Celebrating Our Shared Legacy of Change for Children: A Reflection by Carolyn Miles

On the eve of her departure from Save the Children, Carolyn Miles, who served as CEO from 2011 – 2019, shares a heartfelt message of gratitude and commitment to a shared future.

As we mark the end of our centennial year, it is with a very full heart that I also write my final message to you. After almost 22 years to the day since I first came to Save the Children, serving the last eight as CEO, I can absolutely say that that it has been an honor to serve this organization, our valued supporters and the millions upon millions of children we reach every year, here in the United States and all around the world. I could not be prouder of the lifelong change for children your support has helped achieve. 

Over the years, I have seen that everything we do together creates ripples of lasting change in children’s lives and communities – ultimately, transforming entire countries for good. Consider Ethiopia’s decline in child mortality by more than 50%, the progress for girls in Malawi from barely finishing third grade to now graduating by the tens of thousands, the community of health workers saving lives across Nepal, and here at home, the 9 in 10 struggling students in Kentucky whose significant strides in reading are setting them up for success in school and life. From our on-the-ground work addressing the unique challenges of vulnerable children to our advocacy efforts amplifying their voices with U.S. and global leaders, the world is better thanks to the support of champions for children like you. 

Together, we have helped achieve major change for children, but it hasn’t always been equal. With your help, Save the Children is committed to reaching the most vulnerable children of all – including girls and refugee children, as well as those living in poverty in rural America. Today, the children left furthest behind have the greatest opportunity to realize their rights to grow up healthy, educated and safe. That’s why we’ve committed to what we call our 2030 ambition for children. If we can help end the preventable deaths of children under age 5, ensure that every child gets a high-quality basic education starting as early as we can, and change the way the world thinks about violence against children, we will again have dramatically propelled the world forward.  

To envision what that world will look like for future generations of children is so inspiring to me! But to achieve these ambitious goals in an ever-changing world, we’ll have to embrace new and innovative ways to get the job done, new partners to support us and a continued commitment to growing our impact. Indeed, thinking bigger and bolder will need to be a hallmark of our upcoming years. And I am completely confident that our dedicated Save the Children team, including our exceptional new President and CEO, Janti Soeripto, will successfully drive our bigger, bolder agenda. I look forward to supporting this work in whatever ways I can.   

Finally, in this season of giving and reflection, thanks for giving me the best gift anyone could ever receive – the opportunity, together with you, to create change that lasts a lifetime for children in the U.S. and around the world. In commemoration of our 100 years of change for children and commitment to our ambitions for the next 100, I warmly welcome your support of Save the Children today. 

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season! 

Carolyn

Ending Child Marriage in Humanitarian Settings: Ensuring Accountability to Girls Through Improved Data, Collection, Analysis and Use

Written by Leslie Archambeault, Director of Gender Policy & Advocacy Policy

Child marriage is form of gender-based violence that robs girls of their agency to make decisions about their lives, disrupts their education, and drives vulnerability to ongoing violence, discrimination and abuse. It  prevents girls’ full participation in economic, political, and social spheres throughout their lives. Despite global progress, 12 million girls marry each year before they reach the age of 18. By 2030, over 150 million more girls will before they are 18, and 28.1 million will marry before the age of 15, based on current rates.

Girls who marry under the age of 18 are also at higher risk of experiencing dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth is the number one killer of girls aged 15-19 worldwide. Significantly, 90% of births to girls aged 15-19 occur within a marriage.

Girls living in countries affected by conflict or other humanitarian crises are often the most vulnerable of all to child marriage. Factors that put girls at risk for child marriage in stable times such as poverty, lack of education, and insecurity are exacerbated during times of instability. In fact, 9 out of the 10 countries with the highest rates of child marriage are considered fragile or extremely fragile states.   

One of the reasons why child marriage in humanitarian settings continues to persist is a significant lack of data. The complex and often under-resourced humanitarian environments present a number of barriers to addressing this issue, even as humanitarian actors continue to flag this critical problem.

