YOUR JANUARY peace mail from Kenya
I’m the International Program Coordinator for Protection at Act for Peace and I work with our partner - the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in Kenya. The work of AACC is vast geographically and in scope of influence - from monitoring elections, to lobbying governments to ending human trafficking. And at a grass-roots level, the AACC works with churches to build stronger families and communities.
One of the people I work with is Rev. Dr. Lydia Mwaniki in Nairobi. Lydia’s PhD was in Gender and Theology and she is a vital part of the work done by AACC. She was brought up in a Christian family, and wanted to serve God from an early age. She attended Sunday School and then served as a teacher to young people, using her passion and dedication in theology to teach others. She completed a Certificate in Theology, which at the time had very few women attending, before going on to complete further study to be ordained. Currently, Lydia is using her skills to challenge cultural norms and empower families:
“I am in charge of the Family Life and Gender Justice Program – concerned for all families, including men, women and children, and also people who are excluded, including people with disabilities.”
Rev. Dr. Lydia works with church leaders to identify problems such as family violence. She develops workshops and implements them in churches across Africa to challenge cultural norms and build peace in families. She ensures that issues facing children, women and people with a disability are included in church and community workshops, conferences and seen in day-to-day improvements in communities where the AACC works. Furthermore, Rev. Lydia and her team lobby governments for laws and their enforcement to protect vulnerable people:
“We try to get religious leaders to work hand in hand with governments so that they use legal instruments to protect people. We want to engage with both sides, and bring people together on peace and gender justice”.
Last month, AACC held a historic advocacy conference on legal rights, including Sustainable Development Goals. They gathered different religious groups, including Muslims, Hindus and African traditional religious leaders.
“It was a great forum for gender justice, and to influence gender justice at the national and regional level,” Rev. Lydia told me.
“I feel very fulfilled. When I was doing my PhD. studies, I was telling God that I want to work in a position of influence where I could reach out to people and authorities to promote human dignity and especially gender justice.
“I’m very, very appreciative to the churches in Australia and the support from National Council of Churches in Australia to the AACC.”
I know that the work Rev. Lydia does will impact generations to come. Thank you for your kind gifts that are making a lasting difference to families in Kenya.
Dimi – Act for Peace
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Act for Peace’s partner, the AACC, is an ecumenical body that operates across Africa, including Kenya, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Zambia and Somalia.
As an ecumenical organization, AACC has conducted election observation and monitoring around the continent. Since 2009, AACC has also accompanied respective countries before, during and after the electioneering period to ensure stability, peace and good governance. Further, AACC has conducted election education in the general population through its church members. This empowers the population to strive to democracy and transparency in elections and government.
As you’ve read, the AACC also works to protect children, women and vulnerable community members, such as people with a disability, in society. Through workshops with congregations and the public, the AACC works at ground level to help shape peaceful and just communities.
Your support is making a difference
- $200 has contributed to Rev. Dr Lydia’s work in educating churches in their role in preventing human trafficking as well as lobbying governments to pass laws to punish those who are involved in the practice.
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