What does abundant life look like when women make up half of the population, but less than 1% of the wealth, and don’t have a voice in some areas of their own lives?
This is what the Grassroots Organizing Team at the General Board of Church and Society is exploring. Working in Liberia, for example, where gender-based violence is high, young United Methodist leaders gather for training to change the sentiment around gender-based violence and injustice. These individuals represented congregations that show deep commitment to organizing in their local villages and towns to end sexual gender-based violence and injustice: a problem that worsened during the recent Ebola crisis. Sexual gender-based violence ties closely to deep poverty, massive unemployment, government corruption, intense national debt and oppressive traditional cultural practices and beliefs.
Journeying with those on the ground, creating intentional spaces for building women’s leadership and looking at justice issues through a community-organizing framework are some of the goals of these global initiatives. By investing in and creating more spaces to develop leaders equipped to address these complex and layered issues, and who have a theological understanding, the Grassroots Organizing Team can help build the networks once local leaders identify needs.
Are you interested in getting involved immediately? Check out these resources from the Healthy Families, Healthy Planet initiative , http://umchealthyfamilies.org/facts-resources/resources
Sophia Agtarap is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennesse, where she lives with her husband and two pups. She is a pastor's kid, and is living out her call to serve her community through food-related projects, and by working to end homelessness.