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Child sponsorship - Does it work?
Submitted by KrisJ on February 21, 2009 - 9:17pm.
"Child sponsorships programs are big money machines that provide organizations with easy cash flow. It does not matter whether the product is any good. Most of them are not"
I read a blog recently about child sponsorship. I'd like to know if there's any aid workers out there who share the same sentiments as the following. Likewise I'd be interested in hearing from anyone with differing opinions on these views
Please contact me on this blog or email at email@example.com
"I've worked in the developing world for many years, and up to recently was a field leader in a large American based child sponsorship organization. I have recently resigned because my conscience could no longer handle an increasing organizatinal focus on what is good for the organization rather than what is best for the child and the community. One local leader of the organization told me yesterday that "the sanitised visions of child development organizations, (both faith based and secular)is making them increasingly irrelevant to successful and sustainable development. They worship their own mythologies."
Most of child development programs are driven by high powered successful marketing programs that tell the donor what the donor wants to hear and so alleviate their guilt ("we have so much and they have so little").
These programs also reflect the imbedded American viewpoint that we can save the world and once people understand that we have all the real wisdom; then they will love us and our programs will make sense to them. The old America Knows Best scenario that continues to be played out around the world. In other words, the flogging will continue until morale improves.
Jobs are hard to come by, and so therefore it is very difficult to get at the real information because field workers who know the truth will lose their jobs if they come public. The spout the party line publically in English while switching to the vernacular when talking to their support group.
Child sponsorships programs are big money machines that provide organizations with easy cash flow. It does not matter whether the product is any good. Most of them are not, despite the rosy media releases The marketing team decides what is good program and the stories that need to be told to bring in the money. The Lords of Poverty hand out the crumbs to the peasants and donors feel good.
There are better ways to bring sustainable development down to the poorest of the poor than child sponsorship. I urge readers to put their emotions aside and do some good research on pros and cons. When I first became entered this industry (and it is an industry, not a "ministry"), I drank the grape juice completely and was a strong advocate of what I was doing. But my experiences over the years have brought me to the conviction that child sponsorship as we know have it is one of the evils of our age. They keep people in poverty, they do not liberate children and communnities on the long term despite the trophy stories that are paraded before the public from time to tome. Enough said.. Maybe I should write a book."