CHURCHES have been challenged to join the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and weed out perpetrators of the vice among congregants.
BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
The calls were made at the launch of Speakout campaign against GBV organised by non-governmental organisation, Emthonjeni Women’s Forum (EWF) in conjunction with various church organisations in Bulawayo on Wednesday.
United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) leader Japhter Sibanda said GBV was rife in places of worship.
“There should be sensitisation of both communities and religious groups, especially the church as GBV is not in the world, but in the church also. GBV should be spoken about in church through Bible studies and sermons. Gone are the days when we used to speak in tongues among people who are survivors of GBV and remain irrelevant to them,” he said.
Sibanda applauded EWF for carrying out awareness campaigns and training church volunteers on GBV.
“A methodology by Sasa Faith was adopted by EWF to reach out to communities where about 60 participants were invited for training to be ambassadors of change. The community activists are trained and sent out to spread awareness against GBV,” he said.
EWF director Skhathele Mathambo said the campaign focuses on educating church goers about violence.
“It’s national because it’s here in Bulawayo, Harare and also has a group that is being trained in Mutare. In Bulawayo, we have 60 community activists from different churches and the good thing about this group is it does not only focus on conventional churches, but we also take into consideration apostolic faith churches,” she said.
Mathambo said some of the community activists were rehabilitated convicts.
Union for the Development of Apostolic and Zionist in Africa co-ordinator Anna Nemapfuti-Ngwenya said: “We no longer want to be the victims; we are here today because we want change. This time we are not going to be quiet, but we will speak out and let the world know. Many people have known us as people who do not engage in activities such as these, but today we are here and we want to be better and be educated people who know more about GBV.”