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Restore PURSUING GOD’S INTENTIONS FOR CHILDREN

ISSUE • 4

A CUTTING-EDGE TOOL FOR GOD’S WORK WITH CHILDREN

A JUST

society noun. (pl. -ies) 1 the sum of human conditions and activity regarded as a whole functioning interdependently THE CONCISE OXFORD DICTIONARY

society


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Society has a God-given responsibility for the wellbeing of children and families… All children and families live in society and are dependent on institutions for healthcare, shelter, access to social services, safe drinking water, information and safety. The church must collaborate with these institutions for the common good, and if they fail, the church must speak and act with and on behalf of the vulnerable.

a just

society

God intends children to flourish in a just society.

FOREWORD

STATEMENT 4, UNDERSTANDING GOD’S HEART FOR CHILDREN BIBLICAL FRAMEWORK

GREETINGS for 2007! You will notice a new look to this issue of Restore, which we hope makes it easier to find useful information and more enjoyable to read. This issue is based on the 4th affirmative statement of the working document Understanding God’s Heart Biblical Framework (See above. For the complete statements, visit http://www.viva.org/restore). Given the importance that God places on a just society and the range of problems that arise when society is unjust, it is inevitable that this issue presents only a selection of the possible topics. We hope to return to this theme in future issues. For now, this issue offers several articles on how the idea of society relates to the individual and community levels of identity (Jennifer Orona) as well as why society fails children and how the church should respond (Ravi Jayakaran). There are practical ideas too on the importance of accessing social protection for holding governments to account (Marlene Clarke and Paul Stephenson) and a beginner’s guide to advocacy. Unjust society impacts on all children at risk: here we’ll look at some key lessons learned in meeting the needs of refugees (Ooi Kiah Hui) and the complexities resulting from the multiple risk factors of poverty, disability and being a girl child (Philippa Lei). We at Restore pray that you will see the fruit of your own work for a more just society especially in greater opportunities for the children you serve to be all that God intends.

WHAT’S INSIDE?

Think!

(biblical reflection, opinion piece, feature etc) „

Society has a God-given responsibility for the well-being of children and families …………………………… pg.3 by Ravi JAYAKARAN

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A Godly society: Justice and mercy on multiple levels ……………….. pg.5 by Jennifer ORONA

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Girls, disability and poverty: The challenge of triple discrimination…pg.7 by Philippa LEI

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Holding society to account ………pg.9 by Marlene CLARKE and Paul STEPHENSON

Act!

(toolkit, lessons learned, practical ideas etc) „

Community based monitoring of social assistance programs .……. pg.11 a social protection toolkit by Marlene CLARKE and Paul STEPHENSON

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Not so easy .……………..……… pg.12 a toolkit article by Katharine DE VILLIERS

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Advocacy now! ………………… pg.14 a start-up advocacy toolkit based on materials from TEARFUND, WORLD VISION and BOND

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Standing in the gap ……………… pg.16 lessons learned by OOI Kiah Hui

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Justice! Do the right things …….. pg.18 a kids bible study adapted for use by Katharine DE VILLIERS


BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

Society has a God-given responsibility for the well-being of children and families A biblical reflection Dr Ravi Jayakaran integrates biblical principles with an analysis of why society fails and what the churches strategy should be in response.

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HE CAME through the shadows in the rain pushing a small cart. There was something strange about her and the cart she was pushing. On top of the rubbish that she had scavenged, two little girls held tightly to torn umbrellas desperately trying not to get wet. Suddenly I realized what had caught my attention – the expression on the woman’s face. It mirrored all at once pain and determination, as if to say, ‘this is one more task that I have to do and I’ll get it done!’

My mind raced with questions: Why did she have to go out on a rainy night like this? Worse still, why did she have to bring the two small children along with her? Did she have so little help and not one person to trust to leave them with? What was wrong with society? How had it failed this woman so badly that she was left to support herself and her children all alone? How long would she be able to keep them safe and nourished, protected from abuse, weather and exploitation? And who will hold society to account for failing her, the children and the countless others like them without even an apology? I wonder if you have had a similar experience and asked similar questions? Society certainly has failed to fulfill God’s sacred responsibility to take care of the well-being of children and families. Like the family

described above, we know that there are many desperately poor families, struggling just to survive and often forced into taking horrific steps when an added difficulty makes that impossible. This includes parents selling off their children into labour, even into prostitution. In most of the countries that I am familiar with in Asia and Africa, this is a serious issue. Why doesn’t society do more? Although the percentage of people in poverty is falling, the economic gap between rich and poor nations continues to grow, as does the gap between the rich and poor individuals within nations. The poor continue to struggle and their situation becomes progressively more desperate. They are left with few resources other than themselves, while the rich and powerful continue to influence the ‘operating principles’ of society in their own favour. One main reason why it is so hard for the poor to progress is that those who need services most have the least access, while the rich and ‘better off’, though least in need have the greatest access. It seems that because the rich decide the rules of access to social services the rules are framed in their favour. Globally, this same injustice is seen with the same imbalance that tilts in favour of the rich and against the interests of the marginalized ‘poor’ and ‘very poor.’ While all of the marginalized suffer as a result, it is

the children who bear the brunt of this brutal neglect. However, this is not the whole story as those deliberately trying to access the poorest of the poor know. Illiteracy, fear, illegal status, migration, and many more issues make many of the poorest very difficult to encounter, let alone reach. The poor are in need of a chance to advocate and for advocates who will take up their cause and enable their desperate plea for help to be heard in the corridors of power. One of the most powerful definitions of empowerment that I have ever heard came from a Kenyan, Dote Hallalke. He said, “Empowerment is, when the voice of the poor is heard outside of their boundaries.” The longer the poor are ignored, their problems will persist. They will continue to be pushed to desperate measures such as bonded labour or prostitution, perpetuating the cycle of exploitation and poverty.

