GNRC Third Forum – Africa Report
GNRC Africa Regional Session Report and Action Priorities for 2008-2012
Third Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children
LEARNING TO SHARE
Values, Action, Hope
Number of Persons participating: 25. Adults 20. Children 5
From the following countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Mauritius, South Africa and Nigeria plus 2 guests from USA and 1 from Japan.
Moderator: Dr. Mustafa Ali, GNRC-Africa Coordinator.
In 2004 during the GNRC Second Forum in Geneva Switzerland, GNRC Africa members decided to add Somalia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda to the list of countries to be given priority to implement peace education programme that was piloted in Tanzania. The Young Peace Ambassadors’ Programmes in Tanzania and Somalia were presented to the GNRC Africa members in Hiroshima. Said Abdalla of GNRC-Kenya made a presentation of the work being done in Somalia. This was followed with a presentation by Finike on the work of GNRC-Africa with Peace Clubs and Peace Ambassadors in up to 2008.
Priority Actions for 2008-2012
- Be more engaged and use religion to eradicate harmful cultural practices. Mobilize resources for actions and especially to protect the girl child and empower her through education to make right choices.
- Through various Interfaith Councils, implement recommendations on poverty, violence and environment at minimum cost
- Promote the value of diversity, choice and responsibility, refrain from silence and carry out social activities that will lead to a more loving and compassionate society
- Hold inter-religious dialogue and link GNRC activities with religious leaders for bigger impact
- Build a network of women and youth of faith where it does not exist
- Use all forms of media including the Learning to Live Together Tool to sensitize both children and parents on the three themes
- Expand the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) Peace Camp to enable youths from other countries to attend.
- Spread the idea of Peace Clubs to other countries
- It was agreed that to help keep the Africa Region active, the secretariat in Dar es Salaam through the office manager there Ms. Finike Gogomoka should be responsible for, setting up a mailing list, giving contacts and maintaining an interactive web-site, sending out monthly reports and producing a quarterly newsletter.
Action regarding poverty, violence and the environment
Ethical imperative to eradicate violence against children
1. Facilitate teacher training programmes on peace education and ethics promotion in all levels of educational institutions including pre-primary (ECCD). Focuses: promoting cooperation rather than competition, teachers teaching through example rather than through instructions only.
2. Community oriented programmes to prevent violence after alcohol use (with country specific strategies and emphasis). eg. Self help groups, youth pressure groups
3. Spiritual programmes for pregnant mothers and the fathers and for pre-pregnant couples
4. Social marketing campaigns directed against violence.
5. Improving immunity among children to promotion of violence through media – children are given the opportunity to imagine alternative positive media which is as interesting and attractive as the current negative media
6. Initiation of a dialog with religious leaders, CBO/CSO representatives, on incorporating promotion of non violence and peace
7. Advocate to introduce the tool kit in schools
8. Preparation and collecting of stories, folk and fairy tales which promote non-violence and peace.
To ensure that no child lives in poverty
The Africa region recognized that bad governance: corruption, distribution of wealth, poverty as a cause of violence, drug abuse and crime, unemployment and lack of good agricultural production are the main causes of poverty. We agree to partner with government, CSOs, and private sector and to use opportunities provided by GNRC to lobby and advocate for markets for products that youth produce. We will lay more emphasis on the key position families hold and will therefore will carry out awareness of and advocate for family values, dialogue with children and enable families to provide basic needs. As people of faith and religious leaders, we pledge to take up moral obligations and use sermons and out of church meetings to fight corruption. Multi-religions will be used as a key to responding to poverty. As religious leaders we will encourage the employment of youth through empowerment point programmes
To end violence against children
The Africa region pledges to stop harmful cultural practices e.g. FGM, early child marriages, abduction for marriage, forced and child labor, domestic violence and harmful media. We advocate for more empowerment of religious leaders through in-training and updated curriculum to be able to deal with the complex issues of violence. We will lobby African countries that have ratified the convention on violence to apply it. We agree that youth have a potential to influence their world and be a voice for those not heard. We vouch to give them our full support and co-operation.
To protect the environment
We acknowledges that the major cause of environmental degradation in Africa is the lack of sanitation and hygiene in the cities, multinationals looting natural resources causing deforestation and desertification, cutting trees for fuel and the refugees problematic. Therefore, as religious leaders, we promise to speak against large scale environmental degradation and to protect the environment by approaching governments, carrying out a forestation, toilet, water, cleanliness, and alternative fuel campaigns as well as teaching children and adults the importance of the environment and cleanliness
Input and action for the Day of Prayer and Action for the Children
The Day of Prayer and Action for children on 20th November will be celebrated by raising awareness on the role of religion and what religion has to say on children, their rights and responsibilities. Activities highlighting child issues will be carried out lasting for a whole week.