Year Three is well underway, and Catalysts are forging ahead with their theology and the sciences projects.
In July, Brazilian Catalyst Liliane Alcântara Araújo led a workshop about faith and food security at her national movement’s regional holiday course. She was energized by the positive response from the 30 students and professionals who attended.
“It was encouraging to see people from different backgrounds showing an interest in the intersection between food and nutrition security and faith,” Liliane says. “They asked a lot of questions and were very curious to know more about it.”
The workshop (see right) was just the first step in her project. Liliane is now preparing to lead a four-month-long mentoring program in which she will guide selected students through theoretical foundations, Bible studies and the development of project proposals that respond biblically to the problem of food and nutrition security in their own contexts. Brazil is one of the world’s leading agricultural producers, but income inequality and the high inflation of food prices means that food insecurity has plagued millions of poor Brazilians, causing suffering and loss of life.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Johnny Ngunza, is taking the university out into rural communities. He is mobilizing students from his national movement and community members to provide agronomy training to residents. The training will help residents develop small gardens outside their homes that will increase the quality and quantity of their food supply. This is crucial in the DRC’s insecure environment where fighting continues, and it is often not safe for residents to travel to their fields far from their homes.
Demonstration gardens have already been planted in two villages; 150 households have been selected to participate in the project; and GBU staff have been trained and have selected student volunteers. One important aspect has been the cultural sensitivity with which they have initiated the project.
“To train the target households, we selected local facilitators who serve as our interface with the local communities,” Johnny explains. “These are people such as teachers and local intellectuals who live in the villages, who speak the local language perfectly and who act as ‘transmitters’ during the training sessions. At the residents’ request, the work in our demonstration gardens is being monitored by local agronomists who live in the villages. We also made a point of contacting the traditional authorities to explain our vision for the communities.”
While some Catalysts have already held events and activities, others have spent the last few months building the spiritual and scientific foundations of their projects, for example by conducting research, planning events, developing partnerships and taking training courses. All of this has helped them gear up for the coming months when their plans will come to fruition in the form of workshops, conferences, courses and mentoring schemes, as well as the development of scholarly articles.
In Senegal for example, economist Dr Albertine Bayompe Kabou has taken a course in entrepreneurial mindset and transformational leadership that will equip her to coach a group of students in entrepreneurship as part of her project. She has also developed a partnership with a local NGO that will help the students in her project develop business plans that will turn their ideas into reality.
Meanwhile, the new cohort of Catalysts that are progressing through the LCI’s training and development year have been busy conducting pilot projects in preparation for the full theology and the sciences projects that they may lead next year.
Remember to check out our projects webpages for short summaries of all our current projects.
Please pray with us:
- Pray for peace and stability in Catalysts’ countries and universities. A number of Catalysts’ universities have been closed recently due to political unrest.
- Pray for Catalysts’ projects, many of which have large events in the coming months, that they will transform students, universities, national movements and societies for the glory of Christ.
- Pray for wisdom for the Tier One Catalysts as they plan their projects for next year.