By Kristin Ebanks
The Christian Witness Initiative (CWI) is strengthening staff capacity to effectively and appropriately integrate Christian witness into VisionFund International, Children in Ministry (CIM) and Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs (HEA). This three-year initiative (until December 2011) is helping World Vision to reinforce its Christian foundations, identity and witness (Strategic Mandate 1).
Six countries that represent World Vision’s diverse contexts are piloting the CWI initiative: Albania, Cambodia, Mali, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and Uganda. Each country has conducted baseline assessments of staff capacity to engage in appropriate Christian witness, and implemented contextually appropriate programmes in the three programme areas.
In the key programme area of VisionFund, the CWI aims to enhance microfinance institution (MFI) staff capacity for appropriate Christian witness, help clients implement biblical approaches to business, and improve effective partnership with local churches.
To achieve those goals, VisionFund has developed guiding principles as foundational to its identity, created definitions of Christian MFIs and appropriate Christian witness, and built an online library of Christian witness resources that is available to approximately 5,000 MFI staff. Staff orientation modules and devotionals will be rolled out to all 41 MFIs beginning next year.
Nate Brown, Integration Officer for CWI and VisionFund, said, “I am excited that VisionFund affiliated MFIs now have specific guidance on how they can witness appropriately in their context. For example, one MFI director said he used to wonder whether or not it was appropriate to pray with clients, and now he knows that he can talk about what he believes about Jesus while on the job, when appropriate.”