Women in the Congo still hold low status both in public and at home. In our Farmers to Markets microfinance program we’ve insisted that over half of the participants are women, in an effort to give them an economic edge and also to begin changing the dynamics of decision-making in the family. Michele Harbeck-Haley brought back a wonderful story about women in Congo from her trip in September. Here’s how it goes….
Pastor Lily Yakote
One of the big issues in the Congo is the worth of women. Traditionally women were said to be worthless. When I visited the Congo in September, all of the women leaders spoke of their need and desire to lift women up in society and in the church. They want to reeducate women and girls to be people of value in family and society. They want parents to understand the importance of girls and understand the importance of sending their girls to school. They want women and men to understand that women are not worthless. Women are made in God’s image. If they are worthless, then God would be worthless! And God is certainly not worthless!
Pastor Lily Yakote, in Karawa, told us about the book they have written called “Woman Do You Know You Are Like a Government Minister?” They have presented this information to women and men, girls and boys, in various seminars and meetings around the country.
Imagine a woman who is normally very quiet getting very excited and animated as she tells you….
Woman – Did you know that you are just like a government minister [official]?
Woman – you are just like the Minister of Public Health. When you are in the early stage of your pregnancy, you know what’s happening. You know what’s happening in your womb—your husband has no clue. If your child is born with fever, you know way before your husband. Woman, you help cure your children. Woman, you teach them about preventive health. Woman, you are just like the minister of public health.
Woman – you are just like the Minister of Agriculture. You cultivate the ground, you plant the seeds, you water the plants, you nurture the plants, and then you harvest the plants.
Woman – you are just like the Minister of Water. You find a good water source, you go collect the water, and then you bring it back to your family.
Woman – you are just like the Minister of Energy. Woman, you collect the wood and charcoal to make a fire, you collect the palm nuts to press into palm oil, you start the fire to cook the food. The whole family gets the energy of food and the nourishment of the food, but you provided it.
Woman – when a man is a government minister, he is only the minister of one area. Woman, you are capable of so many things. A woman is the minister of public health, agriculture, water, and energy all at once.
Woman – you are amazing!
SAJ 16 Dec 2011