Economic empowerment and a thriving positive engagement in community life for women affected by HIV and AIDS was the focus of a training sponsored by the Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy (EHAIA) of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The training, held in collaboration with the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians on 7 November, brought together 15 women from Harare to learn livelihood skills. By helping to make these women economically independent, the training strengthened the integration of women in the communities, where they may be stigmatized due to their HIV-positive status.
The coordinator of the Zimbabwe Circle chapter, Prof. Kudzai Biri called the training “life giving”. She said that by holding training at the Domboshawa House Theological College in Harare, “we have affirmed our commitment toward democratizing theological education” where “we want to ensure that marginalized women achieve economic empowerment and liberation.”
Women participants of the training expressed their confidence that their newly acquired knowledge and skills will go a long way in contributing to their socio-economic empowerment.
They shared that products they have learned to make as part of the livelihood skills have an extensive market, and can help them to be economically self-sufficient and live with dignity.
The Harare training, facilitated by Premick Consultancy for Development Trust, was part of the EHAIA strategy to mitigate effects of HIV and AIDS through women’s empowerment.
The training, meant to promote theological reflections on HIV and AIDS, with emphasis being placed on the quest for “abundant life” (John 10:10), also highlighted the importance of solidarity among women from different life settings and segments of the society.