Casting a Vision for Women in African Churches

Three weeks ago, a small and committed group of women met in Nairobi for a vision sharing and planning time. Meetings like this one revive enthusiasm, build connections, help women to share good ideas and encourage practical strategies. Nothing quite replaces face to face time and all the women went back home with fresh zeal and some clear ideas about effective prayer, social issues like trafficking and FGM, and fundraising, 

Travel in Africa can be expensive, so it was positive that women from 8 nations could be involved, including very vulnerable places like CAR and South Sudan. In communities facing violence, it is the church that is present long-term and women who can bless children, mothers and the elderly. And for the many nations that missed out, there is a survey to assess what women want.

There are 5 regional leaders who will help women to stay connected :
East Africa:   Lona James Elia (South Sudan) 
English West Africa:  Precious Whiigar (Liberia)   
French West Africa:  Sene Khady (Senegal)   
Southern Africa:   Kadima  Kestilwe (Botswana)
Central Africa:  Louise Nyota (DRC) 

The women’s groups in Africa (PACWA) are led by Fortuna Tioye, originally from Burkina Faso and now based in Kenya. Fortuna illustrates well the sort of talented, educated and thoughtful leadership that is emerging in evangelical churches in the continent. She became the head of PACWA last year and in addition to that role is studying for her PhD. She is mother to four boys. Last summer Fortuna was part of the inaugural Fellowship of Emerging Leaders program (FEL) run by the WEA at Dover, USA.

Fortuna Tioye (first from the left) with other Fellowship of Emerging Leaders participants at the Evangelical Center in Dover, NY.

She was encouraged to participate in FEL by Rev Dr Aiah Foday-Kabenje, the General Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa. He has said of women, “I am so blessed to witness the work of women folk in the Church through out history. AEA and the Church in Africa is no exception. When the going gets tough, it is the women who dare. We are about to see yet again, when the women who dare visit the grave stone or the tomb, while the menfolk are in the hideouts and would not dare. This is how they announced to the world: “Christ is Risen”! Indeed, the African women are here to announce: “It is time for the Africa God Wants; a transformed Africa”.

If you want to know more about the work of PACWA, contact Fortuna, [email protected]