Religious and faith leaders often hold positions of great respect, trust and confidence in our society. Behind the protected walls of religious institutions, congregants often feel safe and comfortable to disclose and discuss their most private matters and secrets to their religious leaders, including the often painful secret that they are experiencing abuse in their homes. We have often stressed the role of the state and non-state actors in addressing violence against children and adolescents but this time we took a closer look at the role of our community of faith or our religious leaders. Religious/faith leaders are important in influencing the behaviors, practices and attitudes of house hold members and community members towards family building and uniting community members through building morals both among the children and community members which are all geared towards prevention of violence against children and adolescents as well as building stable families.
On 6th and 8th June/2017, Good Hope Foundation organized a training meeting for 60 (34m and26F) religious from the two sub counties of Kisinga and Karusandara on positive parenting and prevention of violence against children and adolescents. This was intended to team up with religious institutions in building synergies in positive parenting and prevention of violence against children and adolescents. Among the religious institutions that participated in the meeting included; Roman catholic, church of Uganda, Muslim and Adventist from the two sub counties of operation targeting mainly the parish priests, catechists, lay leaders, imams, parish council members, head of lights as well as the church/mosque group/ ministry leaders who included; mothers union leaders and fathers union leaders, CHWA leaders, women’s league as well as the youth leaders representing the youth and children ministries. The meeting was mainly to strengthen the capacities of religious leaders to be able to engage in the prevention of violence against children and adolescents especially through building good morals among the families and communities and also to empower the trained religious leaders to reach out to their religious faiths and ministries to share with them on how children are parented and how to build stable families geared towards prevention of violence against children and adolescents since most of the violence against children begins at family level.
Key of the issues handled during the meeting included; understanding the concept of violence against children and adolescents where the discussion mainly focused at understanding the forms, causes and effects of violence against children and adolescents, laws and policies in place that protects the rights of children and adolescents and how violence against children and adolescents can be prevented.
Participants were also taken through the concept of positive parenting were the discussion mainly focused on understanding who a parent is, forms of parenting as well as the different aspects of positive parenting which included; behavior control looking at how children are disciplined were members emphasized on loving guidance and the use of alternative punishments when controlling the behaviors of children. The discussion also looked at the aspect of Respect for Individual autonomy looking at the child as a human being who needs also to be given plat form to express his/her mind on something that might affect him as a child and taking his/her decision of much importance in parenting. Members also looked at the aspect of modeling appropriate behaviors of which members said in parenting children are shaped by their parents which means what parents do while with the children it’s manifested in the behaviors of children. Under this aspect members discussed the different types of behaviors that parents can model to their children such as showing respect for others and yourself, practicing positive communication skills as well as working on anger management were members said most of the people punish children not out of love but out of anger. Lastly were taken through the aspect of provision and protection which looks at the joint roles and responsibilities of parents to provide basic necessities to the children and adolescents.
Key commitments from the participants
The following were some of the actions and commitments agreed upon by the participants;
As a way of reaching out to many community members on matters of child upbringing and family stability, leaders of the different ministries in churches and mosques committed themselves to always share with their members issues on preventing violence against children as well as on positive parenting practices during their meetings.
While organizing lessons for Sunday/sabath/ juma, priests/imams will always be sensitive on issues regarding children’s parenting and family stability
Working with other parish council members, a specific Sunday/Sabbath in a very month will be set for a summon specifically on children’s issues more especially positive parenting
Parish priests while working with the model couples to always organize enough sharing meetings with the partners going into marriage to prepare them for family tasks a head of them, duties and how to solve family issues.
|Different Religious leaders join hands to prevent Violence against Children|