ERN in Kenya Stands Up Against Poverty

Students from Brother Beausang Catholic Education Centre, Embulbul on the march against poverty

Members of the Edmund Rice Network in Kenya have demonstrated their support for the Millennium Development Goals by their participation in the recent Stand-Up against Poverty campaign.

One of the actions involved a march through local streets as a means of ensuring their voices were heard by the delegations attending the Millennium Summit and by local leaders.

Participants recognise the urgent need to lobby for policy change to ensure that young people in the slums of Nairobi are able to enjoy their basic rights: free and compulsory education, health amenities, food, access to job opportunities and the right to participate in society and have their opinions heard.

Problems recognised as needing to be addressed include poor policy implementation, corruption coupled with impunity, inequality in the allocation of resources, complacency and ignorance as well as insufficient knowledge on appropriate entrepreneurship and production mechanisms.

Edmund Rice Network members made the following pledge:-

“We members of the Edmund Rice Network are joining in solidarity with other global groups and individuals together with our government to raise awareness, make some efforts to understand the Millennium Development Goals and strive to achieve them.

We are encouraging all members of our community to work hard, adopt sustainable means of production and remain committed to achieving the best out of the limited resources they have.

We are urging our leaders to rule with integrity, transparency and respect all the rights of their subjects. We call upon them to cease from impunity and become servants, to ensure that the country’s resources are well disbursed equally to all citizens without forgetting the minority and the marginalized.

We call upon our governments in Africa to use all wisdom and powers within their mandate to ensure that people living in abject poverty are rescued, supported and empowered to better living conditions. They should work hand in hand with all stake holders, investors and other donors and international agencies to ensure that young people who are the majority are equally supported and given enough opportunity to employment and leadership.

Moreover, we urge our Governments in Africa to step up their efforts in ensuring that maternal health is improved and provision of ARVs to children living with HIV and AIDS in slums is enhanced.

Finally we encourage international partners especially the developed countries to remain more open to give at least 0.7% of their gross national product (wealth) to supporting the world’s poorest countries most of which are in Africa. This call we believe will come true with our continuous efforts, let us not give up!”

This article was adapted from an item appearing in the Weekly Newsletter of the Christian Brothers in East Africa (number 112)

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