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Tanzania: ”Connection matters here to make the Church visible”

For our issue on the 150 years of international work in the Church of Sweden through what is now Act Svenska kyrkan, we asked Rev. Respina Natson Rugarambamu in Karagwe, Tanzania, to share her impressions of the worldwide church and its presence in the everyday life of her diocese.

Respina Natson Rugarambamu is, besides her regular pastoral work, the coordinator of the Adolescent Girls Empowerment (AGE) project in the Karagwe diocese.

To me, the worldwide church means an ecumenical movement that leads to greater co-operation among Christian denominations. Our aim is to portray the love of God in this world by serving humanity in wholeness regardless of our differences. This means, no leaving anybody behind.  

The worldwide church has made itself visible in Karagwe Diocese through different activities:

In the Karagwe diocese, we have a number of community based projects or development projects.

Act Church of Sweden has worked closely with ELCT-Karagwe Diocese to empower young girls and support them to make their dream come true. So far, the Adolescent Girls Empowerment (AGE) project has been implemented for more than 14 years and has been a leading project in the Diocese. It attracts a lot of attention in the in Karagwe, in the country and abroad. Our beneficiaries were empowered with knowledge on their rights and on sexual and reproductive health. We have experienced increase of self-esteem and school performance among them, and a decrease of early pregnancies and sexual transmitted infections and diseases. 

The Karagwe Diocese, the Church of Sweden and the Diocese of Västerås have played a vital role in several projects to create awareness with regard to climate change. On top of that campaigns of planting trees and of collecting plastics to protect the environment have been parts of the ongoing activities of the Diocese.

We have also addressed issues regarding the rights of women and children with our partners abroad, including the Diocese of Västerås and Danmission. Empowerment is a key word here, and we work through seminars and training session and lift our voices when women and children face challenges in the community.

The worldwide church has also made itself visible through support for education, through developing healthy facilities and in our exchange programs for workers and youth. We have worked in these areas with the Church of Sweden, the Diocese of Västerås and many other partners in Germany, Denmark and the USA.

The Karagwe Diocese is closely working with other denominations and religions, the Tanzanian government and embassies representing different countries worldwide. That makes it even easier for us to reach out to different churches, mission organizations and non-governmental organizations wordwide.

Connection matters here to make the Church visible.