A newly published white paper commissioned by Save the Children, Addressing Data Gaps on Child, Early and Forced Marriage in Humanitarian Settings analyzes the current evidence and knowledge base on child marriage in humanitarian settings to see why such data gaps persist. It proposes recommendations for enhancing current data collection tools, analysis, and use in order to effectively address the issue through prevention and response efforts.

The white paper, published during the final days of the annual 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence, is the culmination of extensive interviews with key actors across the humanitarian system, as well as with technical experts on gender-based violence prevention and response, and child marriage more specifically.

The research found that current data collection tools measuring prevalence of child marriage in different contexts, fail to adequately account for child marriage in humanitarian settings because of a few key reasons:

  • The tools currently used are mainly carried out in stable settings, due to limitations in the tools themselves;
  • Current data collection tools are used every 3-10 years, meaning critical data from periods of fragility may be missed;
  • Collection of data on forcibly displaced populations, including refugees and internally displaced persons, is not consistent and difficult to capture;
  • Data collected is primarily country-level but does not get to community or more local analysis, which is needed for humanitarian contexts;
  • The data only provides information on prevalence, and not incidence.

The resounding conclusion of these interviews and the paper’s analysis was that the ongoing data gaps on child marriage in humanitarian settings are a complicated and daunting issue to tackle – yet there are potential ways forward if the international community is willing to work together.

Building on existing data collection mechanisms would allow for a much greater understanding of the complexity of child marriage in humanitarian crises. This would require a great deal of cooperation and alignment across the various humanitarian response actors, particularly within the United Nations’ humanitarian architecture.

Humanitarian actors across the United Nations, government, and civil society, must demonstrate commitment to urgently addressing child marriage in humanitarian settings – and must make addressing data gaps a priority. This includes a commitment to sustained financial and human resources to support the collection, coordination, analysis, disaggregation and use of enhanced data on child marriage in humanitarian settings.

Without consistent and sustained data collection, analysis and use on child marriage in humanitarian settings, a fundamental rights violation impacting millions of girls across the globe will remain largely invisible. Humanitarian Needs Assessments and Response Plans will fail to adequately provide for addressing child marriage, and funding needs will not be met. Even more significantly, girls will be unable to hold governments and other duty-bearers accountable for commitments they have made to end child marriage in every context, including under such international legal and policy frameworks as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

The humanitarian community must take action now to end child marriage – and must work together to address data gaps through enhancing current data collection tools and developing new ways of working that break down sector and agency silos. Girls everywhere have the right to grow up healthy, educated, and protected from violence.

 

Fulfilling the Promise of the Global Compact on Refugees

Written by Janti Soeripto, President and COO, Save the Children

These last years have been historic for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. For the first time in its history, the number of refugees under UNHCR’s mandate exceeded 20 million, more than half of which were children. On the whole, we are seeing the highest levels of displacement on record. In 2019 conflicts in places like Syria, South Sudan and Afghanistan have continued to force people from their homes while protracted refugee situations, such as that of the Rohingya in Bangladesh, drag on without a safe, dignified and sustainable solution in sight.

Nevertheless, we have also witnessed some important breakthroughs for refugees, including when in 2018 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Global Compact on Refugees, a major international agreement facilitated by UNHCR. The Compact was developed with the goal of creating a stronger, more unified response to large movements of refugees and protracted refugee situations, along with more equitable burden- and responsibility-sharing between refugee hosting countries and donor countries.

The specific vulnerabilities faced by refugee children are mainstreamed throughout the Compact, thanks in no small part to strong, strategic advocacy by Save the Children and the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts, which Save the Children co-chairs. In particular, the Compact makes specific references to inclusion of children in national protection services and education systems, and makes the groundbreaking promise to ensure children are back in school within three months of arrival in a host country.

A Global Refugee Forum

Now, from December 16-18, nearly one year to the day from the adoption of the Compact, I will join Heads of State and other stakeholders, including refugees themselves, in Geneva, Switzerland for the first ever Global Refugee Forum. At this momentous occasion we will foster momentum for the Compact by announcing new, concrete, and above all, impactful pledges and by sharing good practices to inspire innovative approaches to supporting refugees and host communities. As a co-sponsor of the Forum’s Education and Protection (as the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts) areas of focus, Save the Children has been instrumental in shaping the Forum’s agenda.

