The Salvation Army SMM goes above and beyond to ensure that it continues to be successful in transforming lives, through the services it has to offer
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Callam Waller
Operating in 128 countries, The Salvation Army is one of the most diverse charities in the world, with its defining quality being seen as one Army, moving together through a united mission of reaching and helping the hurt and lost.
Since its beginnings, The Salvation Army has worked tirelessly to share the transforming message of Jesus - bringing hope and life - more recently The Salvation Army, Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar (SMM) territory has implemented ‘The Mission Accountability Framework’ which has been developed by international headquarters; also implementing procedures and systems to ensure all matters are handled with the highest ethical management standards.
“Our work is governed by the international headquarters located in London,” explains Colonel Lyndon Buckingham, Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army SMM. “The SMM territory comes under the South Pacific and East Asia zone which is headed up by an International Secretary; these secretaries are responsible for providing oversight and co-ordinating of the Army’s work in each respective zone.”
The Salvation Army’s International Leader, General André Cox together with his wife, Commissioner Silvia Cox - currently the World President of Women’s Ministries, lead the team at International Headquarters, providing leadership, direction and support to all those working for The Salvation Army.
Buckingham continues: “From small beginnings, the SMM Territory has grown in each of the countries making up the Territory and now boasts a total of 36 social and community institutions or programmes, 75 outposts and over 900 officers and personnel.”
Of course this journey has not been smooth sailing, particularly during the pioneering early days, however, the mission has been kept alive while continuing to meet required needs, while staying adaptable throughout the changing times. With a history of over 100 years serving the region, the Charity has built a solid reputation for addressing aid gaps and building a better future for those in its care.
The Salvation Army has a long and complex history, beginning in 1865 when William Booth - a London minister - gave up the comfort of his pulpit, instead taking his message to the streets where it would better reach the poor, homeless, hungry and destitute. His bold actions were the beginning of an international movement that has made a lasting impact on countless numbers of lives.
“Presently our work around the world is particularly diverse with programmes tailored according to the needs of the country and particularly the communities we are reaching out to,” Buckingham affirms. “In addition to the local programmes we are fully immersed in, our international headquarters provide essential support - such as emergency services, social justice commission, anti-human trafficking, women’s ministries and spiritual life development.”
The SMM Territory does its best to ensure its officers and staff are well equipped to perform their numerous duties and responsibilities. With that comes the importance of staff development and training. Over the years, The Salvation Army has invested heavily in the further education and development of its staff across the various programmes and services.
“Our human resources team are constantly researching and looking for training opportunities for our officers and staff,” Buckingham adds. “We are fortunate to be in the position to provide funding to support both skills and leadership development.
“We have partnered with a range of training institutes for both formal and educational qualifications, alongside short-term training certificate courses and short-term training certificate courses that are specific to a particular field.”
Alongside this, The Salvation Army SMM works closely with the Social Service Institute and Singapore University of Social Sciences, working under the National Council of Social Service Professional Conversion Programme which aims to inspire and attract purpose driven individuals in order to serve the community and Social Service Sector.
“As a Charity, we have always strived to continue to strengthen many aspects of our service,” explains Buckingham. “This has been attained through evolving our training, particularly focusing on professionalism and capabilities of employees via partnering with tertiary institutions and individual partners such as the Institute of Technical Education, Singapore Association for Social Workers and Early Childhood Development Agency.”
Providing this training ensures that they possess the right skills, knowledge and in particular attitude to deliver quality care and services to beneficiaries. A prime example of this would be Peacehaven Nursing Home - an accredited training organisation under the Institute of Technical Education - which has seen many of its graduates becoming successful nursing professionals.
“Our employees are provided with many opportunities to both learn and go onto share best practices in The Salvation Army and beyond,” continues Buckingham. “This is all done through funding and sponsorships from the various government ministries and agencies.”
Due to the scale of The Salvation Army, the challenges it is faced with will vary from country to country, with the most obvious being the recruitment of the right people that will assist in advancing the Charity’s work and finances, alongside general commitment to its services.
“We are firmly committed to providing excellence in all aspects of the services we offer, remaining engaged in the conversation of best practice and ensuring our services are recognised for quality of care,” describes Buckingham. “Alongside this, we have worked tirelessly to expand our services in the centres that make up our territory. We try to ensure that our officers, staff and volunteers continue to find fulfilment in the work with The Salvation Army.”