, water, projects that negative impact communities. The communities are giving opportunities to tell their stories directly to their government officials; the level of Regional Governors and Ministers and above with Specific demands.  Each edition follows a defined country route through identified impacted local communities while delegations from other ECOWAS countries and Mauritania converge at designated countries. The current edition began from Gambia and passes through Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, and Sierra Leone. It is organized every two years.  The first edition was in 2016.
What are the demands of the communities?
They are articulated in the Green book of the CGLTE which is usually handed over to the government officials with specific variations of the affected communities. But principally, the communities are asking for the implementation of African chatter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which have been ratified by ECOWAS countries. In this third edition of the caravan we salute the active involvement of the President of Guine Bissau, Mr. Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embaló who availed himself to meet the representatives of the caravan for a constructive conversation. It was also a good opportunity to give him the Green book.
Unique Feature of 3rd Edition
There is a progressive participation of the Church in West Africa in the peoples struggles. The launch of the caravan in the Gambia witnessed the participation of the Bishop of Banjul Rev. Dr. Gabriel Mendy CSSp. He went as far as hosting 25 representatives of the delegation to a dinner. RECOWA (Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa) Secretariat had earlier called out to the local Churches to support and participate actively in the Caravan as well as issuing a statement calling on the national governments of West Africa to listen to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth. Meanwhile, the online justice pilgrimage in support of the caravan continues. You can follow the higlights of the caravan through images and videos on AEFJN Facebook page
  •   AEFJN
  • 02 December 2021
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