Nairobi, KENYA, 14 APRIL 2018 (F2A) – Young people have repositioned themselves to engage in processes that tackle gender-based violence and religious extremism. The commitments are part of resolutions made by youth leaders from 13 Anglican Provinces across Africa, during the recently concluded Youth Congress.
The congress, held at the Multi-Media University of Kenya in Nairobi, brought together over 375 youth delegates, mostly from across Africa. Its opening address was given by the Most Rev. Albert Chiama, Chairperson of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). “In addition to sensitizing you about the prospects on the continent, we are empowering you with skills and networks to drive the change of mind-set among your peers, in your respective provinces,” Archbishop Chiama tasked the youth delegates.
Various methods were used to pass knowledge and skills to the delegates including lectures, workshops, and devotionals, all focused on empowering the young adults to influence the continent’s future. In one of the plenary sessions facilitated by Faith to Action Network, Vitalis Mukhebi worked with the delegates to strengthen their advocacy actions against gender-based violence. He challenged the youth to show their leadership by spearheading culture change in the church and increasingly engage in setting public policy.
Faith to Action Network also partnered with PROCMURA (The Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa) to co-facilitate a break-away workshop on religious extremism and radicalization. Rev. Lusungu Mbilinyi (PROCMURA) demonstrated that any religion can be used to justify, encourage and create violence. “Religion can and should be used to bring reconciliation at all times,” he said.
Attendants of the break-away workshop explored factors of radicalization such as social exclusion, factionalized elites and a grieving subaltern population. Vitalis Mukhebi said the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), African Council of Religious Leaders (ACRL), All Africa Conference of Churches and Faith to Action Network were together implementing a project promoting pluralism through inter-religious dialogue in 6 African countries. “By the end of the project, communities will have enhanced understanding and respectful observance of cultural and religious diversity,” Mr Mukhebi said. The Communities Richer in Diversity Project is implemented in Burundi, Egypt, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda with the financial support of the European Union.
At the close of the event, Canon Grace Kaiso, the General Secretary of CAPA led in celebrating Holy Communion, and with the provincial leaders lighting candles to “release the youth potential.”