2011 Africa Workshops

This year’s Africa Track will give exciting and creative insights to the power that women are experiencing in Africa as well as the unique challenges that women face. Grounded in a track plenary panel that highlights the role of women who have become leaders in development, true human security and economic power, participants will learn of the many various charters recently established by the African Union and many of its member states to guarantee a future filled with hope for women in Africa. In spite of this hope, a number of workshops will demonstrate the adverse impact that militarization in Africa, HIV/AIDS, Climate Change, Refugee resettlement, National Debt repayments, lack of Food Security and Maternal Health have on a large number of women and girls. Gender Relations from the perspective of African women will be presented as well as a review of the situation of Sudan. Do come and join us!

Workshop Organizers: Jen Davis and Fr. Rocco Puopolo, S.X, Africa Faith and Justice Network


Saturday, March 26

Bodies as Battlegrounds: Militarization in Africa and its impact on women, girls and families.

During this session we will examine militarism in Africa by foreign as well as national entities and the impact it has on the lives of women and girls.  Through video, discussion and presentation of case studies, participants will be equipped with the tools to advocate for peaceful human security for African societies as an alternative to the militarism committed in the name of security.


  • Ms Niemat Ahmadi,  a native of North Darfur,  is the Darfuri Liaison Officer and works with the Darfuri Diaspora.  She is a founding member of the Darfuri Leaders Network, a coalition of over 20 domestic Darfuri organizations working to promote peace and security in Darfur. Ms. Ahmadi focuses on the role of Darfuri women in the peace process. She was an advisor at the seventh round of inter-Sudanese Darfur peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria.
  • Ms. Nita Evele is the coordinator of the Congo Global Action Coalition and activist from the DR Congo.  In her role, among other things, she directly connects with communities affected by war in Congo. She particularly makes sure that the voice of women, the most affected by the war, is heard and their perspectives included in the peacemaking process. Ms. Evele is also a member of the Coalition of Pluralists and Congolese Patriots (COPPAC), a group of Congolese who are committed to the fight for equal and human rights in DRC.
  • Ms. Emira Woods is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, and an expert on U.S. foreign policy with a special emphasis on Africa and the developing world. She has written on issues ranging from debt, trade and development to U.S. military policy. Emira serves on the Board of Directors of Africa Action, Just Associates, Global Justice and the Financial Policy Forum. She is also on the Network Council of Jubilee USA.


Maternal Health and Millennium Development Goal #5: How can the Church Respond?

Motherhood is dangerous in the developing world, where every 90 seconds a woman dies of complications during pregnancy or childbirth. But these deaths are not inevitable. Millennium Development Goal #5—to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality by 75%–is lagging behind. This workshop will focus on the barriers to achieving better maternal health worldwide and how churches are responding. Participants will hear maternal health stories from the Global South and learn ways to advocate for maternal health in their congregations and denominations

Workshop Facilitators:

  • Ms. Katey Zeh directs the Healthy Families, Healthy Planet initiative for the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) of The United Methodist Church. She works as an educator and advocate to mobilize United Methodists on the importance of maternal health and international family planning. Prior to joining GBCS,  Katey worked at the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) in Washington, D.C. and the Religious Institute in Westport, CT. She earned her Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and her undergraduate degree in religious studies from Davidson College.
  • Ms. Linda Bales Todd is the Director of the Louise & Hugh Moore Population Project of the General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church.  During her 9 years in this position she has served as an advocate for women and children domestically and globally focusing on reproductive health, HIV & AIDS, domestic violence, human trafficking and human sexuality.  Her travels have taken her around the globe meeting with women to discuss challenges related to maternal health and explore how the church might be a catalyst for positive change.  Linda has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Dayton and an undergraduate degree in socio-economics from Union College.


EQUAL or COMPLEMENTARY?  Gender Relations seen through African eyes 

In the Western world, most feminist theories advocate for equality between men and women. But in addressing the challenges African women face today, would gender relations grounded in a sense of complementarity, rather than equality, better serve women and society as a whole?  This workshop will explore the cultural, religious and social understandings of the roles of men and women in West Africa.  We will contrast equality with complementarity, drawing implications related to work, pay, marriage, children, social standing, security, and more.

Presenter: Sr. Eucharia Madueke is a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur who worked extensively in Nigeria. She has an MSW from Catholic University of America and is a doctoral student in African Studies at Howard University.

Respondent: Sr. Masheti Wangoyi of Kenya


Cereal Offenders: Who Contributes to the Global Food Crisis and How to Stop Them

The 2008 global food crisis sparked riots in 33  countries and pushed 100 million people into deeper poverty – 30 million into hunger. African women are the hardest hit by food price hikes. This interactive workshop will examine what critical elements have created another impending food crisisin 2011, the offenders,  and some immediate opportunities to impact U.S. policy. The workshop will address questions of why and how African women are disproportionately impacted by food crises and what can be done to provide immediate assistance as well as lasting developmental support.

Facilitator: Ms. Marie Brill currently serves as ActionAid USA’s Senior Policy Analyst on food rights, joining the staff of ActionAid in 2010. Prior to this, she served as the Deputy Director of Africa Action, the oldest human rights organization in the U.S. focused exclusively on Africa. Ms. Brill was previously the Executive Director of the Jubilee USA Network, an organization of 50 religious denominations, development and human rights organization seeking the cancellation of impoverished country debt. She has been quoted on issues of international economic justice in the Financial Times,Washington PostNew York TimesLos Angeles Timesand other publications and has appeared on CNN and CNN International, BBC, Voice Of America and other news networks. Ms. Brill is a member of the Board of Directors of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby.

