The Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church (KELC) Women Department accompaniment by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is developing a Church Gender Justice Policy. The process has been on since March 2019 and will go until December 2019.
It is at the Public Participation stage involving female, male and youths of both genders in the LWF 40:40:20 ratio quarter system of representation. As a LWF member church we are using the 2013 LWF Gender Justice Policy as one of our sources. Participants are opinion leaders drawn from the grass-roots to share their views on the gender related issues as understood and practiced within their local congregations and communities.
The methodology applied in the forums is holding interactive meetings with the people, educating them on gender justice, group discussions & interviews, listening & observation, documenting the findings, analyze and reporting. The program involves: Climate setting involving self-introductions and getting the expectations of the participants, sharing the objectives of the workshops, introducing the Biblical and theological foundation of gender justice, educating and sensitizing on all issues around gender justice at global and domestic contexts and sharing key principles and benefits of having and practicing gender justice.
The facilitation and moderation of the process is done by a technical team mandated by the KELC Executive Council of 04.05.2019. The Campaign is coordinated by Rev. Catherine Ngina Musau accompanied by the KELC Secretary General Rev. L. N. Mwololo, the Youth Coordinator Mr J. Kapanga and the Women Dept. Coordinator Pw. Alice Mwaringa and others. Already this process has been done in the South Coast, North Coast and Kilimanjaro Church Districts reaching more that 150 participants and targets to meet 105 more people of the Central Deanery by end of July 2019.
By design the idea is to train leaders as ToTs in order to keep the gender justice campaign an ongoing discussion. This is a deliberate move to enable the program be rolled out to the grass roots. This eases the understanding, adoption and implementation of the gender justice policy by 2020. We are expecting its approval during this years’ KELC General Assembly in December.
We continue to appreciate the accompaniment of the ELCA our mutual partner in mission for
The Women’s Literacy program within the Women’s Department of KELC has been developing and progressing in recent months. In April, Magarini Parish, near Malindi in the coastal region of Kenya held a graduation for 44 people who have completed adult literacy classes and passed a government exam showing their ability to read and write. LungaLunga Parish in the South Coast region held a graduation in June for 33 people who completed adult literacy courses. Illiteracy among adults in Kenya remains a concern. According to the Kenyan government, about 25% of the female population is illiterate. The Women’s Department of KELC is committed to providing Adult Literacy classes in many congregations around the country.
The Adult Literacy Course is a two-year program where students attend classes 3 days per week and they learn to read, write, and do basic math. Although students can complete the work in 2 years, many people take several more years because of other family and community commitments. Many of the students are deeply committed to learning to read and write, and experience many benefits from their newly learned skills. Some women are able to start a small business and can be confident in managing the finances. Many graduates take pride in reading the bible during worship on Sunday. Others continue their education by study a trade, such as tailoring and dressmaking.
The program through the Women’s Department is continuing to grow and new teachers are being trained. In June, 15 new teachers attended a training seminar to learn how to teach the Adult Literacy Course. During the 3-day training, the new teachers learned the process of teaching literacy classes, developed tools to use in the classroom, and practiced their lesson plans. We are grateful for the new teachers who will be going back to their homes to continue developing and spreading the Adult Literacy Course within their communities.
Magarini Parish held a graduation ceremony on April 20th, for 44 people who have completed Adult Literacy Classes. The KELC Women’s Department has been supporting literacy education in several parish and mission areas, including this group in Magarini Parish. The course is a two-year program, at the end of which the students take a government exam.
Nearly all of the graduates in Magarini Parish were women. As wives and mothers, the women have many daily tasks to maintain their household and support their husband and children. Yet they also craved education and wanted to improve their lives by learning to read and write. Although the course can be completed in 2 years, many women take several more years to complete their course, as they are pulled away from classes periodically to address other duties in their family life. They remained dedicated to their education, and although it may take 5 or more years, they have persevered and have now graduated.
The graduation ceremony was attended by local government officials, church leaders, and community members. Two students demonstrated their reading skills by reading from the bible and the church liturgy book. There were many songs and dancing, including a children’s choir who sang songs to celebrate their mothers on this special day.
Illiteracy continues to be a problem in Kenya and women are disproportionately affected. About 25% of women in Kenya are illiterate, according to the records of the Kenyan government. Many of the graduates lamented that before they undertook the literacy classes, they struggled to shop or conduct business in the market, they were nervous to travel alone, and they could not assist their children with simple homework from school. Now they feel empowered to improve their lives and the lives of their families. We thank God for the dedication and commitment of these students and we pray that all communities around Kenya will continue working toward literacy for all people.
The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is calling for two applicants from KELC to apply for the Young Reformers program. Applicants must be between the ages of 14 to 27. Check out the attached document for more information and all other application criteria.