Kofi Annan: honouring his memory, continuing his legacy
Last weekend saw the news that global icon, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations and co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Kofi Annan had passed away.
To some he was the epitome of international diplomacy while in other circles he was considered the father of the modern corporate sustainability movement. He wasn’t an example of perfect leadership or moral authority, but the overwhelming general global consensus is that he will be remembered as one of the greatest diplomats in history.
Did you also know that his legacy will also continue in an area many organisations in this network deal with on a continuum – Mental Health? Mental Health, depression and anxiety disorders in particular, have been attributed to cost the global economy a whooping US$ 1 trillion per year (WHO – World Health Organisation estimate, 2016). This cost is more than just a financial number. It is also a cost to productivity, to society and families.
“Depression must become a global priority because it not only affects health and well-being but also diminishes labour productivity and economic growth. Calling the challenge of depression a global crisis is no exaggeration at all” – Kofi Annan
To us, one of Annan’s most important projects was his advocacy for Mental Health to be included within the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals post-2015 agenda. I would like to focus the attention on to the amazing work that Faith based organisations are already doing and have been doing for a long time in their various communities at a grass roots level. Where it matters most. And to also highlight the fact that all the effort put into dealing with the issue of Mental Health in the various communities, has a global impact!
FaithAction’s Friendly Places initiative demonstrates what can be achieved and how the various organisations in the network are better positioned to provide better information on mental health, more awareness and education, and thus solutions that have a long lasting impact on the lives of people.
Organisations like Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue (NPLS), Nishkam Centre (Birmingham) and the Trinity Church in Sutton, to name but a few, have demonstrated and shown the immense value of building innovative partnerships across the various Faith groups to combine knowledge, experience and resources so as to tackle this issue which affects us all, recognising that no one person or group has a monopoly of wisdom.
I would like to honour Kofi Annan’s memory and support his ongoing legacy by inviting us all to take another step in reaching out to those in our own faith groups who are working through mental health issues at the moment. Here are some resources that might help you:
For handy tips on being a more welcoming and supportive Faith Community visit www.faithaction.net
For more detail on Friendly Places Case Studies visit www.faithaction.net
For more information regarding the Friendly Places initiative and about signing up for the Friendly Places Pledge go to www.faithaction.net