The Arrupe Jesuit Institute’s (AJI) youth empowerment and leadership development scheme, IYNIGO, is marking one year of its existence this month. IYNIGO, an acronym for Ignatian Youth Networks Initiating Generational Outcomes, recruits young people between the ages of 18 to 35 desirous of becoming agents of social transformation through initiating processes of enduring significance for the good of society.
Since its inception, IYNIGO has grown in many ways. Significantly, it has become an integral part of the character and vision of the AJI, ensuring that young people are empowered to engage in the critical conversations and processes that impact positively on society.
IYNIGO’s first anniversary celebration, which is aptly titled: Time is greater than Space: Youth beyond Covid-19, began with a social media challenge on Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020. The social media challenge invited young people to post a one-minute video sharing their experiences of how COVID-19 has affected them.
In line with one of the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus, on accompanying youth, this challenge seeks to ensure that the voices and experiences of young people are not left out in public policy thinking and planning now and after Covid-19. Young people constitute the lifeblood of our communities, societies, the church, and our world. Yet, they frequently exist on its margins, especially at a time like this.
On Sunday, June 27th, members of IYNIGO celebrated a Holy Mass of thanksgiving at the property of the Jesuits intended as the future premises of the AJI at Atomic Hills in Accra. As in previous celebrations, all the Covid-19 protocols stipulated by the Ghana government will be observed.
Later in the week on Wednesday, 1st of July, 2020, the celebratory events were climaxed in a webinar which took the form of a round table conversation. The aim was to gather together young people from across Africa, youth leaders, youth organizations and influencers, civil and religious leaders among others to engage in a dialogue on how the pandemic is affecting young people and envisage the way forward.
IYNIGO sort participation in both the social media challenge and the webinar with people partaking by taking a one-minute video of themselves in which they share experience of how Covid-19 has affected them and also where they see openings for hopeful action in the future.
This was shared on IYNIGO’s social media handles: Facebook – IYNIGO; Twitter – @IYNIGO1. Beyond sharing a video, the youth were also invited to join the conversation by sharing, liking, commenting, tweeting and retweeting the contents on her social media page.