African Women in Missions Network (AWIMN)

The African Women in Missions Network (AWIMN) is a strategic network of the Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI). Therefore its vision and mission derive from the vision and mission of MANI.

Vision and General Objectives of MANI

The Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI) is a network of networks focused on catalyzing, facilitating African National Initiatives and mobilizing the resources of the Body of Christ in Africa for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

MANI’s purpose is to catalyze by affirming, motivating, mobilizing, inspiring and networking the Body of Christ in Africa with the vision of reaching the unreached and least evangelized in Africa, and the wider world.

The MANI Vision is that: “Africa be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).

Mission and General Objectives of AWIMN

The Great Commission is a command given to women and men. The African Women in Missions Network is focused on the mobilization of women in realization of the strategic role they play in the fulfillment of the Great Commission and in finishing the task of reaching the remaining least reached peoples of the world.

AWIMN stands on the shoulders of many previous global efforts such as the Women of Global Action (AD 2000 Women’s Track).

AWIMN was envisioned at the first MANI Consultation held in 2006 at Nairobi, Kenya. A few women met during the second MANI Consultation held in 2011 at Abuja, Nigeria. It was during the MANI Leaders meeting in March 2012, held at Nairobi, Kenya, that some women leaders met and agreed to call for a meeting for 20 women leaders with Continental, Regional or National Ministries who would be willing to participate in the initial AWIMN Planning Meeting on 28th – 30th April 2013. The purpose of this meeting was:

  1. To envision the Women in Africa for Missions by sharing the MANI vision
  2. Discuss the issues that inhibit opportunities for women’s participation in missions
  3. Consult on what we can do together and draw up an action plan

Rev. Dr. Judy Mbugua hosted the meeting at the Homecare Retreat Center in Karen, Kenya. Rev. Esme Bowers served as the Chair assisted by Pastor Nosa Tukura.



AWIMN seeks to encourage and empower women in missions by mobilizing them to:

  1. Play a significant role in reaching the least evangelized peoples and nations worldwide (world mission)
  2. Participate actively in the development of a cooperative national strategy designed to saturate their countries with accessible groups of believers (saturation church planting) and facilitate a process of transformation (radical transformation).


These are carried out by:

  1. Developing partnerships and relationships with existing women’s networks in Africa and seeking to mobilize and empower them to discover their role in God’s missional purpose.
  2. Mobilizing women to participate in the other MANI Strategic and Functional Networks including the Country Assessment Process (CAP), and national initiatives because women are critical to the realization of their objectives.


History of Women’s Role In Missions

Women played key roles as leaders in the early church. Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans refers to Phoebe as a deaconess. He spoke of Priscilla as a co-worker in Christ who risked her life to save him. In chapter 16 of his letter he greets 28 individuals, 11 of whom are women who had partnered with him in ministry. It is therefore obvious that these women played significant roles in the life and ministry of the local churches and missions.


Current Realities in Missions

The majority of the unreached  of today are mostly in areas hostile to Christianity such as the north of Nigeria, Middle East, etc, however the expectations of Jesus are clearly captured in His discussion with His disciples in Matthew 24. He warned them ahead of time that turbulent times will come, however He concluded that these turbulences were not to stop them from prosecuting His plan to have the Gospel preached. In fact, He stated that His return will be hinged on their ability to proclaim the Gospel all over the world to all nations (people groups).


Why Mobilize Women?

Concerted, consistent and intentional prayers are required for the Gospel to be preached in these hostile environments. Setting free the people whom the god of this world has blinded and the message bearers who risk their lives to take the message to these dangerous places will be needed for us to see healthy growing churches among these people groups.

  • Women have a passion for prayers that needs to be mobilized and refocused from material and personal issues to fulfilling God’s global agenda to redeem mankind.
  • Women need to be given opportunities and empowered to contribute to strategies that need to be developed in reaching this last frontier. Their unique perspectives, God given intuitiveness and gifting need to be brought to bear on current missions strategies.
  • Their leadership skills are very much needed in ensuring that the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our God and His Christ. Young women need to see and hear of women missionaries of the past and now.
  • Women are natural mobilizers. They have great influence on their friends and families. They mobilize friends and family to use the same hair dressers, tailors, shopping places. When properly equipped, these natural skills can be deployed to mobilizing people for missions. The British women were mobilized for foreign missions in such large numbers over the course of the 19th century than for any other cause except the anti-slavery movement. They also provided about 70% of funding for foreign missions by the end of that century[1].
  • Women are natural care givers. When mobilized for missions they can provide much needed hospitality and member care to missionaries. A huge percentage of the unreached are women and children.
  • Women can more easily and naturally forge relationships with and reach these groups. Many of these target population dwell in places where men cannot access, but women are seen as non-threatening e.g northern Nigeria, the Middle East and parts of Asia where men are forbidden to enter the harems.
  • Women need to be mobilized both as traditional missionaries and market place Christians to reach these difficult places.

