Focus 2022

Colombia - COM28-12-2022

Regional meeting in Medellín for "Sustainable Salesian Latin America" project

The Salesian house "Villa de Sales" of Medellín, Colombia, hosted a training meeting as part of the "Sustainable Salesian Latin America" project. The project is a joint effort led by the Salesian NGO "Don Bosco World" (DBM) of Germany in coordination with the Office of Planning and Development (OPD) OFPROBOL of Bolivia and has the strategic support of the Network of Latin American Planning and Development Offices. In addition, it is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Development Cooperation (BMZ), will last 2 years until December 2023, and involves an investment of €550,000, distributed as follows: 75% BMZ, 15% participating Provinces, and 10% DBM.

The project calls for Salesian educational institutions in Latin America to promote education for sustainable development, environmental protection, and the adoption of sustainable lifestyles, keeping young people at the forefront as actors of change as the backbone of the project; to this end, they plan to train 5,000 environmental leaders, 250 members of the Environmental Provincial Commissions (CIMA, in Spanish) and 100 educators.

The meeting was attended by 30 people, lay people and Salesians in leadership positions, from 16 Salesian Provinces (14 of the Salesians of Don Bosco and two of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians from 14 countries in the Salesian regions of Interamerica and South Cone America: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela; representatives of "Don Bosco Green Alliance" for the region, and Annette Linn, the project manager with DBM's public cooperation partners, also attended.

The meeting began with the participation of Emanuela Chiang, from the Youth Ministry Sector, who presented the congregation's position on the topic of Integral Ecology. Subsequently, environmental experiences already underway in the region were presented, including the launching of Environmental Pastoral Care (Dominican Republic), Integral Environmental Diagnosis (Ecuador), the "Nuestra Casa Común" project (South Argentina), environmental management systems (Colombia Bogotá and Medellín), and Ciudad Don Bosco's experience in mitigating its carbon footprint.

Based on these experiences, the participating provinces are expected to develop the following guidelines at the local planning level:

- Promote the commitment and advocacy of integral ecology in coordination with the programming of the Youth Ministry Sector, so that the call to action of Laudato Sì becomes increasingly more a part of Salesian educational-pastoral action with young people.

- Promote critical and responsible consumption of resources (water, soil, energy) and proper waste management.

- Promote a "greening" of educational content and "Green Campus" initiatives.

- Promote the use of alternative/renewable energy sources.

- Promote a green management approach and carbon footprint mitigation.