“If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” (Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey)
It’s official! Women’s Voices is a formal entity at UCBC, complete with a motto–“Confidence, Influence, Identity in Christ,” stated objectives, and officers. Over the course of the past two months, a steady group of approximately 25 UCBC women has been meeting regularly to—
- Encourage women’s leadership and initiative
- Contribute to the growth of the UCBC community
- Recognize the dignity of women, as human beings created in the image of God
President Judith Nkema comments that Women’s Voices is an important group, encouraging women “to express themselves…and to exercise leadership and contribute to the progress of their own society.” Asked why she is a member of Women’s Voices, Joella Mbiliki explains, “I want to share the potential and skills that I have…to show what we [women] are capable of doing in our country and in the world.”
This group of motivated young women cuts across the student body. First year students and “finalists” (graduating students) plan university-wide activities for International Women’s Day. Women across UCBC’s four faculties (Applied Sciences, Communications, Theology, and Economics) contribute weekly to a treasury for the support of their work. Committed to developing women’s confidence and leadership skills, members of Women’s Voices lead the all-UCBC chapel on a monthly basis. Their first chapel service took place one Monday afternoon in December 2013. As students and staff filled the chairs, a few brave young women took the stage. They launched into a skit that demonstrated the challenge women face when speaking out in public. Even at UCBC, female students have not taken many leadership roles in chapel or student organizations. They usually do not participate in weekly student presentations and the question and answer period that follows.
But this particular week, all of that changed. In order to create space for UCBC women to speak freely, the chaplaincy organized a special chapel service – for women only. Following the opening skit, the men left the room to have small group discussions about how they treat women on campus. The women had the chapel to themselves. The next hour was filled with praise and worship led by the female members of the worship team, a Bible teaching delivered by Jessica Shewan (the newest member of the chaplaincy team) and translated into French by a student, and finally a plenary discussion about challenges women face and the hopes they have for their campus.
A student organization still only two months old, Women’s Voices already lives out its commitment to support, encourage, and provide opportunities for UCBC’s women. As Judith states, “We can influence the world or society through the gifts God put in us, because God always hears women’s voices.”