GNRC’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (March – August 2020)

Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) members in 55 countries from five regions—Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, with specific focus on addressing increased vulnerability and violence against children. One billion children were already suffering some form of violence every year before the COVID-19 pandemic. This number spiked because of the violence against children, mainly domestic, as populations are locked down, schools closed, and movements restricted due to COVID-19. 1.5 billion children are currently out of school. The worst affected are children in informal settlements, orphans, the homeless, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Additionally, there have been high cases of sexual and gender-based violence, and exploitation, domestic violence, child labor, and even femicide.

The GNRC responded to the multiple effects of the pandemic at different levels—global, regional, national and grassroots. Interventions aimed at protecting the rights of children and their overall well-being were undertaken as guided by the Panama Declaration and Commitments, and the 12 recommendations and key messages of the Arigatou International’s Faith in Action for Children campaign.