FAITH and gender specialist, Maclean Dlodlo, is encouraging church leaders to take the lead in promoting equitable relations and gender-based violence reduction.
Maclean, a Zimbabwean based in South Africa, will arrive here today ahead of opening of the Channels of Hope for Gender, Church and Partnership Conference at the Mendana hotel on Monday.
Maclean was invited to be the event’s lead facilitator.
The three-day Conference, hosted by World Vision Solomon Islands and supported by the Australian government, carries the theme “For such a time as this: speak up for families threatened by violence”.
About 50 people from Honiara and the provinces representing churches, government ministries, non-government organizations, communities and stakeholders will attend the Conference.
In Solomon Islands where the majority of the population is Christian, Maclean says, it is incumbent on the church to transform the picture on gender and gender-based violence.
“I believe that every church leader in the Solomon Islands sincerely desires to see a reverse of statistics on gender-based violence and the point of departure in re-defining biblically female-male relations,”
We are encouraged by the results that are coming out of Channels of Hope approach implementation in Honiara and the Weather Coast and we desire to see those changes happening elsewhere in Solomon Islands as church leaders spearhead the change,” Maclean says.
He says before we can change perceptions and values on women and men, boys and girls in our communities, “Change should begin with us”.
“I would like therefore to encourage church leaders to attend this meeting, not just for others, but for ourselves. Church leaders are looked upon in our societies and if they begin to model this change, church members and the community will notice and desire it,” Maclean says.
He says each time he visits the Solomon Islands he noticed the desire in leaders to lead their own change processes and to transform gender relations in the islands.
“Church leaders play a significant role in community and national transformation,” Maclean says.
The Channels of Hope for Gender, Church and Partnership Conference will open at the Mendana Hotel on Monday 25th at 8:30am. The opening date was re-scheduled from Wednesday 20th to 25th after a delay to Maclean’s arrival.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs is being invited to deliver the event’s keynote remarks.