The Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC- Africa) celebrated the commemoration of the Day of Prayer and Action for Children (DPAC) on 20th Nov. 2010. To effectively commemorate the day GNRC-Africa organized a number of activities including; workshop, forums and peace march. Two workshops were organized on 16th and 18th Nov. 2010. The workshops took place at UNICEF’s conference hall and it brought together 30 participants including; children, youths, patrons and matrons as well as religious leaders from Zanzibar (Unguja, Pemba) and Tanzania mainland. DPAC was concluded at Mnazi Mmoja grounds in Dar-Es-salaam, this was preceded by the peace March involving about 3000 children and youths from more than 40 schools both in Dar-Es-salaam and Zanzibar. The Guest of honor was from the Ministry of Community Development Gender and Children Affairs. The objectives of the workshops were the following:
1. To give participants the opportunity to reflect on the theme of DPAC which was “Exclusive breast feeding.”
2. To provide rooms for participants to discuss the challenges behind breast feeding.
3. To provide an opportunity for participants to discuss the role of religious leaders in advocating for the rights of children and to relate breast feeding with scriptures.
4. To enable participants to discuss and come up with a statement on importance of breast feeding to be presented during the climax of DPAC.
The main topics discussed during the workshop were; the importance of breast feeding, this was the topic of day 1 of the workshop held on 16th Nov.2010. This was facilitated by a professional medical doctor, Dr James Humphrey from Dar-Es-salaam University College of Education. The workshop topic of the 2nd day was on the role of religious leaders in advocating for children rights and the relationship between scriptures and breast feeding. This workshop was held on 18th Nov 2010 and was facilitated by Fr. Raphael Maligite from the Tanzania Episcopal Church (TEC).
As part of the action for DPAC, GNRC-Africa initiated a “give little and gain more” campaign. The campaign was aimed at mobilizing stakeholders including individuals, Faith Based Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, Non governmental Organizations and peace club members to contribute with whatever they have (e.g. clothes, scholastic materials, sports equipment, food items etc). The materials/contributions collected from stakeholders were distributed to orphan children accommodated in different centers.
Prior to the DPAC climax, GNRC organized six forums involving 360 participants including children and peace club members from different schools. The aim of organizing the forums was to involve participants in suggesting the messages to be included in banners in regard to the theme of DPAC. In Each forum, three participants were chosen to participate in the final forum which was used as a platform for children to design the messages on the theme of the day as well as preparing the children’s statement.
To make the children and youth peace march safe, a police brass band was invited to lead the walk. The brass band group consisted of 60 people, an ambulance was also hired to help those who would fall sick or fail to walk. More than 60 matrons and patrons were present to take care of the children. Traffic police were also at the fore front to ensure that children and youths were involved in any car accidents.
On 20th Nov. 2010, (DPAC day) the following activities took place:
- Presentation of a poem. This was done by two girls from Zanzibar; the poem was on the importance of breast feeding. An acrobatic group from Kigamboni Community Centre performed an acrobatic show.
- Presentation of children’s statement on the importance of breast feeding was presented by children from Chang’ombe Primary School.
- Presentation of a statement from religious leaders on importance of breast feeding in relation to scriptures.
- A one minute silent prayer was also observed by all participants.
- Rewarding children who performed well in different forums.
- GNRC’s conscious music band performed different songs on the rights of children as well as the importance of breast feeding.
- Distributed T-Shirts carrying messages on the Children’s Agenda as well as the importance of breast feeding to patrons and matrons who accompanied the children, peace clubs members, police and the first aid group.
- Distributed brochures and fliers carrying messages on children rights and the laws protecting children to all stakeholders.