Hudson Taylor used women to break into difficult terrains. He wrote to missionary candidates “unless you intend your wife to be a true missionary, not merely a wife, home-maker and friend, do not join us.”[2]

Indeed the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few, therefore all hands need to be on deck. No room should be given for potential resources to waste or be under-utilized. The number of women in our local churches today provides a great opportunity to replenish the labour force in missions.


Opportunities for Women in Missions

Women now more than ever are needed as:

  • GOERS to the unreached.
  • SENDERS who will send financial, material and all other forms of support to missions to ensure that the task of reaching the unreached is completed in our time.
  • WELCOMERS to the many unreached peoples in our towns and cities looking for better employment or educational opportunities. By befriending their wives, female relatives or students they can use these relationships as platforms to share the Gospel in creative ways.
  • MOBILIZERS of others into missions. They will help to multiply and replenish the much needed resources that will ensure that that the task of reaching every people group for Christ is accomplished. They will focus on creating missions awareness among Christians who are unaware of God’s global agenda to reach the nations.


Challenges for Women in Missions

  • Lack of understanding of the purpose of woman has resulted in a poor perception of her as a ‘secondary’ creation of God who is to be subject and inferior. Thus many women have poor/low self-esteem and do not realize the strategic role they are called to play in God’s redemptive plan. Genesis 1:26-28 clearly states that God created male and female equal, not to compete but to complement each other and together fulfil His mandate. In Galatians 3:27, Paul tells us clearly that though we may have differences, in Christ we are equal.


In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. (MSG)


  • It is therefore important for the Church to teach about the purpose of women and men from a biblical perspective and thus help Christians understand their roles in fulfilling God’s mission.
  • Poor or limited access to financial resources is a challenge many women face. In many cultures, women do not inherit property from their fathers or husbands. And even though they are the greatest contributors to the informal sector of the economy, many also wear the face of poverty because they are often saddled with the responsibility of caring for their children’s upkeep and education. The Church can help re-orientate the thinking of some of our men to realize they have a primary responsibility to cater for their families and assist these women to improve their business skills and income potential.
  • Lack of recognition of women’s contribution and under-utilization of their skills and gifting by Church leaders is a challenge that has led to frustration on the part of some women and in others low drive and under-achievement. The Church can address this by delegating responsibility according to ability, skills and gifting and not based on gender.



A Challenge to Women

Models of Women Who Took Action

  • Deborah was a woman of wisdom, great learning and understanding. A professional woman in the public square, a Judge, Prophetess and was also married. She was not afraid to rise to her full potential. Some of us have the fear of ‘success’ so we bury some of our talents.
  • Jael was a home maker; probably of little or no education but was knowledgeable, smart, informed about current affairs, a Guardian of her home and nation
  • Esther was a courageous woman who put her life on the line for her nation, God’s people; a risk taker. She recognized that her worth was beyond her beauty and position. She realized she was a woman of great destiny, positioned to save God’s people even if it meant losing her life in the process.
  • Rizpah was a woman of resilience, immense courage and devotion, unstoppable. She didn’t wait to be invited to solve a problem or take a title. She saw a need and stepped in. She was unknown, uninvited, unacknowledged, unappreciated, but consistent in following her conviction (2 Sam 21).

These women lived in times more difficult than ours. Women were treated as property, unrecognized and unappreciated, yet they were all unstoppable. They fulfilled their purposes in spite of the conditions they faced. They all contributed to the building of the Kingdom of God in their unique ways.


As 21st Century women we are surrounded by this cloud of great witnesses and stand on the shoulders of their tremendous contributions to the building of God’s Kingdom. We MUST therefore live up to the great potential that we have!


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N. Tukura, ‘The Role of African Women in Missions’ in P. Vumisa (ed), Evangelical Christian Missions: An African Perspective, 2012,  p.167

N. Tukura, ‘The Role of African Women in Missions’ in P. Vumisa (ed), Evangelical Christian Missions: An African Perspective, 2012,  p.169