Pledging is one of the most important elements of the Forum and Save the Children will be sharing several. For example, we know that teachers are at the frontline of refugee education work and need to be supported while coping with the challenges of the environments in which they work, so we pledge to improve the capacity and working conditions of refugee and host community teachers.  We will also announce the expansion of our Return to Learning program in Lebanon, Uganda and Colombia, which combines programmatic interventions with advocacy to get refugee children back to learning within 90 days of arrival in a host country. Through the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts we made pledges to improve cross-border child protection cooperation and case management and to strengthen funding and resources for child protection. The Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts also developed a guidance paper to assist stakeholders in positioning children at the center of their pledges.

The Way Forward

In the lead up to the Forum, we worked closely with UNHCR, Member States and other stakeholders to produce the Global Framework for Refugee Education, a comprehensive guide and pledging framework to help achieve inclusive and equitable quality education for refugees by 2030. While the Framework marks an important step forward, it cannot be viewed as an end in itself. We know that millions of refugee children and youth are missing out on their right to quality education, and that allowing the education of millions of refugee children and youth to be cut short by conflict and displacement is not just ethically indefensible, it is economically ruinous. Addressing this injustice and achieving the full promise of the Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals will require a Global Plan of Action for Refugee Education that takes stock of pledges made during the Forum and identifies where the gaps remain.

As we reach the end of our Centennial year I’m reminded of our founder Eglantyne Jebb, who once said: “Save the Children is often told that its aims are impossible- that there has always been child suffering and there always will be. We know. It’s impossible only if we make it so. It’s impossible only if we refuse to attempt it.” Ensuring all refugee children can reach their full potential is a monumental task, but it is not an impossible one. Indeed, with the Global Compact on Refugees, the Global Refugee Forum and the potential for a Global Plan of Action for Refugee Education, we have the tools to achieve this goal. I urge those in governments, the United Nations and civil society to heed Eglantyne Jebb’s words and join us in working toward a world where all children can survive and thrive.

Anxhela, a 16-year old from North-East Albania, is a student in 12 grade, a storyteller, a painter and an advocate for children and specifically girls’ rights. Photo credit: Save the Children

Diary of a Girl Champion: Advocating for Girls’ Education and Empowerment

This blog was originally published on Save the Children’s UK blog, Voices for Change

I’m Anxhela, 16 years old from North-East Albania, one of the poorest areas where poverty and unemployment dominate. I’m a student in 12 grade, a storyteller, a painter and an advocate for children and specifically girls’ rights. 

In my country children make up over 35% of the population and over 20% of them live in absolute poverty. Poverty is a widespread and rising phenomenon that affects children’s success and progress in school. As per the ‘Young Voice’ Albania 2017 report, 83.3% of children consider poverty, exclusion, and disability as areas of particular concern.

Violence against children is widespread and is used as a way of disciplining children. Children lack opportunities to participate in decision making processes and their interests are frequently disregarded in school and community. Many girls are victims of violence, discrimination and are enforced or convinced to get married at early age, due to tradition and lack of support to follow education.

I think that the most important thing for girls to overcome barriers is to get educated, equip with knowledge and skills and empower to speak up for the realization of their rights. When girls overcome barriers and empower, they are able to lead, influence and inspire the world for a better life for all.

These were some of my views and messages I shared and conveyed through my participation and remarks held during the International Day of Girl events in New York and Washington DC. I was invited by Save the Children to bring the voice of girls from Albania and around the world and advocate for their rights and wellbeing.

For more than a week, I had the opportunity to meet with girls and young women, listened to their life stories and empowerment journey. I was impressed how many things we have in common as regards barriers and struggles as well as the will and commitment to bring about a change and make the world better for all.

Photo credit: Save the Children

My visit in U.S. was the first one for me abroad and most impressive and inspiring ever. I felt happy, important, supported, motivated and very responsible to do my best for promoting girls’ voice and rights.

A special part of my advocacy mission in US, was also meeting with two other wonderful girls – Cecilia from Malawi and Keren from Peru. Being together, sharing feelings and experiences, going around and taking photos as well, I felt better and stronger. I have so much to talk about my U.S. visit – it was an experience of my life that I will never forget.

