Wednesday, August 8, 2012

TOP 10 WAYS TO RESPOND TO POVERTY


In an international development context, child sponsorship is a highly effective investment for hope and change 

Christianity Today recently published research by Bruce Wydick that rates the ten most cost-effective ways to help neighbors in developing nations in which poverty too often defines life and leads to premature death.

The entire article is quite insightful.  The strategies are not relief-based, but change-focused.  They move well beyond traditional charity to investing in decisions and priorities established at local levels by those most able to affect change and bear hope. They address big challenges in practical ways. 

As an advocate of international child sponsorship, I note that sponsoring a child is number 4 on the list.

The researcher declares:

"Of all the long-term development interventions, child sponsorship received the highest rating... Development economists today favor interventions like child sponsorship that remove practical constraints to education while building a child's self-esteem, aspirations, and goals.  In this way, sponsorship relieves both external and internal poverty constraints."

Centering on education, international child sponsorship brings together critical life-giving interventions and sustains them over time with an investment in a child in the context of their family, school, church and community.  Often, child sponsorship includes a number of the other "Top 10" strategic actions.

Here are the top 10 ways, according to the CT article, by which people are making a difference through international charitable giving:

1. Get clean water to rural villages.
2. Fund de-worming treatments for children.
3. Provide mosquito nets.
4. Sponsor a child.
5. Give a wood-burning stove.
6. Give a microfinance loan.
7. Fund reparative surgeries.
8. Donate a farm animal.
9. Drink fair-trade coffee.
10. Give a kid a laptop. 

Read the full CT online article at this link.

I'm pleased to recommend International Child Care Ministries (ICCM) as an effective child sponsorship initiative. 

While our family has sponsored children through ICCM for years, it wasn't until I rode a bicycle 2,000 miles through India that I saw firsthand the hopeful impact of ICCM in the faces and lives of hundreds of children at the hostels and churches we visited.  I have since directly witnessed ICCM's commendable work in Haiti, Vietnam and Kenya.

The 20,000+ children in 30 nations ICCM is privileged to invest in through one-on-one sponsorships or scholarships are part of local Free Methodist faith communities.  That's what makes ICCM sponsorship unique among others: in addition to education, food, clothing and basic medical care, ICCM-sponsored kids are surrounded by caring Christians we know and trust.  Accountability and life-long care make a huge difference.

I invite you to explore ICCM: www.childcareministries.org.  You might even consider selecting and beginning to sponsor a child online.  That would be one of the Top 10 ways you could make a practical, forward-lookng difference in the world today.

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