SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

Migrant Ministry Report in Africa During the Pandemic Crisis

This report was commissioned by the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and compiled by the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA). In recent years the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) has compiled two other Ministry Reports commissioned by the Migrants & Refugees Section looking at the different Roman Catholic Ministries across the African continent and the incredible work they are doing with respect to people on the move. The two reports were the Migrant Ministry in Africa - Report 2017 and the Migrant Ministry in Africa - Report 2019. Both of which included consideration and expression of good practices by several Roman Catholic institutions or organisations in the reporting period.

This third report focuses on 40 good practices implemented in 2020, during the pandemic, through the lens of Pope Francis’s four verbs for migration: welcome, promote, protect, and integrate.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the dire need for many vulnerable communities including many people on the move has been exacerbated. Many have been ill and/or lives have been lost. Economies have collapsed, and many organisations have had to reduce their operations or close altogether. While migrants in many cases have been hit hardest by the pandemic, some migrants and refugees have shown remarkable resilience and initiative, allowing them to rise above adversity and excel despite the challenges. Likewise, many Catholic institutions and organisations have taken the pandemic in stride, adapted, and found ways to refocus their activities and projects to welcome, protect, promote and integrate people on the move in the context of the pandemic. SIHMA has had the privilege of reflecting on and compiling 40 good practices espoused by Catholic agencies assisting or working with people on the move during the pandemic. Of the 40 practices that were identified, 10 practices relate to each of Pope Francis’ four verbs in response to migration: welcome, protect, promote and integrate.

To prepare this report, SIHMA, in collaboration with the Migrants and Refugees Section, wrote to over 160 different contacts from countries across Africa. Material was received from the Catholic community in Africa, including but not limited to Episcopal Commissions, dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, and migrant groups. In responding to the pandemic, Catholic institutions and organisations have been continually on the frontline of alleviating its consequences, providing essential services and assistance. In addition to the narratives on good practices in this report, there is a picture included from each good practice identified and, in 25 instances, further material in the form of an interview with the director or project manager coordinating the organisation that is performing the good practice. These interviews provide a brief description of the work with people on the move, the inspiration and vision for the work, the challenges faced because of the pandemic and the successes in response, the recent changes in the phenomenon of migration, and the future goal and vision for the project and activities.

This report does have some limitations. It is based on data collected and or supplied by other organisations, and the accuracy could not be independently verified by the Migrants and Refugees Section. Anyway it offers a very interesting picture about the topic.

To read the full Migrant Ministry Report in Africa During the Pandemic Crisis, click here.




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