Earlier this year, we launched Group Empowerment programs in Ghana, Bangladesh, and Zambia to address increasing rates of poverty, child labour, and child trafficking that were a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked our sponsorship manager Festus to share some of his insights on this new program. After working for International Needs in Ghana and Canada for more than 14 years, Festus was instrumental in bringing the group model to life.

Q. Why has International Needs put so much emphasis on group programs lately?

A. Traditional child sponsorship has helped thousands of vulnerable children over the last 45 years. However, it’s not perfect. The saddest part is that many children never get sponsored, and the pandemic has made things much worse. Children are dropping out of school in record numbers because they can’t afford tuition. Our group programs make sure more children are able to stay in school.

Q. How does the group program differ from traditional child sponsorship?

A. There are two main differences:

With the group program, all monthly donations are pooled to support an entire group of children in a community, rather than just one child. This is how we ensure no children are left behind.

2. Programming can be expanded to services that aren’t covered by traditional child sponsorship. Our partner in Bangladesh recently added mental health services for the first time.

Q. What’s the long-term plan?

A. Our vision is to change the future of child sponsorship! Our group programs are more inclusive and more efficient, enabling our partners to transform more lives. We hope that this new approach spreads around the world so that other organizations can do the same.

Would you consider becoming a monthly partner for a group empowerment program?

Contact Festus at sponsorship@internationalneeds.ca.