RMG - Advocacy according to Salesian perspective

21 September 2018

(ANS - Rome) - The 73rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations opens in New York. The Salesians actively participate through an intense activity of advocacy, and are at work in this and other international organizations where it is possible to have the voice of the young heard, bringing to the attention of political decision-makers the needs and expectations of the poorest and most marginalized young. What does doing "advocacy" mean in the Salesian key? But above all, why is this theme imposed today on the reflections of the Congregation and of the Salesian Family? Trying to answer these and other similar questions is the Position Paper entitled "What does advocacy mean according to a Salesian perspective", recently adopted by the Rector Major and by the General Council of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

The text, drawn up and beginning with the contributions of various Salesian NGOs together with an Expert Group of "Don Bosco International", first defines the concept of 'advocacy' as a "process to support people and enable them to express their point of view, their concerns, gain access to information and services, promote and protect their rights and responsibilities, examine choices and options."

Unlike lobbying and awareness raising campaigns, advocacy aims to guarantee people, especially to the most vulnerable, the ability to ensure that their voices are listened regarding the issues most relevant to them, to protect / safeguard their own rights, and to ensure that their opinions and desires are genuinely taken into account when decisions are made regarding their lives.

The various subjects that make reference to the Congregation and the Salesian Family find themselves today operating in contexts in which the policies adopted and consolidated have direct and indirect effects on the education and development of young people. From the awareness of all this, arises the need for ongoing formation to be able to intervene on the structural causes of the challenges that young people encounter today in their growth, rather than simply taking note of the consequences of institutional choices.

The document, emphasizing the tradition of advocacy in the history of the Salesian Family, identifies the values and guiding principles for a Salesian approach to the challenges of our time in this area. In an international context in which the so-called "Agenda 2030" proposes the Goals for Sustainable Development, the Position Paper identifies seven priority areas for a Salesian advocacy action.

With the publication of this document, what was sought was, on the one hand, to codify the steps taken and the choices made in this field throughout the history of the Salesian Congregation and Family; on the other, re-launching the urgency of seriously considering the challenges and opportunities offered by a conscious and informed approach to advocacy for young people, especially the poorest, from a Salesian perspective, the hope being to strengthen existing Salesian advocacy structures and developing new ones in those regional contexts in which they are not yet present.

The full text of the Position Paper is available here.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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