The WUCWO Africa Region held the 10th edition of the Regional Conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from 14 to 20 June 2021.
Despite the many difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the high cost of plane tickets, the shortage of flights and the limitations of screening tests, 180 women from Cameroon, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Mali, Malawi, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry and Ivory Coast wanted to be present at this meeting.
The theme of this conference was: “Catholic women rooted in Christian values, let us work for peace, protect the environment and bring hope to our families and society.”
The opening Mass took place in the parish of St. John Paul II in Treichville, presided over by His Excellency Msgr Boniface Ziri, bishop in charge of the lay apostolate in the Episcopal Conference of Ivory Coast.
After the opening Mass, the women went to the Palace of Culture for the official ceremony.
This official ceremony was presided over by the Minister of the Civil Service, who represented the First Lady Dominique Ouattara.
Several speeches were given:
- Jeannette Touré, President of the Ivory Coast organisation.
- Monique Faye Thiandoum, Regional Vice President for Africa, followed by a speech by the Minister of the Civil Service and the reading of María Lía's message.
- Finally, Msgr Boniface Ziri officially opened the work of the regional conference.
Young Christian artists enlivened the ceremony with beautiful songs.
Evolution of the activities
Formation sessions were held, and the women really appreciated the expertise of the speakers on the following topics:
1. Protection of the environment.
2. Peace-building, the role of women in the Church and society for sustainable peace.
3. Synodality and its application in women's organisations.
4. Living holiness, “Catholic women, facing the challenges inherent to our specific mission in today's world: how to live holiness and affirm our Christian identity as wives, mothers and citizens.”
5. Fratelli tutti for a revalorisation of the family.
6. Challenges for organisations in Africa to become more involved.
7- “Do whatever he tells you.”
The presentation of these themes was always followed by work in groups to deepen the reflection.
On Thursday 18 June, an excursion was organised to the Yamoussoukro Basilica, built by the former President of Ivory Coast, President Houphouët Boigny.
WUCWO's 110th anniversary was celebrated with the exchange of reports, a lunch with a birthday cake and a cultural evening.
This conference was enhanced by the presence of Araceli, Vice President for Europe, representing María Lía Zervino, President of WUCWO, who was unable to attend the conference.
Araceli also shared information about WUCWO and Manos Unidas and invited the women to present projects.
The closing Mass was celebrated in the cathedral of Abidjan with many priests and three bishops.
A final declaration was issued at the end of the meeting.