Does CRF Work?
Well, we certainly believe CRF works. And we’re sure that you think it works.
But every once in a while, it is nice to have some confirmation and validation.
There have been two recent articles written that evaluate works like CRF (especially child sponsorship). We wanted to let you know what they said in case you didn’t see them. The BBC News published one of them, and Christianity Today wrote the other.
More than nine million children around the world are sponsored by organizations like CRF, and these recent reports have determined that sponsorship indeed does improve children’s lives.
After a study interviewing more than 10,000 sponsors and their children, Dr. Bruce Wydick, a professor of Economics, was surprised at the size of the impact on the kids.
The results reported by the BBC showed that the sponsored children stayed in school longer than their non-sponsored counterparts. It also showed that that sponsored children were more likely to have white-collar jobs and were more likely to be leaders in their communities and churches. Sponsored children, in one study, were 42% more likely to finish secondary school than those who were not and 83% more likely to complete university.
This study showed that to change a community you have to invest in children.
Some people have criticized the evangelism that happens in sponsorships, but Dr. Wydick found the spiritual aspect of sponsorship was also important in transforming children’s lives.
He found that sponsored children scored better than their peers on happiness and hopefulness. He determined that building a child’s self esteem and aspirations were just as important as providing financial help and education.
Some agencies like CRF provide one-on-one sponsorship where an individual donor supports an individual child. The studies found this personal relationship to be very important too!
In the BBC study, Ian Hamilton stated:
“We’ve always believed there’s a huge psychological benefit for a child to know that someone on the other side of the world really loves and cares about them. This research reinforced that message.”
In the study done by Christianity Today, it was found that out of all the long-term development interventions, child sponsorship was most successful.
Sponsorships cover a child’s educational fees, school uniforms, tutoring, health care and spiritual mentorship. This study showed that sponsorship not only relieved the external effects of poverty (a lack of education, food, water, shelter, etc.) but also relieved internal effects of poverty (a lack of self-esteem, vision, happiness, and hope).
Sponsored children tended to marry and have children later in life, had positions of leadership in the church and community, were less likely to live in a home with a dirt floor, and more likely to live in a home with electricity.
But it doesn’t stop at child sponsorship. This study also found that the most cost effective strategy for helping the poor was getting clean water to rural villages, which has also been a major focus of CRF’s recent ministry.
One million children die from drinking unclean water each year. Clean water can prevent a multitude of health problems and reduce infant mortality as much as 50% at a cost of $10 per person per year.
To development economists, bringing clean water is a cheap-plus-effective way to save a life.
Dr. Wydick concluded, “We are not being good stewards if we give blindly without understanding the impact of our giving.”
There are some organizations that don’t really want you to go to the field and check things out. We hope you do. Our goal is that what you hear from us in Amarillo reflects the reality of the help that is happening on the field. And we want you to know that you are helping. It is kind of nice when other people (like these reporters) notice too.
You’ve seen that sponsorship works.
About Christian Relief Fund
CRF is a non-profit relief organization based in Amarillo, Texas with a focus on holistic programs to rescue orphans and vulnerable children from poverty.
CRF operates child sponsorship programs in over 25 countries and is dedicated to providing food, clean water, healthcare and disaster relief to the glory of God worldwide.