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More about the project:


            


                Tsena malàlaka                


        Exchange forum for women theologians of Africa, Europe...




Personal relationships
                                           
In recent years, several Swiss theologians have been traveling to Tanzania, Madagascar,

to the Démocratic Republic of the Congo, to Cameroun... They spent time in these countries and came in contact with African women theologians. Out of these contacts we were led all together to the project of „Tsena malalaka“ – an exchange forum for women theologians of Africa, Europe... We were driven by the desire to learn more about our different contexts of life, we wished to become inspired by our respective faith traditions and church realities, and we wanted to experience some kind of solidarity both spiritually and with regard to material concerns.
In memory of these first encounters with each other, we chose a name for our exchange project that comes from the Malagasy language: Tsena malalaka.



An open space

„Tsena malalaka“ refers to an open space of exchange and encounter. Connected to the idea of being in relation with others is the notion of an open space in the center. It offers room for exchange – but also for the possibility that relational structures and modes of exchange which have been established through history (by colonization, by patriarchy...) may be changed, reinvented, find new freedom. We consider this to be an essential challenge for ensuring the future quality of exchange between societies of the South and the North – as well as between specific groups (e.g. women and men), and between individuals.

A village with its huts     
                                     
In order to concretize our idea (of being in relation with others and at the same time keeping an open space in  the center) we refer to the image of a village consisting of different huts. There is a large place in the center (tsena malalaka), everybody can come, meet others, exchange stories, ideas, things, find allies („accomplices“) for actions. The huts are spread and each hosts one particular theme and serves as a meeting point for people with the same interests. We talk abot „huts“ because they are imagined to be light constructions, apt to be easily constructed, deconstructed, moved to another place if necessary. They can adapt to movement. The village with its huts evokes not only an African reality but reminds us also of other modes of construction that can be found in the mountains, for instance on the Swiss Alps: different huts and stables, which are spread over a large range-land (which belongs to everybody). The image of huts can also be projected onto an urban setting: a town with a large public place in the center where there are cafés, where people take a walk and meet, where occasionally there is a market or some festival etc.

Characteristics   

„Tsena malalaka“ is an open space, yet it has its characteristics (there is no space without delimitations). It is a place for encounter and theological exchange bearing the following traits:
  • We choose to exchange between women theologians. This allows us to include specific women's perspectives on the issues we discuss.
  • The exchange we envision takes place between women Christian theologians. We are aware of the challenge of interreligious dialogue, but we decided that it is also important to deepen and widen our Christian identity by facing our denominational, cultural and social differences.
  • We wish our exchange to take place between African and European Christian women theologians because this is how it all started. We are open to possible further developments.

The huts that we are currently plannig shall host the following themes:

  • Hut(s) for exchange on biblical texts 
  • Hut(s) academical partnership and mentoring (exchange/support for accessing literature; exchange on research subjects/ theses etc.)
  • Hut(s) for publication projects, translation, review of theological literature
  • Hut(s) for exchange-projects concerning teaching/learning (academic and other)
  • Hut(s) for planning and organizing conferences
  • Hut(s) for specific research projects

Inhabitants - members  

While everybody has access to „Tsena malalaka“ on its Internet-Website, there are discussions and exchanges in the huts with their specific themes which are open only to the inhabitants - members. As a member you can propose projects and take fully part. You are connected to an intercontinental net of women theologians and get specific informations.
Members are women theologians
  • who have earned a diploma in theological studies
  • who are able to express themselves in English and/or French
  • who have submitted a short written text outlining their „profile“ and explaining the reasons for being interested in the exchange
  • who are introduced by a women who already is a member

It is recommended to new members to pay a contribution to the association
funds Tsena malalaka (between 5 to 50 Euros). An annual renewal of this amount is welcome.
We seek to ensure that the proportion of members from Africa and from Europe remains about half/half. Tsena Malalaka is looking for quality of exchange and the possibility of personal contacts. We do not aspire to grow just in number.


The coordinators

The project „Tsena malalaka“ has two coordinators, coming from different continents. They are channeling the contacts, they take care of the website www.malalaka.org, they ensure a good circulation of news and information between the huts, they are consulted in case a new hut should be opened – or closed. In case of important questions concerning „Tsena malalaka“ they organize a forum of consultation and discussion and organize the process of decision-making. It is up to them to divide tasks or to delegate.


The fund      
        

„Tsena malalaka“ is directly linked to the association "funds Tsena Malalaka - Verein Tsena malalaka-Fond. The fund is nourished by the contributions of themembers of Tsena Malalaka (optional;for the general expenses) and other contributions or fund raising for specific projects. The fund serves as much as possible just as coverage, it places a structure at the users disposal. The responsibility of fund raising, etc. is given to those who are in charge of the respective concrete project.

Independence and cooperations       

„Tsena malalaka“ itself is not bound to institutions. On the level of the huts and their specific projects, links to and cooperations with theological institutions (departments etc.), churches, help organizations are possible (by consultation of the coordinators). Likewise, exchange can also happen with persons who belong to the artistic, artisan, literarary etc.

Serious engagement and the pleasure of invention

In „Tsena malalaka“ we try to combine serious involvement with the pleasure of exploration, experimentation and openness to innovative methods and concepts. We take care to maintain a personal, direct way in our relationships and interactions.


A provisional project vis à vis God’s open space

It remains to be said that we consider our description of „Tsena malalaka“ to be provisional.* We put our trust in the open space and we believe that it is also and primarily a spiritual space, a space of God. It is out of this space that we hope to be inspired, renewed, transformed and that our project will bring forth fruit.
                                                 


* We intend to discuss all those issues during our first intercontinental conference – after having gone through a first phase of experiencing our work together.