Salvation Army looks beyond bed and board

Salvation Army looks beyond bed and board
General André Cox, international leader of The Salvation Army, speaking at a conference attended by about 135 people in Salvation Army's global leadership team last week.

The Salvation Army, the global church and charity 100 years older than independent Singapore, wants fresh KPIs.

The key performance indicators are to measure the impact of the programmes it runs in 126 countries, including Singapore.

"It is a huge organisation and sometimes it's defined by the number of free meals or how many beds we provide," said General Andre Cox, head of the Salvation Army, one of the world's largest charities.

"But really, (we should be looking at) how we can make a lasting and positive impact in changing people's lives," he told The Straits Times in an interview last week.

For instance, they could examine their efforts in helping the poor be self-sufficient to achieve a more sustainable impact. This is so that "it's not just a question of statistics about meals, but what difference it makes", he added.

Gen Cox, who was elected as the Salvation Army's international leader last year, was in Singapore for a conference attended by about 135 people in its leadership team.

Besides measuring outcomes, topics such as leadership development and accountability were also discussed at the event held at Swissotel The Stamford from July 19 to last Saturday.

He also met President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

And at a gathering at Eden Hall - the British High Commissioner's residence - Gen Cox reminded the charity's leaders and advisory board members of the roots and vision of the Salvation Army, which was founded by Methodist preacher William Booth in London in 1865.

"(He felt that providing) social services was a normal expression of the Christian faith," he said.

While the Army is a Christian group, its charity programmes benefit people of all faiths.

In Singapore, it is best known for its thrift stores and Peacehaven Nursing Home. It also runs childcare centres, children's homes and support services for children whose parents are in jail.

Next year, the charity marks its 80th anniversary here.

Colonel Lyndon Buckingham, who leads the Singapore branch, said: "The transformation in the lives of young people helped by the Salvation Army is wonderful, and elderly people are being treated with dignity and respect...

"We're going to keep doing it for as long as we possibly can as we proclaim God's love and demonstrate it in all sorts of practical ways through the services we offer."

This article was published on July 29 in The Straits Times.

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