Child Rights Organizations and Religious Communities: Powerful Partnerships for Children (1)

By Hanmer, Stephen | Cross Currents, September 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Child Rights Organizations and Religious Communities: Powerful Partnerships for Children (1)


Hanmer, Stephen, Cross Currents


  The instinct to care for children comes from deep within the
  teachings and spiritual vision of all religious traditions, which
  motivates people of faith to make the commitment to take practical
  actions for children. Fulfilling these commitments requires the
  collaborations of religious communities with each other, and with
  other partners, because these challenges cut across all religions and
  are too great for any one group to handle alone." (3)

Religious communities play a key role for the care and protection of children and have been a key partner to the work of many child rights organizations. Throughout the world, child rights organizations, including the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), are working with religious communities of all faiths to address the well-being of children in areas ranging from health care and education to HIV and AIDS to protection from exploitation and abuse.

This article explains why it is important for child rights organizations to work with religious communities, provides examples of successful work with religious communities (in particular UNICEF's work with religious communities), discusses the main challenges of such partnerships and proposes what can be carried out to further effective engagement. In this article, religious communities refers to both men and women religious actors and structures within religious traditions and organizations at all levels--from local to global. These include grassroots and local communities, leaders, scholars, practitioners, youth groups, women of faith networks, faith-based organizations and denominational, ecumenical and intra-religious umbrella organizations, and networks. (4)

Why partner with religious communities?

As the United Nations Children's agency responsible for promoting the care, protection, and rights of children all over the world, UNICEF works in all types of contexts and in areas ranging from health to nutrition, water and sanitation, to education, HIV and AIDs, and protection of children from violence, exploitation, and abuse. Partnerships with key actors, such as civil society, and government, are a central feature of UNICEF's efforts to promote the rights of children. Indeed, it has long been recognized at UNICEF, as it has throughout the United Nations, that achieving the Millennium Development Goals depends on working in partnership with all sectors of society. Key among these essential partners is religious communities.

With their extraordinary moral authority and power, religious communities are able to influence thinking, foster dialogue, and set priorities for members of their communities. As those who are often the first to respond to problems, religious communities have the trust and confidence of individuals, families, and communities. (5)

From the smallest villages to the largest cities, and from districts and provinces to national and international levels, religious communities offer large networks for the care and protection of children and the safeguarding of their rights. The role of religious communities tends to be especially important at the family and community levels, which international organizations and governments are generally less able to reach effectively. (6) With almost five billion people belonging to religious communities, the potential for action is substantial.

Child rights organizations, including UNICEF, are guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most comprehensive legal instrument for the protection of the rights of the child. There is often a misperception that the language of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is contrary to religious beliefs. But the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 and ratified more quickly and widely than any other human rights instrument, was not created in a vacuum:

  The Convention on the Rights of the Child reflects a vision of
  children in which children are social actors, members of a family and
  a community, with rights and responsibilities appropriate to their
  age and stage of development. 

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Child Rights Organizations and Religious Communities: Powerful Partnerships for Children (1)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?