Multi-religious Collaboration for the Survival and Wellbeing of Children

20 November 2012

"This five-year programme will equip, engage and mobilise faith leaders, congregations, faith-based institutions, interreligious councils and individuals."

 In 2010, 7.6 million children died from preventable causes before reaching their fifth birthday. Despite billions of dollars invested in international aid, medications, vaccines and other aid, services often aren’t reaching the people who need them the most.

While the building of good health care systems is essential to advancing the survival and wellbeing of under-five children, families can adopt life-saving household practices that deliver a powerful positive impact on the same goal. Importantly, these life-saving household practices can be implemented now, even before fully adequate health care systems are put in place.

The shift in household practices needed for the survival and wellbeing of under-five children must occur in large numbers of people, some of whom are far from urban centres of communication. Religious communities have the assets – social, spiritual and moral – to reach out to these people and bring about the needed change.

The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) in strategic partnership with Religions for Peace (RfP) and UNICEF is proposing an innovative initiative - Multi-religious Collaboration for the Survival and Wellbeing of Children (MCC Programme) which would empower faith communities to promote the adoption of life-saving household practices among the families and societies in their region.

This five-year programme will equip, engage and mobilise faith leaders, congregations, faith-based institutions, interreligious councils and individual believers across diverse faith traditions to improve the survival and well-being of millions of under-five children in several countries. This multi-religious initiative expresses very well the mission of KAICIID to “facilitate interreligious and intercultural dialogue and understanding, enhance cooperation and respect for diversity, justice and peace.”

Working across religious and cultural boundaries and including multi-lateral cooperation by governments and civil society, the MCC Programme will provide an effective platform for multi-religious actions that promote life-saving household practices and achieve the following objectives:

Communities from different religions and cultures will come together through interreligious and intercultural dialogue and understanding, working in cooperation with one another; Communities and families living in the lowest fifth income quintile, in several countries, will be educated and supported to adopt ten life-saving household practices.
Faith communities (in partnership with other religious and secular partners) will implement simple, low-cost but effective promotional and service delivery activities, that will improve the health and survival of children living in the lowest income quintile.
Faith communities will develop and sustain effective alliances and partnership (at global, country and local levels) to promote life-saving household practices.

Informed by the MCC Programme’s successes, it is expected that faith communities in additional settings and countries, either alone or preferably in association, will scale-up programme activities and/or to address other priority child health and protection issues at global, regional, country and local levels.