Churches urged to be social agents

BENJAMIN MGALULA Sunday News; Sunday,October 29, 2006 @00:05

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CHURCHES and other community based organizations have been urged to establish platforms for collecting opinions and information from isolated and marginal groups to establish social movement in a bid to raise voice against injustice and unfair trade.

This was said yesterday by the Country Coordinator of Norwegian Church Aid for Tanzania (NCA-Tanzania, Mr Fredrik Glad Gjernes, at a preparatory workshop jointly organized by CARITAS and Christian Social Services Commission (CSSC). The objective of the event was to find effective means of participation in the forthcoming World Social Forum (WSF).

He said that rich countries were getting richer at the expense of poor countries.

"Rich countries have access and control over resources from poor countries, they have influence over state heads, financial institutions and they set and determine prices unfairly. This has to be stopped," he said.

He further noted that, any social movement established for advocacy must come from the very grass root where a significant portion of the society was in abject poverty.

He however, said that economic awareness on international trade among people living in villages is low, hence a need to review and change policies on the entire process of poverty reduction.

Religious institutions have a challenge to ensure that awareness over global issues is created.

Speaking at the same occasion, Rev. Alex Malasusa challenged media institutions to use their organs as platforms for sensitizing WSF issues and creating awareness on global agenda.

World Social Forum was established in 2001 in Porto Alegre-Brazil?, in a bid to counteract World Economic Forum (WEF).

The objective of WSF is to help create a World-wide social force for the sake of the marginalized in order to influence the global agenda.

The next WSF shall be held in Nairobi, Kenya in February 2007. It is one of the most celebrated global gathering of social movements.

This would be the first time for WSF to be held in Africa.

More than 2,000 participants from Tanzania, representing CBOs, NGOs, Faith based organizations and trade unions, are expected to attend the Nairobi forum.