The Institut Catholique Missionnaire d'Abidjan (ICMA), in Côte d’Ivoire, carried out a project on on-going formation of missionaries, religious, priests and pastoral workers, as well as lay people involved in the mission of the Church, supported by PMU. The project consisted of offering training sessions on three themes: Integrity in ministry: issues concerning sexual abuse and protection of minors and vulnerable adults; Christian commitment, participation in public life and consolidation of peace; Alcohol, friend or enemy: addiction, substance abuse, drug and dependency as symptoms of personal and societal malaise.
Five sessions were held on the first topic. The formation focused on how to help participants enter into the dynamics of protecting children, young people and the more vulnerable adults in our societies, and ways of creating a healthy environment for them. They received a diploma advanced level Côte d’Ivoire in Child Protection from the Center for Child Protection (CCP), Gregorian University Rome, in partnership with ICMA. Fr. Stéphane Joulain was the formator, in collaboration with the Save Minors (DEA) team of the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome) and a local collaborator. Father Joulain, a member of the Society of Missionaries of Africa, is a family therapist and doctor of counselling and spirituality. For almost 15 years, he has been assisting victims of sexual abuse. He is currently the ministry's integrity coordinator for his missionary society and is also involved in the DEA program on the protection of minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Two sessions were organised on the second topic, “Christian commitment, participation in public life and consolidation of peace”. This training focused on encouraging Christian youth to engage in the electoral process in a non-violent way. It also provided tools to discern the credibility and promises of politicians who run for office. Participants were also trained in techniques of non-violent communication. Father Michel Savadogo Pingdewinde, Burkinabe missionary of the Society of African Missions, SMA was the formator. He is the Executive Director of the Shalom Network of Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation (RESTCOR) in Abidjan. In the second session more focus was placed on the scriptural foundation of civic responsibility of the Christians as actors of a new, just and peaceful society.
Three sessions were organised on the third theme “Alcohol, friend or enemy: addiction, substance abuse, drug and dependency as symptoms of personal and societal malaise”. The beneficiaries were Animators of the Christian Basic Communities (CEB), the pastoral workers, lay leaders, catechists, extraordinary ministers, parents, youths, educators and guardians. The session focused on giving participants an understanding of the mechanisms and consequences of addiction, use of hard drugs and substance abuse, especially alcoholism. It showed how addiction (alcoholism, drugs, etc.) is fast becoming a public health problem in Côte d'Ivoire. The animator, Sr. Therese Verger, has a lot of experience in assisting the sick and dying. She also works a lot in the prevention, awareness and support of alcoholic addiction and addicts, i.e. addiction to drugs in individual psychotherapeutic management, group ethno psychiatry and art therapy in Africa.