The Catholic Women’s Association is a movement of over 30,000 women across the entire country with representation from over 42 ethnic and cultural backgrounds. As a community, the theme of the organization’s activities across the region is to support the local community to thrive, to meet basic needs and to provide encouragement in times of need and bereavement, helping the members in spiritual growth through prayers and sharing the word of God.
At the Parish level, the CWA convenes monthly meetings for members of the Association with a view to support the sub-parish fortnight meetings with discussions and issues ranging from contributions for welfare activities in the locality, social empowerment and networking, income generating activities such as tents and seats for hire and supporting the church.
These meetings also ensure the church affairs are well organized including Mass animation, readings and offertories from the Association. The meetings also provide sessions and classes for new members joining the association. At this level, replicated across the country, the women get to build close relationships that empower and support each other as neighbors, congregants and mothers for the area of operations.
The CWA in Kenya also ensure we celebrate events in the liturgical calendar such as the Annunciation, the Martyrs of Uganda, and St Monica Day, in addition to WUCWO Day, International women and mother’s days etc., in a manner that builds awareness of the activities of the Church and how the themes relate to the local members of the community. The Deanery leads the celebrations through organizing events bringing together women and members from across the geographical scope of the area to one place to receive similar messaging. The Deanary leadership is responsible for the invitation of relevant guest speakers to speak to the theme and ensure the Liturgical events are celebrated across the country. The focus of these joint celebrations is to encourage the women to interact and learn from each other’s life stories and spiritual journeys.
There are twenty-five Dioceses in Kenya. In each Diocese, the CWA has a presence. At the diocesan level, the CWA embarks on uniform projects that bring the varied Parish level organized groups to a uniform platform. For instance, the Diocese have similar uniforms adorned by the women from across the region. The Dioceses also coordinate the registration of members at a minimal fee. The cost is pegged at two dollars per member per year. This cost is further distributed to contribute to Parish, Deanary, Diocese and National level overheads. The registration is done to be able to know how many members exist, to encourage commitment, to meet organization overheads. It is not adequate, but it is a start.
The CWA in Kenya has also organized at the National Level, the KNCCW board with a membership of 75 members drawn from all the Dioceses represented by the Diocese CWA Chairlady, Treasurer and Secretary. The members of the National team meet quarterly to exchange ideas on how to strengthen the grassroots. The women are motivated by the national outlook and the common theme of improving access to basic rights for women across the country. The KNCCW board organizes annual prayers pilgrimage to a national Marian shrine in which women travel in their thousands to the shrine and many miracles are witnessed.
The team also leads the implementation of national projects that will boost the Catholic faithful in Kenya. For instance, the National CWA has embarked on a project that seeks to build a residential Retreat Centre for evangelization. The centre will be open for the youth and all church groups, and will be a place of worship, spiritual learning and growth.
The target is to raise one million, four hundred thousand dollars (1,400,000 USD), to complete the centre that will have a church, hostels and plenary rooms, in Kikopey area of Nakuru County. It is a work in progress, and the Kenya National Council is greatly appreciative of the support received so far through harambee contributions through which 60000 dollars have been raised. We humbly invite and welcome support from the national and global communities.
The CWA Women in Kenya are enthusiastic to have a member sitting on the WUCWO Board. This is because WUCWO provides a platform for Kenya and the region to interact, network and bring to the fore the challenges women face in Africa, with a view to influencing change campaigns to combat the plights.
The challenges range from climate change, trafficking in persons, femicide, female genital mutilation, domestic violence and inadequate awareness of rights of women. We believe that with and through WUCWO, Kenyan women will also be able to see issues from global perspectives, gain ideas to improve local projects and processes and appreciate experiences from all over the world and ultimately seek Holiness for a holistic development of the world.
Wucwo Board Member, Kenya’s Catholic Women’s Association