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UNICEF Swaziland Planned Activities with Religious Communities

The UNICEF Swaziland office will focus on the role of religious communities in addressing violence against children, which has a very high prevalence in Swaziland. On Nov 19th, a conference will convene representatives from all religious groups, government and UN agencies to draw up action and monitoring plans for faith-based groups to help ensure that children are protected against violence. Nov 20th will feature a national music festival attended by faith-based groups, government officials, UN and NGO partners and the general public to include speeches, music, songs composed and performed by children representing different faiths and performances by local gospel groups. The Festival will be preceded by a march to sensitize the public.

Below is additional information:

1) On the 19th November UNICEF will host a conference / workshop which will be attended by about 150 delegates representing  the different faith bodies in the country. Each group will be represented by at least 10 delegates.  The purpose of the meeting will be for the Faith Based Organisations to come up with action plans to respond to violence against children which is very high in the country (according to the National study on violence conducted in 2007).  The groups will develop action and monitoring plans.  Each group will present their plans to the meeting and there will be agreement on frequency of reporting back to the bigger group. Government officials and UN officials will be invited to the event.  This will be a one day meeting.

2) On Saturday 20th November there will be a festival which is likely to attract about 3,000 people (general public).  UNICEF has invited local gospel artists to sing at the event that will include children representing the different faiths also giving their messages in poem and song.  It is expected that participants will state their commitment to ending violence against children. There will be a march in Manzini (one of the biggest cities in the kingdom and where the festival will be held) before the event begins just to sensitise the public on the issue.

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