End Child Poverty is a multi-faith initiative that is committed to working with faith-inspired organisations and actors. We identify and strengthen their capacities to affirm justice and reach out to protect children living in oppression and poverty. We therefore maximise on our strengths and the following comparative advantages of faith-inspired organisations and actors:
- Spiritual capital
Religion and religious belief are increasingly recognised as factors influencing peoples' priorities and shaping their concepts of life with dignity. Faith offers the moral capital and motivation for community development; plus hope and courage in overcoming fear and powerlessness. These values and attitudes rooted in faith can be applied for transformational development and ending poverty.
2. A permanent historic and widely spread presence in society
Faith actors often have access to large constituencies. Even in the poorest and most remote areas, people organise themselves for religious practice. For this reason, religious communities and organisations can be mobilised to end poverty.
3. Legitimacy and moral authority
In many contexts, religious leaders are also community leaders. They are usually trusted in equal or even greater measure than other influencers within their societies. Religious leaders are listened to and they represent institutions with the potential to challenge and counter-balance injustice in society. Government officials, businesses and other community stakeholders, often recognise faith actors as impartial and influential ethical voices. In this regard, religious leaders can contribute toward activating their communities to eradicate poverty.
4. A traditional orientation towards serving and promoting the wellbeing of the poor
Faith actors often have a history of community-based development and service delivery to the poor and vulnerable in their local communities. Because they are trusted and they have a heart for serving the community, faith actors have a natural point of entry; through which they challenge and fight complex moral issues like corruption, discrimination, poor governance, inequality and other structural factors that cause poverty.
5. Social networks and assets to fight poverty
Faith-inspired organisations have facilities for religious practice, provision of education and health care, emergency relief and economic development. They also have a wide network of valuable partnerships, volunteers and community support which they build over time. Collectively, these resources have been and continue to be used successfully in addressing poverty.
6. Multi-faith initiative
Religion can be a source of power and life in achieving positive change. We also realise that religion can also be used destructively to justify violence, injustice, inequality and other structural causes of poverty. In this light, faith-inspired institutions may need to be challenged to play positive roles in society, more consistently. As a multi-faith initiative, End Child Poverty has a common language and shared reference with faith communities. This enables us to challenge practices by faith-inspired actors and organisations, which bring about poverty.