Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty Takes Off

Arigatou International’s Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty was formally launched at an event on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17th October 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty is a global effort to mobilize faith-inspired resources to end child poverty by addressing both the spiritual and structural causes of poverty. The initiative is by design child-centered and multi-faith.

Speaking at the event, the chief guest, UNICEF Country Representative, Mr. Marcel Rudasigwa, noted that poverty deprives children of their fundamental rights and described its multi-dimensional nature: “I emphasize the need for a joint effort, since child poverty is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon that requires the close and simultaneous involvement of many actors to address it. An integrated approach will also improve the chances that children will survive.” 

The United Nations Millennium Campaign Regional Director, Charles Akelyira, also emphasized cooperation, adding that it is important that people are assisted to channel their anger creatively and that institutions responsible for poverty eradication work together. 

The Initiative Director, Rev. Fred Nyabera, stated, “Poverty is indeed the greatest global challenge facing humankind today. It presents an unbearable injustice to those who experience it. Eradicating extreme poverty should be humankind’s primary priority today. No one, and in particular children, should live in poverty.”

He further pointed out that faith-inspired initiatives such as this one bring to the fight against child poverty unique resources, not least their presence in local communities, passion for good, influence, spirit of volunteerism and the genuine compassion called forth by faith.  “It is imperative that such communities are enjoined and form part of the local and global effort against poverty,” he said.   

Most importantly, the event provided space for children to actively participate and voice out their needs and priorities. 

Participants at the launch of the Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty

The Secretary General of the GNRC, Dr. Mustafa Ali, accentuated the need for sustainable and effective partnerships that go beyond economic approaches but most importantly also touch on the roots of the problem in the human heart – greed, ignorance, hatred and fear. 

The event gathered various participants from faith-inspired organizations, civil society organizations, the government, UN agencies and media to reflect on the effect of poverty on children. They acknowledged the challenges that poverty has brought to humankind and the specific suffering that children are undergoing as a result of it. The need to involve different stakeholders, including children themselves, through partnerships was also noted as an urgent necessity in the fight against child poverty.

The participants emphasized that while eradicating poverty continues to take center stage in international development goals, including the Post 2015 Development Agenda, attention must focus more specifically on children.

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