Red de Mujeres (Women’s Network), Colombia
2008 Progress Report
CEDECOL, the Council of Evangelical Churches of Colombia, is a partner that Global Ministries supports in its efforts to offer relief and hope to the victims of Colombia’s situation of violence and upheaval. The CEDECOL Red De Mujeres (Women’s Network) is a network of women working throughout Colombia as advocates for those suffering from the situation. They work with women and their families who have been displaced because of the civil war in Colombia and with women’s groups in poor communities. One of the Network’s activities is offering workshops and activities to help build greater self-esteem in women. They also work with women’s church groups to help promote leadership in women’s ministries.
During 2008, the Network held activities to help empower women in need throughout Colombia. The most important achievements were:
- Provided accompaniment to women victims of the general violence of Colombia.
- Offered training to women in local churches, indigenous women, and displaced women on the topics of stress management, trauma management (for self-motivated recovery), gender equality, conflict resolution, and other topics of interest.
- Initiated collaboration with another women’s empowerment group sponsored by CEDECOL that works to bring a dignified life and peace to women in need.
- Celebrated important dates for women such as the International Day of Women (March), International Day for Non-Violence, Peace and Cease Fire – Bread and Peace (September), International Day of Non-Violence for Women (November).
- Provided sensitivity training to pastors and male church leaders on the topic of gender equality.
- Provided information and raised awareness through the Alternatives to Violence Program focusing on women who suffer domestic violence and youth and adolescents who are at risk for school violence and gangs.
- Held workshops for parents of school-aged children, especially for single mothers and heads of households, in dealing with the risk of violence in the schools.
- Consolidated the National Board of the Women’s Network.
- Supported and collaborated on events with institutions that provide food for displaced and abandoned children.
- Accompanied for three months the annual “Cry O Mothers” in which women of different regions are trained for spiritual strength in praying and caring for their children.
- Improved communication and strengthened relationships with local pastoral associations as well as established closer work with the spouses of pastors.
- Worked with Pastor Michael Joseph, Global Ministries missionary, whose presence has been much appreciated by the Network.
- Evaluated past work and planned for the next two year’s efforts with the help of regional coordinators and Pastor Michael Joseph.
In spite of the success, the Network continues to face the following challenges:
- Providing accompaniment and training to women in the most vulnerable of regions in order to strengthen their own dignity and the dignity of their families.
- Optimizing the economic resources received that the work may continue, at least in the neediest of regions.
- Establishing a presence in each of the regions where CEDECOL women’s groups are active.
The Network has established the following goals for 2009:
- Implement the work plan for years 2009-2010.
- Convene the National Board of the Network twice a year to review and evaluate the efforts, present progress reports, as well as to share experiences, join in supportive fellowship, and provide mutual support for our efforts.
- Provide information and training in overcoming the multiple forms of violence against women.
- Establish local networks of women who suffer from various forms of violence in an effort to provide support for one another.
- Develop Bylaws for the Network.
- Improve the internal accounting system of the Women’s Network.
- Research the possibility of finding an interdenominational development officer who will help with securing funding from national and international sources and provide help in formulating the reports for each funding source.
As Christian women who seek peace and dignity of life, the Network extends its gratitude to God for placing you in our midst to help us with this ministry and to accompany us at this point of greatest need. You have made it possible for us to serve women in need and you have helped us offer hope and training that they may have better lives. The Network has been fruitful as it has reached many regions throughout the country, it has worked with children and women of all ages, and has endeavored to do the work of Jesus Christ who taught us peace and uplifted the value of each human being.
The Network continually prays blessings for you and your loved ones in appreciation for the blessing you have been to us. May the joy of the holidays fill your hearts with glad tidings and peace and may the New Year bring all you desire.