“How many of you would like to attend the next Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) forum?” asked Dr. Dorcas Kiplagat, the GNRC Coordinator before she would begin her presentation.
After receiving a resounding ‘Yes’ from the youth, Dr. Kiplagat in a step-by-step manner took the youth through the GNRC and especially the recent GNRC 5th forum held in Panama, 2017.
Dr. Kiplagat affirmed that the youth are very important to the work of the GNRC hence the Youth In Action forum is an important opportunity for the GNRC. “Apart from Youth led activities addressing GNRC priority areas, they also respond to the 10 Commitments. These commitments are largely anchored on Ending Violence Against Children and were made during the GNRC 5th forum in Panama” she said.
In an interactive session led by Dr. Kiplagat, the youth understood the 10 Commitments made during the GNRC 5th forum and their relevance to the well-being of youth and children. The youth were further encouraged to take action by doing activities and starting initiatives geared towards implementation of the Panama commitments. Through that, they would be part of creating a world free of poverty and violence against children.
Youth groups from different countries shared their experiences and achievements beginning with team Ethiopia:
The team from Ethiopia shared their achievements which included bringing together members of five different religions. So far the Ethiopian group has been able to organize workshops for teachers, friendly football encounters, and regular meetings. These activities have been able to unite the communities and help address their common challenges. The team from Uganda shared their experience of working to reintegrated former child soldiers in the communities. One of the techniques used to attain this objective is music therapy.
Team Tanzania stated that their focus is on children and youth. These children are taught ethics education over eight regions in Tanzania. The group also empowers youth through advocacy.
Team Kenya noted that they are involved in different programs, promoting peace across the country. The team has taken advantage of international days to pass their message and they continue to mobilize support for their activities. Team South Sudan stated that they have a leadership program which focuses on conflict resolution and peacebuilding, democracy and governance and they have also partnered with other institutions to meet their objectives.
It is on this note that Dr. Kiplagat appreciated efforts of the GNRC youth from Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya. She encouraged the rest of the youth to join the network and contribute to the well-being of children.
“We have two options left as young people. We either work to promote and maintain peace now or sit back as non-peace minded characters sway humanity”.
Patrick Barasa from Uganda