The Ethics of Child Sponsorship

The BBC has a report today under the title ‘Is child sponsorship ethical?’ highlighting Wydick, Glewwe & Rutledge’s recent study in the JPE on the effects of child sponsorship, specifically through Compassion International, on adult outcomes. The headline is surprising: Wydick¬†et al. investigated the effectiveness of child sponsorship, not its ethics – and found that it is a remarkably effective form of intervention when compared to other types of aid programme. They propose that a (demonstrable) raising of the aspirations of the children sponsored is the key causal factor, although they acknowledge that this causation has not been established (this is my summary of the conclusion of the paper). So the research the BBC report...

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In memoriam Colin Gunton

Remembering and celebrating the legacy of Colin Gunton on the tenth anniversary of his death.

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Celebrating Lynn Green’s election

Today, the Revd Lynn Green has been elected as General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. (Report here.) On one level, this news is distant from me. It happens that I do not know Lynn – we have met, more or less in passing, but I certainly cannot claim any close relationship with her. And it is eight years or more since our family moved to Scotland, and so I transferred my ministerial accreditation from BUGB to the Baptist Union of Scotland. That said, BUGB is the denomination into which I was baptised, which tested and affirmed my call to ministry, which ordained me, and in which I began my ministerial service. The two General Secretaries before Lynn are personal friends, as are several other national and regional leaders. I owe BUGB more...

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On feeling valued

Yesterday I travelled down to the Westminster Faith Debate on same-sex marriage. The Religion and Society programme had booked my train travel first class (complete with confirmation from a university travel service announcing in big letters ‘CHEAPEST FARE OF xxx REJECTED. SAVING OF xxx COULD HAVE BEEN MADE. REASON GIVEN FOR REJECTION: “vip passenger”.’ which I enjoyed, and which says far too much about the general state of university support services in the UK). I have never actually traveled first class over any distance before, apart from occasional overnight sleeper trips on a promotional ticket, so I was looking forward to this experience, and ended up laughing about odd details with some Twitter friends. Then I was met at the debate...

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