The Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) working under the umbrella of the African Council for Religious Leaders – Religions for Peace (ACRL-RfP) and in partnership with the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) implemented the Interfaith Response to COVID-19 in Kenya project. The project aimed at creating awareness across faith communities and supporting them to deal with the impact of COVID-19.
Under this project, IRCK worked in collaboration with the National government through the Ministry of Health (MoH) and other partners (CSOs and private sector) working on COVID-19 response to develop and disseminate messages of hope to the Kenyan public.
IRCK managed to bring together all major faith communities in Kenya to participate in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. This was achieved through development and sharing of messages of hope in form of e-posters, audio and video recordings from various religious leaders with the aim of delivering hope and assurance to the public as well emphasizing the need to adhere to the government and WHO guidelines on prevention of COVID-19. The IEC materials can be accessed on: https://interreligiouscouncil.or.ke/resources/.
IRCK managed to bring together all major faith communities in Kenya to participate in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
These messages were disseminated using both mainstream and social media platforms owned, utilized and managed by faith communities and one community owned station in Kenya. Several online campaigns were launched to share, reinforce and increase message utilization by engaging religious youth networks and social media influencers which ensured that a larger audience was reached with messages.
In total, approximately 4.5 million people were reached with the hope messages through online media campaigns launched on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and You Tube under the #ZuiaCorona, and sharing of the messages on both local and National radio and TV stations.
The messages were further adopted by the Ministry of Health for indefinite wider distribution to all faiths countrywide, and as part of the MOH Congregational Health Messages on COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health tweeted to acknowledge the hope messages as being reflective of the unity of thought and concern among diverse religious communities;
“These messages reflects the unity of thought and concern among diverse religious communities in the face of the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19. The messages remind Kenyans of the hope we share, the reason we have to give thanks and the ways we can act to #KomeshaCorona.”
“These messages reflects the unity of thought and concern among diverse religious communities in the face of the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19. The messages remind Kenyans of the hope we share, the reason we have to give thanks and the ways we can act to #KomeshaCorona.”Tweet
Other activities undertaken by IRCK include government advocacy to support vulnerable people living in informal settlements that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This was through release of a Press Statement on the 11th of April, 2020 and launching of the ‘Jali Campaign’, an initiative of IRCK in partnership with the Kenya Tuitakayo Movement (KTM) that brings together Religious, Civil Society, Private sector and individual Kenyans to raise awareness and support for mitigating foreseen economic challenges occasioned by disruption of livelihoods due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The full Press Statement can be accessed at: https://interreligiouscouncil.or.ke/press-release/
The statement is currently in media circulation: http://cisanewsafrica.com/kenya-clerics-allow-government-to-use-church-owned-health-facilities-in-response-to-covid-19/
The Jali Campaign Launch was recognized by Religions for Peace portal as a best practice. https://nairobinews.nation.co.ke/news/inter-religious-council-of-kenya-launches-sh300m-covid-19-funds-drive
IRCK is also working collaboratively with trusted health experts and religious leaders to document COVID-19 facts and develop a booklet with information and messages that will provide talking points for senior religious leaders to use when engaging with other religious leaders as well as their congregants to ensure continued adoption of the COVID-19 safety recommendations.
The interfaith Response to COVID-19 project outcomes continues to promote widespread understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic and its prevention measures not only among the faith communities, but the wider Kenyan society.”
The interfaith Response to COVID-19 project outcomes continues to promote widespread understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic and its prevention measures not only among the faith communities, but the wider Kenyan society. Moreover, this project has amplified the voice of religious leaders and the faith communities as voices of reason and hope during these difficult times.
IRCK will like to thank its partners without whom this project would not have been possible. Indeed this project is a clear example of just how much good can be achieved when various religions come together to mobilize faith communities for a common action.