The two main events I went to were – ‘Girls Speak Out’ event at UN Assembly and “Bridge the Gap for Girls” in NY. ‘Bridge the gap for Girls’ was one of the big events by Save the Children where I had the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people including Gina Torres, a famous actor.  On that day I raised my voice and bridged the gaps for girls’ protection. That day, Cecilia, Keren and I led the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and hundreds of people joined us in that walk. It was such an empowerment and wonderful feeling. That day, I felt more energetic, optimistic and motivated to continue my fight for girls’ rights and empowerment that can lead them to a better life and future.

In Washington DC, I had some other important meetings with members of Congress and had the opportunity to speak with influential women and men who are vocal and supportive to girls’ rights.

The last event I attended and spoke at was hosted by the World Bank Group – “Learning Poverty”. I participated in a Facebook Live interview on the importance of leadership by girls and children at school and community levels. In the meeting I was a special speaker invitee and was part of a very important panel with Word Bank Group President David Malpass, Save the Children UK CEO Kevin Watkins, Vice President of Human Development of WBG Annette Dixon, Ghana Senior Minister, Morocco Minister of Economy and Mayor of Sobral, Brasil and the moderator Kaya Henderson, former Chancellor of DC schools.

At the beginning of my speech, I felt a bit nervous but soon after I was able to control my emotions and gave my remarks that received a lot of applause. Through my remarks I highlighted that: “Children and youth are the future. When we are educated, we are the ones who can make change and make the world better”.

Now I can say that as a girl and child activist, I am happy to have had the opportunity to raise my voice and advocate for girls and children rights globally. This trip was a new experience for me. I learned new knowledge and gained new skills. Now I feel much more empowered, confident and motivated to go on with my advocacy and inspire my peers to follow education and speak out for their issues and realization of their rights.

 

To learn more about Save the Children’s work, visit our website

A Tanzanian Doctor’s Insight into the Barriers to Fewer Healthcare-Acquired Infections

This post is part of a series authored by the BASICS (Bold Action to Stop Infections in Clinical Settings) team. BASICS is a new initiative that will transform healthcare and reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by at least 50%.

 

Written by Dr. Joseph Obure
Maternal and Reproductive Health Advisor, Save the Children

Save the Children President Janti Soeripto and I had to cover a lot of ground in just 90 seconds in the video that introduces  BASICS (Bold Action to Stop Infections in Clinical Settings) – from why so many millions of mothers and infants acquire debilitating infections in health facilities to how BASICS’ scalable and sustainable solution will prevent many of these infections.

Having been educated in and practiced clinical obstetric and gynecology medicine in Tanzania – one of the four countries where BASICS will be launched with 100&Change funding – I know firsthand of the challenges of preventing infections in places where resources can be precious and where dedicated, overworked staff labor daily to deliver the best care they can.

What does the situation look like in Tanzania when it comes to health care and hygiene? What does a day look like for a doctor in a Tanzanian government hospital?
Like any other developing country, Tanzania faces health systems bottlenecks that affect the provision of quality health care. While there have been significant gains in improving access to services, quality continues to be a problem.

Many health posts, particularly those at the primary care level (health centers and dispensaries) do not have adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. These places serve approximately 80% of the people in Tanzania’s rural areas, therefore impacting a huge population.

The lack of reliable clean water is just one problem. Toilets and bathrooms may not be available, and those that are available  can be dirty. Without a place to wash hands and no supplies,  hygiene and infection control practices are poor.

These problems underscore the need to increase investments and support for sustainable solutions like BASICS that improve clinical outcomes, reduce patient and health system costs and lead to a more positive care experiences.

What are the biggest barriers to implementing hygiene protocols?
Funding to support hygiene interventions and health facility infrastructure is limited due to many competing priorities and there’s a focus on coverage of primary care rather than the  quality of care. Health systems have only a limited capacity to operationalize WASH protocols; both health providers and communities have poor behaviors relating to hygiene; and there is little understanding of the cost benefit of improved quality of care on clinical and economic levels.

Lastly, there is a lack of evidence-based policies for hygiene and limited use of simple and feasible solutions based on the context.

