At the regional sessions of the GNRC 5th Forum in Panama in May 2017, participants from Middle East observed that violent incidences against children (VAC) occurred on daily basis with very few of them being reported to the relevant agencies. Lack of official statistics on the different forms of VAC across the region was also noted. VAC in the region was attributed to the high poverty levels in the communities and high illiteracy levels of the parents or grandparents. The participants arrived at the conclusion that protecting children is not only the responsibility of the faith communities, but that of the society as a whole including governments.

GNRC-Kenya held its annual strategic meeting on 10th November 2017 at the Arigatou International–Nairobi offices as a way to strengthen the GNRC and make plans for the coming year. With the recently concluded GNRC 5th Forum, the Secretary General of the Global Networks of Religions for Children (GNRC), Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, shared about the successes achieved at the Forum particularly the ten commitments to end violence against children, that participants agreed to adhere to. He encouraged the GNRC members to align their work with the commitments, and to network and work together on issues such as awareness creation, training, and sharing of information to prevent violence against children.

GNRC Member, “Mosaic” Interfaith Women Association in Bosnia and Herzegovina, led by GNRC Coordinator, Ms. Ismeta Begic, participated in a youth forum dubbed “Strengthening Youth Action for Peace: Creative Multicultural and Multi- religious Approaches and Tools”, held in Brussels, Belgium on the 27th October - 2nd November 2017. Ms. Begic shared about her organization’s partnership with Arigatou International GNRC, laying emphasis on the international days recognized by the UN, that both organizations celebrate annually; 21st September - International Day of Peace, 17th October – International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) and the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children which is celebrated every 20th November.

GNRC–Uganda through Youth Leaders for Restoration and Development (YOLRED) organized a community training on ending violence against children, on 6th July 2017 in Makindye, Northern Uganda. Twenty-four (24) participants were reached through the one-day training workshop. With the worrying trends of violence against children worldwide, GNRC–Uganda sought to create awareness on the issue by educating the community on the rights and responsibilities of children. The training was supported by the Goldin Institute and the Caritas Counselling and Training Institute.

On 27th October 2017, Sister Agatha Ogochukwu Chikelue, the GNRC coordinator, Nigeria and also the Director of the Interreligious Dialogue at Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace in Abuja, Nigeria, was invited to Africa54, a Voice of America program, to discuss transformative ways to peace building in Nigeria. Over the past few years, Sister Agatha has been vibrant in sensitizing the community at large and particularly women, youth and children on peace and development.

The month of September was a productive month for GNRC–Romania and Asociatia Sol Mentis as it flagged off its Learning To Living Together (LTLT) training among community leaders and teachers. The trainings will enable the trainees to be ambassadors of positive values and ethics among children and young people within the framework of the child’s right to education as stated in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. A total of twenty (20) trainees attended the exercise.

On 21st September 2017, GNRC–Romania celebrated the International Day of Peace with students from class 1 at the Kids Palace School in Bucharest, Romania. A total of twenty five (25) children were reached during the visit.