What is God’s mandate? Society has a God-given responsibility for ensuring the wellbeing of children and families at all levels in the community, so that all of them have equal access to institutions of healthcare, shelter, access to social services, safe drinking water, information and safety. Society on its part has badly CONTINUE NEXT PAGE…

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failed in this task, but so has the Church in not speaking out and taking action to correct the situation. Jesus’ command to His followers was that they should be like salt and light in society. It often appears that the Church in general is more concerned about debating issues rather than engaging in wholistic development. Let us try to understand God’s mandate for children. He expects families to provide what is necessary for children and he expects society to enable families to do so. God’s first expectation is that we provide (Proverbs 22:6) for children to be cared for and nurtured. This includes the child’s rights as human beings (e.g. to shelter, adequate nutrition, safe water, justice) and also to provide upbringing and guidance by ‘training them in the way they should go.’ His second requirement is for children to be included (Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 10: 13-16) in our planning for the future. This especially means ensuring their inclusion and participation in matters related to their future because ‘they are the future in the present.’ The final expectation that God has from us is to ensure that children are kept safe and protected (Mark 9:42-50) as they interface with the adult world. His warning to those who might cause them to sin (stumble) comes with one of the sternest warnings in scripture – that someone who is guilty of such an offence is better off dead! (Mark 9:42) Jesus then continues to elaborate that he is also referring to the deeds, direction and desires of society that need to be examined to ensure they will not cause children to stumble. However, for too many children, societal failures have led to the opposite of what Jesus intended: a ‘Deprivation–Exclusion– Vulnerability’ (D-E-V) syndrome’

Solutions needed What is the way out? How can society turn around to fulfil its God given responsibility for the wellbeing of Children and families? Each community must identify the area 4

within which it can have an influence and then aim to put the ‘PIP action plan’ in place. The PIP (Provide-Include-Protect) action plan involves first identifying communities that are at risk. This is then followed up in the community to identify the most marginalized families. Through interactive discussions with the community focus group, the appropriate interventions for ensuring that ‘every child is PIP’ are discussed and planned. Efforts must then be made to support and facilitate these families. This will enable the creation of the opposite of the DEV syndrome, which would be a Safe, Nurturing Refuge for Children. In order to bring about improvements in the situation of the community, external development efforts aim at increasing income and reducing expenditure. Increasing income such as with micro credit schemes has proved very helpful, but doesn’t always reach the poorest of the poor. Many emerging economies in Asia in recent years are benefiting from the results of this approach. They have freed up their economies and encouraged the entrepreneurial populace to increase their economic activities. However, there is not the same effort to reduce expenditure for the poor, either because it is not the priority of the rich decision makers or because, globally, all forms of ‘subsidy’ and ‘state sponsored social support’ are looked down upon and discouraged. However, a close look at the emerging economies shows that while most sections of the population benefit immensely from economic development, the poor and very poor may I find it harder to cope with the new changes and increased cost of living. To help the poorest of the poor, it is also important to reduce expenditure (on food, health care, schooling, and safe drinking water). This requires strong advocacy even though it is not what decision makers might choose.

Implications for the Church Wholistic mission is not an easy task, yet often the greatest response to the gospel is in places where projects have shown the greatest love and concern for the most marginalized. If the church is to fulfil this mission it needs to: 1. Become conscious of its mandate to collaborate with institutions for health care, shelter, access to social services, safe drinking water, information and safety to ensure that all children and families (especially the poor and very poor) have proper access to them. 2. Spread this awareness to all its members and mobilize them to advocate for access on behalf of the poor, when it fails. 3. Identify places that are high risk areas where ‘children are at risk’ and through interaction with those communities, empower them to ‘provide’, ‘include’ and ‘protect’ (PIP) every child. 4. Play the role of being ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in society to influence the people in authority to make the necessary changes on behalf of the poor and very poor. 5. Support interventions wherever it is possible, by working hand in hand with those who are doing something about the issue. If not, getting involved in doing what the church can in its own area as the local church. 6. Act soon before it is too late. The Church can no longer afford to say, ‘it is not our responsibility.’

Dr Ravi Jayakaran developed the ‘Ten Seed Technique’ (TST), a participatory tool to measure the D-E-V (Deprivation– Exclusion–Vulnerability’) index or how far a community, from village to country scale, has failed in their God-given responsibility toward children. More details about TST can be found at: http://www.worldvision.org.au/ resources/files/Ten-Seed.pdf

Restore 4 A Just Society


FEATURE

A Godly society Justice and mercy on multiple levels Jennifer Orona (FULLER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY) relates how individual, family, community and society must work together in order to help children experience life within the community as God intended.

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LL CHILDREN are created in the image of God, and God desires that each child receive physical, cognitive, socio-emotional, and spiritual nourishment from loving parents. But even the most caring and dedicated parents are not capable of attaining God’s standards for children by themselves. Instead, the Bible makes it clear that children need to experience life within a community of caring people. i In the biblical ideal, the individual, family, community, and society work together to promote “the well-being of children and families.” ii But the fallen world we live in exists far from that ideal. Too often caregivers and communities fail to value children, hindering instead of welcoming, exploiting instead of nurturing. How can we minister in the midst of these kinds of difficult real-life situations?

We can minister because we see who God is As we search the Scriptures, we are told time and time again that “the LORD is a God of justice” (Isaiah 30:18; cf. Genesis 18:25; Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 89:14). iii He also acts justly, with great power and faithfulness: “the LORD, who remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry” (Psalm 146:6b-7). His mercy is

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unswervingly active, even when we are weak, inconsistent, and unfaithful. “‘With everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,’ says the LORD your Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:8). God calls his people to become like him through just, merciful attitudes and actions. Gary Haugen explains, “Just how well do we know our God? Our passion for justice and defense of the weak will reflect it.” iv

BROFENBRENNER’S THEORY

We can minister because we understand who children are Urie Bronfenbrenner, a psychologist and child development expert, explains that in order to help children, we must understand them within their contexts. He draws an analogy between the child in context and a set of nesting matrushka dolls. These layered dolls can be opened one at a time, each one revealing the next layer

until the unique, individual child is reached at the center. v The layer that is closest to the child in Bronfenbrenner’s theory is called the microsystem. This is the system with the most direct influence on the child. Parents, siblings, teachers, peers, employers, and every other person who has faceto-face, regular contact with the child forms a distinctive, mutually influential microsystemic relationship with that child. vi Many of the children in our care are held back from developing a positive view of themselves and of life. These types of attitudes can hinder the child from developing a healthy relationship with God. As people within the society who desire to help children flourish, Christians must ensure that we make the most of our direct, uplifting microsystemic relationships with children. Biblically, we see this concept in action when God commands not only parents, but the entire community to care for children: These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children…” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) This was not a scenario where the children left the church service while a pastor preached a sermon just to the adults! Deuteronomy 5:1 gives the context: “Moses summoned all Israel…” The command to train children in the ways of God was given to “all Israel,” to be implemented by each family member, each neighbor, each person in the community and the society.