Why is BASICS a good solution?
BASICS is unique in that it applies simple, effective and feasible interventions to improve the quality of care, with particular focus on WASH and infection prevention control. It focuses on maternal and newborn delivery points because these environments are quite complicated and overloaded. It’s in these wards that BASICS can achieve a major impact, where we will learn what works best and then scale up the intervention to other service delivery points in health facilities.

 

To learn more about BASICS (Bold Action to Stop Infections in Clinical Settings) is a new initiative that will transform healthcare and reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by at least 50%, visit savethechildren.org.

Knowing and Respecting Support Staff: A Vital Step in the Journey to Reducing Healthcare-Associated Infections

This post is part of a series authored by the BASICS (Bold Action to Stop Infections in Clinical Settings) team. BASICS is a new initiative that will transform healthcare and reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by at least 50%.

Written by Lydia Di Stefano
Research Assistant, Maternal and Newborn Health Group – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

 

I met Dorcas Gwata during the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s 120th anniversary celebrations. An alumni, Dorcas had returned to present on her inspiring career as a public health specialist and activist.

While her achievements are remarkable and many, they weren’t what caught my attention. Rather, it was what she had done at the beginning of her career that intrigued me: Dorcas began in the relatively unglamorous role of a hospital cleaner.

Through my work with BASICS (Bold Action to Stop Infections in Clinical Settings), I know  the importance of support workers in healthcare settings – cleaners, porters and security guards – in contributing to a functioning system. In particular, their vital role in hygiene: low-cost interventions aimed at educating and training workers in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are an important way to reduce healthcare-associated infections.  But there are barriers to their education and training.

One barrier is the lack of value and respect for cleaners and their exclusion from the umbrella term “health workers.” BASICS pioneer Professor Wendy Graham has written about how to overcome such barriers elsewhere.   

I was intrigued about Dorcas’ journey from student in Zimbabwe, to hospital cleaner in Scotland, to specialist nurse in London. Dorcas has been on two sides of the hospital workforce – as a support worker and a professional – so I was intrigued about her view of the lack of value that cleaners can face and how to combat this. Finally, as someone with experience in  health systems in low- and high-income countries, I was curious about how she would compare the two settings.

Dorcas attended school until she was 18. However, she didn’t get the marks to pursue the nursing career her mother wanted for her. After graduating, she pursued occupational courses but nothing really stuck. She spent time volunteering in a health clinic.

When Dorcas joined her sister in Scotland, she found work as a cleaner at a local hospital. Although it wasn’t her first preference, she reflected “out of all the jobs I’ve had so far, that is probably the one where I learnt the most.” The work was demanding – carrying heavy buckets of water and hours of scrubbing.

She received no training – in cleaning, let alone education on infection prevention – and was told in two weeks she’d lose her job if she wasn’t good enough. It was hard, physical work. It was also challenging socially.

Despite the difficulties of their job, Dorcas felt that she and the other cleaners were barely acknowledged, let alone thanked by most of the hospital staff. She had come to expect so little in the way of respect, that she would be shocked if clinical staff said “good morning” when they walked past her.

She said that staff should not just see cleaners by their job title, but should look past this to explore the other side of who they are. We should be more curious and ask people about their stories: where they’re from, what they do on weekends, who their children and grandchildren are.

Imagining how things might be different in a low-income setting like Zimbabwe, Dorcas suggested that cleaners may actually be more respected there, where they would be known by their totem (tribe name). Dorcas feels that there is strong sense of cultural capital that comes with respect and validation in Zimbabwe, which is lacking in high-income countries.

Dorcas was ambitious to move to a clinician role. She once asked a matron what she could do to join the profession and was ignored, yet this did not put her off. Eventually, she moved to London, where she visited hospitals to offer her services. After a day, she had two job offers: one as a cleaner and the other as a healthcare assistant. She took the assistant job and has worked her way up to where she is today.

When we spoke, Dorcas wondered where she would be now, had she been offered two cleaning jobs that day.

I think everyone who works in hospitals can take Dorcas’ advice and try a little harder to acknowledge all staff, including cleaners. My challenge to health workers reading this is to get to know the cleaners on your ward. Although their jobs aren’t necessarily the most glamorous, they are essential to a functioning health care system and are key to infection prevention efforts.

