African Jesuit AIDS Network

African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN)

Vision: Empowered individuals, families and communities working towards an HIV- and AIDS-free society and fullness of life.

The African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) links and supports Jesuits and their co-workers who reach out to people touched by AIDS and who work to prevent its spread across sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. AJAN was set up in 2007 by the Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM) to spearhead the contribution to the struggle against AIDS in the 36 countries where the Jesuits are present. The first director of AJAN was Fr Michael Czerny SJ. The coordinating hub of the network is AJAN House, based in Kangemi, a suburb of Nairobi.

Given that Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most heavily impacted by HIV (68% of all people living with HIV are there), Jesuits and their co-workers are called to respond to the needs of affected individuals, families and communities in the course of their daily work. Their response falls into the categories of holistic care and support for those infected and affected; education and prevention; research, publications and audio-visual productions; and advocacy.

Some initiatives are specifically dedicated to HIV/AIDS while others are incorporated in wider Jesuit works including: youth centres; parishes; university chaplaincies; secondary and primary schools; hospitals and dispensaries; organisations supported by the Jesuits. CJI supports Jesuit AIDS projects in Burundi, Kenya, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

AJAN supports the Jesuit AIDS response in many ways. Those Jesuits active in the field are convened for meetings to discuss shared concerns and ways of working. Capacity-building forms a significant part of the mission of AJAN, which is currently working on manuals and programmes that embody best practices in care and prevention. AJAN House staff members carry out field visits to offer moral support, expert advice or to help organise specific activities. In terms of resource mobilisation, AJAN helps field projects to liaise with donors and provides modest start-up or emergency funds to some. To encourage and to form more Jesuits to get involved in AIDS ministry, AJAN is working on a curriculum for those undergoing theology and philosophy studies. AJAN has also published several books in English, French and Portuguese, aimed at fostering an informed Christian response to HIV/AIDS.

AJAN Director: Fr Paterne Mombé SJ

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