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Bronfenbrenner’s theory continues with the next layer surrounding the child: the exosystem. This system indirectly influences the child. For example, a parent’s stress at work can cause them to be inconsistent, impatient, or unkind at home. Children must face the consequences of this stress, even though they have very little influence over their parent’s work environment. Unfortunately, we see this pattern again and again in our ministries. The community fails in their duties to children, and exosystemic challenges result. A parent’s drinking problem leads to abuse and exploitation. The stresses of living day-to-day, handto-mouth create tension in the home that even very young children can sense. A relative dies, a friend moves away, an employer downsizes – these situations and more call for Christians to rise up and “stand in the gap” for children, providing the support that they need during times of instability. In the Old Testament, the period of the judges was a time when the people of Israel alternated between trusting God and disobeying him. Judges 2:10 describes their failure to train the children after Joshua’s death: “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” Why didn’t they know the Lord? Who had failed in their duty to educate children in the ways of God? Just as Moses gave instructions to “all Israel,” the entire group was held responsible for not teaching the young to follow God. Individuals were also held responsible, but the people of God should have taught the children to “learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17; cf. Isaiah 58:6). Knowing the character of God and teaching children to know God should have been a priority. The largest system influencing children in Bronfenbrenner’s theory is called the macrosystem. The macrosystem relates most directly to the concept of society

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as it includes cultural, religious, political, and other large-scale influences that shape children’s daily lives. vii This system is the most difficult to change; the individual child has a very small voice compared to the entire political system of their nation, for instance. For this reason, children need advocates and to learn how to advocate. Networking with other organizations can also create a more cohesive, supportive, and influential environment. In the Bible, Jesus deals with macrosystemic issues by engaging in advocacy with a clear and consistent message. He began his ministry with a seemingly small team of twelve, and built the foundation for the ministry to continue and grow. If we are going to change the macrosystems that impact children, we must do the same by coming together, creating coalitions for advocacy, networking with others, and helping the world to see the importance of considering and involving children in plans and priorities. Jesus emphasized respect and protection throughout his ministry: “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones…your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost” (Matthew 18:10a, 14). If our churches, cultures, and communities applied these principles, the children in our ministries would experience the love of God more powerfully, more consistently, and more holistically. Furthermore, we must not forget that children also play a role. Each child’s unique character and abilities affect their direct relationships (microsystems), indirect experiences (exosystems), and large-scale influences (macrosystems). We must continue to recognize that all of the ways in which we minister, whether direct or indirect, once a week or every day, can make a difference by enhancing opportunities for ministry to children and adults, and by providing children with love,

nurture, kindness, justice, and mercy.

Implications for the Church • What contexts do the children in your ministry live in? • Which systems (micro-, exo-, or macrosystems) are helping the children in your ministry? Which systems are harmful? • At what level (microsystem, exosystem or macrosystem) does our relationship with God take place? • If our relationship with God covers all levels, what are the implications for the way that we do ministry?

Jennifer Orona is a researcher at Fuller University’s Centre for Youth and Family Ministry. She holds an MA in Cross Cultural Studies-Children at Risk and has worked with at risk children in Latin America. For more information about the centre, visit http://www.cyfm.net.

i These topics were addressed in the first three affirmations of the “Understanding God’s Heart Biblical Framework” and the first three issues of Restore. For more information, please visit Hhttp://www.viva.org/restoreH. ii Affirmation #4 of the “Understanding God’s Heart Biblical Framework.”

All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version.

iii

Gary A. Haugen, Good News About Injustice (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 75.

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v Of course, we as Christians would put Christ, not the child at the center of each person’s development. Nevertheless, the analogy provides a helpful frame of reference for examining the contexts in which children live.

Urie Bronfenbrenner, The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979), 22, 25. According to Bronfenbrenner, when these systems interact (e.g. when several family members interact with each other, or when a group of children interacts), a mesosystem is created. The strength of the mesosystem relates to the strength of the child’s social networks.

vi

vii

Bronfenbrenner, 26.

Restore 4 A Just Society


FEATURE

Picture credit: Nick Danziger for World Vision

Girls, disability and poverty The challenge of triple discrimination Philippa Lei (WORLD VISION UK) examines the complexities of triple discrimination faced by disabled girls in developing countries and suggests some recommendations for action.

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ULIA (12) lives in a temporary house with her parents and younger sister in Armenia. Julia can’t read and write. She has never been to school because of her disability – two semi-paralysed fingers on her right hand.

countries and suggests some recommendations for action by the international community, national governments, local organizations and churches.

“I don’t know why I didn’t go to school,” said Julia. The local school refused to accept her and her parents feared she would be teased. During the day Julia is left alone to do the household chores. She gets up at 8am, makes the beds (they all live in a single room), washes the dishes, sweeps the floor then washes the walls with a towel (once a week), does the ironing, polishes the furniture, cleans the yard then collects water from the neighbour’s house. Every day Julia goes to a soup kitchen at 1.30pm but with no watch, she has to guess the time.

According to estimates by the World Health Organization, just 2% of all disabled children in the developing world receive an education. Though there is no data on education rates according to gender for disabled children, UNESCO estimates that the overall literacy rate for disabled people worldwide is 3%, and for disabled women and girls it is even lower at an estimated 1%. Moreover, according to the UK Department for International Development’s paper on ‘Disability, Poverty and Development’, ‘boys with disabilities attend school more frequently than girls with disabilities’. Consequently, it can be asserted that the combination of poverty and discrimination on the grounds of disability and gender result in low literacy rates for disabled girls and low rates of school attendance.

IT IS well known that, across the world, girls are generally the last to have their basic needs met and the first to have their basic rights denied. However, the challenge of being a disabled girl living in a developing country is even greater – the three factors of gender, disability and poverty all interacting to make it far harder for a child to become all that God intends. There are perhaps 150 million disabled girls i in the world (based on World Bank estimates), most of whom live in developing countries. Disabled girls generally face the same types of human rights abuses as non-disabled girls, but the social isolation, exclusion and dependence on others faced by many disabled girls, as a result of their impairments, increase both the extent of the abuse suffered and its consequences. Furthermore, where poverty and disability exist together, they tend to reinforce each other. Consequently, disabled girls in developing countries face a triple discrimination and are among the most vulnerable and excluded members in society. This article considers two examples of the triple discrimination faced by disabled girls in developing

Education

This is a fundamental human rights issue. Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ii says that states should ensure that “children with disabilities are not excluded from … education”. Articles 28 and 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), clearly articulate the right of each child to education, whereas article 23 recognizes the specific responsibility of State Parties to ‘ensure that the disabled child has effective access to and receives education…in a manner conducive to the child’s achieving the fullest possible social integration and individual development’. Therefore, denying a child an education on the grounds of poverty, disability or gender, or a combination of all three, contravenes commitments made by 192 governments under the CRC.

