"Complementary Interventions exist to strengthen our other programs, and I've seen it work. Literally thousands of kids would not be alive were it not for CIV."
Compassion's Complementary Interventions (CIV) activities, which include the
AIDS Initiative, are headed by Scott Todd. Scott, a pediatric AIDS expert, is passionate about meeting each and every need of the children served by Compassion. Recently, he shared how he sees CIV accomplishing that goal.
1. What is CIV?
CIV is Compassion's Complementary Interventions program. To be honest, we played around with a lot of titles for this program. "Complementary" seems like a weak word for such a strong program. But it really does describe what CIV does it complements, completes our core mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name. In essence, CIV ensures that we are able to go the distance, to provide everything that's necessary for children registered in our program. While $38 a month goes a very long way in developing countries, there are still unexpected needs. Homes are destroyed in floods. Children need expensive AIDS treatment. All things that exceed that $38 a month. That's where Complementary Interventions come in.
2. What are some of the specific ways CIV complements Compassion's core ministries?
Complementary Interventions are woven throughout Compassion's Child Development Model. In the Child Survival Program, for example, Complementary Inventions provide medication for HIV-positive mothers that decrease their chances of passing the virus on to their unborn children. In the Child Sponsorship Program, I have seen CIV cover the medical costs of a child's open-heart surgery, as well as covering his travel to a state-of-the-art hospital in another country. Because of the AIDS Initiative, an arm of CIV, church partners can put on training events in their communities, teaching families about awareness. Complementary Interventions exist to strengthen our other programs, and I've seen it work. Literally thousands of kids would not be alive were it not for CIV.
3. Does CIV target different donors than our other programs?
First of all, a lot of people who give to CIV are already sponsors. But, I also believe that CIV is reaching a different group as well. Let's say you have someone who feels very passionate about the AIDS crisis or about eradicating malaria. That person may never feel led to be a sponsor that doesn't connect with them. But through Complementary Interventions, they can give to what they're passionate about. Not only can they give, but once they do, we can show them how it's working. It's a new, exciting point of initiation for Compassion.
4. How do Complementary Interventions differ from a community development program?
In each of our programs, including CIV, Compassion focuses on child development not community development. By focusing on early childhood, we are often able to change a child's life before fatalism, before he or she experiences stunted growth from disease, before that child gets behind in school. We believe that a changed child will transform his or her community.
5. Does sponsorship ever cover things like building wells, etc.?
Sponsorship funds directly benefit a specific child. We believe a sponsor's money should benefit that individual child in a way we can document. But as I said before, sometimes that sponsorship amount of $38 a month isn't enough, especially for children suffering from AIDS or other medical problems. But Complementary Interventions are also used to indirectly help children. If children are dying from lack of clean water, a church can ask for CIV funds to dig a well. This clean water will absolutely help the children at that center but since it is indirect, that funding will come from CIV, rather than sponsorship.
6. So would you say that CIV benefits the churches?
Absolutely. I believe that Complementary Interventions are one way we are equipping the Church to be the Church. Any of our 4,500 church partners can submit a proposal for a CIV grant. They assess the needs of the community, develop a strategy, and propose that strategy to us. They are then able to implement their solution in a way that blesses the entire community.
7. Besides the church, does CIV utilize any other partnerships in the field?
Often, other nongovernmental organizations are in the field, doing things well that we can't do. For example, Opportunity International is a wonderful ministry that provides financial services to the poor. We knew very early on that our partner churches should not become financial institutions. But by partnering with Opportunity International, we are able to network, to get the word out to the parents of our registered children, and to help them.
Partnership done right is a kingdom principle. We need to work with other organizations that are great at what they do so we can help as many people as possible.
8. How did you get involved with Complementary Interventions?
With my medical background, I first became involved with CIV through the AIDS Initiative. More importantly though, I was drawn to CIV because I completely believe in the mission of holistic child development. So many forces are conspiring against children in poverty. I wish $38 a month was enough to battle all of those forces, but more often than not, it isn't. I just think about my own family. If I could pay for my son's school fees, but couldn't provide the medical care he needed, then it isn't good enough.
9. What are some of your goals for CIV?
I would ultimately like to see CIV allowing us to care for each child registered with Compassion as we would care for our own sons and daughters. I don't want to see them suffer unnecessarily. I want them to realize their God-given potential. I would like Complementary Interventions to become seamlessly integrated with each of Compassion's core strategies.
10. Tell me about a time you've seen CIV work well.
I've seen so many examples of CIV working that it's hard to talk about just one. There is one that may surprise some people about how CIV works, though. I heard about a boy in Kenya, whose brother was in our Child Sponsorship Program. This boy had already lost one eye to glaucoma, and the disease was rapidly taking his other eye. But because this little boy wasn't sponsored, he couldn't receive the medical care he needed. But what his family didn't know was that a small allotment of CIV can be used for the medical needs of registered children's families. So the church stepped in, asked for CIV funding, and now that boy, who would have gone blind, can see.
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