Last month, at Viva’s live prayer event, our regional directors spoke about all the work being done across the globe. The tangible impact, in the stories they shared, was not only broad but deep, and children’s lives have clearly been transformed, for the better.
To transform children’s lives is already a bold claim, yet Viva strives, not only to have a direct and specific impact on the lives of the particular children they work with but to affect policy and achieve systemic change for children in general. While our work begins with alleviating poverty and preventing abuse, Viva also identifies and addresses the conditions that allow poverty and abuse against children to go unchecked.
This is not something we are able to achieve overnight, but rather the fruit of a long-term investment in developing a network’s reputation to the point where their impact is clear and their voice and position in the community carries a lot of weight.
Matt Coulson, the Executive Director for Viva in Asia, shared some good news that evening, which made the power of our networks clear. Through the coordination of the network in the Philippines (a fifteen-year investment), new legislation was created. This legislation will have a nationwide rollout and would require that all children receive training in anti-online sexual exploitation.
Given that the Philippines had a 260% increase in online sexual exploitation during the pandemic, this legislation is a great way to tackle this very real problem. To make the impact of this legislation clear, this training will directly impact the lives of 35 MILLION PHILIPPINO CHILDREN every year.
As Matt Coulson said, “We can do amazing things when we believe in the power of networks.” I would like to add that around 80% of the total members in our networks around the world are churches. It is fair to say that this is what can happen if we engage the true power of a coordinated and strategic church, that learns to act, in humility, as one body with many parts.
So, can the life of an individual child be transformed by placing him or her in a safe community? Yes. And can a whole nation be changed to improve the conditions for the well-being of children? The answer is a resounding YES.
See Matt Coulson’s message on the 7th of March