cake jpgWe find it incredible that ONE YEAR has passed since we launched Children for Health at the National Theatre in London on 7th March 2013. And what a year it has been!

Here is a short report on what we have been up to – in case you have not checked our blogs, or not checked your Facebook messages, or diverted our emails to your junk box, or muffled our tweets…

Well, we never imagined it would take so long to get our (excellent, splendid, well-intentioned) organisation registered with the Charity Commission. We took several (frustrating, arduous, head-banging) months proving we are not money-launderers (we are not)… and an even longer time navigating the complicated but important distinction between the Advancement of Education and the Advancement of Health. We are a charity whose objects are categorised primarily as for the Advancement of Education (because health education is education, right?)… but our ultimate objective is the Advancement of Health (because that is what health education brings, right?). So you can imagine what a kerfuffle that caused.

Thanks to the kind and diligent folks at the CC, we managed to sort all this out and, in July 2013, we were officially registered… 1153028 is our number and Children for Health is our name!

Phew! That would have been a real blow if it hadn’t worked out. But it did. Fund-raising without a place to put funds raised is like clapping with one hand. We are, and continue to be, very grateful to ARM who have ridden this storm with us, and provided seed funding and support in advance of (and since) our formal registration. Dominic Vergine is our key person at ARM, Director of Sustainable Development; here’s a picture of him at our launch last year, so you can thank him personally when you bump into him in Cambridge High Street:

Dominic Vergine speaking at the Children for Health Launch Party, March 7th 2013
Dominic Vergine speaking at the Children for Health Launch Party, March 7th 2013

Our next target was to approach GSK. Some of you may know that we have close ties to GSK here at Children for Health. Clare Hanbury (CfH Founder) and Tobias Hanbury (CfH Board Chairman) are both children of the late Peter Francis Gerard Hanbury, who worked his entire career at Allen & Hanburys and then at Glaxo after they acquired A&H in 1958. GSK were very complementary about the work we are doing, but like many large multinationals, like to focus their CSR activities and funds on a few global alliances (like Save the Children) rather than impetuous start-ups (like Children for Health). We left on good terms and promised them we would come back and knock on their door again when we were more grown-up.

Luckily for us, a man called Dr. Sam Agbo, Head of Health & HIV at Save the Children, came to our launch party last March. He loved our mission and understood that CfH could complement the work that Save is doing in many parts of the world. Just less than a year later, after many rounds of discussions and meetings, we are delighted to announce that Children for Health has recently completed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Save the Children, to help provide technical support and advice on children’s participation in health to many of their “signature” programmes as and when needed and relevant. We would like to acknowledge here the determination and commitment of our friends at Save the Children: Sam Agbo, Zaeem Ul Haq and Paula Valentine who have made all this possible! This thumbs up gives us credibility and confidence. We are growing up very fast!

Clare and Save the Children's Sam Agbo
Clare and Save the Children’s Sam Agbo

In one of those heart-warming coincidences, it turns out that Sue Allchurch, one of Tobias’s great friends at University, has recently become the Global Director of Communications & Marketing for Save the Children, and Sue is now helping us jointly to communicate our new partnership.

So that’s the news on the partnership side. What about actual activities at field level? Progress has been equally dramatic. Given that we are a small organisation, we decided initially to focus our time and resources helping with a flagship programme which was (i) funded (ii) relevant and (iii) scalable. The programme that came our way was the CPLAN (Children’s Participation in Learning & Action in Nutrition) initiative in Mozambique: a government-led pilot programme to develop the engagement and participation of children to help solve the problem of childhood stunting caused by under-nutrition. The project is funded by DANIDA (the Danish Government’s international aid organisation) who engaged CfH to lead the training events and to develop materials (Resource Manual and a Training Guide) and other tools to assist with implementation and monitoring. Children for Health also has expertise in the use of mobile for development and we are planning to monitor outputs using mobile applications as the programme matures. Discussions are also under-way for Children for Health to provide a training of trainers event, set up a ‘demonstration school’ and to be a mentor to the provincial and local teams to develop capacity.  After the pilot programme, the programme will be scaled to other districts and provinces in Mozambique.

