Group photo DRC EHAIA meeting

The consultation brought together 30 participants including religious leaders from WCC member churches and other faith communities, as well as people living with HIV.

Participants were able to strengthen their knowledge and response to HIV, sexual and gender-based violence, trauma, stigma and discrimination. They also learned about ways to raise awareness on HIV testing and access to treatment in conflict areas.

Fr Gabriel Hangi, representing the vicar of the Catholic Church in Goma, said, We are going to urge our churches to continue raising awareness and to invite people to accept themselves and to be free to be tested in order to know their serological status in order to better protect themselves and protect others.”

Rev. Dr. Kahwa Njojo, bishop of the Anglican Church of Bunia and a former student of WCC Bossey Ecumenical Institute said, Churches and religious leaders have realized that in unity we can do many things, and by being united we can achieve what was difficult to achieve when you were alone. So by being together we can manage to respond effectively to vulnerable people.”

Isis Kangudie Mana, Central Africa regional coordinator of the WCC Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy program, said: There is still work to be done on HIV, sexual and gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination within churches against the vulnerable. Continuing to raise awareness about HIV would encourage religious communities to have voluntary testing and access to treatment.”