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Kenya 2011: Isiolo Interfaith Prayers and Sensitization on Child Protection

The Inter-Religious Council of Kenya in partnership with UNICEF has organised an interfaith prayer and action meeting for Children aimed at sensitizing the community and animating public discussion on birth registration and preventing early marriage.

Activity Recap

The Inter-Religious Council of Kenya in partnership with Unicef and Isiolo Interfaith Networkhas organised for an interfaith prayer and action meeting for Children aimed at sensitizing the community and animating public discussion on birth registration, prevention of early marriage

The Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) is an interfaith collaborative mechanism in Kenya bringing together faith communities through the religious coordinating bodies, for dialogue on issues of common concern. Since inception, IRCK has been involved in sensitizing faith communities through religious leaders to respond to various issues at local and national levels.

IRCK has been establishing and supporting interfaith networks in different areas of the country as a means of improving interreligious dialogue and understanding amongst different faiths. This provides a platform to address social concerns.

The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children (DPAC) initiative is a global effort to mobilize secular and faith-based organizations to work together for the well-being of children and highlight the important role religious communities can play in promoting child rights. It is held every year around 20 November to coincide with Universal Children’s Day and the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

UNICEF is one of the main partner at the International level and has been involved since the beginning of these celebrations. In 2010, UNICEF country offices participated in DPAC, which mobilized religious communities around a common agenda for maternal health and child survival, with a focus on exclusive breastfeeding. 19 UNICEF country offices carried out activities within the initiative.

The World Day has launched a three year campaign in New York, in collaboration with UNICEF and the SRSG on Violence against Children. Within this campaign, particular focus will be around birth registration, child marriage and positive discipline/alternative to corporal punishment.

This provides a great opportunity to engage religious leaders and communities around these issues, as these are all critical issues where religious communities can play an important role.

UNICEF’s involvement in DPAC has been within the country context to use DPAC as an opportunity to strengthen ongoing work with religious communities or serve as a catalyst for work to promote children’s rights– rather than a one off event. This has presented an opportunity for IRCK to mobilize religious leaders and faith communities to use their platforms to participate in social mobilization and messaging for community participation in the campaign on this year’s celebrations.

Mobilize religious communities to hold interfaith prayers and advocacy actionns on Maternal and child survival with special emphasis on “early stimulation and child protection”.

The Objectives of the prayer will be;

i. To urge parents to ensure that their children are legally registered and have birth certificates.
ii. Engage Religious communities to ensure that children under their care are protected from all forms of violence
iii. Engage Religious communities to support parents to engage their children in interactions that promote positive growth and development.

The strategy is to engage all faith communities in Isiolo County,Kenya in the mobilization of the communities in these areas to participate in the Day of Prayer and Action for Children around the campaign date of 20th November 2011.

IRCK will mobilize interfaith networks and faith communities in the region to conduct the following: Materials development, production and distribution.

IRCK will use the messages developed within Leveraging Interfaith Mechanisms for Conflict Mitigation  and Faith for Life project materials that use scripture to emphasize on maternal and child survival and those in use by the ministry of Gender Children and Social development to develop faith specific and overall action for children communication material to be used in social mobilization.

IRCK intends to hold meetings with the leadership of all religious coordinating bodies present  and lobby them to attend the day of prayer and action for children and become
advocates for its uptake, this process will include; filming them registering for birth, taking pictures and using them to design advocacy posters for distribution and reinforcement of the campaign message among faith groups.

Mobilizing Congregational leaders
We intend to mobilize 100 congregational leaders as focal points for community participation in the day of prayer and action campaign in the set dates. This will involve convening a series of meetings whose key purpose will be to orient the religious leaders on the children rights campaign process (child protection, education, health, nutrition, early stimulation) and recruit them to participate in social mobilization. We will work in three key sites with 100 religious leaders from all the faith communities present in the region.

Children participation will be through special presentations and sharing of expereinces, the issues will be planned with children invovled according to the Child participation guidelines to ensure their voices are heard and articulated within the broader advocacy goal.

The activities will be convened by IRCK and coordinated by faith community members, interfaith leaders, local administration and UNICEF Kenya Country Office.

Members of Interreligious Council of Kenya:

  • Kenya Episcopal Conference-Catholic Secretariat (KEC-CS)
  • National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK)
  • Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK)
  • Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC-Kenya)
  • Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) for Christians
  • Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM)
  • National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF)
  • Shia Ithnashari Muslim Association (SHIA)

Keywords: faith-based organization, UNICEF, International NGO, Kenya, Africa, Violence Against Children, Christian


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