The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has announced a new global advocacy campaign, “Every Child. Everywhere. In School.”
Yesterday’s announcement came at joint ADRA and Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN) meetings in Amman, Jordan.
The campaign is an urgent call to leaders around the world to acknowledge that all children—regardless of race, age, nationality, gender, religion or origin—have a right to earn and complete an education, and that being in school is a recognition of the value and potential of each child.
The campaign aims to collect one million signatures by 2020 through grassroots efforts in collaboration with the Adventist Church, and petition world leaders to take action for children to receive a quality education, and live free from exploitation and the shackles of intergenerational poverty. Already, 131 ADRA offices around the world have pledged support for this global campaign, including those around the South Pacific.
“Every child is a child of God—precious, unique and filled with incredible potential,” said ADRA International president Jonathan Duffy. “However, poverty, marriages at young ages, inequality, disability and many other factors are keeping an unacceptably high number of children out of school. This is why we are calling for greater investments in education globally and increased access to quality education for all children. It’s time that we make education a top priority so that every child can fulfil their God-given potential.”
A 2018 UNESCO study reported that there has been little improvement in the reduction of the number of out-of-school children, adolescents and youth since 2012, and that since 2016, more than 262 million children around the world are still out of school. This represents nearly one-fifth of the global population of this age group. Additionally, high poverty levels were reportedly linked to out-of-school rates.
“The Every Child. Everywhere. In School. campaign builds on the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s long tradition of responding to the needs of all human beings, namely to stand up in favour of human rights, the wellbeing of children, and the protection and integrity of families,” Mr Duffy said. “It is a call to action for all supporters to stand up with this Adventist-led movement and put into practice those principles we hold true.”
Over the years, ADRA has been a strong advocate on various social justice issues, including working with faith-based communities to champion support for refugees, migrants and displaced persons during World Refugee Day and World Refugee Sabbath, providing assistance to vulnerable families through emergency relief efforts, and giving greater access to children affected by displacement.
ADRA has also pushed to end violence against women and girls, having supported the “End It Now” campaign spearheaded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Department of Women’s Ministries.