Sexual abuse Disabled girls are more likely to face sexual abuse than non-disabled girls. Although there is evidence that both disabled females and males are more subject to abuse, it is thought that disabled females are typically at a higher CONTINUE NEXT PAGE…

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risk of being the target of both sexual and physical abuse, just as they are in the non-disabled population. In a study by Action Aid Uganda, 23% of disabled female respondents had been coerced into sex, compared with 10% of disabled male respondents.

Convention on the Rights of the Child and the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, provide a good basis for this advocacy work. But perhaps, firstly, we need to look at our own attitudes.

The increased vulnerability of disabled women and girls to sexual abuse also increases their vulnerability to HIV and AIDS. According to the UNAIDS’, ‘AIDS Epidemic Update 2004’, the number of people living with HIV at the end of 2004 was estimated to be between 35.9 and 44.3 million people. Those most severely affected by HIV and AIDS are those living in poverty. Of these, women, children and disabled people are the most vulnerable.

Recommendations

The role of society Society has a God-given responsibility for the well being of children and families. However, oftentimes the attitudes and actions of society only serve to discriminate against certain members of society – increasing their vulnerability to abuse and denying them their rights to basic services. Disabled girls in developing countries are chief among these. As a result, our work with those that are excluded must not just focus on the excluded individual or group but upon transforming the attitudes and actions of society. Where education is available, for example, disabled girls are often unable to participate because of negative attitudes and prejudice, which assume that children with learning, speech, physical, cognitive, or sensory impairments ‘lack’ the necessary skills and abilities to learn. In fact, in many cases, with just some small adjustments to education systems, disabled children are fully able to participate in education. It is society that must change to accommodate the individual child, not the individual child to better ‘suit’ the society.

Conclusion Discriminatory factors interact to have a multiplication effect on the overall level of risk to violations of his or her rights that a child faces. As such, these factors cannot be seen in isolation but must be addressed together. The key is to start with society, to assert the right of all children to live in a society that is just, fair and nondiscriminatory. Human rights documents, such as the UN

• All international and local initiatives for development must be inclusive. As such, they must be carried out: – Respecting the full set of human rights of every individual, – Acknowledging diversity, – Eradicating poverty, and – Ensuring that all people are fully included and can actively participate in development policies and practices, regardless of age, gender, disability, health status, ethnicity or other characteristic. • Organizations and churches need to work with governments to ensure that all children receive access to basic services. • Organizations and churches need to work with local communities to counter the stigma often experienced by disabled people. This article is substantially based on the original article ‘Women and Disability – The Challenge of Triple Discrimination’ by Hitomi Honda (Disability Adviser, World Vision International) and Philippa Lei (Child Rights Policy Adviser, World Vision UK) submitted in December 2005 for the 2006 Commission on the Status of Women.

In defining ‘disability’, World Vision makes the following distinction: • Impairments – problems in body function or structure. Examples would include lacking part of or all of a limb; having a limb/organ/mechanism of the body that does not fully function effectively and/or efficiently. Impairments include physical, sensory, neurological, intellectual, mental, or any physiological long or short term impairment. • Disability – a ‘result of the limitations imposed’ on people with impairments by attitudinal, institutional, and environmental barriers to their participation in society. ‘What is not normal is being discriminated against and socially excluded because of having an impairment. This is what is disabling’. Disability can be seen in three different dimensions: attitudinal, institutional and environmental. Alternatively, view the UN definition at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/faqs.htm. ii The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted on December 7th 2006 marks a real change for disabled children, bringing them from the margins to the mainstream of society by using a viewpoint of children’s rights. i

A selection of related references • The text of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities can be found at http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml • The DFID (Department for International Development) report on Disability, Poverty and Development, 2000 can be found at http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Pubs/files/disability.pdf • World Bank, ‘The Forgotton Tribe’ Persons with Disabilities and HIV/AIDS, in Development Outreach, (September 2005), http://www1.worldbank.org/devoutreach/textonly.asp?id=323 • International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) is a group of 16 international non-government organizations supporting disability and development work in over 100 countries globally by promoting the rights of disabled people through collaboration and sharing of information and expertise, http://www.iddc.org.uk.

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COMMUNITY TOOLKIT

Holding society to account Making social protection work for children Marlene Clarke and Paul Stephenson (WORLD VISION INTERNATIONAL) write about how citizens, faith-based and community-based organisations can hold governments to account to provide social protection for children and their communities. This is followed by a toolkit on Community Based Monitoring as a key part of that process. Introduction to social protection If “Society has a God-given responsibility for the wellbeing of children and families”, what role should government play in upholding the basic rights of its citizens? And how can government be kept accountable? In developed countries, citizens take for granted that governments will meet their right to education, health and protection. They also assume that they can play a role in shaping government policies and engage in public debate over the provision of services and social welfare for the most vulnerable. In the developing world, governments function on limited budgets and struggle to comply with external constraints imposed by bilateral and multi lateral donors. They also face the challenges of corruption and mismanagement. Despite this, governments do manage budgets and run ministries that provide social assistance and protection to children and families. This article examines the role that citizens together with Faithbased (FBO) and Community-based organisations (CBO) can play in holding government to account for its social protection programs.

What is social protection? Social protection portrays policies and programs, both public and private, which are designed to reduce poverty and improve family livelihoods. Social protection instruments include cash and inkind transfers to the poor (social assistance) as well as social insurance measures where individuals or households pool resources by paying

contributions to the state or private provider (health insurance, contributory pensions, informal community mechanisms such as savings clubs and funeral societies). Legislative and regulatory frameworks which address concerns of social equity and exclusion and establish minimum standards (labor standards, inheritance and land ownership laws) are also components of social protection along with measures to ensure access to justice for the poor.’ i

Social protection as a human right Social assistance is important because it provides a safety net for poor families by assisting them with basic needs such as food, educational, and health care expenses. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 25 that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services…” and also that “All children…shall enjoy the same social protection.” The rights of children to social protection are also stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 27. NGOs and government donors increasingly seek to work with government to increase the quality and reach of basic services. They also place importance on empowerment of the poor and their engagement in the political process. This move away from a “charity” approach to development to one that is rights-based recognizes the poor as bearers of rights, rather than recipients of welfare. Social protection is increasingly recognized as a right, not just a matter of humanitarian concern or welfare programs for the poor. CONTINUE NEXT PAGE…

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Care needs to be taken to avoid the danger of developing social protection programs that disempower or stigmatise the poor. Social protection as a right offers a chance for citizens to struggle for, articulate and realize their rights, and hold government to account as they deliver basic social services.

