With joy and excitement, we, members of the Catholic Association for Communication –SIGNIS-Africa, at the Congress and Delegates Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, deliberated on the theme: The African Youth in the Digital World: Promoting Creativity for Integral Development.
We thank God for this great opportunity for Catholic Communicators in the continent to come together to reflect upon the important issues that have bearing on the future of our Church and society with particular reference to the youth in the digital world.
We were encouraged by the presence of the Dicastery for Communication; the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; the Apostolic Nunciature in Ethiopia; the Local Catholic Church in Ethiopia, SIGNIS Executive Council; SECAM; Catholic Media Council (CAMECO) and Caritas Africa.
We give special recognition and appreciation to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for the great interest he has shown to the communication apostolate of the Church. The reforms which he initiated in the Vatican Media are yielding positive fruits. We pledge to collaborate with the Holy Father and the Prefect of the Dicastery, Doctor Paolo Ruffini, to ensure that communication is efficiently integrated in the life and mission of the Church.
SIGNIS-Africa, being a stakeholder of the child/youth protection programme of the Church in the continent aims at making her contributions to the creation of awareness about the challenges
faced by the African children and young people in the digital age. We therefore highlighted the needs of the youth which are: education, health, job opportunities, social space, religious and cultural values.
2. SPECIAL NEEDS
The Congress afforded us the opportunity to share various ideas and experiences. We also identified the concerns and need to:
i. use our profession to accompany the youth in order to find their rightful place in the digital world and for them to apply their creativity for the common good. Indeed, they have to be formed to be at the centre of the continent’s development agenda;
ii. appreciate the fact that the youth, with their teeming population cannot remain bystanders in this endeavour, but should become protagonists and artisans of their own destinies;
iii. harness the digital technologies to revitalise the missionary spirit and promote creativity and integral human development;
iv. recognise that the young people are vulnerable group in the society.
v. fight against online criminality such as: child abuse, religious radicalisation and other forms of exploitation.
vi. institutionalise media and digital literacy and provide digital infrastructures;
vii. enhance the training and formation of Catholic communicators in witnessing to the
viii. assist the Church in Africa on the use of digital technology to spread the Good News by standing for the truth, promoting peace and justice.
ix. advocate for more interest and commitment of Bishops, Priests and the Religious in
providing the human and financial resources to improve communication and creativity of the youth in the digital world.
x. rely more and more on local resources through self-reliance in carrying out communication projects.
After having considered all the above issues, we therefore resolve:
i. To harness the creativity of young people in the digital framework with media and digital literacy.
ii. To promote the use of digital technology for telling our own stories
iii. To promote local best practices on the youth and digital world at the continental level.
iv. Practically advocate for local and regional strategy in the fight against cybercrime.
v. To improve the structure and visibility of SIGNIS at local, national and regional
vi. To serve as professional consultants to the Church’s hierarchy in pastoral planning for the young people in the digital age.
vii. To partner with other relevant bodies/organisations who are involved in the tasks of promoting creativity and integral development of the youth in the digital world.
viii. To use all the means available to implement the above strategic objectives andresolutions.
At the end of the Congress, we wish to render our warm appreciation to all those who have contributed in making it a huge success. We thank the Pontifical Mission Societies for the Propagation of Faith; Peter Cardinal Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Doctor Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication.
In a special way we acknowledge the support of His Eminence, Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa and President of Ethiopia Conference of Catholic Bishops (CBCE); His Excellency, Bishop Lisane-Christos Matheos, Bishop of Bahir Dar-Dessie and Chairman of SocialCommunications (CBCE); the Secretary General and Chairperson of Local Organising Committee, Fr. Teshome Fikre, and members of the LOC.
We are also grateful for the presence and participation of four other Bishops. We also like to commend, AFREXIM Bank, Caritas Africa, SECAM, CAMECO, and all our invited guests.
We sincerely applaud all other sponsors and supporters – Ethiopia Airline, UNESCO, Bayard Africa, Living with Christ, CRS, the HUB Hotel and our media partners. We are also grateful
to all those who presented goodwill messages, paper presenters and our guests.
In conclusion, we entrust SIGNIS-Africa to the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Africa, Our Patron Saint Oscar Romero, and all the Saints of Africa to obtain for us, a renewed zeal to follow Jesus Christ in promoting creativity and integral development of African young people in the digital world.
Released by the Participants, Addis Ababa, 7th September, 2019.
Rev. Fr. Dieudonne Kofi Davor
Rev. Fr. Prof. Walter C. Ihejirika