At the Fourth Forum of the Global Network for Religions for Children (GNRC) in Dar es Salaam, June 2012 the task! Not long after this meeting, the Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty (End Child Poverty,) the strategic and operational response was launched in Nairobi, Kenya. Right at birth, we were cautious that child poverty presented a complex phenomena and that the battle ahead would not be easily won. We recognized however that this cause must be won if our children and humanity are to be genuinely free.
This report seeks to provide an account of the work that has been undertaken by End Child of this as an outlier account of our key results thus far, a measure of the footprint that we have established in the short time since our launch. We have also sought to determine the strength of the impression made by this footprint, the imprint we have made and that provide the critical building blocks in our efforts to rise to these promises.
We are heartened to see the progress we have made thus far. In particular, I believe that End Child Poverty is gaining ground, that our presence and voice is being felt and heard, and that our passion, experience and inputs towards local, regional and global efforts to eradicate child poverty have been very much welcomed by those with whom we have sought part-nerships. Most hearteningly, even in this very short period, through our programming and activities, we are building an imprint capable of the task we set for ourselves.
In this account you will find a rendering of our work in two broad measures – the footprint we had developed, and the imprint we have seeded. Ultimately, bending the curve of poverty in favour of children is a daunting task. We believe in order for this change to happen, this real work must be done by parents and their communities, governments, regional bodies and actors in the global commons working together.
While we, of the GNRC, have pledged our- recognize that this an enormously complex battle. ….. However, unless we resolve this problem, we will never be able to realize a eradication of child poverty” – Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, President of Arigatou International , Dar El Salaam, Tanzania 17th June 2012
While we are out there looking for indicators that the curve is bending, we realize that this is not a simple task. We perceive of our role as one of catalyzing and nudging efforts needed to enable this symphony. Our real effort, or real impact therefore lies in how effectively we can influence this bending so that it does happen, that it does so sooner than later, that children are active participants in the process and that it does so with finality. That will be our legacy.
In this report we demonstrate how we are trying to catalyse action among faith communities and global actors, and what we have achieved by way of intermediate results in these efforts. Hopefully as we consider othe reports later, the long term impact of our work will become clearer.
Most notably, our vision for a world free of child poverty requires us to mobilize resources of faith actors and communities and through awareness and consciousness raising, endear them to this cause. It also requires us to address root causes of poverty by speaking to the issues at local, national, regional and global levels. It also requires of us to respond catalytically, to mem-bers of our grassroots communities that demonstrate innovation and promise in their work to fight child poverty.
As our reporting will show we have made good progress in all these efforts. In the past three and a half years, we have produced a key resource- an Interfaith Guide to End Child Poverty; joined several advocacy coalitions and workgroups on child poverty, established a research and documentation center dedicated entirely to ending child poverty, a global coalition of faith based grassroots organizations and actors who commit significant time and effort to campaigning against child poverty, and lasting programming to end violence against children and other causes of child poverty. Acting jointly with partners and collaborators we have infludenced the global development agenda in favour of eradicating child poverty as well as prepared a path breaking tool that enables national government and actors at various levels to follow a critical path towards eradicating child poverty.
However, despite these achievements, we still face many challenges. Some of these are ontolog-ical in nature, such as given the enormity of the challenge, how big a footprint should we build?
Should we simply go as far as the challenge will take us? What is the real scope of our limitations in this endeavor? Another challenge has to do with deepening our imprint – how to make sure that our key results such as building of coalitions, organizations, platforms, etc are able to deliver on their task. For it is in this delivery that we get our impact.
We are also confronted with a challenge of evidence, the informational basis needed for us to pass judg-ment on our work. How do we know that the curve is bending, or the back of child poverty is breaking so to speak? How do we know that local and global efforts to end child poverty are bearing fruit?
Secondly what is the evidence of the impact of our own practice, how do we value our work and con- the behaviours and conduct of the numerous actors and institutions whose duty it is to prioritize plans, programmes and resources to end child poverty?
Hopefully finding answers to these and other challenges will help us move away from commitments and anecdotes to hard evidence, to a realization of what works and what does not, and to demonstrating real impact on the actual fortunes of real children at micro, macro and global levels. I do look forward to overcoming these challenges on this journey to end child poverty.
We would like to thank all who have made this journey thus far possible, to the hundreds of thousands who have taken to our call for grassroots organizing against child poverty, to our many partners at local, regional and global levels, to individuals from across the world who continue to make ending child pov-erty a priority call on their time and resources. We look forward to working with all of you on the next steps of our journey.
To the hundreds of millions of children who wake up to and are maimed every day by poverty, you continue to be our inspiration. Your pain is our cause.
Director, End Child Poverty