Gaining practical access to social assistance programs

Given that social protection is a right of citizens and not just a privilege, how can governments be held to account to in ensuring safety nets for the most vulnerable members? How can development practitioners be involved in this process? The following information gives some practical ideas.

There are many ways for development workers to assist communities in accessing social assistance programs by using an empowerment, rights-based approach. Community gatherings that involve local government and other institutions provide an excellent first step in the process. These meetings enable communities to develop plans to improve the lives of their families and communities. They also create opportunities for all stakeholders to take on responsibilities to fulfill specific aspects of the plans.

Social assistance programs benefiting children

Community members should come away from these meetings more informed and able to hold local authorities to account for their part. They should know:

Social assistance programs benefiting children are a form of child protection. These programs include: •

Educational assistance

Health assistance

Family allowances, especially child benefits

School feeding programs

Micro-nutrient supplementation programs

Special programs targeted towards vulnerable and at-risk groups

Other social assistance programs that are not targeted specifically towards children but that benefit children are worth mention. They include: •

Cash-for-food or in-kind food transfers, which provide more food security for entire households

Social pensions, which often benefit the grandchildren of recipients such as HIV/AIDS orphans

1) What their rights are as citizens to social protection and assistance? 2) What social assistance programs are available in their communities? 3) How to access programs? 4) What role they can play in supporting the most vulnerable members of the community?

Both Marlene Clarke and Paul Stephenson work at World Vision International. Marlene is the Research & Project Coordinator of Children in Development while Paul is the Director of Children in Development. World Vision is an International Associate of Viva Network. i Ending Child Poverty and Securing Child Rights: The Role of Social Protection. PLAN International 2005

Resources Save the Children Toolkits on children’s participation y http://www.savethechildren.net/alliance/resources/So_you_want_to_research_apr2004.pdf y http://www.savethechildren.net/alliance/resources/childconsult_toolkit_final.pdf y http://www.savethechildren.net/alliance/resources/publications.html Social Protection Programs y Bolsa Escola: http://ehlt.flinders.edu.au/education/iej/articles/v4n2/denes/paper.pdf y Progresa (Mexico): http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/ib/ib6.pdf y South African Child Support Grant: http://www.sarpn.org.za/documents/d0000582/P538_Child_Support_KZN.pdf

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TOOLKIT:

Community Based Monitoring of Social Assistance Programs

WV-led CBPM in Tanzania and Uganda (Picture courtesy: World Vision International)

Community based monitoring in-depth Community based monitoring is based on social accountability and its purpose is to: 1. Articulate the need for public services 2. Demand accountability from service providers to improve quality of services 3. Ensure transparency in the administering of programs Community based monitoring gives the community a voice in deciding if the services being provided to them are appropriate, and what changes need to be made, if any. This increases community participation and empowers those who utilize the services, holding government to account for spending against budget and quality control. Since social assistance programs are for citizens, they should be monitored and evaluated by them as well. One model of community based monitoring is Community Based Performance Monitoring (CBPM), recently developed and studied cooperatively by the World Bank and World Vision Australia, and piloted in The Gambia and Uganda. In The Gambia, the CBPM has been practiced since 2003 to monitor the Poverty Reduction Strategy. Positive outcomes include community members’ increased knowledge about expected quantity/quality of expected services and a sense of collective contribution to implement agreed reforms. World Vision has used CBPM to pilot recent projects in Uganda, Tanzania, Brazil, and Australia.

Community Based Performance Monitoring (CBPM) Community based monitoring can be used to monitor social assistance programs along the following dimensions: 1. Access to social assistance programs • Are eligibility guidelines and enrollment procedures clear and simple to the community? • Are certain sectors of the community (i.e. the disabled) being left out? • What can be done to improve access? 2. Quality of social assistance programs • Are the benefits received sufficient to meet particular needs, or do benefits need to be amplified? 3. Is there transparency among agency/organization representatives who administer social assistance programs?

Four basic principles underlying Community Based Performance Monitoring are that: 1. Communities generate the data 2. Communities understand the data 3. Communities review and use the data 4. Communities own the data Other features of Community Based Performance Monitoring include: • • • • •

Service providers are analyzed Focus groups are utilized Allows wide community participation Feedback is given to service providers Enables quicker results and community-wide decision-making

See http://www.engagingcommunities2005.org/abstracts/Edgerton-Jim-final2.pdf

How can youth be involved in community-based monitoring efforts? Children and youth can and should be involved in community-based monitoring. Save the Children has published toolkits for involving children and youth in formulating national policy and some of the concepts presented in these can be extended to evaluating social assistance programs. Adults should make sure that there is a youth-focused component in evaluating social assistance programs that affect children. Led by youth for the benefit of youth, children are given their own space in which to evaluate social assistance programs such as school feeding. This gives value to the views of children who are most often affected by social assistance programs, negatively or positively, but whose voices are often least heard.

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TOOLKIT

Not so easy

Not so easy

Complicated problems in need of simple solutions

Katharine de Villiers considers how the interconnectedness of a range of threats to children (identified by members of the Viva Network Asia Council) and what some impacts are for those working with children at risk.

F

EELING OVERWHELMED by the range of problems faced by the kids you work with? Thinking that the challenge to help children is almost too great? Confused about what action to take to have the biggest impact on children at risk in your area? Those who work with children know that nothing happens in isolation: a child’s feelings of low self esteem may be connected to bullying received because of a parent with HIV; a child on the streets gets involved in sex work and then ends up in prison because of it. Being a child at risk is not a simple matter because of the many factors that contribute separately and together to the risks the child lives with. The diagram (to the right) connects several issues (in boxes) that lead to children being at risk, and shows some of the ways the issues link together. Some possible interventions are suggested near the relevant boxes. The huge interconnectedness shows us why it can be so hard to help children at risk. Understanding which links are operational in a child’s life can show which interventions would help. For examples, extra schooling just can not help a malnourished child too tired to learn. Some features of this diagram will be found in any society; there will also be many others. Some features of this diagram will be found in any society: 1. Even environmental risks are magnified by society The physical environment plays a part especially through disease (HIV/AIDS is on the diagram but many others could be mentioned) and disasters but the impact of even these is often made worse by societal factors. 2. One risk issue leads to another For example migration can lead to problems of identity in a new and possibly hostile culture in turn leading to mental health problems. This creates both an increased danger and also an opportunity. On one hand, if intervention is not targeted and timely, children will become more ‘at risk’. On the other hand, if intervention works then it prevents other issues piling up for the child. 3. The importance of working together One response to the complexity of societal issues affecting children might be to give up altogether thinking ‘what difference can it make?’ or instead focus

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exclusively on one very narrow issue and invest too heavily in that. Alternatively, the response could be to try and tackle as much as possible developing a range of ministries, which then become under resourced. More biblically, working with others is vital – to understand how issues are connected in your area and how your work fits in with what else is happening. 4. Some things are easier to influence than others It is unlikely that an organisation will be able to have much direct influence on widespread conflict or perhaps even to facilitate a speedy change of attitude towards children. However, a large number of issues can be addressed, often through relationships with those involved, whether that is helping parents understand their responsibilities and what the needs of their children are, working with the police to produce greater cooperation with street children or counselling children experiencing trauma. 5. Nothing stays the same Being a simplification and generalisation, the diagram fails to show that all these factors change over time and space and that organisations need to continually learn form children and their communities about the realities that they face and therefore how they can best respond.

