Partner churches help women and girls reach their full potential
October 26, 2017
When I ask women church leaders in Africa about important issues, the need for women to be able to support their families always comes up first. Closely tied to this concern is the need for education, as it is the surest way for people to be able to get ahead.
Education can take on many forms at different ages and stages.
Primary and secondary schools are operated by most of World Mission’s partner churches in Africa. One area of concern of the women’s leadership in many churches is the ratio of male to female high school graduates. Church partners see a fairly even number of boys and girls entering school, but only half as many girls graduating from high school. In the near future, partner churches will be working on some creative ways to keep girls in school. IMA World Health, SANRU (a rural health organization) and local medical staff have been working in tense situations. Personnel have had to be evacuated from various towns numerous times and have had to negotiate travel through areas held by either militia or government forces to get supplies to health facilities. Vehicles from the Access to Primary Health Care project have been carjacked four times recently. (All have been recovered.)
Community schools were developed as an outreach ministry when congregations noticed orphaned or vulnerable children of school age who were not in school in their communities. At present, there are 30 community schools of the Zambia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian.
Higher education is also considered critical for the future of the church and the country. Many partner churches have or are in the process of opening universities in response to the growing need for higher education. In the countries in which I work — Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia — only about 32 percent to 40 percent of the universities’ students are women, and the gender difference is even greater in theological education.
The Women’s Department of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus has started an initiative to support more women in theological training. Each woman in the church is asked to contribute 8 birr (34 cents) to support the theological education of women. Currently, 32 young women are in school thanks to these contributions.
World Mission partner churches have found many creative ways to work toward making education attainable. They are seeking God’s guidance in facilitating the way for more women and men to receive the education that is their right and their hope.
Janet Guyer, PC(USA) mission co-worker serving as facilitator for women and children’s interests in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia
Today’s Focus: Education for Women and Girls
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Mission Co-Workers
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Lord, we thank you for teaching us how to serve, and we pray for your church’s institutions and their teachers. Bless those they teach, and let the blessing of abundant life flow from these ministries. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.