Interfaith Youth; Lessons on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Peace

“Being in inter-faith has moulded me to respect all religions. To choose one faith, and hate none and to help the community to clear out the myths and misunderstanding of religion in the society through Building Interfaith Bridges.” – Cherry Odour, Mombasa Interfaith Youth

Interfaith Youth in Kenya have continually chosen to change the narrative that the youth are idle thus involved in illegalities in the counties such as drug abuse, crimes or even used for violent activities. Despite the COVID-19 affecting various communities, youth have taken up spaces that place them in platforms where they can be able to call out leaders who are not serving them like they should. With the Elections approaching in 2022 youth have vowed to make their voice heard through different platforms.

Youth have been involved in sporting activities that enable them to use these platforms to call for peace, conserve the environment through planting trees and address mental health among the youth.

“I have managed to be one of the interfaith youth leaders through sports engagement, whereas a captain of our team we enabled to clinch a trophy on an interfaith football tournament.” Daniel Kimbaumbau, Mombasa Interfaith Youth

In Baringo County, the interfaith youth held tournaments that have completely transformed the youth from idle groups who abused drugs and were involved in crime to topping the league table in Baringo County.

Inter-Religious Council of Kenya through the Baringo Interfaith youth network held a football tournament; the two football teams that took part were Arena FC from Baringo South which is 90 per cent Muslim and was formed to help the youth conserve their environment and Kaptimbor FC from Baringo Central which is 90 per cent Christian.

“The activities of the day such as tree planting and visiting Sunrise Children’s home stood out because it created bonds and is a reminder to us on the importance of environmental conservation coming at a time when some residents of Baringo County had been displaced by the flooding of the lakes in the region,” added Benjamin Ronoh, Baringo Interfaith Youth.

In Mombasa County over 300 youth have been reformed and committed to promoting peace, behaviour transformation and change for positive living. The interfaith youth were able to address issues of peace and insecurity in their counties as well as address mental health issues that had been on the rise due to the effects of the Coronavirus.

“Through interfaith, I have managed to participate in interfaith activities such as peacebuilding amongst youth and the community at large. I have engaged with the gangs through exchanged programs which as a result saw the youth reformed.” – Daniel Kimbaumbau, Mombasa Interfaith Youth

Mombasa Youth has been able to conduct Maskani visits as a unique way of harnessing, addressing and dealing with issues facing different groups in the community. It is a way of just holding easy conversations that seek to address pressing issues among different members of society.

“We are one country, let’s not fight because of politicians, let’s not allow politicians to use the youths to spread hatred and conflict in the Society. We are the leaders of today and we need to start now!

“Being in interfaith has really been much of a boost in implementing some of our community projects, interfaith has helped bridge the gap we had between different religious groups. Interfaith played a big role in making people learn to correlate and coexist. It has been a lot easier to implement projects that bring change and a positive impact within the society.” – Daniel Kimbaumbau.

“As a youth, I have been able to become a peace Champion and I have been spreading peace to my fellow youth and society especially as we are preparing for the coming election,” added Daniel.

There is a need to rehabilitate and engage the youth during this campaign period since they might be used to cause chaos by some leaders. A point that was emphasised by the interfaith youth.

“We are one country, let’s not fight because of politicians, let’s not allow politicians to use the youths to spread hatred and conflict in the Society. We are the leaders of today and we need to start now.”

Interfaith youth have been able to become peace Champions and have been spreading peace to other youth and society especially as we are preparing for the coming election.

“We are one country, one love let’s not fight because of politicians, let’s not allow politicians to use as the youths to spread hatred and conflict in the Society. We are the leaders of today and we need to start now,” Cherry Oduor, Mombasa Interfaith Youth

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