Implications for the Church • As the church is within society, and has a responsibility to society when the state is unable fulfil its functions, churches need to have an understanding of the issues affecting children and communities in their own area and beyond. • While a church might focus on a single issue, being aware of the bigger picture will help direct prayer and resources more efficiently. • When considering what (if any) direct intervention to be involved with, a church should take account of its own resources and capacities e.g. are there already those in positions of influence who could advocate on a particular issue, or are there a number of people already involved in education who could share skills to help others be involved in local ministry? • How is the church responding to the societal issues that may be at work in the church community? Is parenting supported biblically? Are child protection measures in place? Is the church a good model for the community in supporting children with special needs? Restore 4 A Just Society


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TOOLKIT

Advocacy now!

Advocacy now!

A start-up toolkit to help you engage with societal institutions Advocacy, speaking to the powerful on behalf of the powerless, is firmly rooted in the Bible, based on God’s commitment to justice. Here, we provide you some basic answers to key questions, based on materials from Tearfund, World Vision and BOND (Network for International Development):

y What is advocacy? y Should my organization start an advocacy programme? y How do we get started? y How can we increase our chances of success? y Why and how should we evaluate our advocacy programme?

What is advocacy? According to Tearfund, advocacy is: 'Seeking with, and on behalf of, the poor to address the underlying causes of poverty, bring justice and support good development through influencing the policies and practices of the powerful’. This requires an integrated approach, combining research, lobbying, campaigning, prayer, networking, awareness raising and media work. Advocacy is a circular strategy involving constantly revisiting assumptions and decisions made earlier in the process. Broadly, there are two approaches to advocacy. Both are usually needed although they will not necessarily be carried out by the same group. First, targeting the political level of institutions, often in confrontation to try and change processes, structures and ideologies. It usually needs a large support base for success. Second, targeting the technical level of institutions to try and change specific policies or programmes. Although this can be more co-operative a high level of practical knowledge is needed for the views to be taken seriously.

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‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.’ Proverbs 31:8-9

Should my organisation start an advocacy programme? Advocacy can: • draw on programme experience to show the impact existing public policies have on the poor and powerless and to suggest alternatives. • help people increase in confidence and ability to influence decisions which will affect their own future. • many NGOs (in the North and South) are increasingly expected to act as an arm of the state to compensate for cuts in expenditure and therefore have a more direct involvement in policy development. • scale-up the impact of your work by influencing others But before you begin you should also consider that advocacy can lead to: • Diversion of scarce resources • Loss of organisational focus • Alienation of existing support by becoming overtly political • Conflict of interest with partners • Impact on security of the people you are working for. • Loss of legitimacy with supporters and target groups if programme work is displaced by advocacy

For example: A small organisation will probably not wish to initiate advocacy activities by itself but may be able to have an influence by networking with other groups. A larger organisation that has taken on activities from the state (e.g. drug rehabilitation work) may have direct contact with officials that can be used for advocacy without compromising its work. Restore 4 A Just Society


How do we get started? 1. Analyse your organisation and identify the issues Assess the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of developing advocacy work for your aims and mission.

2. Set your objectives Identify and research the issue you will be working on. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound) objectives for the short, medium and long term.

3. Analyse stakeholders Identify all those who will be affected by your advocacy. This includes those you work with, funders, allies – partners you can work alongside, targets who you are aiming to influence, adversaries who are opposed to the changes you are likely to propose etc.

How can we increase our chance of success? 1. Get support from inside and outside your organisation by keeping people informed about what and why you are doing. Tell people how they can get involved. 2. Ensure your advocacy team includes a range of skills and that everyone knows their role. 3. Set very clear and realistic objectives for your work. 4. Use networks carefully – share your expectations and objectives. Focus on what you share, and how you can achieve shared aims. 5. With both allies and targets, focus on individuals, not organisations e.g. through relationship building with direct contact. 6. Keep a balance between researching, planning, doing and evaluating. 7. Think about what may change in the future and how you would respond.

4. Build alliances If appropriate to bring more resources and support on board. Working with others can increase your impact.

5. Participatory planning Involve participants in identifying the issues and planning the strategy.

6. Assign roles or responsibilities to each stakeholder 7. Identify your target audience Spell out who it is that can make the changes laid out in your objectives.

8. Analyse the target group(s) How do they make decisions? Who do they listen to?

9. Define your message Decide what information you need. Do you need more research to prove your case to the target?

10. Identify media Which media will be most useful in helping you reach your target (e.g. newspaper, internal newsletter, radio)?

Further information can be found at: y http://tilz.tearfund.org/Topics/Advocacy/ y http://www.bond.org.uk/pubs/guidance/2.1howwhyadvocacy.pdf

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Why and how should we monitor and evaluate our advocacy programme? Monitoring and evaluation both rely on setting clear objectives in the initial planning. • So you can produce credible funding reports. • To demonstrate to managers, colleagues and partners that advocacy work is a cost- effective way of improving the lives of poor people. • To learn from experience. Monitoring helps answer the question “Is the project being implemented as planned?” by collecting information on the activity on a continual basis. It may result in minor changes to activity. Evaluation helps answer the questions “Have the goals been reached? Has the project been successful” by periodic assessment of success, asking people inside and outside the project. It may result in major changes to activity – including stopping altogether.

For example: If the planned activity was a Child Rights training session aimed at local officials, you would monitor whether the activity covered the material expected, the number of people attending and if the training was useful to them. If the session was a success, try to find the reason (e.g. good existing relationships with target group). If the session did not work as expected then try to learn why (e.g. expectations of the officials had not been considered, then try to change this next time).

