The faith-based pledge
United in our common goal to save the lives of children in need, Faith-based Organizations and leaders pledge to take action to advance the life-saving behaviors listed below. These priority behaviors–ten life-saving acts for children—can and should be adopted by local families and communities. Doing so will help save the lives and reduce the burden of disease for millions of children. These behaviors are endorsed by UNICEF and other major international aid organizations because they work. Our respective religious doctrines are different, but we are united in the moral conviction that we must save children from needless deaths. Thus, we commit ourselves to ensure that our respective faith communities promote these behaviors sustainably, even as we also support additional needed efforts to strengthen public health systems. We ask all, throughout the world, who have held a child in love, with joy for its life, with tears for its pain, to join us in advancing these life-saving behaviors.
To save and improve the lives of all children, we pledge to promote, encourage, and advocate for the following actions by parents and children:
- Breastfeed all newborns exclusively through the age of six months;
- Immunize children and newborns with all recommended vaccines, especially through the age of two years;
- Eliminate all harmful traditions and violence against children, and ensure children grow up in a safe and protective environment;
- Feed children with proper nutritional foods and micronutrient supplements, where available, and de-worm children;
- Give oral rehydration salts (ORS) and daily Zinc supplements for 10 – 14 days to all children suffering from diarrhea;
- Promptly seek treatment when a child is sick; give children antibiotic treatment for pneumonia;
- Have children drink water from a safe source, including water that has been purified and kept clean and covered, away from fecal material;
- Have all children wash their hands with soap and water especially before touching food, after going to the latrine or toilet and after dealing with refuse;
- Have all children use a toilet or latrine, and safely dispose of children’s feces; prevent children from defecating in the open;
- Where relevant, have all children sleep nightly under insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria, and at the immediate onset of fever seek medical care for children to receive proper malaria testing and treatment.
We are committed to working in collaboration with intergovernmental, governmental and civil society bodies – many of whom, such as UNICEF and leading bilateral development agencies, have been strong promoters of positive multi-religious action – and we urge them to support us to develop simple toolkits and roll-out mechanisms that the leaders and congregations of each religion can use to harness their respective beliefs and believers in the implementation of these vital behavioral changes.
This pledge was organized by Religions for Peace and the Center for Interfaith Action. More information can be found at www.tenpromises.org.