Arigatou International—End Child Poverty applies advocacy and lobbying to mobilise faith communities and their leaders in addressing the structural root causes of child poverty. This includes intra-faith, inter-faith, or multi-faith advocacy and lobbying.
Together, we tackle the underlying causes of poverty in society, such as inequitable resource distribution, corruption, poor governance, violence against children, and violent conflicts. Our aim is to influence policy and social change, through high-level ‘upstream’, and grassroots-level ‘downstream’ actions.
We anchor these efforts on relevant rights frameworks, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and, the Global Network of Religions for Children – Panama Declaration on Ending Violence Against Children (GNRC Panama Commitments).
Over the last 10 years, we initiated and supported relevant advocacy campaigns by Arigatou International and grassroots actors, including the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) members, as well as other partners. This includes our “Together We Can End Child Poverty Worldwide” Campaign, promoting awareness and various community-driven actions towards poverty that affects children. As part of this campaign, we mobilised commemorated the October 17th, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) annually from 2013.
In addition, we are engaged in collaborative platforms at global and regional levels, including the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty, the Africa Interfaith Initiative on the SDGs (AFLI), the Moral Imperative to End Extreme Poverty and Realise the SDGs (Moral Imperative), and the International Partnership on Religion and Development (PaRD). We further co-formed and instituted the African Children and Youth Human Rights Network (REJADH) and the Youth in Action Network, together with the Norwegian Church Aid, Changemaker-Oslo and other collaborating partners.
Our advocacy also includes commemorating relevant International Days or observances established by the United Nations (UN) and other relevant bodies, most prominently: the August 12th Youth Day, September 21st Peace Day, October 17th International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) and November 20th World Day of Prayer and Action for Children (WDPAC / Universal Children’s Day).
WHAT WE ARE ACCOMPLISHING:
As a result of these collective efforts, we created pathways for faith actors, including young people, to gain access to spaces such as the World Bank/ IMF Civil Society Forums, the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) annual events, the African Union and other regional and national decision-making bodies.
Our advocacy work has further resulted in increased interfaith, intercultural, and intergenerational dialogue and cooperation. For instance, in Sudan, we contributed towards the establishment of the Sudan Social Cohesion Initiative, led by the Sudan Council of Churches, Sudan Interreligious Council and in partnership with the Eastern African Regional Peace Programme (RPP) actors. This initiative provided faith communities an opportunity for open dialogue, community outreach and advocacy targeting media and state actors, towards enhancing social cohesion and the rights of faith minorities. Through strategic use of media, including radio, TV and social media, we further propelled increased community dialogue in other pertinent matters impacting children and poverty. The #ILeadPeace and #MythofMaputo Campaigns, which we initiated together with the Youth in Action and REJADH networks, are prime examples of such social media advocacy actions to advance sustained peace and gender equality.
Further, we contributed towards a growing appreciation of meaningful children’s participation, through innovate processes. Arigatou International’s SDGs Academy for Children and the Children’s Solutions Lab initiative, both provide safe spaces for children to develop and implement relevant solutions towards overcoming child poverty, in collaboration with their community members. Thus far, more than 1,200 children, from over 120 organisations in 53 countries globally, have participated in both of these initiatives since 2020.
Additionally, our advocacy efforts have yielded systematic processes towards capacity building for faith actors, through training and mentorship. We, in collaboration with the Stefanus Alliance International and other partners, have facilitated advocacy training on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) to more than 380 faith leaders from 7 countries in Eastern Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Going forward, we shall to continue to amplify our advocacy efforts, and creating impetus to push for global redress on policy and practice concerns towards child poverty alleviation.