Why the child sponsorship model works so well
Graham Knope is President of Eagle-Com Inc. He traveled to Malawi in March 2009 as part of an initiative to document and film Plan's work in the country.
I’ve been in this business long enough to know that the causes of poverty are complex and rooted in exploitation, corruption, war, greed, ignorance, lack of access to world markets and much more. And I know that 1 billion people don’t have access to clean water and that 23,000 children die each day from [preventable] diseases like malaria and diarrhea.
But . . . in that moment in Mphomwa Malawi, “poverty” was Blessings, Chimwewmwe, Moses, Eva and their grandmother. That’s all it was to me.
And while the solutions to world poverty are found in community-based projects like borehole wells, micro-enterprise loans, macro-agricultural training and the restructuring of international trade, the only thing that seemed to matter to me was how I could get food, clothes, medicine, clean water and schooling to this family – the basic things they needed to begin to turn their lives around.
I suppose that’s why the child sponsorship model works so well for Plan USA and other child sponsorship organizations and yet why the development sector struggles with sponsorship as a fundraising model. Long term development solutions are not implemented one child at a time or one family at a time. But as a North American donor — as an individual person — I want to give my money to help one child and one family.
I want to help Blessings.
The good news, I believe, is that the two models can and should work together. We need to understand the importance and benefits of community development but, in doing so, we must never abandon the heart-warming, emotion-stirring and response-generating stories of individual children like Blessings. Now back to his story . . . Next >>
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