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Focused on Children, Dedicated to Transformation

Three Dominican Girls

Child-Focused Community Transformation (CFCT) focuses on the most fulnerable people: Children.

I’m in the Dominican Republic this week, where I have the incredible privilege of joining my Food for the Hungry (FH) colleagues from all over Latin America as we work together to learn how to build a new model of programming in our field countries. We call it “Child-Focused Community Transformation” (CFCT), which is FH’s “essentials” model for transformational development. At the heart of the CFCT model is the welfare of the most vulnerable: Children.

How did we arrive at this model?

Several years ago, we asked ourselves this critically important question: “What is the best and most effective way to impact the lives of every child in each community where FH works?”

The answer came to us in parts, with the beginning stage of countries choosing a variety of approaches to child-focused interventions in the context of child sponsorship. Some countries (mostly in Latin America) were able to go beyond this stage and defined a single strategy that solely focused on the “critical needs” of children in their communities. Initially funded through child sponsorship, but increasingly through other resources, the goal was for all programs to have child-centered outcomes as their main objective.

This view of child-focused programming began to spread. By 2010, staff from the Latin America and the Caribbean (LACR) Region presented a “Child Focused Community Transformation Model” at the FH Global Leadership Gathering and we began to recognize that God was leading us toward an important moment in our history as an organization.

Momentum grows and mandate is given

As CFCT momentum grew around the organization, FH’s Global Executive Officers (GEO) became convinced that FH should pursue a unified model for community transformation, with child-based outcomes as the focus. As a result, the GEO identified CFCT as the chief vehicle to achieve the field-based goals of FH’s strategic plan (called Envision 2020). “Child-Focused Community Transformation” was adopted as FH’s approach, and was officially launched through a CFCT Summit, held in Washington, D.C., in September 2011. The goals of the CFCT Summit were to:

  • Affirm the importance of Biblical Worldview
  • Identify four key sectors under which all interventions will fall (Health, Livelihoods, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Education)
  • Identify cross-cutting areas (Gender/Protection, Environment and Biblical Worldview)
  • Affirm that interventions are based on empowering the current dreams and strengths of communities
  • Finalize the CFCT Model by September 2012
  • Ensure alignment with Envision 2020
  • Establish a Design Team (DT) to carry out the tasks required to develop, align and scale the CFCT model globally.

The DT was formed in October 2011 and immediately set to work to ensure that all outputs were in alignment with Envision 2020 goals. Over the course of the past year, the FT drew upon the work of 59 FH staff from 18 countries who spent more than 10,000 hours working on the development of the model, which was finalized last month. We believe it has the potential to radically increase our impact, our influence and the scale at which we work.

CFCT model rollout

And that brings us to today, where we are gathered together with our Latin American and Caribbean leaders in the CFCT rollout workshop in the Dominican Republic. The anticipation is palpable. And so are the questions about the why, what, where, when and how of CFCT. In the devotional that I shared with the participants this morning, I challenged our leaders to create a new movement in FH to plant the CFCT model in every community where we work.  Just as God told Joshua that he would lead the Israelites to possess the promised land, so is He directing our steps now to take hold of this new “country” of CFCT.  I can see it coming—getting closer every day.

Watch a video to see how FH works