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Mothers' Union: Equipping Women as Peacemakers
Across the world, Mothers' Union members are focusing on creating safe inclusive families and strong local support networks.
Many of us will be aware that conflicts can occur in marriages, families, workplaces, friendships, communities and societies and Mothers' Union is looking at how our members, predominantly women, can support peace and reconciliation in these situations.
*Sarah, who is an ordained minister in a Diocese and works for MU in a remote part of Kenya, works to address conflict on a daily basis. In this part of Kenya, there are seven main people groups that are predominately nomadic and pastoralists. There are daily challenges with access to food and water. Domestic violence is high, access to healthcare is low, and illiteracy levels are at about 80 per cent. Between these groups, there are high rates of tribal violence and confrontation that can arise from issues like stealing animals from other groups. The government struggles to intervene and there is frequent bloodshed. Government soldiers have been killed and shops and churches often close when tensions are high.
Sarah* and the Mothers’ Union members who work with her come from across the different tribes and are passionate about bringing peace and reconciliation to their communities. They recognise that this is a challenging and ongoing process. These women come together in fellowship, discuss issues that are important to them and their families, build deep relationships across the tribes, and find ways that they can promote peace. The women started a peace campaign by acting as mediators between the tribes and they are demonstrating what it means to live peacefully. They know the signs of when a conflict might escalate and the women find ways that can help diffuse the escalating tension.
In these communities women have a low status, and yet these inspirational and brave women are finding ways through MU and the church to address their daily challenges. They are sharing resources by building strong local networks and relationships that transcend tribal divisions, and they recognise each other as people who are equally loved by God.
* names have been changed