Africa Initiatives

September, 2012

Film by Andrew Lyke, who was among the delegation of U.S. Catholics that visited CRS projects in the West African country Ghana 

In 2010, six parishioners from Sacred Heart Church in Joliet, Illinois journeyed to the East African country Uganda for a "Pilgrimage of Pain and Hope" led by Fr. Emmanuel Katongole. They were joined by a group from Malaysia and others from Uganda. They visited several communities, some of which had benefited from fresh water wells funded by Sacred Heart Church. 

Premiered Aug 24, 2022

BLI is a response to three major challenges in Uganda: environmental degradation, food insecurity, and poverty.

Inspired by Pope Francis's encyclical letter Laudato Si', BLI aims to  transform rural communities, which in turn will contribute to the global efforts of transforming Mother Earth into a flourishing natural, social, and economic environment. We pursue this mission through an ecological education program, focused on teaching and living out Integral Ecology. We recognize the inherent connection between the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, and our program equally recognizes the importance of education, environmentalism, and sound economics.

Coming together in 2012, three Ugandan friends, Fathers Emmanuel Katongole, Cornelius Ssempala, and Anthony Rweza, began discussing the problems of deforestation, poverty, and land depletion around their homes in rural Uganda. They decided a multifaceted approach was needed: an approach that equally addressed economics, education, and the environment.

Bethany Land Institute carries out its mission through an integrated education program in sustainable land use, economic entrepreneurship, and spiritual formation.  Dedicated Ugandans are invited to reside at BLI for two years and partake in this program, where they learn the skills needed to live out the practice of Integral Ecology in their lives going forward.

BLI is committed to full transparency surrounding the impact of our work. We currently track the inputs and outputs related to our farming operations and are also developing an inventory of the plants, trees, and wildlife species present in Lazarus' Forest. We believe it is crucial to collect this data to see the impact that our theory of change is having on life in Uganda.