In 2012, Fr. Emmanuel Katongole, Cornelius Ssempala, and Anthony Rweza started talking about three major problems in rural Africa which reflected a failure to live up to our God given vocation to “till the land and take care of it.”(2:15).
- Deforestation and land degradation
- Food insecurity
- Poverty and the lack of economic viabilities
Inspired by Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si, the priests recognized that addressing ecological challenges cannot be "reduced to a series of urgent and partial responses to the immediate problems." It requires "an education program," which also encourages a transformed lifestyle or spirituality, i.e. an ecological conversion (L.S.#111).
Thus, Bethany Land Institute was formed as an educational program to form especially the poor and excluded in Africa, in the practices, lifestyle and spirituality of sustainable land care, food production, and economic expertise in rural Africa.