By Tafadzwa Muranganwa| A local apostolic church is introducing a number of initiatives that are challenging gender stereotypes and empowering its women congregants.
Many apostolic churches have been accused of being conservative and entrenching the patriarchy system which often leads to women abuse. It is against this background, Johanne Masowe YeChishanu Nyenyedzi Nomwe Church of the Whole World is introducing a number of programmes including the Women Annual Conference whose third edition was held in Msengezi.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 3-day- conference held at Dombwe Township, convener ,Regina Mhodzi,said gender roles are evolving and women should be able to adapt.
“The time where women were only assigned to depend on their husbands is over .Women should now be able to adapt with the changing times by being supportive of their partners by through income generating products.
“The programme also encouraged young women to invest in their education as this can also makes them better wives who are self-sufficient ,a trait most men now prefer,”Mhodzi said.
According to Mitchell Munyanyi, who is wife to the church leader, Madzibaba Enoch, empowering women through income generating projects can help arrest Gender-Based-Violence(GBV).
“Most women find themselves at the mercy of GBV because they don’t have their own income to support the family so by encouraging women to partake in income generating project like detergents making it helps them to alleviate domestic violence,” she said.
This was also reiterated by Ms Theresa Masuku Chitova who strongly disapproved child marriages.
At the closing ceremony ,some of the women congregants showcased their products while the major highlight was when a few others did a modelling contest, a rare among apostolic churches .
Commenting on the modelling ,the Johanne Masowe YeChishanu Nyenyedzi Nomwe Church of the Whole World founder and leader ,Madzibaba Enoch born Herbert Thabo Senda said it was meant to build self-esteem among the women congregants.
“The introduction of modelling is just to inspire women to have a high self-esteem and be able to preserve themselves which attract their husbands not to seek extra-marital affairs,” he said.
“We also noted that most marriages were breaking because men would have failed to provide for their families so now the church being a refuge of most women we found it prudent to empower them so that they can be able to support their spouses,” added Madzibaba Enoch.
In a speech read on her behalf by Council for Churches in Africa(CCA) chaplin general Ms A Chirume , CCA Mother General ,Prophetess Faith Sibanda-Moyo, says her organization is delighted that apostolic churches are now also advancing gender inequality.
“As women we really appreciate the strides which the churches have made so far in addressing gender inequality and equity especially amongst apostolic , zion ,among other indigenous churches all over Africa.
“In particular, the Council for Churches in Africa (CCA) has shown keen interests in furthering women quest for advancement of gender equality and equity amongst previously marginalized women within our society.We really appreciate such a noble cause by the CCA and its stance in supporting the government’s efforts to address gender issues,” she said.
Also present was CCA vice president Ms Runyararo Kunzekweguta who said her organization closely work with the government in empowering women.