Religion and Peacemaking: Lessons and Best Practices in Interfaith Dialogue Through FoRB Approach

‘There will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions. There will be no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions.’ Said Dr Hans Küng, 31 March 2005, at the opening of an exhibit on the world’s religions at Santa Clara University. Religion is often cited as a cause of violent conflict, yet there is little recognition of how faith communities contribute toward peacemaking in areas of conflict throughout the world. Through our dialogue forums, religious leaders and people of faith have already closing the gap of intra and inter-faith antagonism that existed for long among the communities and in families.

Local Goverment admin giving opening remarks

The dialogue forums have created conducive spaces where religious leaders and people of faith collaborate, build power, and act on issues that arise from the ground. Our Theory of Change is that consistent wins by collaborating religious communities create a cultural shift from tolerating extremism to affirming pluralism, building social cohesion and strengthening democracy. Our local religious leaders and communities are fed up with the gulf of misconceptions. They recognized the power that they have. They realized that they needed to shift from exclusive theologies and supremacist attitudes that demonize the other and engage in a new wave of collaboration. Working at this grassroots level involves giving people of all hierarchies a secure place to learn about other groups, teaching them ways in which their own religious tradition supports peaceful coexistence, training them in conflict resolution skills, and addressing
their personal, practical life issues. Today, people don’t think of Muslims and Christians as antagonists – they are partners and collaborators. And they get things done! As a result, the gap between Muslims and Christians has remarkably reduced. We raise awareness about the perspective and experiences of other groups, particularly minorities.

Gilbert opines that “dialogue is the only way to enable clear communication and hopefully save time and eliminate potential sources of discrimination as early on as possible.” Gilbert’s son was brought up the Christian way and was baptized and confirm in the Holy Ghost Church. “When he got  converted, we disowned him for we considered him a disgrace to  the family and God”, said Gilbert

But Gilbert engagement in dialogue forums has enabled him to lay aside attempts to missionize, which is always accompanied by an attitude of exclusive superiority and can be equated with the spoken or unspoken belief that one’s own religion is the “true” way, or effectively the only way. He has reconciled with his son and accepted the son’s choice as the bona fide daughter in law.

Gilbert says, “I have shifted from tolerating extremism to affirming pluralism, building social cohesion and shifting from exclusive theologies and supremacist attitudes that demonize the other religions”.

Through this FoRB program and lessons learnt from the Stefanus Alliance,, Gilbert efforts will play a great role in preventing discrimination through encouraging people to speak up against negative stereotypes associated with religious fundamentalism.

I will always advocate against people being labeled, stereotyped, discriminated against, treated separately, and/or experience loss of status because of a perceived link with a a religious group. I will always encourage a comversation that leads to understanding and peaceful cooperation,” Gilbert says

A youth Speaking During the Forum

Our goal is to build Interfaith Peacemaker Teams where religious leaders, community actors, women and youth collaborate, build power, act on issues that arise from the ground that are urgent, relevant and winnable — and win. We also seek to create an environment where young people can be nurtured and grow into their potential. The youths shall have opportunities to interact with religious leaders, community elders, government officials, political leaders, business owners, civil society organizations and youthful role models for exposure, mentorship, partnership and collaborations. This will give them an opportunity to share their views and experiences, gain important knowledge about social and economic opportunities, learn new skills and receive mentorship and motivation for positive and progressive living. The new We have 15 fully-functioning Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue teams who meet on a monthly basis to dialogue on issues of interests and come with solutions that can be implemented.

Our clarion call is “Peaceful and Self-reliant Communities” Since there are over 35 families who engage in the Home Gardening, cultivating indigenous vegetables for their personal consumption.

At a time when hunger has become a much larger problem worldwide, than it was prior to the pandemic, we need to address significant attention to this question.
We are working to narrow down our action to something that’s local and achievable. We anticipate improving on the diversity and quantity of production as well as doubling the number of home gardens. At the cost of $ 100 per household, we can shift the impact to greater level by having 150 or more functional home gardens among vulnerable households Siaya.

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