The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and South African Council of Churches (SACC) co-hosted a Southern Africa Advocacy Framework Workshop in Johannesburg from the 10th - 12th September 2019.
The workshop was opened by Gorden Simango the Director of AACC Liaison Office at the African Union. He welcomed all the participants and emphasized the importance of the workshop to the process of mapping different actors and advocacy initiatives in the region.
The objective of the workshop was for members to identify each other’s scope of work and explore synergies in collective work on advocacy (advocacy framework) while jointly validating information for an AACC directory and database of advocacy initiatives of members of the AACC and National Council of Churches (NCCs) in Africa.
Dr. Vasu Gounden, Founder and Director of the African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) gave the keynote address for the workshop. In his address, he noted that Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) are moral standard-bearers hence the need to amplify their voice and agency more so now at a time of moral degeneration. He added that Africa should deliberately invest in social engineering which ensures that there is an enhancement of skills, capital and opportunities for growth. For every society to progress it requires entrepreneurship skills, managerial skills, administration skills, professional skills, technical skills, and labour.
Rt. Rev Bishop Mthanjiswa Malusi Mpumlwana, General Secretary, South African Council of Churches (SACC) shared that Christian activism and activism by Christians end up being considered as advocacy by social activists because of how busy church leaders portray themselves to be and their inability to stand up to their Christian commitment. “We enter activism with the bigger part of our faith and with time it becomes a burden and we adjust to the jobs we hold rather than the faith”. He said.
To maintain and improve on integrity in advocacy work, the participants were encouraged to access information from primary authentic sources, conduct a preliminary assessment of allegations, compare allegations with other cases and cross-check information with other sources. Other values that were noted as essential include confidentiality and gender sensitivity. The participants were also encouraged to ensure that they uphold the duty of care for those involved in the work, ensure the safety of information collected, ensure informed consent as well as both online and physical safety for beneficiaries or sources of information and evidence that is used in the advocacy.
In conclusion, AACC is committed to engaging directly with key decision-makers and duty bearers during strategic meetings at the continental level.