Global Goals week: Progress through partnership

Daniel CraigAs he fights for justice, James Bond is the ultimate action hero.

But, no matter how hard he tries, he can’t do it independently – he needs the guile of Q, the wisdom of M and the all-round support of Miss Moneypenny back home to achieve his numerous overseas missions.

Daniel Craig, the actor currently playing 007, is lending his support to Global Goal 17 focused on ‘partnership’, which has the overall aim of ‘strengthening the means of implementation and revitalising the global partnership for sustainable development’.

In short, we need each other in this world. Sharing ideas and resources is the only way to progress. Communicating and co-operating is crucial. Of course, these concepts are often easy in words, rather than in deed when pride and power can often become barriers to moving forward.

business partnershipGoal 17 is focusing on promoting greater partnership between developed and developing countries and multi-stake holders, in areas of finance, technology, trade, capacity-building and systems. Whilst they may not seem exhilarating enough to get MI5 secret agents out of bed in the morning, they are the foundations to all of the other 16 Global Goals succeeding.

Working together is at the core of Viva’s vision and model, because we believe it’s only through collaboration between people at different levels of society – from family through to government – that lasting change for vulnerable children across a city can be made possible.

Bolivia eatingWhen I talk to people about what Viva’s achieving through its partner networks, I often go back 20 years to when our founder Patrick McDonald volunteered in Bolivia as a teenager. He noticed that, in an area of a city, different churches were all feeding street children on a Monday – but were starving the rest of the week.

Patrick’s simple act of connecting churches ensured that more children were fed more often.

The joined-up approach of forming, building and growing locally-led, city-wide networks – comprised of churches and non-government agencies – delivers a level of scale and reach simply not possible for one single organisation.

Altogether, in 22 countries, 5,500 church and organisations, who are passionate and determined about working in unity, have come together to form a total of 35 Viva partner networks. An average network reaches around 38,500 children – that’s 1.4 million worldwide!

And yet, we realise all we are doing is still only a drop in the ocean, with many more children living in desperately difficult conditions and in need of being released from abuse and poverty.

To reach more children in need, we realise we need to collaborate even more effectively and continue to advocate to others about doing this.

As with the Global Goals, we have ambitious aims too, and our belief is that big problems require bold, joined-up thinking and concerted, collective action.

Nepal girlsOur partner network, CarNet Nepal is brilliant at mobilising the 500 churches in its network to work together against one of the toughest issues facing children and their families in the country: trafficking.

Each year, up to 20,000 young girls from the poorest parts of Nepal are sold into trafficking. The network is keeping children safe, establishing income generation projects for women and spreading the anti-violence message through education and advocacy.

Church leaders meet together monthly to pool resources and identify needs for specific children. The group liaises closely with village leaders, the police and local radio stations. And this can only be done effectively by groups working together in communities where they are already known.

awarenessCarNet Nepal’s influence goes beyond the grassroots and into government spheres. It is taking a lead role in the Network on Anti Human Trafficking in Nuwakot, a district where many young girls caught up in trafficking give false information to get passports.

In an increasing number of communities, Nepali Christians are at the forefront of a positive response to the shocking impact of human trafficking. Brian Wilkinson, Viva’s Head of Network Development, says, “We believe that the power of hundreds of churches working together with one voice in collective action can change the nation.”

Let’s hope country leaders and NGOs are both shaken and stirred enough by the proposals laid out by Global Goal 17 that they strive for more effective working together in all they do.


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