1. Consultation on Peace
“APBF Theological Educators & APBAid Forum on Peace” was jointly organized by APBF Committee on Theological Education and APBAid at Peace Studies Centre, Myanmar Institute of Theology, Yangon on January 12-16, 2014. Altogether 89 participants from 20 different countries in Asia Pacific Region attended the Forum. An additional 39 local participants came to join on the day of the Roundtable. It provided an opportunity for theologians and peace-builders to reflect on the issues of peace in view of drafting educational strategies to equip the church leaders for peace-making skills in all dimensions of life. Peace is not only something to cultivate in personal relationships but also a Biblical culture to construct through relevant and concrete education, especially in places where justice is intangible and conflict is frequent (such as Myanmar). These objectives were covered in the program by addressing -
(i) Shalom in the Bible/Scripture (Overview); (ii) Shalom in Context (Issues and Cases)
(iii) Shalom in Action (Toward Declaration)
At the end of the Forum, the “Yangon Declaration on Peace” was drafted and affirmed. It captures the depth of theological reflection and articulates recognition of practical needs for peace-building skills.
2. Evaluation-cum-Participatory Workshop
Eight officials from Lower Assam Baptist Union (LABU) and Boro Baptist Churches’ Aid (BBCAid) along with APBAid officials and resource persons came together for Evaluation -cum-Participatory Workshop in Gauhati, Assam on February 1, 2014. The objective of this consultation was to enhance the skills of LABU and BBCA development workers in relief situation which would become later an integral part of APBAid outreach. The workshop started with highlights of evaluation report on Lower Assam Ethnic Violence Relief and Rehabilitation Project (which APBAid supported) followed by interaction on lessons learnt (finance, proposal writing, target communities, peace-making, strength and weaknesses etc). It continued on with session on Project Strategy and Networking. Rev Kabi Gangmei, Mr Joshi Tuisum (Action Aid, Gauhati) and Mr Sushil Narzary (CMAI, Shillong) were the resource persons.
3. Phils Diakonia DRR Seminar
In the past 3 years, 3 major typhoons consecutively hit the Philippines and the magnitude of these typhoons got stronger, the latest of which was super typhoon Haiyan that devastated central Philippines Islands of Leyte and Panay. As Baptist Churches were responding for early recovery, APBAid in partnership with CPBC conducted a seminar on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) program with the support of Diakonia (Sweden) in Iloilo city onOctober 6-9, 2014. Altogether 55 delegates from 5 Baptist Conventions and delegates from Asia Baptist Women Union (ABWU) came to attend the seminar. Based on community preparedness and resiliency thee focus of the seminar was to encourage Churches to develop DRR plans, besides touching on core relief standards such as HAP, Red Cross Code of Conduct and SPHERE. It also introduced essential practices of ‘trauma care’ in time of disaster.
4. DRR program with MTC community
Manipur Theological College was burnt down accidentally and Kabi in connection with supervision of the reconstruction paid a visit to MTC campus on September 26, 2014. On the same day Manipur Baptist Convention, the parent body of MTC, conducted a DRR seminar as integral part of the relief assistance. About 100 participants - the students, faculty, hospital staff and the populace of the Kangpokpi Mission Compound attended the seminar. The sessions brought new insights to many, and participants were alerted with possibility of disasters as fire, landslide and fallen trees during storms. The compound authorities had taken up preparatory measures, and the communicated to the families. Kabi also led in checking whether MTC management team had followed basic measures – such as proper ‘earthing’ of electricity, escape outlets in the buildings, clearance of tall trees around buildings, proper drainages for rain water and proper insurance coverage.
5. Conference on Human Trafficking
There has been discussion on human trafficking as major issue for the Churches across Asia-Pacific region, and APBAid was not able to initiate any significant plan for this. It was in our thinking that at least to start involve ourselves in this issue in the Philippines, Myanmar and North East India, because they are physically nearer and they are hit hard by human trafficking in various forms. It is assumed that over 2 million, mainly women are trafficked through and from these countries. Though a serious violation of human rights and inconsistent with the Biblical values, the Churches in the region has not awakened to it. In 2014 Kabi and Anderson attended a 2-seminar on Human Trafficking organized by Miglat Ministry of Women dept of Nagaland Baptist Churches Council at Dimapur (NE India) from October 7-8, 2014. Some 68 participants from 18 Baptist Churches and associations attended the consultation. Rev. Dr. Lauran Bethel (Founder and Director of International Christian Alliance for Prostitution, and ABC consultant on human trafficking) was the main resource person. An action plan document was drafted and participants affirmed by joining hands to combat human trafficking. Following this Kabi will be attending as observer in the sessions of India Mission Baptist Leaders’ Meeting in Guwahati, Assam on March 23-26, 2015.