« The sum is greater than the whole of the parts »
"This old adage fairly sums up how interfaith cooperation results in high-impact initiatives for the well-being of children, their families and communities," remarked Daniel Diyombo, F&D Manager at World Vision during a training day for religious leaders regarding the Third Decentralisation Act held in Dakar on Tuesday 26 July.
Who will lead the way?
Faith is at the heart of everything that World Vision Senegal does in its work with local churches and other faith-based organisations, providing them with training so that they may better serve the spiritual and physical needs of children and their communities. To this end, World Vision partnered with the NGO Jamra under the auspices of the Ministry of Decentralisation in order to hold a training day on the Third Decentralisation Act for the benefit of 25 religious leaders at national level including priests, imams and pastors.
What are the basic precepts of the Decentralisation Act?
The Third Decentralisation Act is a strategic resource for public authorities to assist them in doing their bit towards changing the country's political and administrative culture so that the quantity and quality of technical services may be increasingly decentralised. National religious leaders would do well to understand the Third Decentralisation Act in order to get more in tune with local collectives and work more effectively with them on the community development projects which they are tasked with delivering (schools, health centres, micro-finance). In his introductory remarks, the Technical Advisor to the Ministry for the Local Governance of Development and Land-Use, Abdou Aziz Diouf mentioned that "Interfaith dialogue takes Senegal down the path to stability. And that is at the core of the Head of State's policies".
All working together in order to make the case better for the well-being of children
"This is the first time that I have discussed the Third Decentralisation Act and it is going to greatly benefit me in my work as a pastor." Such was the conclusion of Pastor Adama Faye at the end of the training day organised by World Vision Senegal. Imam Thiam, Senior Islamist Advisor underlined that "religious leaders are better placed than most to bring the Act to the attention of the community."
All were in agreement that the more involved they are, the better the results will be for their communities and the well-being of children in the long-term. The day offered them a better understanding of the Third Law, a chance to learn how a local collective functions and lastly some techniques to take away that will raise standards of management in churches and faith-based organisations. Imam Wele stated that "Through this training day World Vision has helped us to appreciate the need to become more holistically aware of the needs of our community."
At the close of the training day, Imam Abdoulaye Lam declared that "World Vision has shown us the kind of relations that should exist between us [faith-based organisations; local authorities and decentralised State services] and the advantages that this would bring. World Vision has comprehensively trained and equipped us for the practicalities of the participative management of local collectives. Furthermore, we need to organise much wider participation because religious leaders are significant agents of development."
And with that they set about it.