|David Taylor and Jim Emerson|
While visiting ChildFund International’s headquarters in February, soon after taking on his role as ChildFund Alliance’s inaugural Secretary-General, Jim Emerson made an observation: “ChildFund is the only global child development organization that can claim North American, European and Asian membership.”
Formed in 2002, ChildFund Alliance comprises a dozen like-minded organizations worldwide that function independently and under the same brand, while also sharing resources whenever possible.
ChildFund International, founding member
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada
ChildFund Deutschland (Germany)
ChildFund New Zealand
Taiwan Fund for Children and Families
Un Enfant Par La Main (France).
Altogether, these organizations help vulnerable children in 59 countries.
Emerson started his job with a series of meetings with Alliance Chairman David Taylor, Administrator Shep Harder and ChildFund International staff. As Secretary-General, Emerson will coordinate with Alliance members as they implement a new strategy to maximize the Alliance’s unique resources toward its mission to improve the lives of children.
The strategy includes promoting quality in programming, ensuring a global voice for children, helping Alliance members increase outreach and developing an advocacy agenda for children’s rights.
Structurally, ChildFund Alliance will remain a true network — 12 organizations working independently around a lean center to achieve shared goals. And Emerson, who brings more than 30 years of humanitarian work in more than 50 countries, believes this decentralization is key. “It’s important that we remain as independent organizations so that we can remain flexible rather than being like this big oil liner — these super ships that take forever to turn around,” he says.
As former deputy CEO of Plan International and leader of Plan’s emergency response after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, Emerson ultimately connects all of his experience to serving children.
“The most important thing in the life of a human, of a child, is the relationships — with your mother, your family, your school,” he says. “And those relationships determine the quality of your life. This sums up what the Alliance is really about — not about building an institution, but about relationships.”