WOMEN AND FAMILY DEPARTMENT PRESENTATION
The Women and Family Department is one of the eight departments of the CBCA. This department is designed to equip women and families for their faith firmness and their overall development through various teachings, exchange of experiences and the initiation of development projects, especially in districts and local churches.
The mission of the Woman and Family Department is to strengthen and educate the women through different groups according to the specific challenges of each one, both in faith and in their overall aspects of development.
The vision of Women and Family Department is « We are a Department with transformed women committed to contribute to the change in the church and in the society”
The values of DFF/ CBCA are:
Each local church has a weekly program of teachings. And once per month, women are called to lead the Sunday service, including preaching. This week the women deal with family challenges. Twice per year, the Women and Family Department send a training and prayer program which is followed in all local churches. It addresses a real challenge in the church.
The organization of the Department
The head of the department collaborates immediately with church district leaders who work in close collaboration with leaders in local churches.
The department organizes, once per year, a meeting calling together all the district women leaders. And each district has, once per year, a meeting which gathers all women leaders of local churches, counselors, trainers in the adult literacy sector and other women leaders committed to social activities in the church.
Normally, the members of Women and Family department attends the women district meetings. It helps the Department to know the challenges on the base in the field of women services and leads to plan capacity building of leaders according to the real need . But most of time, it is difficult to attend those meetings because of less means.
The Women and Family Department depends on to the church administration. So, for financial means, all is managed by the financial department. Quarterly, we submit to that department a plan of activities which we need to fulfill, and for each activity we do a request of money. If the request is in conformity with the annual budget and if there is money, we are served. Most of time, we do not have money for carrying out activities even if they are planned, because the districts did not duly accomplish their budget. In fact, apart from some partners’ support, we depend on our local churches.
- At all levels of our services, women leaders make a plan of their activities according to the
challenges of each area;
- At each level of administration, there are assemblies or meetings of women leaders;
- The monthly program of preaching and leading Sunday service are going on
- Organizing gatherings weekly for different teachings in different groups of women in all domains (spiritual, economic and development, health, gender …) ;
- Diaconal activities in local churches are mostly done by women;
- We have begun to write books for leader trainings;
- The Department does trainings for women leaders, at all levels.
- Initiating some developpement projects for women services;
- Initiate training centres for illiterate people;
- Oganizing women assemblies once per year;
- Organizing different small groups among women in order to help one another;
- Starting up a program of fighting sexual abuse and gender violence;
- Initiating rotation credit for helping women to increase the family income and fighting poverty;
Present main challenges of women
- Illiteracy of women members of CBCA church, even women leaders;
- Poverty of most of families;
- Violence, rape against women and their discrimination in society;
- Insufficient means to carry out women activities in women services. Each challenge has many other issues.
- Objectives of the Women and Family department
After discovering that most of women do not know their place and their responsibility and that others do not know very well their rights because of illiteracy and insufficient information, the Women Department aims to:
– Create awareness among women and encourage them so that they can understand their
responsibility as instructors or teachers in their respective families;
– Teach women how to take care of their families, especially to be examples for children in all
– Teach women some homemade activities for development in the purpose of increasing the
– Teach women how to evangelize others and help them to be active in different church ministries;
– Empower women to deal with all family challenges and grow in their faith;
– Help couples in order to live in harmony and gender balance which can help their children in
good education without traumatizing them through any bad behavior.
Each year we identify the main challenges we must deal with and we plan activities accordingly.
- Women gatherings for teachings in local churches
Women leaders have a program which gather women in small groups according to their challenges and special situations. Among them we have widows (with different ages), women who are left by their husbands, women married by widowers, married women according to different ages, families who live with their old parents in their households, unmarried ladies, ladies who have got children without marriage, pregnant women, wives of different leaders in the church (pastors, elders, and others in local church), couples, women who work other services outside the church, adolescent girls, raped women, shopkeeper women, handicapped people, orphans, and so on.
- Trainings about Illiteracy of women
Generally, women were victim of the culture which promoted the marriage as the destiny of women. Beyond that the war and insecurity situation increased the situation by moving and missing means of school fees of children. When men do not work, its women who work for providing all family needs. So most of them are raped when they are in fields, or they are going in the market for businesses or are looking for water or for firewood. So because of being so busy, they do not have time for schooling.
For dealing with such a thing, the Women and Family Department created a process of informal education for helping women to accomplish their role in society.
At present we have the first level in centers for literacy of all who did not have chance of study; the second level which frame women in education and learning handicraft; and at last there is the third level which help all who did not finish primary or secondary school to finish it in a short duration.
