Thembekile Ntuliki, Sunday News Reporter
THE Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, has encouraged the church to play a leading role in empowering women in a bid to achieve gender equality and reduce cases of gender-based violence fuelled by economic disempowerment of women.
Dr Nyoni encouraged churches to look after those who are powerless and weak and not take advantage of their distress as a tool for victimisation. She was speaking during the launch of the Council for Churches in Africa (CCA) Women’s Fellowship in Bulawayo yesterday.
“My ministry appreciates the role played by CCA in economic development. Investing in women’s economic empowerment and skills development is one of the most urgent and effective means to drive progress on gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. Despite growing evidence of the positive outcomes of women’s economic empowerment, women continue to experience unequal access to education and skills development and face barriers to securing decent employment and opportunities to thrive as entrepreneurs,” she said.
Dr Nyoni said her ministry has the mandate to develop, co-ordinate and monitor policy and programmes on Gender-Based Violence in all its forms.
“The ministry is guided by regional and international instruments that speak to end violence against women which the country is a signatory to. People look at the church as the source of help, healing and shelter from physical and emotional pain,” she said.
The Council for Churches in Africa Women’s Fellowship said they were working in sync with the Government’s thrust on devolution which seeks to leave no one and no place behind including the Government’s mandate to tackle issues like GBV in communities.
During the launch, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Bulawayo, Cde Judith Ncube said the Government has shown its commitment in participating and endorsing devolution in the realisation of the bottom top approach which gives marginalised groupings a sense of responsibility as they participate in issues that have direct impact on their livelihoods.
“Our province has been honoured to be the first destination in Zimbabwe for the inaugural CCA Women’s Fellowship Launch. We recognise the organisation for its people-oriented approach in empowering local churches which resonates well with the provisions of devolution. I would like to applaud the founder president Dr Rocky Moyo and his participation in development through cultivating cordial relations with the Government, we are certain that this will spread to other provinces as it has been done in other countries in Africa,” said Cde Ncube.
Cde Ncube said churches have a role to play in offering chaplaincy services in the country’s provinces as it is a unifying force towards development.
“With devolution, churches have realised the Government’s commitment in empowering everyone and turn the fortunes of those who were doubting the approaches and capacity of the Second Republic in implementing its people -oriented initiatives and we have no doubt that the Leadership of his Grace Bishop Dr Rocky Moyo and his team of Council for Churches in Africa will unite the clergy,” she said.