Nairobi: churches prepare for World Social Forum

 With less than two months to go before Nairobi, Kenya hosts the seventh World Social Forum (WSF)-January 20-25 next year-2007, churches both in Kenya and the rest of the African continent are preparing for their participation. The global gathering is expected to bring about 200,000 delegates from Africa and the rest of the world and will deliberate on the theme: Another World Is Possible. This is the first time Africa has hosted the forum. Others have been hosted by Brazil, India and Venezuela. To prepare, the Church has set up an ecumenical platform for all churches on the African continent. The platform was instituted at a consultation meeting held in Nairobi between September and October and whose report has just been released. In that report, the Church in Africa under Caritas, Africa Office-Catholic and the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)-Protestant-has established eight thematic areas, under which the church in Africa, will address herself to during the Nairobi Forum. They included peace, HIV/AIDS, Children/Youth, Poverty, Governance, Empowerment and human development and women and gender based violations. "We intend to move in there in one voice; hence we have instituted the church ecumenical platform for all churches in Africa- Catholic and Protestants", stressed Mrs. Margaret Mwaniki, who is representing the Catholic Church at the ecumenical church platform. Yesterday the Caritas/AACC church ecumenical platform, stepped in to assist both lay and religious catholic women in preparing themselves for the Nairobi forthcoming forum. During the meeting, held at Saint Francis Spiritual Centre, Kasarani near Nairobi and attend by over 60 both lay and religious catholic women, participants prioritized the issues of water, peace, HIV/AIDS, governance, and gender based violence as issues "we would like to take to the forum". The meeting was coordinated by Father Martin Wanyoike, the head of the catholic radio-Waumini, 88.3 FM, who thanked Caritas/AACC church ecumenical platform for organizing and sponsoring the meeting. In his opening remarks, Professor Jesse Mugambi of the University of Nairobi stressed the need for the Catholic lay and religious women to prepare themselves fully, pointing out that "without this, you will not be able to benefit from the forthcoming global gathering". At the end of the meeting, each diocese, represented by both lay and religious women, was assigned one thematic area to deal with in terms of preparatory work as well as presenting it at the forum.

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