The youth of Baringo walked in to Kenya School of government one by one. Some sat together and others preferred to sit in isolation. Soon the discussions about issues affecting them as youths unified them as they articulated the kind of Baringo they’d love to see. Their story emphasizing why interfaith dialogues are important; the need to look beyond societal assumptions and actually sit on the table and hold that dialogue. A conversation that can actually change some of the ills that affect this nation.
“Asalam aleykum, today we had a very fruitful and interactive section as the Baringo Interfaith Youth Network. The event facilitated by IRCK enabled us to express our challenges and one thing that stood out is that there has been a stereotype that Muslims are not that friendly. However at the end of the session we managed to get rid of that. My take is that, we are all one. Unity and tolerance are key for peaceful co-existence between the Muslims and Christians. I love everyone irrespective of their religion.” Zakia Kiptuisang
“The IRCK meeting was a good one, I experienced a serene environment whereby there was love, peace and unity among Christians and Muslims. Respect as well as freedom of expression was observed throughout. Looking forward to attend the next sitting and promote inter-faith interaction.” Gladys Jebet Cheserem
“The IRCK meeting has been a successful one today, being the first youth meeting in Baringo County for youths we are pleased to have the interfaith meeting whereby Christians and Muslims sat together in harmony. I managed to do a handshake with Muslim brothers and sisters.” Blixen Bowen
“Since I have never interacted with any youth from the Muslim community in a forum like today where we discuss issues that help us as youths of different religions. Through this interactions we hope the youth of Baringo County can team up and address issues affecting youth country wide. As Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters we have positive minds towards peace and tolerance.” Lucilla Kandie
The youths drawn from various sub counties in the county tabled issues that affect them as youths of Baringo. Issues that ranged from early pregnancies and marriages to drug abuse.
The women of Baringo interfaith also met at the same venue and tabled issues that affect them. FGM, women and children rights, illiteracy, women empowerment cultural beliefs were some of the major issues that the women sought to address.
There are over 38 interfaith networks under Inter –Religious Council of Kenya across the country. These interfaith networks seek to create platforms for local advocacy and effectively incorporate women’s and youths view in promoting inter-religious tolerance, respect and peaceful co- existence in the various counties. These networks also provide a single channel for communication with the outside world, county government and national government for all its members on any matter touching on the faiths, integrity or general welfare of the youth and women.
By Mary N. Ndulili