Photo credit: Save the Children

Basics: Scaling Up Affordable and High-Impact Healthcare Practices

This post is part of a series authored by the BASICS (Bold Action to Stop Infections in Clinical Settings) team. BASICS is a new initiative that will transform healthcare and reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by at least 50%.

Written by the BASICS Team

Bold Action to Stop Infections in Clinical Settings (BASICS) is centered on an important principle: low-cost interventions accompanied by minimal changes in healthcare practices will have a considerable impact on disease incidence. The cost of preventing an infection is a fraction of the cost of treating one. High infection prevalence and infection-related mortality are a sizeable economic and social burden, especially in low-income countries. BASICS will catalyze marginal resources in four demonstration countries – Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nigeria and Tanzania – to reduce that burden significantly.

The evidence from high-income countries on the economic impact of reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) is compelling, and suggestive of what might be achieved in lower resource settings (though with different cost structures). One study estimated that the costs of one single severe lower respiratory infection in a U.S.-based hospital would cover the annual budget for antiseptics used for hand hygiene (Boyce, 2001)1  .  A study of a Russian neonatal ICU found that one healthcare associated bloodstream infection would cover 3,265 days of hand antiseptic use (Brown, 2003)2  . A Swiss study found that the total cost of hand hygiene promotion was roughly one percent of the cost of nosocomial infections (Pittet et. al, 2004)3  .

BASICS is metric driven, which allows us to capture the economic impacts in lower-resource settings. It will establish a baseline of current expenditures, track recurrent and investment costs and link those to program outcomes.

BASICS will generate substantial savings from its projected reduction of 1.4 million patient stay days. Our economic analysis will illustrate those savings and build a government and stakeholder coalition to fund BASICS in national and local budgets.

More developed healthcare systems have learned the lessons on hygiene and taken them to scale. The past several years have seen a groundswell of global attention and support towards achieving universal access to quality of healthcare (Sustainable Development Goal 3). Many of these efforts – some listed below – directly address, or align with, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and infection-related challenges in healthcare:

  • The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (2015)
  • WHO’s Guidelines on Core Components of Infection Prevention and Control Programmes (2016)
  • WHO’s Supporting Countries to Achieve Health Service Resilience (2016)
  • Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy to end all preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths, including stillbirths, by 2030, and improving their overall health and wellbeing
  • Launch of the Quality, Equity, Dignity (QED) Network for pregnant women and newborn infants (2016)
  • WHO’s Standards for improving Quality of Maternal and Newborn Care in Health (2016)
  • WHO Handbook for National Quality Policy and Strategy (2018)

BASICS will develop a scaling pathway for countries with fewer resources. Global health expenditure has risen progressively since 1995 (Global Burden of Disease Health Financing Collaborator Network, 2019)4  , providing some fiscal space to allocate government resources to BASICS once the payoffs are demonstrated. Securing government commitment will be critical in the four BASICS countries, as the public budget accounts for most health expenditure in these countries. The BASICS teams will engage with health ministries on the implications of BASICS for the composition of a country’s health expenditure.

The four BASICS demonstration countries have already shown strong political will to improve infection prevention procedures.

BASICS will deliver cumulative local impacts in each country that will deepen their commitment to the approach. Our learning model will engage government, civil society and private partners on the lessons being generated on the costs and benefits of BASICS, building a powerful local coalition for change. Once that change is delivered, the economic impacts should ultimately prove irresistible to other countries interested in infection prevention.

Ways countries have demonstrated political will on this topic:

Cross-country:

  • All four of our demonstration countries have shown a commitment to improve infection prevention and broader quality of care priorities.
  • All four countries signed onto the 2019 World Health Assembly Resolution to improve WASH in healthcare facilities and are engaged in post-resolution implementation activities.
  • All four countries have national action plans to combat anti-microbial resistance.
  • Three of the four countries (Bangladesh, Nigeria, Tanzania) signed up to be initial priority countries under the QED Network.

