As GIN develops and expands its reach to numerous members, allies and partners around the world, so the work of the Secretariat is becoming more grounded. Illustrating this, is the pilot implementation of one of its programmes, the Speakers’ Bureau. The Speakers’ Bureau has been developed as a programme that will amplify the voices of LGBTIQ+ people of faith and spirituality at higher level engagements such as the United Nations.
The pilot training of the Speakers’ Bureau took place at GIN’s Secretariat, in Johannesburg, South Africa, between the 9th – 12th August. Nine participants were selected from more than 70 applicants across sub-Saharan Africa. There were participants from Southern, Eastern and West Africa, and from Christianity, Islam and African Traditional religion.
The training focuses on sharpening public speaking skills as well as growing participants’ knowledge of how high-level spaces operate. The Faith Moves Mountains Manual, developed by Donna A. M. Smith, was used as the basis for this training, and Dr Yvette Abrahams and Brian Pellot brought their expertise to conducting it.
These Speakers will go onto to share their personal faith and spirituality stories with global actors, with the aim of sensitizing, bringing awareness and transforming mindsets of global influencers with regards to the inclusion and acceptance of LGBTIQ+ people of faith and spirituality.
The first pilot training ended on a high note as Speakers set off on a tour to Soweto to walk the streets once walked by great liberation heroes such as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Albertina and Walter Sisulu and Leah and Desmond Tutu.