The key role of faith-leaders in Tanzania

Proactive leadership for every child

UNICEF Tanzania
22 April 2020

On 18 April, the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) organized and led a special high-level webinar in partnership with UNICEF Tanzania on "Proactive Faith Leadership in the Time of the Crisis".This was the second in GIWA's series of Interfaith Webinars on the topic of the #CoronaCrisis.

The panel brought together eminent African Christian Leaders  on the eve of Easter Sunday. A fruitful discussion on unity showed how we are all in this together as faith communities to conquer the challenges faced by the world today. All panelists encouraged people to stay at home, practise social distance and take safety precautions to stay safe and well. Below is a snapshot of the discussion.

Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Co-Founder and Chair of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and President of Parmarth Niketan, India, shared with everyone that faith leaders are agents of change. He highlighted the importance of coming together and urged governments to take the lead in helping communities address COVID-19. 

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Secretary General of GIWA and President of Divine Shakti Foundation, moderated the panel and emphasised the crucial messaging that faith leaders must send out to their followers such as the critical importance of hand-washing, social distancing and staying at home. She shared the experiences in India and the steps taken by the Government towards ensuring the safety of the nation, as well as how Parmarth Niketan is offering a full daily and weekly online schedule to uplift all those at home across the world.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Trustee of GIWA, shared his view to support the Government to 'flatten the curve’. He insisted that staying home is not a disobeyment to God. Instead, this decision is sacred, biblical and critical to protect one another.

Dr. Frederick Shoo, the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania shared: “As we celebrate Easter, we have advised people in the risk groups to stay home during this time. We are encouraging people to keep their faith in God. Faith is important right now as it helps to maintain the calm.”

Rev. Dr. Charles Kitima, Secretary-General of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference, informed that connection is important during these times. "We are using Youtube and radio to reach our worshippers and are encouraging them to stay connected even in their homes. Our key messages for all Tanzanians are to frequently wash their hands and practice social distancing at this time.”

Finally, with the support of James Elder, Chief of Communications, Eastern and Southern Africa for UNICEF the message was reinforced and urged everyone to support children as they are a key part of the solution.  “Listen to them, especially now. They can help to spread key messages. Support their learning at home but also allow children to have ‘corona-free’ time. It is important for them to still feel like children during this time.”

To find out more and see the full webinar below.

UNICEF Tanzania