Mar. 9, 2020

* Ecumenical partners in Africa celebrate women’s achievements

World Prayer Day Ecumenical Partners gathering in Nairobi. Photo: Syovata Kilonzo/WCC

09 March 2020

Ecumenical partners in Africa convened by All Africa Conference of Churches, World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network, WCC Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative and Advocacy, Christian Aid, and Side by Side gathered in Nairobi on World Prayer day 2020 to celebrate the achievements of women in Africa as well as to recognise men as allies. The gathering also observed the International Women’s Day under the theme #EachforEqual.

“We deliberately celebrate the great job women have done in social, political, cultural, economic and religious fields as we look forward to much more in the future,” said Rev. Fidon Mwombeki, ll Africa Conference of Churches general secretary.

“Though not documented in history, women played a great role towards attainment of independence in Africa; contributed to economic justice; championed for respect of bodily integrity, autonomy and dignity of women and girls as well as advocated for change in policies and practice,” said Mildred Ngesa, African Women's Development and Communication Network.

Women’s achievement in agriculture, political and organisational leadership, service in religious circles, challenge on gender stereotypes and bias, and efforts to forge a gendered equal world were celebrated. Women with disabilities, women refugees and women living with HIV and AIDs in church and society were also celebrated.

The gathering recognised that over time men have stepped forward to push for a more gender balanced world. “The world is at a turning point. People everywhere understand and support the idea of gender equality. They know it’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue. All genders need to stand in solidarity with women to create a bold, visible and united force for gender equality,” said Anjeline Okola, programme coordinator of the WCC Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network.

Meaningful participation of women in peace processes and an end to gender-based violence in conflicts and crisis settings in relation to the Africa Conference of Churches Side by Side African Union Communique submitted to the Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa in February 2020 on the theme “Silencing the Guns: creating a conducive environment for Africa’s development” was discussed.