World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Release
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
E-mail: media

23 November 2001

World Council of Churches' unique consultation on HIV/AIDS in Africa

International and African ecumenical organizations will develop a coordinated plan of action to respond to the scourge of AIDS at a World Council of Churches (WCC) "Global Consultation on Ecumenical Responses to the Challenges of HIV/AIDS in Africa", Nairobi, Kenya, 25-28 November 2001. The consultation will take place in the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, Nairobi.

"HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is a plague of genocidal proportions. No other calamity since the slave trade has depopulated Africa as AIDS has", said Rev. Dr Sam Kobia, director of the WCC Issues and Themes Cluster which includes the HIV/AIDS work. "The economic social and spiritual consequences cannot be over-emphasized. The churches in Africa consider HIV/AIDS to constitute the biggest challenge to their mission and calling of promoting life with dignity in sustainable communities", Kobia said.

African church leaders, ecumenical bodies, national councils of churches and related non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have met in Uganda, South Africa and Senegal since January 2001. Now, in Nairobi, they will share the results of those discussions with international ecumenical partner agencies to develop a joint plan of action.

"The Nairobi consultation is unique. For the first time the churches of Africa and all the major ecumenical funding partners from Europe and North America will draw up a coordinated plan of action. We cannot waste time and we must not, for we have to overcome the scourge of AIDS in Africa", said Kobia.

The consultation of over 120 people includes sessions on education, training and prevention, and care, treatment and support for victims.

The WCC staff person responsible for the consultation is Dr Manoj Kurian.

The Nairobi contact person, for media enquiries and interviews is:
Ms Martha Mbugguss, Communication Director, National Council of Churches of Kenya
Telephone (++254 - 2) 217 760; alternative: (++254 - 2) 215 560

Contact number for Ms Mbugguss during the meeting at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies is: (++254 - 2) 861 177 or 802 225
Email marked "for Martha Mbugguss at the WCC meeting"

For more information contact:
the Media Relations Office
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6153 (office);
e-mail: media
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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.