AIC’s visions and struggles for social justice are based on a philosophy that all of us should be well and that this wellbeing is the basis on which each person can stand in community with others. The Just Communities program seeks to raise the capacity of our members and communities to call to account the various institutions of society – the family, economy, politics, government, culture and others in order to evaluate them for how well they enable each one of us to live life in dignity.
OAIC believes in the ability of our members and their communities to create social change. Members are involved in decision making at all levels of the organization for the benefit of their own communities, which is a core value of AICs. Through community building and organizing, OAIC members are able to take direct actions to address their own challenges. Through the founding visions of AICs, we equip communities with the values and methods of achieving social justice for all. This is the charge of Just Communities.
What we do
The Just Communities program works to enable AICs and their communities to recover their voice and speak out effectively on issues of social justice and good governance. Just Communities does this by facilitating AICs to acquire or to recover critical capabilities in community building and organizing, and to appraise what it is in their beliefs that strengthens or weakens their competence to play a responsible role as citizens.
Through effective organizing and community building, AICs members are sure to achieve sustainable improvements in individual and collective wellbeing. Collaboration and networking presents a clear strategy and opportunity for us to advance our work on social justice, governance and peace. Through our partnerships and initiatives, we have realized that much can be achieved with minimal resources through strategic collaboration and networking. These tools will also help us enhance our media presence, widen support for strategic goals and objectives as well rationalize and optimize resources by avoiding duplicating efforts with collaborating organizations.
Just Communities welcomes and actively seeks collaboration and partnership on identified issues with other like-minded or inclined faith groups, advocacy groups, universities, foundations, government agencies and media.
Strategy and Initiatives
The OAIC conceptualization of social change is profoundly spiritual – social justice is an expression of the work of the Holy Spirit operating spontaneously through many local actors. The OAIC perceives itself as having a role to harness this by equipping AICs and their communities with the proper tools so they can act on these visions. In this formulation, the primary role of driving social change is left and carried by these communities through their own organizing. Community organizing is a transforming experience for those involved, as it engages community members normally excluded from public life in strategic organization building and direct action.
At the heart of community organizing is the building of a team of community leaders that are accountable, capable of defining their self-interest and able to exercise power in increasingly complex situations. Community organizing groups have the potential to build enormous clout and bring a powerful and diverse voice into local, provincial, national, regional and international campaigns. They offer a critical resource for engaging policy discussions on a variety of issues.
Community organizing thus presents Just Communities with a clear means of building the power of the OAIC and its membership. Just Communities works by helping AICs and community organizations initiate and carry out an analysis of their realities relative to desired states of wellbeing. Just Communities thereafter works with these AICs and community organizations to plan and execute community building and organizing efforts needed to resolve emerging issues. The program also enables and facilitates dialogue with and within communities to support sustainable policy and decision making processes.
OAIC’s Just Communities Program aims to:
- Equip AICs to link their spirituality with the development of civic virtues
- Engage with the theologies that weaken people’s understanding and sense of citizenship
- Strengthen the organizations of the poor to act collectively on issues that affect their livelihoods
- Build the capacity of the regions and chapters to participate in peace building and conflict prevention
- Take up advocacy on issues relating to the international policy frameworks which marginalize poor countries
- Strengthen the ability of member churches and CBOs to engage with local and national governments on economic justice, trade, peace and good governance