What more can we do to keep children safe?

A big part of [the sustainable development] agenda is protecting children to ensure they can realize their dreams. It’s a daunting task, so organizations are joining forces like never before. We understand we can’t achieve the 17 [SDGs] in isolation — we need one united voice.

Meg Gardinier, Secretary General, ChildFund Alliance, and Patrick Canagasingham, CEO, Christian Children's Fund of Canada

By Patrick Canagasingham, CEO
ceo-office@ccfcanada.ca

At a recent staff meeting, I challenged my colleagues to consider whether or not children and their ideas influence our purpose in the countries where Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) works.

The short answer is yes. But can we do more to make sure children and youth aren’t left behind and that their rights are not overlooked? Are they all safe from issues such as child marriage, child labour and child trafficking?

These are questions international development agencies across the world are asking, as we seek to reach the United Nations mission to “transform our world” with 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

A big part of that agenda is protecting children to ensure they can realize their dreams. It’s a daunting task, so organizations are joining forces like never before. We understand we can’t achieve the 17 goals in isolation — we need one united voice.

To do that, six of the largest international child-development agencies — including ChildFund Alliance (CCFC is one of 11 member organizations), Plan International, Save the Children International, SOS Children’s Villages International, Terre des Hommes International Federation and World Vision International — partnered to significantly improve children’s rights in the next five years.

The goal is to move beyond our comfort zones, and as described by one of the key architects of this initiative, “leave our logos and egos at the door” and commit to children’s futures together.

The project aligns with the ChildFund Alliance’s Five-year Strategic Plan (2016-2021), Toward a Safe World for Children. And, I’ve been asked to represent the Alliance on the Steering Committee of one of two initiatives launched to address this issue.

As we prepare to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Child Rights Convention in 2019, I’m proud to be part of a committee committed to creating on-the-ground projects protecting children’s rights.

I’m looking forward to bringing CCFC’s programs-driven perspective to the fold, clearly recognizing advocacy as integral to creating better futures for children in the countries we work.

“This will ensure children’s rights are not overlooked,” Meg Gardinier (pictured above), secretary general of the Alliance and a big player in this global conversation, has told me. And, I agree. I’m confident the Alliance and CCFC will play an important role in this work towards sustainable growth.

I’m reminded of an African proverb Meg quoted, as we move forward on this next journey as a company, Alliance and global force — "if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Stay tuned for next month's blog, as I share about my visit to communities in Nicaragua where CCFC has sponsored children. I’m looking forward to chatting with them for the first time to see how supporters are transforming their lives and to learn how we can do even more to meet their needs and keep them safe.

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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-centred international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For more than 55 years, CCFC has worked with children, communities, donors and other partners — changing lives through improved health, education and clean water. CCFC works in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, to support more than 700,000 children, youth and community members.

This blog originally appeared on the CCFC website.