 Bangladesh:

  • In 2017, the Community Based Health Care (CBHC) under Directorate General of Health Services of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare conducted a rapid assessment of the state of WASH in 13,000 community clinics with help from WaterAid, WHO and UNICEF.
  • Formal guidelines on WASH for community clinics in 2019 with the support of WaterAid, WHO and UNICEF.

Cambodia:

  • In 2016, in response to a baseline study assessing the status of WASH led by the National Institute for Public Health, the Ministry of Health set water and sanitation targets as part of its National Health Strategic Plan 3.
  • In addition, the national quality of care mechanism, which has been rolled out across all public health care facilities, has WASH targets which are tied to performance-based financing mechanisms.
  • In 2019, national guidelines on WASH in health care facilities were endorsed.

Nigeria:

  • In 2018, the government created a new Infection Prevention Coordinator position within the Ministry of Health to lead the design and implementation of a national infection prevention improvement strategy.

Tanzania:

  • In 2019, the government announced a commitment to develop a national roadmap to improve WASH in healthcare facilities, implement improvements in 1,000 facilities and to integrate WASH into new health sector policies.

 

To learn more about BASICS (Bold Action to Stop Infections in Clinical Settings) is a new initiative that will transform healthcare and reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by at least 50%, visit savethechildren.org.

 

1. Boyce JM. Antiseptic technology: access, affordability, and acceptance. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2001;7:231–233. 

2. Brown SM, et al. Use of an alcohol-based hand rub and quality improvement interventions to improve hand hygiene in a Russian neonatal intensive care unit. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. 2001;7:231–233. 
3. Pittet, D., Sax, H., Hugonnet, S., & Harbarth, S. (2004). Cost Implications of Successful Hand Hygiene Promotion. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology 
4. Pittet, D., Sax, H., Hugonnet, S., & Harbarth, S. (2004). Global Burden of Disease Health Financing Collaborative. Past, present, and future of global health financing: a review of development assistance, government, out-of-pocket, and other private spending on health for 195 countries, 1995–2050. 2019.  The Lancet.
 

Letter G Makes Me Learn More

By: Sherin

Edited by: Yasintha Bere, Data Quality and Communication Officer

I am Sherin. That’s what my friends always call me. I am a little girl and I am 8 years old from a beautiful village far from the city. I am a third grader now since two months ago. Walking down the street with friends to school every day is the thing I love the most. We have much fun taking one kilo meter distance to and from school with lots of chit chats and singings. I have much love to my friends.

It was like just yesterday I entered primary school. There was an enthusiasm for making new friends, yet anxiety there was also for not performing well at school. Soon there were many in my list of great friends, yet I also started learning with some difficulties to recognize letters. Letter “A” became my favorite, simply because it’s the first letter alphabetically and that it was easy to write. It is not that easy, even quite difficult for letter “G” in comparison. Thanks to my great teacher who always assisted me through this learning process. I had my days full of learning letters, but also coupled with fun activities like singings, dancing, and plays.

In the second grade, I experienced new thing in my learning. Save the Children ran a program to assist us in the improvement of our literacy. It was started by some kind of test on our reading capabilities. Then came activities such as setting up our classroom with colorful letters and books and even providing us with books at community level. The latter is called “Reading Post”. I really like the reading post at community since it allows me to play and learn to read with my friends after school. It is open every Friday. We are facilitated by a community volunteer, who is, by chance, my pre-school teacher.

Sherin and her friend drawing in Reading Post

I have a favorite book at reading post. It is about caring for sick people. I love reading this book again and again, as I want to become a doctor. We are even allowed to borrow book for a week and I will always bring home this book. Besides, we are also provided at reading post with additional lessons on healthy life style and the importance of regular shower and breakfast. I see this as an important addition to my future goal.

With involvement in these activities, I find myself well improving in reading ability. I can now read long text and can assist my friends who are still strive with reading. I am confident that soon my friends and I can read as fluent as the older grader.

Sherin and friends reading during Reading Post

The Strong Will of a Father

His name is Hamissou Ibrahim. Kids affectuously call him uncle Ibrah because of his volunteering actions for the cause of children.
Married and father of four children, Ibrahim was one of the first students in his village. After six years in primary school, he failed his secondary school entrance examination.

