Burkina Faso launch Side by Side

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By Aline Ouedraogo, Side by Side Burkina Faso


Burkina Faso launched  Side by Side on June 28th, 2019. The events preceding the launch have demonstrated what it takes to mobilize and harness the prophetic voice of faith leaders to advocate for gender justice and other forms of inequality. Burkina Faso faith composition comprises of 60% Muslims, 20% Christian and 20% others. It is a context where building consensus about Side by Side movement has been key, to ensure inclusion of key faith and traditional actors in decisions and actions related to the movement.

Christian Aid Burkina Faso facilitated a series of meetings and events with Side by Side actors including Catholics, Muslims, Council of Churches, Evangelicals, among others over the last weeks and months to strategize and work out the most effective way of launching a sustainable movement.

The community of Burkinabe religious and traditional leaders was mobilized on Friday, June 28, 2019 in Ouagadougou, for the official launch of the Side by Side movement. All religious and traditional actors committed officially to work hand in hand, side by side, to eliminate gender inequalities in all areas, to achieve a fairer society.

Perception of gender equality by religious and traditional leaders

According to representatives of the Catholic and Protestant communities, religious texts recognize gender equality. For the priest Etienne Kaboré, the representative of the Catholic community, the Church encourages gender equality and in the book of Genesis, it is said that God created all men without distinction of sex. The scriptures also recognize the importance of human dignity.

As for the representative of the Muslim community, Dr Adama Coulibaly, men and women are both important in the eyes of God. They complete each other – both have strengths and weaknesses, qualities and flaws and each of them has their place in society and the family. For him, the Muslim culture is a resource that can foster change in gender justice and the community is committed to fight social, cultural, economic and political marginalization for all people.

For the Poé Naaba, representative of the traditional community, woman is at the beginning and end of the traditional rites. Even if she does not wear the traditional leaders hat/ cap, she is consulted in all decisions in the Moaga kingdom. Women do have a place of choice in the social, political and even economic organization of our different kingdoms. Just that many people do not understand the functioning of the traditional society.

After the political launch of the movement, a planning workshop for the movement was organised with delegates of religious leaders (Catholics, Evangelicals, Muslims), traditional leaders, confessional organisations (ODE, Diakonia, Christian Aid) and delegates from confessional journalist network. The Burkina chapter decide to work specifically on issues related to access of women to resources and means of production, including access to land, employment, credit and a favourable political environment; as well as women’s involvement in decision-making spheres, including leadership and education.

Posted by: Side by Side | Thursday, August 1st, 2019
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