By Cristina Praz, Jacqueline Namfua and Georgina Mtenga

Youth participants attend the fourth
Global Network of Religions for Children
Forum, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
© UNICEF Tanzania/2012/Obara

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, 27 June 2012 – Over 300 religious leaders, members of different spiritual traditions and faith communities, government officials, development partners, civil society organizations, and children from 64 countries reaffirmed their commitment to fight child poverty at the Fourth Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC).

The forum, held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from 16-18 June, focused on the theme ‘Ending Poverty, Enriching Children‘, which emphasized that child poverty is the gravest global injustice and the worst, most extensive form of violence against children.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ms. Valerie Nash, Religions for Peace, 777 United Nations, Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA

Tel: (+1) 212-687-2163; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ten Promises for Children: A Multi-religious Commitment

WASHINGTON, D.C.; June 14, 2012 Religions for Peace (RfP) and the Center for Interfaith Action (CIFA) today announced the launch of a global initiative to engage religious communities around the world in saving children’s lives through ten concrete and specific acts: Ten Promises to Our Children. (See ten behaviors here)

Today, we still lose 20,000 children every day. Most of these deaths are preventable. Many could be saved by behavior changes that can be promoted and taught by religious communities.

These ten behaviors, within the control of families and communities, are endorsed by UNICEF and other development agencies. Over 200 religious leaders from different faith traditions and more than 60 faith-based organizations from around the world, including many Religions for Peace affiliates, have already made their global, multi-religious commitment to adopt and promote these ten behaviors. They are vital to saving the lives of children and reducing the burden of disease. This multi-religious commitment is unprecedented in the breadth and depth of faith leadership and will reach more than 250 million believers around the world.

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For a brief moment, the world is about to turn its attention to the issue of child survival and nutrition.

If you know anything about the problem, then you know it deserves even more of our attention. The upcoming meeting, Child Survival: Call to Action, being held June 14-15 in Washington, D.C., will bring together 700 leaders from the private sector, governmental bodies and civil society (including faith-based groups) to focus on the ways we can unite and work together to save the lives of more children and increase their chances of reaching their 5th birthday. It is a landmark event being convened by UNICEF, the United States, Ethiopia and India.

The event will certainly bring with it good news: through the work and interventions of governments, the private sector, and humanitarian groups like Church World Service, the rates of child mortality, according to UNICEF, dropped by one-third, just in the decade between 1990 and 2009.

That is good news. But there is still much to be done. More than 7 million children will die this year before they turn five. That is simply unacceptable.

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United in our common goal to save the lives of children in need, we pledge to take action to advance the life-saving behaviors listed below. These priority behaviors–ten life-saving acts for children—can and should be adopted by local families and communities. Doing so will help save the lives and reduce the burden of disease for millions of children. These behaviors are endorsed by UNICEF and other major international aid organizations because they work. Our respective religious doctrines are different, but we are united in the moral conviction that we must save children from needless deaths. Thus, we commit ourselves to ensure that our respective faith communities promote these behaviors sustainably, even as we also support additional needed efforts to strengthen public health systems. We ask all, throughout the world, who have held a child in love, with joy for its life, with tears for its pain, to join us in advancing these life-saving behaviors.

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