Conference of Visitors of Africa and Madagascar – COVIAM
COVIAM was established in June 1994. In July of 1989, during the meeting of the Visitors in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), a group of Visitors from Africa proposed creating a group that would encourage greater collaboration among and provinces and the missionaries, especially in the area of formation. With that objective in mind and encouraged by the members of the General Curia, the Visitors of Africa and Madagascar organized a meeting of Vincentian formators that took place in Kinshasa, Congo (1990).
The majority of the provinces in Africa can trace their origin to Europe and as a result, four languages are spoken by the members of this conference (French, English, Spanish and Portuguese) … nevertheless, the official languages of this group are French and English. This group holds an annual meeting.
In addition to the differences in language there are cultural differences among the various members (lifestyle, attitudes, etc.). Therefore, during the first decade of its existence (1994-2004) COVIAM struggled to arrive at a consensus that would allow the members to focus on and engage in common projects. The International Mission in Chad which began in 2011 and the regional formation program in Enugu which began in 2015 are examples of projects that were initiated and then administered by the members of COVIAM. The success of these initiatives is the result of planning and organization … the members are now planning more expansive programs.
This Conference is composed of the Visitors from the following countries: the Vice-Province of Cameroon, the Congo, Eritrea (Justin de Jacobis), Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria.
During the 2016 General Assembly of the Congregation, the members of COVIAM made the following commitments:
- Strengthen the Inter-African Theologate in Enugu, Nigeria.
- To continue the formation of formators.
- The formation of the laity.
- To reassess Vincentian identity in our provinces and develop our sense of belonging to the Congregation.
- To strengthen our interprovincial solidarity and collaboration.
- To work, in collaboration with existing structures, on behalf of the promotion and defense of human rights, social justice and peace.
- To adopt a culture of Systemic Change in the life of our communities and our apostolic activities.
Province of Ethiopia
Founded1956, 1968, 1993
Memheru, Mekonnen Menkir – Provincial Visitor (02/02/2016 – 02/02/2019)
Vice-Province of Cameroon
Feugang, Guénolé – Provincial Visitor (18/02/2019)
Province of Congo
Founded1926; 1979; 1982; 1991
Yoka Mongu, Bernardin – Provincial Visitor (02/02/2015 – 18/01/2018)
Province of Madagascar
Rafanomezantsoa, Alexandre Zéphirin – Provincial Visitor (18/05/2012-15/07/2015)
Vice-Province of Mozambique
Azevedo Fernandes, José Luís – Vice-Provincial Visitor (13/12/2014 – 22/11/2017)
Province of Eritrea S. Justino
Ghirmatsion, Negasi O/Ghiorgis – Provincial Visitor (31/03/2016)
Province of Nigeria
Founded 1998, 2010
Mbata, Cyril Nnamdi – Provincial Visitor (04/12/2015)