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READING BETWEEN THE LINES: Analysis of Child Sponsorship Cancellations in the Philippines


READING BETWEEN THE LINES: Analysis of Child Sponsorship Cancellations in the Philippines

This report presents findings of a study exploring the trends and patterns uncovered from analyzing sponsorship data from Plan Philippines. It is a detailed study of the cancellations that occurred in the Child Sponsorship Program in the period June 2014 – December 2016. 

The Child Sponsorship Program started in the Philippines in 1961, with the aim of helping children realize their rights to healthcare, education, protection and high quality of life. The cancellation of sponsorship for these children is a condition when they (either the Sponsored Child or their families) decide to drop out of the program and no longer wish to receive Plan Support in the future or they reach the maximum age, 18 years, for coverage under the Sponsorship Program.

The cancellation may be triggered due to various reasons related to the economic, social, or local contexts. It is however important to understand the sensitivities related to the cancellations as the analysis of this data could deepen an understanding of both long and short-term impacts on our current programming.

The emphasis on the analysis of employment-related SC cancellations is primarily to understand the motivations that draw Sponsored Children towards active job seeking or other forms of economic opportunities. This analysis throws light on the growing number of sponsored child job seekers who end up in the informal sector for an immediate or primary source of income to support themselves or their families.

This research is developed by the Youth Employment Solutions (YES!) Team in partnership with Plan International Philippines.

Executive Summary

Executive Summary

The child sponsorship program helms Plan programing across country offices, and is the means of supporting long-term child-centered community development (CCCD) and other rights-based programs. As the cornerstone of the organization’s programs, Child Sponsorship also represents the largest source of income and resources to sustain meaningful relationships with communities, families, and Sponsors. The two primary elements involved in the program are the Donor and the Sponsored Child (SC). The donations help fund projects specific to the needs of the community covering areas like education, food, and nutrition, health, clean water, and sanitation. In some communities, child sponsorship can set the foundations for stable family income through skills and business trainings for parents, so they can support their children for the long term.

In this report we will study the details of cancellations occurred in the Sponsorship Program to understand the trends in sponsorship cancellations and also identify its possible implication on our current program. In general, sponsorship cancellations refer to sponsored children who no longer receive interventions supported by Sponsorship funding. Cancellations for any reason can be a sensitive issue, and an understanding of the local context, especially the family’s situation, is vital so that these can be managed appropriately.

This report sheds light on the various factors and reasons that account for employment-related child sponsorship cancellations in the Philippines between June 2014 and December 2016. It aims to identify existing patterns and trends from the data available, and provide perspective as to how current programming can adapt to address the growing number of SC cancellations.

The research piece studies the overall cancellation details vis-à-vis employment-related cancellations for the period of June 2014 – December 2016. A total of 15,797 Sponsorship Cancellations were recorded from the Business Intelligence Online (BI Online). Out of which, 2,385 were employment-related cancellations as reported by individual Program Units.

In 2014, there were 1252 cancellations, 497 cancellations in 2015 and 636 cancellations in 2016. The total cancellations due to relocation for employment (D2) for the entire period were 849; of which 59% were female and 31% male. Total cancellations due to relocation of the family seeking employment (E2) were 1,536; of which 46.41% were female and 26.88% were male.

Out of 500 female SC Cancellations in D2, almost 33% were currently employed as Housekeepers. Likewise, out of 263 male SC Cancellations in D2, 11% were primarily employed as Housekeepers.

Further disaggregating them by age, 1.8% of Sponsored Children fell under the age bracket of 8-13 years old, 24% in 14-16 years old and 40.4% in 17-18 years old.

Out of the total 1,536 E2 cancellations, only 27% of the Sponsored Children were recorded to have been pursuing their education in the destination communities. However, around 71% of the data about their education status was unavailable.

With respect to migration, it was observed that Manila was the most preferred destination city for both Sponsored Children and their families  looking for employment opportunities. 30% of the total relocation took place in the capital city, comprising of 38% female, 20% male and the rest unknown. Similarly, the movements of the Sponsored Children were similar when the destination was analyzed by province. 55% of the total SC relocations were to the National Capital Region, out of which 53% were female, 30% were male and rest were unknown. The overall discrepancy arose due to the significant amount of unavailable data when disaggregated by gender, work or education status. 

It was observed that each year there was a gradual increase in cancellations. Despite the overall drop in cancellations in 2015, D2 cancellations have steadily grown. There was a need for a considerable amount of effort and investment in finding out where these children ended up and reducing the amount of unknown data points. These data points are useful in determining the success of the Sponsorship Program. With different factors influencing the decision of sponsored children and their families alike to relocate for economic opportunities, rehabilitate due to a natural disaster or seek a better quality of life, there is a growing need to help them build economic resilience and awareness of their
labor rights to avoid any form of exploitation or abuse. Also, when these children relocate with their families, their education status will be crucial in determining whether they will
continue to receive any formal education which will be a critical success factor for the Sponsorship Program. This research piece opens up further scope of in-depth study to explore the different dimensions in the Child Sponsorship Program.

  • Report Summary