Celebrating International Women’s Day

The theme for International Women’s Day 2018 is “Time Is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives,” a message that hit home with women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The United Methodist Church here said investing in women, especially those in rural areas, will be a priority in 2018.

The church hosted several special events in the South Kivu area to commemorate International Women's Day on March 8. In many countries, the observance is a national holiday as people around the globe come together to push for women’s rights, equality, justice, peace and development.

In Bukavu, United Methodist women participated in an event organized by the Gender, Family and Children's Division and UN Women's sub-office, featuring an exhibition of products made by women in rural parts of the country.

At the end of the ceremony, Mamy Masimamu, head of the South Kivu family division, reminded guests that the time has come to invest in all women.

Crops grown by United Methodist women from Bunyakiri in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, are on display at a special exhibit in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UMNS.

Crops grown by United Methodist women from Bunyakiri in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, are on display at a special exhibit in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UMNS.

 

“Rural and urban activities transform women's lives, and the priority for the Democratic Republic of Congo for this year 2018 is to invest in the productive force of rural women,” she said.

In her message for International Women’s Day, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women executive director, highlighted today’s “remarkable gathering of strength among women all over the world, demonstrating the power of speaking with one voice, as they call for opportunity and accountability.”  

However, she noted, some voices are still missing.

“Healthy societies have a wide mix of voices and influences that provide the checks and balances, the differing threads of experience and perspectives, and the debate that shapes good decision-making,” she said. “Where voices are missing, there is an important gap in the fabric of society. When those quietened voices count in the millions, we know there is something wrong with our world. Similarly, as we see and hear those voices rise in strength and solidarity, we feel the power of something right.”

United Methodist women from the Lokoshi Conference organized a debate in honor of International Women’s Day, titled, “A Wise Woman Builds Her House,” referring to Proverbs 14:1. The event was held at the Kasaji Cathedral United Methodist Church with the Rev. Chambul Christophe speaking.

Beatrice Anunga, coordinator of United Methodist Women in Kivu, encouraged United Methodist women to be empowered to ensure a better future for themselves. She said the church needs to help lift up the contributions of women in rural parts of the country.

“In view of all that is going on in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo concerning the different forms of rape and stigma that women are victims of in East Congo, we are going to work together to promote the rural women in all districts ecclesiastical of our episcopal region because we are liberated from a domination.”

Kituka Lolonga is a communicator for the Kivu Conference. Media Contact: Vicki Brown, Nashville, Tennessee, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests. 

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