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Training Course on the Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Adults

Nairobi, Kenya-1st - 15th February

30 January 2024

From 1st to 15th February a training course will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, organized by the Office for the Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Adults of the General Curia and aimed at the friars of the African Conference. “Inspired by St. Francis to promote the dignity of every person with our words and actions” is the title of this meeting, in which approximately 50 friars from all the Entities of the African Conference will participate. 
The course is part of the activities for the implementation of Mandate n.9 of the 2021 General Chapter, which aims, amongst other things, to enable each Entity to adopt a written code of conduct on the subject of Safeguarding and that all, friars and lay people who collaborate within our fraternities are trained to respect it. 

We have already asked some questions to Br. Joseph Condren, secretary of the General Office for Safeguarding, who is already in Nairobi for the course.

What is the objective of this course? 

In view of what is happening in the other Conferences of our Order, we wish to train other friars on the topic of respect towards every human person. The 2021 General Chapter has shown us a path, which we are following by equipping the Order with some tools, such as the Manual for Safeguarding in initial and ongoing formation. With this meeting we first of all wish to shed light on all situations related to the topic of abuse, in all its forms, even the most hidden ones. 

The sessions are led by various experts on this subject. 

We have involved various figures to give a complete approach to the topic. On the first day, Dr. Augusta Muthigani, Kenyan educator of the Pontifical Commission for the Safeguarding of Minors, spoke, because we want to provide all the knowledge of Canon Law and the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith in matters of Safeguarding. Moreover, some victims, lay and religious, will also speak; there will be space for sharing, reflection and prayer, personal and fraternal. Br. Albert Schmucki, Director of the General Office for Safeguarding, will show how much the Franciscan charism is involved in these issues, whilst Father Lowrent Kamwanza, of the Missionaries of Africa, will explain how safeguarding is a form of evangelization, in Africa and in the world.

What are the expectations of the General Office for safeguarding? 

The intent is to guarantee the support of the Order by providing all the necessary tools to the friars. In every continent there are different cultures, traditions and habits that we must respect and from which we must start to achieve our goals. We want to provide the right knowledge of the subject, raise awareness of the risks of certain behaviours and broaden the skills of individuals and fraternities. 

The training will not end with this course. 

The objective is that each Entity can equip itself with a policy on the topic of Safeguarding, which will be included in the initial and ongoing training of each friar. The General Office for Safeguarding is open to everyone: the 2021 General Chapter asked us to do this, the Church asks us to do it, Saint Francis himself still asks us to do it today. 

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