CCT National Women’s Conference
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.”
CCT held a national women prayer conference on 12th to 16th September at St. Johns University in Dodoma city. It was the first national conference which was organized by the Department of Women Development, Children and Gender. The main theme was “Tanzania without GBV is Possible” More than 300 women from different parts of Tanzania and few of them from other countries attended the conference.
The main aim of this conference was to provide a space for the church to engage in empowering women in addressing GBV issues which is very common to community members.
Issues Discussed at the Conference.
- The meaning of GBV
They addressed GBV as any violent act done to a person without his/her willing. This action can harm a person physically, psychologically, economically, sexually and socially. It was noted that these violent actions are rampantly practiced towards women and children who constitute almost a half of the Tanzanian population.
- Sources of GBV
Different factors were mentioned as the main sources of GBV including harmful cultural/traditional values& beliefs (FGM, Inheritance of widows, early and forced marriages) political instabilities, bad believes (witchcraft), ignorance, alcohol abuse, poverty, marital conflicts and patriarchy systems in the community.
- Effects of GBV
Different effects of GBV were analyzed including psychological effects, physiological effects (physical harm, disabilities, death) social, economic and cultural effects.
- Church Position in Addressing GBV
The church should teach its people about the meaning, sources and impact of GBV to the community and church as well, considering that family is the church foundation.
It should preach the gospel of love and equality reflecting how God treats people equally and expresses the same love to all human beings.
Women got an opportunity to participate in prayers. They had time for repentance for themselves, church, community and national level for all the violent actions which has been practiced. Every woman prayed for the present and future generation, to be the generation which will fight against all forms of GBV.
Some of the women were able to release the trauma which was hurting them for a long time as a result of GBV practices They prayed for the people who are currently facing violence acts for God to heal their wounds and rescue them from the situation. They prayed for God to reveal His love to all of us, so as we can treat each other equally.
- The launch of Baba Bora Campaign and the Tamari Campaign Guide
Baba Bora Campaign aimed at reminding fathers of their responsibilities in their families as fathers and husbands. They are also responsible for taking care of their children by ensuring that a family becomes a better place for all, instead of leaving all responsibilities to mothers.
The book of Tamari Campaign will be used to teach GBV using the bible. The book explains about breaking the silence to GBV issues using an example of a strong woman in the Bible named Tamari. She was not ashamed of what has been done to her, instead, she stood up and addressed it. The book was published by the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa (FECCLAHA) in 2017.
GBV is highly practiced among people, even church members knowingly and unknowingly. After this meeting, most of the women became aware of it and decided to be an example for addressing GBV issues. They showed the capacity they have on ending violence even though the present situation is discouraging them to act against violence. They gained back their confidence and promised to join together in ending violence.
Religious institutions like CCT and its member churches are a strong base to address community challenges and bring changes.