The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) and the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) in partnership with the African Organization for Families (AOFF), a regional affiliate of World Congress of Families will from November 29 to 30 hold the World Congress of Families.
Both ECM, EAM and AOFF have confirmed about the conference scheduled for Sunbird Capital Hotel, Lilongwe and will be under the theme "The African Family and Cultural Colonialism.".
Co-founder and President for AOFF, Ann Kioko says the targeted audience for the conference are African governments, parliamentarians, the media, lawyers, Non-Governmental Organizations, religious leaders, traditional leaders, and educational institutions.
She said interest in participating has also already been indicated from a number of African countries, as well as from the United States and Europe.
"The conference will focus on a key sectors which are; Education, Health, and the Law. Among the topics to be discussed during the conference include; Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), Abortion, Contraception and population control,"said Kioko upon her arrival in Malawi from,Nairobi, Kenya.
She said on each day, after the presentation and question-and-answer session, participants will have the opportunity to attend a group discussion on one of the four key aspects of the topics discussed.
"It is an ideal occasion to examine in depth the role of the family as the guardian of culture in education, health and the law," she said.
Meanwhile, Secretary General for ECM, Fr. Henry Saindi says the forthcoming conference is important because it will define, reaffirm and celebrate the Catholic Church values regarding the sacredness of human life from the moment of conception as well as the African family between man and woman in the face of cultural colonialism.
"As Africans in general and Malawians in particular,we must be able to stand up and define,affirm and celebrate the values we stand for," said Fr. Saindi.
He said the conference is also an opportunity to reject modern cultural imperialism in the name of 'safe abortion',same sex marriage or whatever form of it may take.
"As Africans, Malawians who are religious, we hold firm to the belief that life is sacred from the moment of conception. It must be respected, promoted and defended. Direct abortion in whatever form, is killing an innocent child. Every life comes from God therefore it must be respected and defended especially that of the defenseless,"
"Therefore, we must say NO to direct abortion in the name of safe abortion as advocated by the proponents of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill. Killing own innocent baby is foreign to Africa and foreign to Malawi." he said.
According to Fr. Saindi,the conference is an opportunity to say NO to this new form of cultural colonialism.
"Again, as Africans, Malawians and believers, we only know that marriage is between man and woman. Teachings about same sex marriage are therefore foreign to Africa and Malawi in particular. The hugely funded campaign on same sex marriage must be rejected by upholding our beliefs, culture and laws. The conference is an opportunity to reject this new form of cultural imperialism," said Fr.Saindi.
For his part,General Secretary for the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), Reverend Francis Mkandawire says the conference is crucial for it will strengthen Church values in as far as family life is concerned.
He said this more less a follow up to the 'pro-life march' which was conducted last year where Christians passed a strong message against abortion.
"First and foremost we expect to communicate a powerful message to the world about family and at the same time share and learn experiences from other countries on how best they are struggling or striving to uphold the family," said Rev. Mkandawire.
Among notable invited guests include Vice President Saulos Chilima and Chairman for ECM, His Grace Thomas Msusa.
Among participating countries to the conference are United States of America, United Kingdom, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Swaziland, Ghana, Namibia, Zambia,Cameroon and host Malawi.