The occasion was graced by the IMBISA president Bishop Frank Nubuasah and the official opening was done by Archbishop Buthi of Johannesburg, South Africa. Bishop Nubuasah said although pronouncements on women leadership had been made by the church over the years, such as the call for women to play leading roles in service of reconciliation and peace in Africae Munus and similar calls from the Maputo Conference on Women Leadership, little had been achieved.
The Johannesburg Conference, he said, needed to mark a new chapter for women in the IMBISA region. That new chapter would involve women taking the initiative to organize themselves without waiting for the bishops to do that for them, inviting each other to national events in their different countries, organizing meetings to share ideas, networking with each other, learning from each other, sharing in the implementation of projects and finding and seizing opportunities for leadership in the church and community. The remarks by the bishops were inspiring and an eye opener for the women as women were urged to take initiative for leadership in church and society respectively. When the participants were asked to select from the Bible women leaders they admired and get inspiration from, they chose the following:
The conference was a platform to impart knowledge and skills on leadership as well as learning from each others’ experiences. The Conference objectives were to increase awareness and understanding of the following; active and meaningful participation, behavior expected of a women in leadership positions, socio-cultural issues that affect participation of women, effective communication and interpersonal relationships, effective management of conflict, negotiating effectively in positions of leadership, dynamics of groups and required leadership behaviors, how to be an assertive leader and developing actions plans on emerging issues on women leadership in the church and communities. The Conference came up with Key Result Areas (KRA) and each member country’s participants came up with an action plan for implementation.
The Conference gave birth to the Catholic Women Organization in IMBISA (CWOI) and a Steering Committee was chosen to facilitate progress of the new born women organization. 38 women were trained at this conference.
Country Based Women Leadership Capacity Building
In order to reach a wider audience and to cascade down the knowledge and skills gained at the IMBISA Regional Women Leadership Conference in South Africa in April individual country women leadership training workshops were organized.
Botswana held its training on the 26th -28th of June 2015 and 41 women were trained
Lesotho held its training on the 30th of June -1st of July 2015 and 51 participants were trained
Swaziland held its training workshop on the 3rd – 5th of July 2015 and 36 participants took part
Mozambique organized its training workshops in several dioceses in Maputo between July and August and a total of 292 women were trained
Other countries are yet to do the trainings