CFCA International Programs Director Dan Pearson travels 80 to 90 days a year to evaluate the Hope for a Family sponsorship program in the countries where we work.
Dan describes the work he does at CFCA, and how important the sponsorship program is to the families we serve.
Dan Pearson has been with CFCA since 2005. He became director of international programs in 2011. In his role, Dan supports, evaluates and oversees CFCA’s Hope for a Family sponsorship program and our partnership with sponsored friends and their families in the communities we serve. He is responsible for ensuring effective monitoring and support of CFCA’s projects around the world.
Q. What distinguishes CFCA’s work with children and families?
A. We try to create a space where families can unite, bear each other’s burdens and share each other’s dreams. Our work is guided by the expressed needs of families. We come with questions, not answers. We always try to follow the lead of the families in the program, so the approach varies according to the circumstances of each community.
CFCA’s Hope for a Family program is highly personalized. It involves putting the resources into the hands of the families of the sponsored children, so they can become the primary agents in the changes they want to see.
Q. How does CFCA implement sustainable development in the communities where we work?
A. Sustainable development is a term that has come to mean many different things. At CFCA we use the term to describe development in which families are the primary agents in their own development, taking initiative and assuming responsibility for the sponsorship program and eventually self-managing many aspects of the program.
We implement this type of sustainable development by creating space within the program where families can come together to organize themselves, develop deeper unity and work together to improve their communities in the ways that are most important to them.
Q. What are some of the challenges you encounter in your work?
A. One of the biggest challenges our department faces is distance management. It is difficult to bridge distances of geography, language and culture while, at the same time, keeping pace with rapidly changing communities around the world.
Q. What is the most interesting part of your job?
A. The best part of my job is visiting sponsored friends and their families in their homes. I try to include visits to the homes of randomly selected sponsored friends and their families on every trip.
Each family teaches me something new. Each family humbles me and challenges me with their daily struggle to build a better life for their kids. They remind me that each person’s life is rich, unique and important.
Q. How many days do you travel in a year?
A. I typically travel 80 to 90 days every year. I’m only able to be on the road that much thanks to the support and encouragement of my wife and three kids. We lived in India for a while as part of my work at CFCA, and my family got to see and experience the CFCA organization in action. They know this program makes a difference.