Arigatou International—Nairobi (AI—N) in partnership with the First Children’s Embassy in the World – MEGJASHI (FCEWM), organised a Balkans regional meeting in Skopje, Macedonia, on the 26th February 2018 – 1st March 2018. The meeting was convened by Arigatou International Initiatives, the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) and Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty (End Child Poverty).
The meeting brought together 30-35 GNRC members and partners from 9 countries; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany, Romania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia; and Arigatou International staff from Kenya.
The aim of the regional meeting was to:
- Build momentum to implement targeted commitments arising from the GNRC 5th Forum
- Develop a relevant community mobilisation and advocacy strategy to address child poverty and violence against children
- Strengthen the GNRC network and cooperation within the region
Key discussions were based on, Mobilising faith communities to End Child Poverty and Violence against children and developing a community Mobilisation and Advocacy Strategy.
Discussions during the regional meeting were guided by the; Panama Declaration on Ending Violence Against Children, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Interfaith Resource Guide to End Child Poverty, ‘Act. Inspire. Change’, and 2018/9 GNRC Regional & Country action plans.
The barriers identified in addressing Child Poverty and Violence Against Children included;
- Lack of or poor child protection policies
- Lack of implementation of laws and policies
- Lack of attention to child protection policies and programs by most states