The meetings provided an opportunity for NPC to introduce the work it carries out under the Action for Religious Coexistence (ARC) project funded by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The project emphasises the importance of religious coexistence and harmony. The NGOs were given the opportunity to speak about religious coexistence and harmony and how they would be able to contribute towards religious harmony and coexistence in their respective districts.
During the networking meetings, the NGOs expressed their willingness to accommodate Local Inter Religious Committees (LIRCs) under their respective projects. They see them as an integral part of religious coexistence and harmony. NPC will hold a national level training programme on pluralism, rule of law and nonviolent communication for NGOs whose mission statements align with religious coexistence. The training will enable NGOs to develop their existing capacities and engage with LIRCs in their districts.
Under the ARC project, NPC is currently engaging in policy discussions with a number of stakeholders that are able to influence policy at both the national and sub-national level. At the national level, stakeholders consist of members of parliament from the government and opposition, religious leaders and media representatives. At the sub-national level, stakeholders are local government representatives, media representatives, community leaders, state official and frontline state service delivery providers. These discussions among stakeholders enable them to contribute to what policy changes should be made in the interest of preserving and promoting religious harmony and coexistence.
One example is in relation to reforming the school system. Through the policy discussion, a recommendation was made to desegregate students rather than assigning schools based on religion and race. Another recommendation was that religious education in schools needed to be holistic in that students should not be limited to learning only their own religion. It was believed that constitutional reforms should be made to given all religions an equal statue under the constitution.