The Seventh-day Adventist Church and its global humanitarian arm, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), announced the second phase of the Every Child. Everywhere. In School. campaign during this year’s global church leadership meetings on October 13, 2020.
The joint initiative will now mobilize government support in countries around the world through the Adventist Church’s 22-million-plus membership — including individuals, church ministries, schools, and partners — to influence positive change so that every child can have access to education.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created even greater challenges for the most vulnerable children,” Ted Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, said. “Ninety-four percent of the world’s student population has been impacted by this crisis. It is our responsibility as a global church to ensure that we care for children as God cares for us.
“The Adventist Church has one of the largest Christian educational systems in the world, and with more than 22 million church members globally, we have the moral and Christian obligation to ensure that every child, everywhere has access to a quality education, regardless of race, religion, or circumstance,” Wilson added.
The first phase of the grassroots advocacy effort kicked off in October 2019 with a petition drive aimed at collecting a million online signatures by 2020, to raise awareness and support for the millions of children, adolescents, and youth globally who lack education. According to the latest report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) data, one out of five children and youth are out of school, and the coronavirus pandemic is responsible for the largest disruption in history, affecting 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries, across every continent.
The Every Child. Everywhere. In School. campaign surpassed its one-million-petition goal in July 2020. ADRA and Adventist Church members in nearly 200 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the South Pacific pledged their support to call on world leaders, local governments, and decisionmakers to take action to improve children’s education everywhere.
“We have laid the groundwork for the next phase of this campaign. Now we have a unique opportunity to focus on an issue that has affected nearly every child around the world during the pandemic, a problem that will only worsen unless we step up and speak out,” Michael Kruger, president of ADRA, said.
“This is why, in partnership with the global Adventist church, we will be reaching out to government leaders, lawmakers, and citizens to advocate for more investments in education and better access for all children, so that they can play a strong role in building healthy and prosperous communities and nations.”
Advocacy in Progress: The Next Phase of Every Child. Everywhere. In School.
The second phase of the Every Child. Everywhere. In School. campaign will engage Adventist church members globally to advocate to policymakers to take concrete steps to achieve education goals for children.
As part of this effort, the campaign has published “The Global Education Report Every Child. Everywhere. In School. What It’s Going to Take,”which will serve as a roadmap to help governments and advocates identify critical areas where policy changes are required to improve children’s education in their own communities. Those areas include financing education, inclusion in education, quality and retention in education, and the impact of education in natural disaster and crisis.
“It is time to encourage world leaders and policymakers to value education and to make the necessary changes to meet the educational needs of children around the world. We must work together to enable children to succeed in school, and live free from exploitation and poverty,” Kruger said.
The three key priorities of the second phase of the campaign will focus on (1) increasing education funding in developing countries; (2) increasing foreign aid among wealthy nations to support education in low-income countries; and (3) improving educational and social inclusion for marginalized students, especially girls and children with disabilities.
More specifically, these recommendations aim to:
To help Adventist members around the world support the next steps of this campaign, ADRA has created a resource kit for church ministry departments, local churches, youth groups, and schools to equip supporters with resources to prepare them to advocate to local leaders and elected officials.
This policy report analyzes the state of out-of-school children around the globe and the policies and actions needed to address this problem.
The Next Step: From Support to Action
This guide outlines how church ministry departments, local churches, youth groups, and schools can get involved in Phase 2 of the campaign.
Download it in English, Spanish, French, or Portuguese.
You can download additional resources from the ADRA site.
About the Every Child Campaign
Every Child. Everywhere. In School. is a global Adventist-led movement to ensure that every child everywhere in the world attends school, has access to free, equitable, and high-quality primary and secondary education, and completes their education so they can fulfill their God-given potential.
The original version of this release was posted by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.