Dear Friends of Children for Health,
The first thing I do when putting together our Annual Round-up is to look at last year’s round-up and to reflect on what’s been done and assess how the character of our organisation has changed.
Children for Health is now five years old and we are feeling all grown up.
A few months ago, a friend asked us, “What would success would look like a few years from now in terms of your reach? Would you, for example, like to have reached a million children?” My reaction to this question felt like a physical punch – a million children is FAR TOO FEW… and yet we are a small organisation, so this surely would represent a great achievement!
This led me to work with our Trustees on a new plan. This includes cementing partnerships with those with global reach, and securing support from the right kind of donors who understand and buy our vision and our ‘theory of change’ and for whom reaching TWENTY MILLION (by the end of 2020) feels challenging, exciting and do-able – and all from our one small room, just outside Cambridge.
Round-up of 2018
THE headline for 2018 was our Third Sector Award in the category – Small Charity Big Achiever! It’s fantastic to get a pat on the back from an important peer group. Read more about now.
The sponsor of this award is a digital marketing agency MCMnet. They are now helping us become more efficient with our digital reach. I will speak at the Third Sector Fund-Raising conference in May 2019 on how we have achieved our reach to date.
Also great was the profile on our work in the annual review of my former Cambridge College, Homerton – where I trained to be a teacher. I survived the photoshoot! An article on the work of Children for Health and its links to my unforgettable and enriching undergraduate experience at Homerton can be found here.
As I described last year, one of our aims is to be a Global Knowledge Hub for health education content and activities that anyone can use for free, with children, their families and in their classrooms and health programmes. From April 2018, we started tracking numbers of downloads and the countries where the material was being downloaded. By the end of November, we had reached 5,195 downloads in a total of 105 countries!
Translating our Content and Activities
In 2018, our 100 health messages for children to learn and share were translated into 18 languages, most of which are available on the website here.
Here is a testimonial from Simon Collery who works for Watoto Kicheko, Tanzania. He responded with this message after our content had been translated into Swahili:
“I’m delighted to hear that the content will be available in Swahili, the TAs are all Swahili speakers and English is not so widely understood in these contexts. I also think the content is of the highest quality, and I realize just how much effort and resources it will save us by not having to do the work that you have done. I have had a look around your site and can see that there is plenty of content that we can use over the coming years, so I would be revisiting the site whenever I need some materials. Small NGOs can benefit considerably, and save a lot of scarce funds, by availing of free content like this.”
We are still in the process of making downloadable PDF booklets for each new language. It was very satisfying to respond to enquiries from people dealing with the floods in Kerala in August.
This year we completed two Children for Health topic posters, one on Malaria and another on Nutrition and within weeks of publishing these they were downloaded hundreds of times by people all over the world. We involved field experts to help us develop the posters and the collaborative process we used gave us the opportunity to look again at our sets of 10 message on each topic, revise them a little and add ideas on how practitioners can implement the messages and use the poster with children. Shortly after publication, messages from users of the posters came flooding in – some of them saying how the posters would structure the curriculum of training programmes for teachers and health workers.
Here are some testimonials:
“Children for Health’s 10 messages series is a fantastic resource for organizations working to improve healthy behaviours and practices in low income settings globally. I have no doubt this new malaria poster will help empower children with basic knowledge on malaria, how they could protect themselves and their families, and be the agents of change in their communities helping save lives.” – Zaeem Haq, Head of Technical for East & Southern Africa, Malaria Consortium
“The short, action-oriented messages in this educational poster are valuable to promoting continual, visible communication on nutrition. These family- and community-based essential actions for good nutrition show that malnutrition must be addressed by many stakeholders.” – Carol Browne, Health and Nutrition Communication Consultant, South Africa
“The simple yet effective messaging in this poster has the potential to transform lives one child at a time!”- Mamsallah Faal-Omisore, Family Physician/Health Educator, Lagos, Nigeria
Here a link to our Nutrition Poster if you’d like to take a closer look.
Travels to Cambodia
I have just returned from Cambodia where I did a short piece of work with Save the Children on adolescent nutrition. What was really wonderful about this visit was being able to share lessons and ideas from our work in Mozambique that seemed as useful and relevant to the Cambodia context.
It was great to see our posters and our training tools translated into Khmer! It filled me with confidence that all our content and activities can travel and be applied everywhere.
Nutrition and Eye Health Research
Our friends will remember our academic partners at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). This has been a (very) slow burn but we hope to be working with the nutrition department next year and we have begun our collaboration with Peek Vision and their work on Eye Health in Zimbabwe.
It’s also exciting to be working on the eye health programme with our valued college Sarah Newton, an adolescent behaviour specialist whose work I’ve known and followed for a decade. We expect to be developing a simple model we have called ‘The Rainbow Circle’ that young adolescents themselves can use to investigate ways to best develop or change health practices amongst their friends and family. We’d expect this model to be adaptable for any country or context.
We are thinking!
This year we have begun an enjoyable partnership with Sarah Huxley who has written two very good think pieces on our blog. Please read and share these with others who might be interested:
- Who nurtures young adolescent care givers?
- Why are adolescents and children still so often left out of community engagement strategies?
Our Hawes-Morley Outstanding Partner Award 2018 was given to John Pettigrew who has given his time to Children for Health on many occasions. John converted a 26-page document translated into 18 languages into separate HTML files that were then uploaded onto our website. Read more about John here!
More! More! More!
There is so much more to tell you but I understand there may be a limit to what you will want to read! I hope that you are interested and will read our annual report. Also, more, much more, will be shared on our blog each month!
Thank you supporters!
Thank you community!
Thanks especially to my wonderful Trustees: Madeleine, Tobias, Shelley and Anise. To John for your help this year. To David for your fantastic art work. To Liz for your work on our stories. To Amy and Jean for your ongoing work on the blog and the website and to Sarah for your incredible patience and support as we have grown our work together and lastly to ARM and to Neil for your incredible generosity.
Dear friends, please stay alongside us. We need you more than you can know!
Best wishes for 2019!