|(Photo: Reuters/Tim Shaffer)|
CP Guest Contributors
June 11, 2015
June 11, 2015
Those of us who care deeply about human needs often speak as if the one issue we're most passionate about stands alone: hunger, AIDS, poverty, governance, trafficking. We have fallen into that trap at times, too. But here's a vital truth we can't ignore: just beneath the surface, pressing human needs are intertwined. So any aid or development effort that fails to reflect this truth will most always fall flat.
Let's make this personal. Jedd Medefind leads the Christian Alliance for Orphans, working to see orphaned and vulnerable children well cared for around the globe, and Jenny Dyer directs the Faith-Based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide and Senator Bill Frist, MD's Hope Through Healing Hands, which seeks to empower women in the developing world to better time and space their pregnancies.
Many would see these as widely differing undertakings. That couldn't be further from the truth.
Let's start with this question: "What causes a child to end up an orphan in the first place?" Of course, there are myriad roots to what UNICEF has called the "global orphan crisis" – from disease and disaster, to abuse by parents, to adults feeling forced by poverty to abandon their children. These vexing problems defy simple solutions, so caring for orphaned children will likely remain an immense need for decades to come.
But it is also clear that if these causal factors can be reduced, the number of future orphans can be significantly decreased. Consider the fact that pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls age 15-19 worldwide. Yet even small cultural shifts can alter this reality.
For example, the average age of marriage in Ethiopia is 16. Becoming pregnant between ages 15-19 creates twice the risk of death to a mother as becoming pregnant between 20-24. Likewise, if a mother becomes pregnant within two years of her previous delivery, she is more likely to die or have a miscarriage. Simply delaying pregnancy until age 20, and spacing pregnancies to two or more years apart, can greatly decrease maternal deaths.
Read more HERE