Here are some photos of Clare in action:

Clare with children and Colleagues at Josina Machel Primary School, Tete
Clare facilitating learning on Children's Participation in Nutrition, Tsangano, Mozambique

That all sounds a bit technical. Let’s now talk about two infamous scarlet macaws that have changed our lives and are helping us save others: ZuZu & ZaZa.

Clare Hanbury and colleagues in Pakistan planning collaboration ZZ and the rainbow stick helping!
ZaZa and Zuzu with Clare and Colleagues at the NRSP in Pakistan

Everywhere we go, ZuZu & ZaZa go too. They have become our symbols, our mascots, our friends. They help lighten up the (sometimes) heavy subject of health education, and the children love them and remember them, and the messages they bring. And the adults, too.

In Mozambique, their multi-coloured wings represent the principles of a balanced diet. Wherever we go, ZuZu looks after ZaZa: the older sibling looking after the younger sibling.

Emma with her baby sister Sylvia
Emma with her baby sister Sylvia

ZuZu & ZaZa have made their way into the hearts of the children who we are teaching. And in 2014, they will become part of the Children for Health vocabulary across all our communications. We are hoping to have them available for Christmas 2014 to raise money. Watch this space.

Our friends reviewing the days work at a World Vision meeting in Bangkok!
Our friends reviewing the days work at a World Vision meeting in Bangkok!

Remember The 100? The 10 essential health messages in 10 critical health categories? Our mission is to equip every child in the developing world with this life-saving knowledge, ideally by the time they leave primary school. Just like they should leave primary school knowing their times tables.

We have developed a brilliant tool to encourage children to remember The 100 – The Rainbow Stick! Every health topic has a colour… and for every message…

A child carries a Rainbow Stick, Tsangano, Mozambique
A child carries a Rainbow Stick, Tsangano, Mozambique

…learned and shared in that topic, a ribbon is earned. The ribbons are collected, tied to a stick, and soon the child is proudly waving her/his Rainbow Stick with a hundred ribbons. Simple but strikingly effective.

This has become a long birthday message, because it has been a frantic and fruitful year. We hope you are pleased and impressed with the progress we have made. Here are some other things we are proud of:

  • We have developed some of the the content on our website
  • We have established a friendship with colleagues at the London School of Health & Tropical Medicine – we hope to have some news shortly on some specific initiatives
  • We have appointed Dr. Stephen Gillam as a new Trustee- Stephen is a practising medical doctor and Director of Public Health Teaching at the Clinical School, University of Cambridge.
  • We have conducted in-market research in partnership with Every1Mobile, exploring the health attitudes and behaviour of 10-17 year olds in South Africa.
  • Clare has been to Pakistan to explore a collaboration between CfH and the National Rural Support Programme, whose community schools (which she helped found many years ago) have now multiplied and become a strong network
  • The 100 essential health messages for children (in English) are now complete and have been reviewed by topic experts and panels of international health experts, ready for translation into local languages and dialects. They can be found by clicking each of the 10 topics.

Children for Health is proud to continue to work towards our mission:

Children for Health is dedicated to the promotion of basic health education in developing countries, and focused on developing children as the ambassadors and communicators of critical health messages in their communities, and using mobile phones, smart phones and other technology to reach them and their educators. This is based on three key observations: (i) children in impoverished communities play a vital role looking after their siblings and friends, often without adult presence or supervision; (ii) providing health information to these children in a relevant, fun and compelling way delivers immediate and lasting benefits in disease prevention and treatment; and (iii) penetration of mobile phones is very high, even in the poorest communities.

We are so grateful for the support of friends, sponsors, partners and funders throughout this amazing and exhausting year. If you would like to make a donation of any size to Children for Health, we would be very grateful. Just visit our website and click away.

Some of you have asked what our beautiful logo represents (and this would be a good moment to thank our wonderful designer Mark Pickthall who designed it. Well, we think this would be a good way to end our first birthday message…

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How our logo builds…

With many thanks and best wishes,

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Clare Hanbury
Founder & Director
Children for Health