On 7th – 8th February 2017, GNRC along with Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty (End Child Poverty) held a regional meeting at Sarvodaya Suwasetha Sewa Society premises in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The meeting sought to explore ways to strengthen the Knowledge Centre and the GNRC network in the region. Awareness creation on the forthcoming GNRC 5th Forum and Arigatou International’s initiatives were also discussed. Present in the two-day meeting were members of GNRC in Sri Lanka, GNRC representatives from India, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan- in total, 15 participants.
In her presentation, the GNRC Network and Programs Coordinator, Dr. Dorcas Kiplagat highlighted GNRC’s priority areas; child rights, poverty eradication, ethics education, peace building and network strengthening. Touching on the upcoming GNRC 5th forum themed ‘Ending Violence Against Children: Faith Communities in Action’, Dr. Kiplagat explained that the forum was an attempt to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG16.2 focusing on ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children. The GNRC Network and Programs Coordinator emphasized strongly the need for proper planning and management of regional workshops during the forum that would lead to targeted and workable post-forum regional action plans to guide the work of the GNRC in the next five years.
End Child Poverty Director, Rev. Fred Nyabera, expounded on ways of strengthening the Knowledge Centre and better means of ending violence against children. Rev. Nyabera also introduced the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) and its relevance to ending child poverty. He also clarified the relationship between Child Poverty and Violence Against Children adding that poverty plays a big role in instigating violence. In his closing remarks, Rev. Nyabera stated that overcoming the injustice of poverty involves changing policies, attitudes and practices as well as working with people in poverty.
The two-day event motivated participants’ desire to pursue greater courses to create a better world for children. They were also inspired to generate more ideas in their countries that would promote Arigatou International’s initiatives. The meeting officially ended with a field visit to the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) and Meethotamulla Slum where Sarvodaya has a project on poverty eradication.