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LESSONS LEARNED

Standing in the gap

Standing in the gap Education and community development for a refugee community in Malaysia: key strategies and lessons learned

Ooi Kiah Hui (MALAYSIAN CARE) relates how a local faith-based organisation has taken on the provision of education for children of a refugee community when other societal groups have not been able to. Nature of our work

How we became involved

How the work developed

We coordinate work in two main related areas, first community participation and second, literacy and numeracy education for children. This includes initial community relations, needs analysis, project design, funding proposal, project implementation and review process.

Following an informal approach based on our existing community development work, the board reflected on the needs and also on the many passages in the Bible that command care of the refugee. They realised that with so few other groups involved in work with the refugees, it was our responsibility to offer assistance.

Initially we had 20 children in the pilot programme taught mainly by volunteers from outside the community. Now, 2½ years later, there are 300 children being taught by roughly equal numbers of people from inside and outside the community. Over time, the majority of teachers will come from within the refugee community itself.

The community participation helps build capacity and community awareness for the education and the education side also provides a platform to engage the wider community. This allows us to hold awareness raising activities on issues of concern for the refugees such as community building, drugs/AIDS, peace education and the needs of children at different developmental stages.

We have worked with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia throughout. For example, the initial contact with the community was through a UNHCR project to research gender-based violence. With the contact points that gave, we then did research to find the greatest need. That turned out to be education – particularly given that education is a basic right in the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child (CRC) of which Malaysia is a signatory.

Training teachers from within the community has been a key part of the development strategy as this increases the sustainability of the project. Of course, the individuals also have a useful skill that they can use if they move to their original country or elsewhere.

  References on refugee education 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

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UNHCR (2006) The UNHCR tool for participatory assessment in operations, Geneva http://www.unhcr.org/publ/PUBL/450e963f2.html UNHCR (2003) UNHCR education: field guidelines, Geneva http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/protect/opendoc.pdf?tbl=PROTECTION&id=40586bd34 INEE (2004) Minimum standards for education in emergencies, chronic crises and early reconstruction, Paris http://www.ineesite.org/standards/MSEE_report.pdf Bensalah Kacem (ed.) (2003) Guidelines for education in situations of emergency and crisis, UNESCO, Paris http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001282/128214e.pdf Ekanayake S.B., (2003) Mega trends and challenges in refugee education, GTZ-BEFARE, Pakistan Can be obtained by contacting shakir@befare.org Crisp, Jeff (ed.) (2001) Learning for a future: refugee education in developing countries, UNHCR, Geneva Search for the title at the Education Resources Information Centre: http://eric.ed.gov/ Restore 4 A Just Society


Key strategies and lessons learned Community participation

Advocacy

Sustainability

Community participation is an integral part of each stage of the project. It is especially important in the needs analysis phase to prevent wrong assumptions being made about what the community needs most. Some other benefits are listed below:

Advocacy with the government is needed and we are currently discussing how to get involved. UNHCR is limited by its advisory remit. Human rights groups are often seen as too ‘noisy’ – provoking rather than making informed contributions to government policy. As a service provider, we have the advantage of being seen as sincere, but this would require some new skills for it to be effective.

Given the fluid population, it is not realistic to expect the project to become truly self-sustaining. However, progress to sustainability is implemented in the areas of:

1. As the community engages in deciding on the project plan, the capacity of the community to make decisions and work together is increased. 2. As people come together for different workshops they can share common issues, e.g. in parenting, reducing isolation and gaining confidence to tackle difficulties. 3. The process of teacher training begins with people being nominated for training by the community itself. This participation increases the legitimacy of the teachers as well as helping select the best people for the task.

Training resources 1. Make use of the materials available: Training resources are available from UNHCR and UNESCO (see reference below). 2. Adapt as needed: The UN materials are mostly for refugees in camps so they needed adapting to our urban setting. We engaged with teaching professionals and psychologists to adapt the materials for these purposes. 3. Draw on other’s experiences: In our case, we looked at models from South Asia where refugees live within existing society. There, some schools have become so good that they offer a parallel school system to the national schools.

Working with others 1. Make use of what the big organisations have to offer. As well as the educational resources mentioned above, UNHCR gathers excellent statistics on people movements, allowing advance planning for the project and reducing the need to do this research ourselves. 2. Spend time on building and maintaining good community relations to prevent misunderstanding of intentions and to ensure realistic expectations all round. 3. Be involved in bigger networks (in this case the recently formed Migration Working Group, a secular meeting point for all involved in this work) as it helps to build momentum and to know about the different expertise that each group has, e.g. in health care and human rights.

1. Ensuring the project is as costeffective as possible 2. Training on how to communicate with actual and potential partners 3. Managing volunteers effectively so that they remain equipped and motivated 4. Equipping teachers so that they can pass on their skills to others within the community

Step out in faith Accept God’s timing on when to act: When we first began work with the refugees, the community was experiencing major difficulties because of uncertainties of their immigration status. Few other groups were prepared to begin work under those circumstances. However, by not holding back we managed to encourage other groups to believe they could also play a part. In addition, our work began with no available funds, but God has since supplied all of our needs – often in kind, such as professionals volunteering their services.

4. Build on external awareness raising (e.g. in the media) to develop partnerships with churches and other potential resource partners. Kiah Hui is a community development practitioner with Malaysian Care. Malaysian Care is a Christian-based organisation offering diversified social services and is strongly committed to wholistic community development. For more information, visit http://www.malaysiancare.org. Pictures courtesy: Malaysian Care / 2006

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KIDS BIBLE STUDY

Justice!

Justice! “Do the right things”

This bible study is appropriate for children from age 9-14 years old. To ensure adequate supervision, no more than 8 children should be in the group for Part 2. Part 2 is adapted from a World Vision Australia Bible Study. Objective: To understand the importance God attaches to justice and how we can be part of God’s plan for a just Kingdom.

Part 1: Setting the context Duration: 1hour

Act 1

Explain: Today we’re going to think about justice. We know that justice is important to God because: 1. The Bible speaks about justice frequently throughout the Old and New Testaments 2. God is spoken of as a God of justice. Justice means: 1. Doing the right things 2. Being fair 3. Using your position to make sure that others do right and are fair.

Ask: Can you think of situations in your own life that are unjust unfair, or where something should have happened but didn’t. How did you feel about that? What would you like to have happened instead? Give time for children who would like to talk about those situations. How do you feel if you see something happening to someone else that is unfair? How do you think God feels when something unjust or unfair happens?

Act 2

Pray: Thank Jesus that he understands our feelings when things are unjust or unfair.

Act 3

Explain: The Bible talks about the Kingdom of Heaven, where Jesus is King as a place which is just or fair. What would a world that is fair for children look like? You could think about the things that children do; the places children go; the people that children meet – and what things people say to children.

