Global Day of Parents: Compassion UK CEO speaks out about why families in Togo need the Church’s support

Global Day of Parents: Compassion UK CEO speaks out about why families in Togo need the Church’s support

Ahead of the UN’s Global Day of Parents (1st June) Christian child development charity Compassion UK is highlighting the crucial role the local church has to play in supporting parents as they nurture and protect their children. 
Justin Dowds, CEO of Compassion UK comments: “As most parents will tell you, the support of their community is vital in helping to raise their family. Compassion’s experience on the ground supporting the most vulnerable children in poverty has highlighted how critical the church’s role can be in saving lives. The mother-child relationship is vital for a child’s physical, emotional and spiritual development, and yet poverty can have a devastating impact on their chances of survival. This places immense pressure on families, especially when resources are already limited. 
“The personalised support provided by our church partners in our Child Survival projects helps to equip families to be independent and to build stable, healthy, hopeful futures for their children.”
In Togo, West Africa, one of the least developed countries in the world, more than half of people are living on less than £1.50 a day. Thousands of families simply can’t afford or access basic nutrition and medical support for themselves or their children. Sadly the impact of this is that one in every 20 babies in Togo dies before their first birthday. Complications in pregnancy and at birth, infections, disease and malnutrition are all causes of death, but the root cause of the problem is poverty.
Afiavi from Togo gave birth to her first child, Marcel, when she was a frightened 18-year-old. When she discovered she was pregnant for a second time at the age of 21, the prospect of raising a second child on her husband Koffi’s meagre income as a street-side barber was even more daunting. With support from Compassion’s Child Survival project at her local church Afiavi and Koffi were able to receive essential antenatal checks and medical care, and the family were also provided with food and hygiene packs.
“My second pregnancy was four months when I heard for the first time about Compassion,” says Afiavi. “What I heard and liked about Compassion is that they told me they help pregnant women attend prenatal checks and also take care of their health.”
Compassion is also supporting Afiavi to train as a seamstress so this family can become financially independent and thrive. “We now have a workshop where we learn to make local fabric. It makes me happy because now I know at the end of the process I could have a job to meet the needs of my family,” explains Afiavi. With the support of Compassion, this family is now on a different path.
Compassion’s Different Path Appeal is providing vital support to vulnerable families like this one by funding more Child Survival projects in Togo. Delivered in partnership with the local church, these projects will not only improve pregnant women’s access to antenatal check-ups and trained birth attendants, and offer life-saving assistance such as hygiene, nutrition and safe water, they will also provide mentoring, support and spiritual guidance for families through Compassion’s trained community workers.
The UK government (Department for International Development) is matching each donation given to the charity’s Appeal before 24 June 2019, enabling even more families to be helped.
With an emphasis on poverty reduction, improving mother and baby survival rates and also the mental and emotional support being provided to families, Compassion is also helping Togo to move towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are aiming to reduce global maternal and infant mortality rates, improve nutrition and health in children under five, and ensure women are supported so they can participate equally in society. 
You can help save lives by visiting our Different Path webpage. Give before 24 June 2019 and the UK government will double your donation, so Compassion can help even more families.
Becca Stanley

Words by Becca Stanley


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Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.