The sixth World Day of Prayer and Action for Children was celebrated with 96 activities across 51 countries. As DPAC 2013 retained the theme to stop violence against children, partner organizations returned to build on their work from previous years. 2013 witnessed the growth and deepening of continuing initiatives such as Shanti Ashram’s Standing Up with One Million Indian Children, and Pastoral da Crianca’s conversation circles, as well as groundbreaking, life-changing developments such as the signing of a religious Fatwa outlawing female genital mutilation.
The fifth World Day of Prayer and Action for Children was commemorated with some 100 activities in over 60 countries around the world. Activities focused on educating communities on the harmful effects of child marriage, campaigning against violent child-rearing practices, and promoting birth registration. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chair of the Elders and founders of Girls Not Brides, issued a statement to end child marriage on the World Day. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams, also issued a statement on World Day of Prayer and Action for Children.
In 2011 a record number of 96 World Day activities took place in 72 countries worldwide under the new theme: Stop Violence against Children. These activities took the form of workshops, mobilization campaigns, religious services, vigils, statements, media engagements, and other events. The World Day mobilized close to 1400 organizations, including 393 faith-based organizations and religious institutions. Religious services, vigils, workshops and mobilization campaigns gathered close to 230,000 people. Media campaigns reportedly reached over 1.6 million people. Close to 60% of respondents reported that their activities were conducted in a multi-faith setting.
In 2010, the World Day of Prayer and Action was celebrated in 47 countries through 69 events worldwide. Virtually every region of the world was represented and there was subsequently growth in several key areas. Across the globe, religious leaders from all faiths joined secular groups, governments, NGOs and community organizations in prayers and concrete projects to improve life for the world’s poorest children. Many events were organized under the theme of reducing child mortality (MDG #4) and improving maternal health (MDG#5), with a particular emphasis on the importance of breastfeeding.
In 2009, more than 9,000 people in 29 cities in 22 countries participated in celebrations of the World Day of Prayer and Action. Events ranged from a candlelight vigil in Brazil for children held in detention, to providing food and clothing for HIV/AIDS orphans in South Africa. Issues that have served as a focus for action and advocacy in these celebrations included poverty, children’s rights, child protection, education and discrimination. Many of the World Day events featured interfaith services, with representatives from diverse religious traditions, including Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, indigenous and other participants.