Since 2012, Father Emmanuel has been involved, as co-founder and President, with Bethany Land Institute (BLI). Inspired by Pope Francis’ signature 2015 letter, Laudato Si’: On the Care for Our Common Home, BLI addresses the three interrelated challenges of food insecurity, environment destruction, and poverty in rural Uganda. Sitting on 270 acres of land at Nandere (central Uganda), BLI trains and forms leaders (“Caretakers”) who are committed to fight poverty, care for creation, and restore human dignity (L.S. #39). Trained in the practice, lifestyle and spirituality of integral ecology, BLI caretakers become both leaders and change agents for sustainable livelihoods and creation care in their communities.
The name “Bethany” Land Institute reflects Fr. Emmanuel’s ongoing appreciation of the significance of the stories told about the village of “Bethany” in the New Testament as a lens into the challenges faced by many communities in Africa, but also as an invitation into the hope and revolutionary possibilities and processes made possible by God who “came to dwell among us.”
Thus, BLI’s three key programs or “learning centers” – where the training of Caretakers happens – reflect the spirit of Bethany:
A sustainable farm that conducts educational and mentorship programs in sustainable practices of land use and food production.
A natural forest (162 acres), which serves as base for ecological conservation and education, and runs an outreach program for reforestation and creation care efforts in the community.
BLI’s business school which trains caretakers in principles of economics, commercial production, marketing, management, and runs the Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) for Caretakers.
As BLI continues to grow, Father Emmanuel and the rest of the team would love your support and feedback. The links below will take you to our various websites so that you can learn more, follow us, contact us, or donate to the cause. Thank you!