In those centres we try to encourage the trainers in learning centres to diversify lessons; we gather all trainers for experience sharing and train them methodologies for adult education; we encourage church members to increase their education level; we sensitize parents not to deprive any child from the right education; we encourage leaders in our local churches to provide for’ incentives of teachers; we sensitize women and girls to accept to be trained in different activities and getting some qualifications;
There is a special programme taking place once per year in Sunday service and it deals with fight against illiteracy;
- Training about economic activities:
– We teach women some handiworks and some small business for helping to earn money in different ways;
– teaching means of improving farming;
– teaching the importance of working together in small associations;
– initiating rotary micro credits associations;
– following up activities and training in order to improve the work;
– teaching how to begin a collective project;
- 4. Program about Sexual violence and sexual rape
Since 2007, the Women and Family Department has initiated the Abused Women and Girls Program. This program aims at the following three goals:
- To look over the victim’s mental , social, medical and spiritual situation as well as her development and health;
- To help reduce the neglect, discrimination, disregard and stigmatization over the abused;
- To help restore the relationship between the victim and her family.
In present, we accompany 3748 victims of rape and 174 children born from rape and others raped with less than 15 years old assisted by Women and Family Department.
With women leaders we have :
– Identifying victims of rape in our districts (from all religious denominations);
– Training of counsellors about trauma healing in order to help the abuse survivors
for feeling securer and find hope and happiness in life.
– Preparing teachings for all congregation members about fighting violence in all dimensions and
considering human dignity;
– Gathering violence victims for different teachings (spiritual, psychological, medical, economic and sociological…) in different areas in order to help them to be integrated in society;
– Supporting with scholarship children born through rape;
– We distribute bibles to rape victims and teach them how to do bible study in their family. The Bibles are given by Congo Bible Alliance.
Here are ways of assisting the abuse survivor:
Spiritual and psycho social assistance
In the districts, where we have already begun, we try to help the rape survivor to feel secure and find hope and happiness.
– Through conversation, counsellors help the survivor of abuse by telling her that she is not guilty, but the rapist is. Moreover, the counselee is encouraged to go back to normal life and build up her sense of security and peace of mind in her dependence on God who cares for everyone all the time.
– As the abuse survivor needs love from the family and society in order to feel accepted, so we make teaching programmes for helping people in churches how to live with victims for comforting them because it is important that they receive comfort from everybody, as the church members are asked to bind up the broken hearted.
– We help them for breaking the silence: It is dangerous for an abused one to keep silent. It is, however, true also that is a shameful affair which is not easy to talk about. It is very dangerous way to be tested and attended to before the worse happens.
– We make programs for promoting and advocating the rights and the value of human beings, including the woman because all are created in God’s image and receive salvation and forgiveness of sin in the same way.
– We teach populations human dignity in order to bring everybody to respect women
– We do mediation in families where the survivor is rejected
– We have built 15 listening houses in different districts where we are involved in the work of taking care of rape survivors.
There are specific health centres in many places which receive abuse survivors for assistance. These health centres provide the test and medical care. So the role of the church is to educate the population to reach the heath centre within 72 hours. Through supported programs, we pay medical bills of victims
Legal assistance ( this work is done in cooperation with our JPIC service )
– We call together religious and local States authorities to help in process of curbing customs that perpetrate rape and violence against women. We need to bring everybody to help the abused by taking the perpetrator to court for punishment.
– We try to teach Church members the necessity to be involved in following- up such a case to prevent the abuser from escaping.
– We teach some laws of our country concerning rape and violence.
- We enable survivors of abuse to get an activity or to gain skills in order to become self-reliant,
- We grant some credits to those who are able to work;
- We teach methods of farming, breeding and management to survivors
- We pay school fees of children born from rape
Note: In two districts (Busaghala and Kitsimba), the group of victim of rape have initiated program
of teaching reading and writing because most of those victim are illiterate.
- 5. Malnutrition Program
The poverty issue has many consequences in the family. The income is so low, so it’s the children and pregnant women who are victims.
In this programme the Women and Family Department contributes to the education of the populations regarding poverty reduction methods and fight against malnutrition.
The specific objectives are:
- to raise awareness about preventive methods of malnutrition
- to provide a nutritional support to the selected group
- to accompany the target population through teachings
- to work out vegetable garden as experimentation field
- to equip the victim in rehabilitation materials when possible
- I Difficulties encountered in women department and women services
- Insufficient means for fulfilling activities, especially building capacity of women leaders, so that they could be able to accomplish their work.
- A lot of women leaders of low education level;
- A big number of violence victims beyond the support means from partners;
By Malinyota Henriette
Director of the Women Departement