On 13th August 2021 GNRC members in Kenya convened virtually to formalize a GNRC Committee in the country. A total of twenty one (21) participants attended the event, which was organized by the GNRC Country Coordinator, Kenya, Sh. Ramadhan Aula. In attendance to the meeting was the GNRC Secretary General, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali.
During the meeting the Country Coordinator shared that the purpose of having a country committee was to streamline coordination of grassroots work, link up members’ work and ease up monitoring of activities and programs.
At the meeting Dr. Ali was pleased to see members taking initiative to construct an active committee that would oversee the operation and well-being of members in the country. He noted that such a committee would enable members to acknowledge their priority areas and work towards achieving them. Dr. Ali explained that the establishment of the committee will reinvigorate GNRC’s commitment to securing the rights and wellbeing of children and youth across all social levels, faith, gender, age and color.
Members noted that the stringent practices of COVID-19 have forced them to change the ways in which they operate. Participants highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a thorn on the country’s progress for the past two years and with the new Delta variant, members needed to be more observant of the guidelines. They paid tribute to the members who succumbed to the Coronavirus.
“We have lost members as a result of COVID-19 and we don’t want it to happen to anyone else. Personally, I have lost three friends, and one GNRC member, the late Ms. Mariam Kibunja.” – Sh. Ramadhan Aula, Director, Centre for Sustainable Conflict Resolution, and Coordinator, GNRC–Kenya.
Members shared that the pandemic had impacted the country’s economy with a lot of people loosing their jobs, businesses and others experiencing salary reduction. They pointed that they had to halt physical engagements and conform to online advocacy and reach. Members also shared how their organizations were responding to the effects of the pandemic including creating awareness on the virus, partnering with health institutions during the COVID-19 vaccine campaign, distributing sanitary material and food rations, offering psychosocial support and trauma counseling among other contributions to the course. Some members shared that they have been sensitizing communities on preventing radicalization and violent extremism during the pandemic where it occurs frequently online.
The GNRC Network and Programs Coordinator, Dr. Dorcas Kiplagat, explained that the meeting was conveyed as part of GNRC’s response to the recommendations from the recently concluded GNRC Assessment process, which one of them was the formalization of GNRC Country Committees to help streamline grassroots work among other elements. She acknowledged the country coordinator’s efforts in organizing the meeting and noted that the GNRC Assessment Report will be shared to members with an aim of implementing the recommendations. Dr. Kiplagat thanked members for their work in improving the lives of children and urged them to continue with the spirit. Participants elected some members to sit in the committee.
The GNRC Secretary General concluded by commending those who stepped forward to serve in the committee and in pushing the GNRC agenda. “I hope that we people of faith will step forward and protect children and engage together to build a better world, communities and villages for children. Thank you very much and I look forward to meeting you individually and as a group and we will support you in your work,” he spoke.
Setting up of the GNRC-Kenya Committee
Members selected the following people to serve in the committee:
1. Country Coordinator: Sh. Ramadhan Aula
2. Youth Representative: Mr. Juma Salim
3. Secretary: Rev. Maria Menego
4. A Muslim Child Representative: Jassim Juma
5. A Christian Child Representative
o Mr. Harod Kipchumba (Representing people with disability)
o Mrs. Zam Obed- (Muslim Advisor)
o Rev. Kenneth Wachianga (Christian Advisor).
o Ms. Rana Channa (Sikh representative)
The committee agreed to meet at a later date to agree on their mandate.