Fondacio Congress. "Young People of Africa: Put Down Roots in This Land!"

A forum to launch the 6th International Congress of Fondacio, on Saturday and Sunday, at the Sichem centre, in Lomé.

The first phase of the Fondacio Congress in Africa ended yesterday (Wednesday 2 March 2022), in Togo. A forum on social entrepreneurship and professional integration of young people was held on Saturday and Sunday. The delegates then reviewed the last four years of the ongoing mandate. This will help to define the new orientations for the next mandate, starting in 2023.

120 participants at the forum

More than 120 participants attended the forum to launch the 6th International Congress of Fondacio, on Saturday and Sunday, February 26 and 27, at the Sichem centre, nearby Lomé, Togo. The challenges that the african labour market face today were discussed during this forum.

Young people and actors of social entrepreneurship and professional integration attended several conferences, about renewable energies, promising economic sectors and the production and marketing of artemisia. The forum was also broadcasted live, on YouTube and Facebook.

"Inspire young people”

"Social entrepreneurship and professional integration fully engage the young people of Africa today", declares Jérôme Tozé, African coordinator for Fondacio. "Young graduates face unemployment because of the gap between training and employment. This is striking. We want to help them change their mindset. Find a direction, not just a degree. Find what they can commit to and be helpful for, while keeping unemployment away.”

Entrepreneurs, trained at the Institute of formation Fondacio (IFF) in Africa, shared their experiences. "We relied on successful people, who got results," explains Jérôme Tozé. "We aim at inspiring young people. Making them understand that they can start from nothing but still achieve something sustainable. It's time for a change!"

For the president of Fondacio, François Prouteau, "just look: the sun is there, the water is there, the earth is abundant, human beings are generous… If I have anything to say to the young people of Africa, it is: put down roots in this land! Your future is here, yours and that of the generation to come.”

Reviewing the mandate

After the forum, about thirty African delegates and several members of the Fondacio Council worked in groups, from Monday to Wednesday. "They reviewed the past four years, since the last Congress" which was held in 2018 in the Philippines, explains Yvonne Altorfer, the Fondacio Council member in charge of preparing and animating the Congress.

During the first phase of the Congress, alike meetings will take place on each continent to launch the synodal process. "The Congress is a spiritual journey, of listening to the signs of time and to the Holy Spirit. It is a moment of unity and a time to ratify fundamental reference texts”, emphasizes Yvonne Altorfer. The work of discernment is carried out by a college of one hundred delegates, from all over the world.

African delegates and Council members reviewed the main orientations of the ongoing mandate.

Three main orientations for the Congress

In 2018, three main orientations were decided for Fondacio. All three were reviewed, this week, by the delegates and Council members present in Togo.

The first one was the young people. "It is a priority for Africa, but also for the other countries," says François Prouteau. "There is no future without them. We have to help and give them opportunities to commit, to the future, a career.”

The second priority was integral ecology, “with issues related to social justice and service to the poor”.

Finally, the third main orientation was spirituality. "It goes beyond religious affiliations", explains the president of Fondacio. "It is this quest for meaning that drives us all. It is how we can become actors of a world full of meaning and hope; a more just, human and ecological world."

Words of participants

About thirty African delegates and several Council members of Fondacio gathered in Togo for the first phase of the International Congress.

The head of Fondacio in Congo, Hubert Alain Alouna, says: "The impressions are good. We gathered everything that each country in Africa has done as a reading of its priorities during the past mandate." For Appo Hubert Mananga, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, "with the themes that we discussed, I realized that Fondacio has already worked well, but still has things to do."

Selina Awuitor, from Ghana, enjoyed meeting with "several people. We shared our thoughts, it was really interesting." Christian Roger Obama, from Cameroun, adds: "Fondacio, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wants to move forward. It is the essence of the first phase of the Congress : to move the lines, to evolve, according to the world."

Other delegates, from the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Guinea, took part to the discussions online. 

A Congress every five years

For the first time, this year and the next, the Congress, which is the highest governing body of Fondacio, will take place in three phases. The first phase will be held on the four continents until June 2022. Lomé, Togo, was the start. It will then take place in Bogota, Colombia, from 2 to 6 April; in Versailles, France, from 24 to 27 May; and in Asia from 18 to 22 June.

The second phase, that of the election of the President, will take place from October 2022 to March 2023. The third, all the delegates will meet in May 2023, in Africa. There, the main orientations for the years to come and the texts discussed during the synodal process will be reviewed and approved. After a ratification vote, François Prouteau will pass the responsibility on to the new Council.

Watch the interview of François Prouteau (above), and that of Jérôme Tozé (below).