Alderney | December 21st, 2020
This annual round up is for all of you: our dear friends old and new and it’s for anyone who joins our community in 2021. I’d be delighted if you could forward this newsletter to any family, friends or colleagues you think might be interested in our work.
As we all prepare for possibly the weirdest holiday season of our lives… I reached into my bookcase for this book by Antony Costello, The Social Edge. I didn’t really know why this book made it all the way to Alderney when I had limited space for the things I brought to the island – but it did, and I think I now know why this is.
His radical new argument lays out a new science of cooperation based on 20 years of studying community participation though what he calls, ‘sympathy groups’ in Bangladesh, India, Malawi and Nepal. A sympathy group being the smallest social group outside the family. He sets out the power, ingenuity and tenacity of small groups. I love what he says in this video about a woman’s group in Nepal where the women were addressing the healthy growth of their children. Here is an extract:
…the woman were engaged; they took ownership, and they created their own strategies. Science would predict that this wouldn’t work but social interventions are non-linear, they work in very unusual ways, not like a vaccine, one thing leads to another and thing can explode (meaning grow very rapidly and effectively – ed). Today we focus obsessively on individuals and we’ve forgotten our social edge…
His call to action is that… “Science must help our policy makers to create an ecology for sympathy groups on a large scale.”
Not only is this super-relevant to our way of working, but isn’t it also worth considering as we cope in our bubbles and start to think about the world again without the scourge of this pandemic? How do we want it to be organised? What sympathy groups have helped you? What other sympathy groups can we build? How can we start building back in our own way among our own friends and colleagues?
I’d love to know what you think. We have a bit more about this on the blog.
I’m taking a break now until 4th January and I have this gut feeling that 2021 is going to be a great year for Children for Health. We must have kept our heads above water for good reasons! We don’t know what will come about as a result of our huge efforts to build new partnerships… but whatever it is its going to be exciting! There is always a new dawn. Here is a picture of Tobias and I keeping our heads above water and swimming at dawn on Sunday December 20th.
The highlight of the year was a field trip to Mozambique in February and the last time I was away. On the last day of my visit, the Government of Mozambique invited Children for Health to scale our nutrition and health programme across the country. This was formalised in October and had such a long delay as the Ministry of Education was a ‘little distracted’ between March and September! However, we now have the letter in our hands, and we are fundraising to begin the work in a phased approach next year. This amazing meeting at the Ministry in Maputo was preceded by a wonderful week spent with a group of thirty 9-14 year olds at Changara Primary school, Tete who helped Bibiche Sangwa and I demonstrate to the staff of the school, to their head, to community members and to education officials from the District and the Provincial education offices just HOW resourceful and competent children can be. Read more about the trip and view our slide show.
We’ve been working on on the blog a lot this year and we’re really pleased with the result! Check our all our 2020 posts below, by category. Subscribe to our RSS feed if you haven’t yet to ensure you never miss a post! Our newsletters will always be sent out to our community, join us now.
People, projects and news we like
Studies & Tools
World Health Days
Health Messages in Action
New Friends & Partnerships
New FREE Downloads
Happy Holidays! See you in 2021.