The General Secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches, Rev. Dr. Fidon Mwombeki calls on governments around the world to appreciate role played by churches and other faith-based actors from history into the present, and facilitate the contribution of that role rather than seeing them as competitors or unneeded intruders.
He made the call here while serving as keynote speaker at the study launch of Faith-based actors’ contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals in Liberia.
The occasion was held in the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Sinkor, Monrovia.
Dr. Mwombeki notes that faith-based institutions are of the opinion that the SDGs will not be attained easily in Africa, if the Continent continues to double its population every few years, adding that we are aware that many people do not use these services, even for free, even with strong and sustained promotion by government, because matters of reproduction are strongly tied to faith.
gather faith leaders in Nairobi before the summit, our biggest headwind comes from some very strong churches in Kenya, which are erroneously depicting the summit as a clandestine attempt of the West to impose on Africa issues of homosexuality, contraception and abortion in order to weaken Africa and that these are against the will of God”.
He continues: “A strong campaign by Kenyan churches is going to have a negative impact in Kenya, but thank God this is a global summit, with many supporters, noting that in case other faith actors really promote this wrong view of the summit, many people in those countries will believe the wrong message and come to wrong conclusion.”
According to him, at All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), they are trying to use the same leverage religious leaders have to promote responsible and sustainable family sizes as a great factor in national development goals, saying that the AACC wants to use its position positively, and promote SDGs in a more sustainable way, based on its theological positioning.
Rev. Dr. Mwombeki discloses that many governments are increasingly taking over the responsibilities for the development of their citizens, and the number of schools and high learning institutions run by governments and private people and non-faith based organizations are increasing, therefore, the ratio of those run by churches is decreasing.
This, he notes, is good news and a commendable step, since governments are there for the sake of the people who are of different faiths or even no faiths at all. There are also many places without presence of churches but who do deserve the service, he laments.
The keynote speaker observes that the world is guided by the vision provided by Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and that this framework which guides faith-base actors’ intentions also as a continent, indicating that it is on this basis of the SDGs that the African Agenda 2063: “The Africa we want” is based.
The religious leader says he is impressed by SDG goal number 17 which talks about partnerships, stressing, “No one can implement the goals alone in the time when we are all trying to play our part in the implementation of the SDGs.” He finds it crucial that a specific attention be given to the role of faith-based actors, including churches.
For his part, German Ambassador to Liberia, Hubert Joger, says for many decades German development cooperation with its partners among them Liberia, has been based not only on its own governmental actors like GIZ, but also on providing governmental support to German church-based development actors, Lutheran as well as Catholic and currently to the tune of about 300 million euros.
Ambassador Joger explains that with its dual approach, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has become a frontrunner worldwide and that way German development assistance has been able to reach many more people in need that would have not been possible otherwise.
Performing the study launch officially on behalf of President George M. Weah, Liberia’s Education Minister, Dr. Ansu Sonii, says he is impressed with the contribution of faith-based institutions to the country’s education sector, noting that he would read the study findings and make government’s import to the document. By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne