The conference, organised by the Association of Shinto Shrines and ARC, was a consultation on faith values in the lead-up to the new Sustainable Development Goals, which will be announced in 2015. ARC, the UN and the Club of Rome have just launched a new programme called Values Quest on Culture, Creativity and Values.
Father Charles Odira Kwanya, of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, said: ‘I really like ARC’s approach. ARC allows each faith group to develop within its own faith. I really love that you ask the faiths, “Are you living true to your teachings?” The uniqueness of this organisation is that you are targeting what is already there [in the scriptures/teachings]. We are not bringing anything new. It is inspirational.’
Raphael Magambo, national director of A Rocha Kenya, added: ‘ARC has mainly been about awareness. Looking and listening. I think I would say it has been a wow moment for us where people have been discovering things. With ARC coming into the picture, it really has been a moment of self-discovery. I would say much as we have achieved much, we are really at the beginning.’
Muguluma Hamed, executive director of HEAR Uganda, summed up the work of ARC and our faith partners beautifully saying: ‘The biggest change to many of the activities we are doing is hope. So many people have lost hope. We have to change this and show that tomorrow will be better than today.’
To read an account of the Traditions For The Future conference, please click here.
Partnerships and network-building are also highly valued outcomes of the activities carried out over the past couple of years.
Hamed Muguluma pointed out: ‘We score above average in partnership. People have been working on their own and didn’t know what the others are doing. It is a new phenomenon. Awareness has grown more than expected. Bureaucrats have their resources but are not able to connect with what is happening on the ground.'
Fr Charles praised the formation of the national networks in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
He said: ‘The national networks are a good move. They help us come together and also promote peaceful co-existence. Abdalla [Mohamed Kamwana, programme manager for the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims] being a Muslim, to see us together is very interesting. Perhaps he is my best friend but he’s not even a Christian. When we meet we talk about the environment.’
And Bishop Nathan Kyamanywa of Bunyoro-Kitara Diocese, Uganda observed: ‘The uniqueness is the trust and the impact.’