The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance organized and led a special high-level webinar in partnership with UNICEF Tanzania on “Proactive Faith Leadership in the Time of Crisis” with interfaith leaders of Africa and India. This was the second in GIWA’s series of Interfaith Webinars on the topic of the Corona Crisis.
The panel brought together eminent Christian Leaders of Africa on the eve of Easter Sunday. There was a fruitful discussion with regard to uniting together as faith communities to conquer the challenges faced by the world today. All the panelists encouraged people to stay at home, keep social distancing and take all safety precautions possible to stay safe and well.
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Co-Founder and Chair of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and President of Parmarth Niketan, India, shared with everyone, “Faith Leaders, you are agents of change. We need to come together and urge governments to take the lead in helping communities address COVID-19. We can fight the spread of the Corona Virus in our countries.” He also led a special prayer with the eminent panelists at the end for all those afflicted by the virus so that they may heal, for all of the frontline workers and healthcare providers as well as for all of humanity.
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 be sending out to their followers, such as the critical importance hand-washing, social distancing and staying at home. She shared the experiences already felt by all in India and the steps the Government is taking 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, “Let’s support the government to ‘flatten the curve’. We are not disobeying God by staying home. Instead, this decision is sacred, biblical and critical to protect one another.”
Dr. Frederick Shoo, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania told us, “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, shared, “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.”
James Elder, Chief of Communications, Eastern and Southern Africa for UNICEF urged everyone, “Kids are a 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.”
GIWA looks forward to holding more of these historic and productive panels in the near future as we continue to stand together as One against the Corona Virus.