The Role of Religious Communities in Addressing Gender-Based Violence and HIV
The training began with opening speeches from a range of senior religious leaders and experts on GBV and HIV
This report summarises the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, project titled The Role of Religious Communities in Addressing Gender-based Violence and HIV, which was designed and implemented in Africa by Futures Group International and Religions for Peace. Recognising the importance of collaborating to prevent and reduce gender-based violence (GBV) and HIV among women and girls, the initiative partners worked to improve the capacity of religious leaders and faith-based organisations (FBOs) to respond to GBV and its links to HIV.
To that end, the first component of this project brought together African religious leaders - with a particular focus on women of faith - for a regional training workshop on GBV as related to HIV. From July 30-August 2 2007, 23 delegates from 8 countries - Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia - came together to participate in a 4-day regional training in Nairobi, Kenya. An emphasis on the participation of women infused this project, as reflected from the very beginning; participants in this regional training were drawn, in part, from the African Women of Faith Network (AWFN) and the National Inter-Religious Councils, established by Religions for Peace.
As detailed in the report, the training began with opening speeches from a range of senior religious leaders and experts on GBV and HIV. As a beginning exercise, participants were asked to agree or disagree with a few statements; this was designed to spark initial conversation about the topics at hand. For instance, most participants disagreed with this statement: "It is not appropriate for religious leaders to discuss matters relating to women and sexuality."
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