Current Projects and Activities of
Family Watch International
Family Watch International constantly monitors important policy developments at the international, national and local level that impact the family. We are actively engaged in trying to influence them as part of our mission to protect and promote the family. In addition to these continuing efforts we also conduct a number of specific projects in carrying out our mission.
The Family Policy Resource Center
We carefully select some of the best documents supporting the family and family values and post them on our Web site in the Family Policy Resource Center. The material we post includes articles from law journals, articles by distinguished scholars and outstanding commentary.
Our goal is not to be exhaustive in providing this material and we fully recognize that there are many outstanding resources that we do not post or link to. Rather, we have two objectives: One is to provide some of best resources for policymakers, students and interested individuals to quickly and efficiently gain a background in these issues. The second objective is to provide a resource for those in the media to find well- documented and thoughtful materials they can use to bring greater balance to stories they might be doing on family issues.
We also create “Policy Briefs” on family issues of concern to FWI which outline the threats facing the family in that area, a position statement, and social science data and research supporting that position.
Family News Wire
We send the Family News Wire out weekly to media outlets highlighting important stories, research findings and other developments that may not be readily accessible to reporters, columnists and commentators. We also make this free service available to anyone else who might be interested. To subscribe, click here.
While we are not primarily a humanitarian organization, currently, we are engaged in several projects designed to help orphans, women and vulnerable children. These are primarily pilot projects to test concepts and approaches that can be applied by a number of groups on a broader scale while at the same time providing life-changing assistance.
I Can Soar
“I Can Soar" is a school curriculum designed to help youth ages 14-18 learn important life skills including setting and achieving life goals. A major part of the curriculum teaches the importance of remaining abstinent until marriage prepares them to form healthy, stable families in the future. The lessons highlight social science data and research on topics affecting youth and their sexuality, including in the areas of premarital sex, cohabitation, sexually transmitted diseases, marriage, divorce, prostitution, abortion, pregnancy, parenthood, substance abuse and more. Learn more about the program here.
There are two specific projects for which we are actively seeking financial support.
The “Boda Boda” project in Kenya
This is an innovative project to provide a bicycle (called a “boda boda” in Kenya) to families in several villages in western Kenya to help them dramatically increase their family income. We are supporting those families that have agreed to care for an orphan from their village. The goal is to determine whether something as simple as providing selected families with a bicycle can increase the capacity of rural villages to care for their own orphans by increasing family incomes to more than compensate them for the additional cost of caring for the orphan. It appears that this project can not only make it easier to move orphans into home-based care but by improving the standard of living of these families, it will dramatically improve conditions for all of the natural children in the family as well. It has the additional advantage of being highly sustainable. Learn more about this project here.
The Jacob’s Oven Project
We are providing commercial size charcoal burning ovens in churches and other secure and accessible locations in Kenya and Uganda for mothers in the community to use to make baked goods to sell in local markets. The pilot test has been much more successful than we had expected, and we are moving into the demonstration phase to test it in different locations and tribal areas in these countries. We feel confident that this will be a highly cost effective and sustainable way to provide these women with an opportunity to substantially increase their family’s income, and part of our goal is to use it to encourage intra-country adoption of orphans. Learn more about this project here.
The Families for Orphans Project
We are engaged in a wide range of activities to help with the growing worldwide orphan crisis. Among other initiatives, we are developing and testing innovative programs to encourage intra-country placement of orphans. We are also working to encourage international adoption by helping countries develop better adoption policies. Among our specific initiatives:
Publishing “Model Policies for International Adoption.”
This is a guide for government leaders to establish policies and procedures that will facilitate international adoptions while safeguarding children through the international adoption process. An earlier version of this guide written by FWI president, Sharon Slater, is currently being used by the government of Mozambique to aid them in revising their adoption law and in establishing their international adoption policies.
Producing the Documentary “The Best Interest of the Child.”
This documentary was created to showcase the positive outcomes for foreign children adopted into American families and to dispel common misconceptions and misunderstandings due to cultural differences that is discouraging some foreign governments from establishing international adoption programs. The documentary highlights the heartwarming stories and experiences of four families that have adopted foreign children; provides excerpts of expert testimony from authorities on international adoption; and includes interviews with foreign government officials who came to the U.S. to learn about international adoptions and records their positive views on international adoption after their visit. This documentary already has been used successfully to help promote adoption to government officials in several foreign countries.
Producing an Orphan Documentary for the Government of Mozambique.
FWI President, Sharon Slater, traveled throughout Mozambique with award winning videographer, David Perry, to produce this documentary. It features scenes of street children, orphanages and “child-led families” to highlight the dire situation of orphans as well as positive examples of Mozambican families that have successfully integrated orphans into their families. The objective of the documentary is to increase the awareness of the problems facing the country’s 1.4 million orphans and to motivate government officials and the public to promote domestic adoption and foster care.
You can learn more at our Families for Orphans Project Web site.