Faith actors are in a unique position to provide services that address the root causes of violence against children. These root causes include family breakdown, lack of resources, harmful attitudes surrounding gender and children, and lack of education and caregiver support. This page provides examples of good practice and resources which demonstrates how faith actors and communities can support children by targeting contextual drivers of violence.

We need to involve faith leaders not only because they are influential but first and foremost because of underlying beliefs…in many cases, there are underlying beliefs and social norms and values that are somehow highlighted in or by the religious sector that need to be changed (ST, Practitioner in global interfaith network focused on children, Panama)

FGM/C, that is massive in Egypt and that is one campaign that they both, Muslim and Christian communities, have been working united on as a lot of that is cultural and not rooted in any scriptural reality but is thought to be rooted, and that is where they can have a huge impact, in sort of combating a lot of those stereotypes and messaging that perhaps often by religious leaders themselves because part of it is changing the awareness and part of the faith community (OP, Practitioner, Orthodox Christian Church, Egypt)

Practice Examples:

Example 1: An Integrated Approach to Gender-Based Violence and Child Protection

  • Organization: World Vision & Islamic Relief Worldwide
  • Timeline: 2016-2017
  • Project: This collaboration engaged faith leaders in Mali, Niger, and Pakistan with a model that employed faith mechanisms to transform care for children. The program aimed to promote gender justice and child protection, by promoting safe and accessible services and case management for survivors of GBV, child abuse, and exploitation. By using pre-existing social networks, the project provided interactive awareness-raising workshops to both men and women, focusing on communities’ leaders, elders, and religious leaders. Moreover, it was noted that since all three countries are of the Muslim majority, religious leaders provided the organization with the trust needed and could influence and support the project goals.
  • Results: The project reached over 11,000 male and female beneficiaries through awareness-raising sessions. By the end of the project, religious leaders planned to discuss women and child rights in their sermons and committed themselves to raising awareness in cultural gatherings. Additionally, the project equipped community-based organizations and leaders with the tools and knowledge to enact advocacy and community empowerment activities on behalf of women and children.
  • Read more in JLI’s 2019 Scoping Study (Palm, S. and Colombo, F. 2019, pg. 11) or find the full report here. 

Example 2: Collective Action for Adolescent Girls’ Initiative (CAAGI)

  • Organization: Christian Aid
  • Timeline: 2016-2018
  • Project: This project, which operates in Kaduna, Nigeria, addresses child and early marriage by working to promote education, reproductive health, and economic empowerment amongst adolescent girls.
  • Results: A report detailing the results of the project found that religious teachings were an important factor in influencing opportunities that adolescent girls are able to receive. 75.6% of people who answered questions related to the project felt that religious teachings support economic empowerment. Further, the report recommended that misinterpretations of religious texts should be addressed through existing religious forums and activities in order to prevent child and early marriage.
  • Read the full report here.

Example 3: Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines: Local Adoption and Childcare for Children of Working Parents 

  • Organization: Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines
  • Project: The foundation examined root causes and identified that when parents are poor and need to work, they are often unable to find suitable childcare and are more likely to abandon their children to institutions. The initiative provides day-time childcare and, in some cases, works to find adoptive families for abandoned children.
  • Results: The Kaisahang Buhay Foundation of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines now provides child-care during the week, including meals and medical check-ups for the children. Pregnant mothers have access to skills training, shelter, health care, and counseling and the foundation helps find families to adopt abandoned children.  Further, the program facilitates the adoption process by providing legal services, maintaining a pool of adoptive families, and monitoring and supporting new placements.
  • Read more in JLI’s 2019 Scoping Study (Rutledge, K. and Eyber, C. 2019, pg. 17) or visit the Kaisahang Buhay Foundation website here.

Related resources:

Christian Aid A Matter of Belonging- How faith-based organizations can strengthen families and communities to support orphans and vulnerable children 

Engaging Religious Communities to Protect Children From Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation  

Berkley Center for Religion Ethics, Religion, and Children at Risk in Kenya, Senegal, and Cambodia
UNFPA Guidelines for Engaging FBOs as Agents of Change
Episcopal Relief The Essential Package- Holistically Addressing the Needs of Young Children and Their Caregivers Affected by HIV & AIDS
Ministry of Health Tanzania Muslim Khutbah Guide For Reproductive and Child Health: A Toolkit for Tanzanian Religious Leaders
Center for Interfaith Action on Global Policy Center for Interfaith Action on Global Policy. (2012) Early Marriage and Female Genital Cutting: A Facilitator Manual to Train Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) Faith Leaders.
Arigatou International Interfaith Guide to End Child Poverty
ESD-Yemen Mobilizing Muslim Religious Leaders for Reproductive Health and Family Planning at the Community Level
USAID Christians and Muslims Promoting Maternal and Infant Health & A Happy Married Life 
JLI  JLI Gender-Based Violence Hub Harmful Traditional Practices Webinar
United Nations Population Fund Faith-Inspired Initiatives to Tackle the Social Determinants of Child Marriage

See Scoping Study’s next message. 

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