Presenter: Mr. Dave Kane, Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns.  Maryknoll lay person.. staff person for Latin America and economic issues.


Africa Track Plenary:  Making it happen.  Role of women in Africa in promoting economic justice and development.

We are pleased to have with us Ambassador Amina Ali the AU Ambassador to the US and Sokari Eline, a writer, blogger and expert of women’s movements in West Africa, one who will  look at advances in womens’ rights in formal political processes (through the African Union and national level opportunities) and the other looking through social movements on the continent  that frame and articulate the rights and opportunities for women today.   We also have with us Sr. Janice McLaughlin, the present president of the Maryknoll Sisters, will share/witness some of the women she knows from her 40 years as a pastoral minister on the continent.

Panel Speakers:

  • H.E. Amina S. Ali, serves as the current ambassador of the African Union, Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary to the United States of America.  A veteran Tanzanian civil servant and politician, Ambassador Ali was born and raised on the island of Zanzibar and educated in India, where in 1979 she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, and two years later a master’s in business administration in marketing. She was a long-serving member of Parliament and has held various ministerial positions in the Tanzanian government, the most recent of which was minister of state in the office of the chief ter in Zanzibar. She has served as a board member of various institutions such as the Tanzania Telecommunication Company and Mzumbe University in Morogoro. In addition, she established various capacity-building institutions including the Institution of Finance Administration and the Presidential Fund for Self- Reliance.  She has been the AU ambassador since 2007.
  • Ms. Jennifer Davis is from South Africa originally and worked to end Apartheid in many movement both in South Africa as well as in the US.  She became the research director and later the second executive director of the American Committee on Africa, based in New York.   She retired from that in 2000.   She has been involved in activist work through the Washington Office on Africa as well as Africa Action.


  • Sr. Janice McLaughlin, Maryknoll Sisters President who served in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia for over 30 years.
  • Mr. Firoze Manji, a Kenyan, is founder and executive director of Fahamu and editor of Pambazuka News. He has formerly worked as programme director for the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, CEO for Aga Khan Foundation UK, and regional representative for health for IDRC’s office for Eastern and Southern Africa.
  • Ms. Semhar Araia is Oxfam’s Horn of Africa Regional Advisor and Founder of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

At the Intersection: The Disproportionate Effect of HIV/AIDS on Women and Girls 

Women disproportionately account for more than half of all people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide and 61% of people with AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Women ages 15-24 are eight times more likely to be HIV positive than men.  Although partly a biological matter, more salient are socio-economic, cultural, and gender dynamics that put women and girls at inplore why women and girls are more vulnerable to HIV as well as key developments in prevention, treatment, and care.


  • Ms. Pauline Muchina comes from the Rift Valley Province in Kenya, where her family still resides. She joined UNAIDS in January 2006 as the Senior Women and AIDS Advocacy Officer. She is currently serving as the Senior Partnership Adviser for UNAIDS in Washington, DC. Previously, Muchina worked as the Global Health Council’s community and faith-based organization outreach coordinator and with the AIDSMARK team at Population Services International. Prior to moving to Washington, DC, Muchina worked for the AIDS Resource Center and World Council of Churches in New York. Muchina is a member of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians, and has served on several boards, including the Global AIDS Alliance. She holds a Masters in Divinity from Yale University Divinity School and a Ph.D. from the Union Theological Seminary in New York. Muchina believes that our diversity is our strength and seeks to foster collaboration in all areas of our lives. Muchina is fluent in Kiswahili and English.
  • Sr. Masheti Wangoyi is a community health and Development worker in Kenya.  Sheteaches at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and is also the Regional Director for Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance (SAHARA) East and Central Africa.  In her work, Masheti facilitates the linkage of people living with HIV/AIDS to information, financial and treatment agencies.  Through her students, Masheti trains masses to challenge the social, economic and political powers around the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. She will share with this forum her experience working with women living with HIV and AIDS in Nairobi informal settlements.

Sudan: The Challenges Ahead

Following the historic Southern Sudan referendum in January, the Sudanese people are one significant step closer to full implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), but many challenges remain. As North and South forge their post-CPA relationship, serious issues between the two parties are yet unsettled and strife is ongoing in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan. This workshop will explore many of these issues and discuss the future of U.S. policy in the region.


  • Mr. Dan Griffin.  Dan began his Africa experience as a  Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Tanzania from 1992 to 1999. In 2000 he worked with the Sudan Catholic Bishops Regional Conference to establish their first Justice and Peace Commission. In 2001, he joined CRS as the Sudan Policy Advisor at headquarters, helping the agency to establish a strategy for related advocacy, and served as the US Focal Point for Sudanese Advocacy with the Sudan Council of Churches. He then served as Regional Representative for East Africa and later the Horn of Africa, coordinating activities between headquarters and relevant field offices. In August 2006, Dan returned to Africa as Head of Programming for CRS Tanzania. While serving in this role, he oversaw a period of considerable growth for HIV and agricultural initiatives in the country and drove efforts to improve project integration and partner relationships. In August 2008, Dan returned to headquarters as the Regional Representative for East Africa. In response to the agency’s priority focus on the emerging crisis in Sudan, Dan returned to his singular focus on Sudan as the CRS Sudan Advisor.  He coordinates CRS’ Sudan-related advocacy efforts, policy development, emergency response and supports grassroots education, awareness raising and fund-raising efforts throughout the United States related to Sudan.
  • Ms. Elizabeth Kuch, South Sudanese student  and others TBA

Contributing Sponsors & Partner Organizations