This failure did not taint his life. Like other peasants in his village, Ibrahim makes a living by farming and herding animals.

However, the failure of the first generation of students in the village has been the main cause of parents’ neglect and lack of confidence in education.
People who have succeeded in being self-sufficient in this community are traders and those who travel abroad in neighboring countries. Parents, because of their lack of confidence in schools, encourage children to learn trading, herding and farming.

Hamissou feeding his animals

In 2016, the sponsorship program started in his community with ambitious objectives for children. Through parents, teachers and children’s sensitization and training, and innovative projects such as literacy boost and positive discipline, reading clubs and early childhood care centers were implemented in communities with many varieties of toys and learning materials.

Having failed in his own education, Hamissou decided to devote his time to the sponsorship program.

As a community volunteer for sponsorship operations, a reading club host, and a kindergarten teacher, Hamissou has become a pillar for the sponsorship program in his community. He helps community development agents locate children and monitor their presence at school, he teaches younger children in kindergarten, and helps pupils with reading difficulties at school in reading clubs.

Hamissou reading a letter to Harira, a sponsored child in Niger

“Parent ignorance has handicapped children’s education for decades in my village. When I was made aware of the objectives set by the sponsorship program, I decided to devote all my time for children’s welfare,” Hamissou said.

“Changes brought in communities by the sponsorship program are evidenced in every child’s behavior. Good hygiene habits, body cleanliness and the children’s high performance in secondary entrance examination (62 %) in my community.”

All these changes have allowed for parents to have a new vision of school and has created a new light of hope in every child’s life.
Children, parents and teachers do not run out of praises for Save the Children for all the efforts made in changing life at village and at school.
Hamissou concluded by saying, “the sponsorship program has succeeded liberate parents from ignorance and has fashioned our life for better. We earned something which remains a treasure forever, our behavior change”.

Save the Children Adds More Cryptocurrency Capability in Time for #BitcoinTuesday

Written by Ettore Rossetti

Save the Children has relaunched our cryptocurrency fundraising capability just in time for #BitcoinTuesday, which offers a cryptocurrency twist on #GivingTuesday, a day held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving that encourages philanthropy.

As part of this initiative, we are now able to accept multiple cryptocurrencies in an automated way through its website (www.savethechildren.org/bitcoin) including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Zcash (ZEC), Litecoin (LTC) and the Gemini Dollar (GUSD).

Save the Children was the first global NGO to accept cryptocurrency. We have accepted Bitcoin donations since 2013, in response to Typhoon Haiyan that struck Southeast Asia and devastated the Philippines.

“Beyond cryptocurrency contributions, what if blockchain technology could be used to make supply chains more efficient, transactions more transparent and end world poverty through decentralized universal basic income as a form of unconditional cash vouchers? That would be a dream worth HODLing on to,”
stated Ettore Rossetti, Senior Director of Social & Digital Innovation of Save the Children.

Rossetti added, “Since our founding 100 years ago, Save the Children has reached more than 1 billion children. Perhaps the next Bitcoin billionaire can help us reach the next billion children.”

Save the Children is working with The Giving Block, leaders in equipping nonprofits with the tools and techniques to effectively fundraise with cryptocurrency.

By accepting cryptocurrencies, Save the Children is offering supporters with cryptocurrency portfolios the ability to support the organization in a tax efficient way on Giving Tuesday. The IRS classifies cryptocurrency donations as property, meaning they are not subject to capital gains tax and are tax deductible on the donor’s tax returns.

Discussing this year’s #BitcoinTuesday campaign, Alex Wilson, Co-Founder of The Giving Block said, “Giving Tuesday inspires millions around the world to support and give to the causes that matter to them. But, despite the enhanced tax benefits that crypto donations can offer donors, the day has failed to capture the attention of crypto donors in years past.”

His colleague, Co-Founder Pat Duffy followed up with, “Bitcoin Tuesday will introduce a largely traditional audience to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, driving crypto adoption. When nonprofits accept crypto donations, the world sees crypto as the force for good we know it to be.”

To donate to Save the Children visit www.savethechildren.org/bitcoin. To learn more, contact Ettore Rossetti, bitcoin@savechildren.org.