Activity: Children could show this world as pictures or even models if there are materials available. Older children may prefer to write, perhaps comparing this world and the Kingdom of Heaven side by side. Reflection: Give time for child to show their pictures and models and explain the different parts to them.

Part 2: Exploring in depth Duration: 1 hour Bible Reading: Amos 5:1-17. The group leader could read this or a confident volunteer.

Explain: Jesus knows how we feel when

Focus: Amos 5:15. 2 or 3 children volunteers

something unjust happens. Even though he never did anything wrong, he took the punishment for everything wrong that all humans have ever done wrong.

could read this in turn.

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‘Hate evil and love good and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.’ Restore 4 A Just Society


Act 4

Act 5

describes as a ‘lament’ or a ‘funeral song’.

justice is about seeking good, shunning evil and bringing about life. When we seek good, we are seeking God. When Amos encourages us to seek good and not evil, he is saying that we need to do both things. First we must not add to unjust situations and activities. Second, we need to go further. We need to try to find ways to bring about justice in our neighbourhoods and in our world.

Explain: This is a long poem by Amos that he Ask: Why is Amos so sad about Israel at this time? What has Israel done wrong? What does Amos say they should do? Can you think of unjust situations like Amos was describing in our world today (these could be local or global)? What are some ways to ‘establish justice at the gates’ today, that is, what can we do in these situations?

Explain: Through Amos, God tells us that doing

Ask: In what ways could we do that?

Activity: Making a difference – one person at a time Purpose: To discover how big changes can start from just a few people making a few small changes.

Materials: One small candle for each person and one larger candle on a stand, matches, a room that can be darkened. You may also need a torch if you want to read suggested bible verses.

Caution: As this activity involves lit candles you need to ensure that the group is mature enough to handle them safely and also that they are aware of fire safety procedures. Loose clothing should be tied back and a bucket of water available in case of accidents.

Direct: Have the group stand in a circle in the

do tomorrow or the next day that would brighten their life. Then go to the candle in the centre of the circle. The candle represents Christ. Light your candle and then go and tell someone else your idea. Allow the group time to mix, lighting each other’s candles and telling each other their ideas.

Ask: How has the room changed? (For example: It is much brighter, we can see each other’s faces, the light makes the room feel warmer).

Ask: How long did it take before the room started to change? (For example: Straight away; it only changed a little at first but then it got brighter much faster).

darkened room and distribute candles. Place the large candle in the middle of the circle and give each child an (unlit) candle around the floor.

Ask: Was it hard to think of a person and a way

Ask: How is this darkened room like our world,

Read: Matthew 5:14-16

local community, work or school? (Some people are lost, don’t know which way to go for help, live in poverty, are treated unfairly, etc).

Say: The Bible often uses darkness as a way to describe what happens when the world turns away from God’s plan for it (see, for example, Acts 25:15-18; Ephesians 5:8-11; 1 Peter 2:9-10). Jesus said that he is the light of the world (John 8:12) and that he came so that no one should have to live in darkness (John 12:46). Go to the large candle in the centre of the room and light it.

Say: Take some time now to think of someone that you know who is living in darkness. Then think about something that you could simply and easily Restore 4 A Just Society

to help them?

Conclude: It only takes a few small candles to quickly brighten up a dark place. Being a Christian gives you huge potential to make a big difference in this world, and it all begins with just one person at a time.

Prayer thoughts: Thank God that he always acts to bring about justice. Thank God for all the people in the world who work to bring about justice. Ask forgiveness for the times where you have added to injustice. Ask God for help to live in ways are just and bring justice for other.

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Restore

Pursuing God’s Intentions for Children Editor: Managing Editor: Advisory Group:

Katharine DE VILLIERS KOK Chik Bu Louie CADAING TEARFUND Paul STEPHENSON WORLD VISION Philippa LEI WORLD VISION UK Richard STELLWAY Ph.D VIVA NETWORK Tim GLENN COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL

Published on behalf of the Viva Network movement by

Viva Network Asia Centre, a company limited by guarantee, 23-2 Jalan 8/146, Metro Centre, Bandar Tasik Selatan 57000 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA Tel: +6 03 9057 0070 (Fax: +6 03 9057 0071) E-mail: restore@viva.org Website: http://www.viva.org/restore © Viva Network and the respective authors. International Associates of Viva Network, churches and charities have permission to use this tool for teaching and non-profit purposes only.

Printed by Akitiara Corporation Sdn Bhd 1 & 3, Jalan TPP 1/3, Taman Industri Puchong Batu 12, 47100 Puchong, Selangor, MALAYSIA

December 2006 KDN PP 14535/1/2007 Restore has been made possible through the financial assistance from COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL and MISSION OF MERCY. Both organisations are International Associates of Viva Network.

What’s new in this issue? THIS ISSUE marks the beginning of the New Year 2007. What better occasion for Restore to take on a fresh, new look to reflect the exciting year ahead and the demands of our readers working with and for children at risk. Our contents are now reorganised under Think! and Act! sections. Think! section contains selected writings to inform and stimulate your thinking on a specific theme, such as biblical reflection, opinion pieces, comments and analysis. Meanwhile, Act! section provides practical resources for use, such as toolkits, tips, how-to and bible study materials. Change is an ongoing process, so we will always listen to you, our readers, on how we can make Restore even more beneficial. We will provide space for your valued feedback and we encourage more contributions from you, either in the form of letters to the editor, testimony or photos. At Restore we recognise your commitment to working with children, often in spite of considerable challenges. Our aim is to support you in your demanding role by providing better access to the information and resources you need. We hope you enjoy reading this new issue and find it useful in your work. Thank you for all the support.

“ Restore is a collaborative initiative of Viva Network, a global movement of Christians working together to bring better care to more children worldwide. This issue is part four of a 7-series volume exploring seven affirmative statements of the Understanding God’s Heart for Children Biblical Framework. Previous titles: „ DIGNITY „ PARENTING „ COMMUNITY

For subscriptions and enquiries, please get in touch with us.

Society has a God-given responsibility for ensuring the well-being of children and families at all levels in the community...

Cover photos (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP): Cityscape in Lanzhou, China. A street child found a new toy in the form of an old tire, Nepal. (Photo credit: Stephanie MALLEN / HOPE FOR THE NATIONS / January 2006)

A back alley in a poorer section of Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Photo credit: TEOH Phaik-Hoon / VIVA NETWORK / February 2006)

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Society has a God-given responsibility for the well- being of children and families… Society has a God-given responsibility for the well-b...