Connecting Needs with Solutions.

“… to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” Eph. 4:12 (ESV)

EQUIP is an NEW initiative of the Christian Alliance For Orphans to assist the members in
finding reasonable hardware solutions to issues and problems impacting their ministry in the
fields of the fatherless. The intent is not to endorse one product or product type over another for
any appearance of gain or conflict of interest, but instead to act as a non-advocate resource for
the array of potential solutions in today’s marketplace.

EQUIP would like to canvass the member organizations to identify issues or problems that are
impacting ministry in the field as we start off this service. The responses will assist CAFO in
determining where to initially focus the review efforts.

Would you be willing to fill out the following brief survey to assist us in identifying problems
and issues that could be addressed by reasonable hardware products, ideas or concepts?

View the EQUIP POLICY HERE or if you have any questions, please contact the director of CAFO’s “EQUIP” Initiative, Robert Blackburn at




EQUIP | Recent Posts

Post Date: 2/25/13

Robert Blackburn, CAFO EQUIP Initiative

I hope the previous post has explained why we are launching EQUIP, but I am sure you are wondering how it is going to work. First of all, we want to make sure that we do not appear to endorse one product over another for any appearance of gain or conflict of interest. This is explained in detail on our EQUIP policy webpage. You will always find this link in the static portion of the EQUIP main page, along with two other links that are part of the main operation of the EQUIP initiative.

EQUIP is centered around meeting your needs as a CAFO member organization, and the only way we can know what those needs are is if you tell us. We are asking CAFO members that have hardware needs to click on the “TAKE:  EQUIP SURVEY HERE” link and fill out the web-based form. These can range from basic needs like dirty water or small-scale electric power to more complex needs like well pumps or portable dental chairs. Your surveys will help us to prioritize the needs to research and address first, as well as help us to know what to look out for as we monitor the market place.While I cannot guarantee to respond to these needs with the “one perfect solution”, we have the goal of trying to find practical and affordable solutions for you while freeing you up to concentrate on your God-ordained ministry.

At the same time, many of you have had situations where you have found product solutions already. Whether you recommend your solution or you want to share lessons learned about a less than ideal product, you are encouraged to click on the “SUBMIT:  EQUIP REVIEW” link and fill our as much of that web-based form as you are able. Don’t let the number of fields scare you off, but please share as much detail as you can. These reviews will also help us to target our efforts in getting out the information members need.

The information that we share, whether the subject is a product, a concept, or an idea, will be posted in this blog on the EQUIP page. Some of the blog posts will be “first impressions” or simple notices, with more details in a later posting. The intent, though, is for EQUIP to be a source of hands-on reviews and detailed research on solutions to those things that impact your service to orphans. You can expect a few reviews at the beginning to be centered on needs that we know to be common in the field, and these will be primarily research based as we develop our testing ability. As we collect survey responses, we will discuss targeted suggestions and reviews. Eventually, there will be a search function and a Twitter feed.

As EQUIP grows, we plan to demonstrate some of the products at CAFO events including SUMMIT or at some of the regional member events like Together For Adoption.

The survey and review links will always be at the top of the main site, along with my contact link for questions and suggestions. Please go to the policy page if you want more specifics about how we plan to operate EQUIP. I am sure that we will make changes along the way, but always with the focus on helping you, the hands and feet of Almighty God, to care for His children.


Post Date: 1/15/13

Robert Blackburn, CAFO EQUIP Initiative

When was the last time you ran into a problem and needed to find the best value solution? Maybe the water isn’t as clean as it should be, or the generator just went out again. When you are in the field, the answer isn’t as easy as running to the local hardware store.

Welcome to EQUIP, a new initiative to assist CAFO members in finding reasonable hardware solutions to issues and problems impacting their ministry in the fields of the fatherless. CAFO has the mission to “inspire, equip and connect Christians to ‘defend the fatherless’ (Isaiah 1:17)” and it does an amazing service to members and ministries by “equipping them for effective action and connecting them to trustworthy, Christ-centered organizations.” This expansion of the “equip” focus will be to inform member organizations of new technical and hardware solutions for orphancare challenges in a unbiased and potentially hands-on format. Over the next week or so, I will describe this service in several blog posts.

A generation or two ago, people (Christians and others) were content to send their money out into the world for missions and ministry. A few were called to be missionaries or Peace Corps volunteers, but the vast majority dropped a check in the special missions offering box, mailed a monthly sponsorship check, or gave a dime to the child at the door to put in the UNICEF box. There is certainly nothing wrong with these actions, but today there seems to be an almost frantic growth in “wanting to DO something,” and that feeling is manifesting itself in post-college mission trips, non-profit funded short-term work overseas, volunteer tourism, human trafficking rescues, and many other forms of service to orphans, refugees, and endangered animals.

As a result, there is a corresponding growth in products targeted for use on the front-line, including new types of water filters, innovative portable power generation systems, and prescription-adjustable eyeglasses. In addition, the increased interest in off-grid living, homesteading, “preppers”, and even zombie defense is bringing unique gadgets and devices into the marketplace that could be used, as an example, by a orphanage struggling to take care of children in a post-earthquake infrastructure-poor environment.

So why is this a problem? It is a problem of an overabundance of solutions for the seekers with an shortage of time and resources. Every ministry and missions organization has its own unique challenges, at least in their eyes, but in reality there is more than one field worker at any given time looking at a problem and thinking “If only there was something to fix this problem” or even worse thinking “I just bought this device with our scarce resources and it only addresses half my need.” Where do they start to look for effective solutions and, more importantly, when do they look, when their days are filled with care giving and their evenings are filled with resource management, preparation for the next day, and eventually sleep? At the same time, the support folks stateside are necessarily consumed with, well, support and may not have the expertise for research.

For simplicity, let us consider a small orphanage in Guatemala supported though a partnership with a ministry organization in the United States. They need a water filter to provide a constant supply of clean drinking water, but their funds are limited and they don’t know anything about water filters. The support ministry tries to help by talking to plumbers, looking at a few websites and catalogs, and talking to other related ministries, but they are quickly overwhelmed when the choices are widely varied and water filters are just not their area of expertise. Some solutions require unique expensive filters, others require reliable electric service, and many are just too complicated to maintain. What if they could quickly find out about a water filter based on kidney dialysis technology that lasted for over a million gallons and cost about $60 ( )? But without a miracle, they might never find out about it.