By Reverend Neelley Hicks
A God-sized dream isn’t humanly possible and can only be achieved if God is in it.
I remember Rev. Cayce Stapp daring me to dream this big years ago. The challenge stayed with me.
One of this year’s God-sized dreams was the 2019 Women Arise Leadership Conference– where we would gather those who’ve been working for change in their communities…to share…to learn…to dream again God-sized dreams for what is next for the Women Arise Network. Well, God showed up in a big way. Thanks, especially, to Seeds Ministries and individual donors, our God-sized dream was realized!
Destination: Arusha, Tanzania
From East, Central and North Katanga DR Congo, Northern Nigeria, South Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and United States, the Women Arise Network traveled to Arusha, Tanzania. This year’s focus: behavior change communication strategies for trauma-affected areas.
As a roundtable, we learned essentials of trauma-informed care so we who are helping those who’ve been traumatized understand how to mitigate continued harm and assist in recovery. We deliberated on the problems our communities are facing and asked, what is the real problem? and asking why?again and again. We thought about those we want to reach the most – identifying target audiences and how to discover the personas among them. Forms of media – radio, television, SMS, social media, fabric, drama, drumming – these are the vehicles we can choose from in today’s vast communications landscape to reach the destination: better lives, better communities.
Some of the concerns raised:
- Women’s Rights & Gender Equality
- Violence (Sexual & General)
- Chikungunya, Typhoid Fever, Malaria, HIV & AIDS, and Ebola
- Childhood Malnourishment
We see a path to lessening these life-taking issues: the Women Arise Network informing its communities in the many languages of the Network to promote health, dignity, peace and education. We can do it through social media, radio, television and traditional, and face-to-face communications.
The Women Arise Network’s Value
One of the greatest assets of the United Methodist Church is its connectional system, which makes it possible for us to find one another in all parts of the world. We live amongst women from other faith traditions who suffer the same societal issues we face. Together, we can be a force for life.
What if we used our human network to communicate directly with those who most need peace, health, dignity and education?
Women leaders within the church who are equipped and trained to reach people where they are with the technologies of today can do it. Together, we reach millions of people in urban and rural areas.
Each region (Northern Nigeria, East Congo, Central Congo, North Katanga, Uganda, and South Sudan) was invited to submit proposals about how they want to address local community problems through communications. When the proposals come, we will seek funding to make again our God-sized dreams come true.
Words emanate from who we are at our deepest level. If we are to bring healing to communities, we must speak from wholeness. Become whole and speak from that center. Amplify your voice; where you are about the things that you believe can be overcome through information. God will help you.
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