Colombo, Sri Lanka Photo: Anna Jedynak
I had the privilege of representing the WACC Global at the Forum on Localizing Humanitarian Need: a The Role of Faith Leaders & Faith-based organisation, which was held in Colombo from 16th-18th October 2017. This forum is organized by the local host committee in collaboration with international planning committee with support from GHR Foundation, USAID, World Vision, Islamic Relief USA, Church of Sweden, KAICIID Dialogue Centre, ADRA International, Episcopal Relief and Development, Soka Gakkai, FINN Church and Act Alliance, Religions for Peace, and World Evangelical Alliance. The forum had 143 participants from over 36 countries around the world ranging from Diplomatic Missions, INGOs, NGOs, and Local Actors, Inter-governmental and Religious leaders. The discussions revolved around key topics relating to Humanitarian Need and how faith can play a significant role in addressing them.
In the three-day event, more than 50 different panellists from all over the world, presented challenges and best practices on engagement coming up with evidence-based recommendations to scale-up local partnerships in improving humanitarian aid. Six main topics were discussed in the forum, including: conflict and peace-making, disaster response, refugees and forced migration, disaster risk reduction and resilience, gender-based violence, and children and health. Some of the recommendations in the group include: contextualization of humanitarian terminologies, providing more platforms for sharing models, best practices, capture validated experiences and promote to the government, agencies for support, providing more funds to support local faith actors, maximizing existing platforms for education awareness and opportunities and create consortium to have easy access of information and among others.
Call to Action:
The Call to Action specifies key actions at global, national and local levels to be taken by participants’ organisations including LFAs, faith-based international NGOs and religious networks. It also identifies entry points for other humanitarian actors and stakeholders to engage in the work of LFAs.
GOAL 2: INCLUSION
GOAL 4: ESTABLISH COORDINATING MECHANISMS TO SUPPORT THIS ACTION PLAN
At this consultation, I emphasised the importance and the need for the faith communities not to wait for the calamities and disasters to happen to involve in the humanitarian need, rather built up a network to avoid and also to assist in all levels of human need which is very much a common reality in the global south. In the most of these situations the disasters are human made that leads to disasters and calamities. I encouraged them to involve in the ongoing Initiatives to engage as faith communities and civil societies to educate and enlighten the people who are forced to be in need.
In this consultation we recognised that faith is critical to the lives of the people whom we serve.
Faith actors bring so many strengths in a humanitarian response. So it was decided to look at faith leaders with credibility and learn from the communities to create new expression of Hope. Let me conclude in the words of Rev. Ebenezer Joseph the General Secretary of Nation church council of Sri Lanka “Let’s go with Hope in this journey. It doesn’t matter which faith and organisation we came from. Let us go in faith starting our journey together so we become compassionate and companions for the people who are in need”.