World Vision helps prevent child abuse and domestic violence
Throughout the world attitudes and beliefs about children, especially girls, vary greatly. In some communities child brides, early motherhood, and even disproportionate resources in families are allocated to men and boys, to the peril of pregnant mothers and female children. In some countries, infant and child mortality and the mortality rates related to childbirth remain high.
World Vision Canada’s approach is to match Canadians with boys and girls they can sponsor, but through Channels of Hope it goes a step further in helping many to end the cycle of violence and child abuse that exists in every country on earth.
Part of Channels of Hope are workshops for pastors, their spouses mothers and community leaders to help reshape attitudes and beliefs that lead to inequity and harm to children. It has run workshops throughout the world on Ebola, child protection, HIV and AIDS, gender and maternal and newborn child health.
“Faith leaders play an important role in shaping attitudes, beliefs and opinions in their communities,” explains Simon Lewchuk, Senior Policy Advisor of Child Rights and Protection to World Vision Canada. “The Solomon Islands is one example. There was a deeply entrenched belief that the Bible gave men the right to treat women differently and sometimes hit them and that changed.”
In its overview for Channels of Hope, World Vision explains that the goal of the workshops is “to help participants to see men and women as created by God as equals and to treat each other accordingly.” The relief and community development group hopes this model will empower men and women and help them to build more positive relationships or healthier ones and reduce violence against women and children.
To evaluate results from Channels of Hope, a five-year research collaboration was launched in 2016 with Queen Margaret University and Columbia University. This study collected information on the results of World Vision’s interventions. Specifically, the study and its evaluation looked at sites in Uganda, Senegal and Guatemala. In some communities, like the rural villages of the Solomon Islands, the charity has seen positive results.
Maereg Tafere, Program Manager of Fragil and humanitarian programs states "The final outcome will not be released until all the results from the three countries have been compiled. But preliminary results from the Senegal study showed statistically significant changes in knowledge, attitude behavioral changes in areas including corporal punishment, birth registration, and early marriage. Personal level transformation led into action and demanding others to do the same."
In addition to workshops there was also World Vision’s international campaign It Takes a World To End Violence Against Children. It began to ignite other movements to end violence against children.
A number of faith-inspired organisations including Anglican Alliance, Arigatou International, Michah Global, World Council of Churches and World Evangelical Alliance are among those in a growing movement of people speaking out to end violence against children. As part of this campaign a theological framework was developed for ending violence against children based on Biblically-based knowledge from faith leaders. World Vision notes “that no one person, group or organization can solve the problem alone”.
“Our Channels of Hope program engages local and religious leaders to raise community awareness and action to eliminate inequity, improve access to education, improve sexual and reproductive health and the rights of women and adolescent girls and call communities to action to eliminate gender-based violence and prevent the spread of deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS, Ebola and now COVID 19,” says Brett Tarver, Director of Communications for WVC.
“World Vision intentionally engages these leaders as allies of women and girls to address the underlying causes of gender-based violence and other harmful traditional practices. We are dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable whomever and wherever they are. In most cases, this is women and girls and boys and our response, like Channels of Hope, is built to reflect this reality.”
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