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Becoming ‘transformers’: empowering women in East Africa

Veronica Muchiri, organizer and secretary of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa National Woman’s Guild

Veronica Muchiri, organizer and secretary of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa National Woman’s Guild

October 20, 2016

Veronica Muchiri has a big job. As the organizer and secretary of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa National Woman’s Guild, she’s working to change the perception about women in East Africa.

The organization has a membership totaling 120,000 from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Its motto is “Empowering Christian women transforming society.” That includes strengthening families, developing mentors and coaches, improving health programs, and addressing environmental concerns. It also works to engage women as agents of peace, healing, and reconciliation.

“We have divided our work into five regions that are headed by the Woman’s Guild regional organizers, who report to me,” she said. “We have 56 Presbyterian Councils of the Woman’s Guild that are further divided into parishes and congregations so that we are able to get to the women at the grassroots in the church and in the community.”

Muchiri was among the group of International Peacemakers who recently visited churches and schools across the United States. She says poverty is the biggest challenge they face.

“There are many people in Kenya living in slums and making less than a dollar a day,” she said. “They lack basic necessities such as access to clean water, electricity, proper housing, and basic education.”

Muchiri said Kenyan women often face discrimination and few are given the opportunity to serve in leadership positions in society.

“Women do most of the work at home, church, and community,” she said. “They are rarely involved in decision making and in the distribution of resources.”

Despite the obstacles, Muchiri is encouraged when she sees women and girls empowered through sponsorship programs and other initiatives for women.

“They become transformers in their families and societies,” she said. “Women are beginning to be recognized as equal partners in development, and I am always happy to see them excel in their work and ministry.”

As she visited churches across the United States, Muchiri shared the struggles and successes of Kenyan women and discussed how they have played a major role as agents of justice, peace, healing, and reconciliation. She said she wants to integrate aspects of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program into Kenya’s own peacemaking efforts.

“I hope to create an understanding between our people and our brothers and sisters in the US,” she said. “I also hope this will lead to partnerships that will enhance our relationship with the churches in America and Africa.”

Rick Jones, Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus: East Africa

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Mission Co-Workers:

Nancy Collins, Zambia
Jeff Boyd, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo
Christi Boyd, Democratic Republic of Congo
Michael Weller, Ethiopia
Rachel Weller, Ethiopia
Ingrid Reneau Walls, Ghana
Kay Day, Rwanda

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Carol Hawkins, OGA
Kari Hay, PAM

Let us pray

God of all eternity, we thank you for inspiring us. Enable us to use the gifts you have bestowed upon us to serve others. And may your Holy Spirit continue to encourage and equip us with love and compassion so that the world will experience your resurrection hope. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 143; 147:12-20
First Reading Micah 5:1-4, 10-15
Second Reading Revelation 9:1-12
Gospel Reading Luke 10:25-37
Evening Psalms 81; 116

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