End of 2014 Update

By Clare Hanbury, Founder, Director Children for Health

Our second full year as a charity has seen some incredible strides forward for Children for Health. Even being a small and young organisation, we are already beginning to make an impact on the programmes of multinational aid organisations, improving the effectiveness of their activities by recruiting children as health ambassadors within their own families and communities.

In March 2014, we signed a comprehensive and broad-ranging agreement with Save the Children, to work together in three specific areas:

  1. Provide practical support  in engaging children in a meaningful way, while ensuring their safety, in Save programmes;
  2. Provide targeted technical support on Children’s Participation and child-friendly approaches to health education on current programmes,  focusing on issues around high maternal, child and new-born mortality and morbidity; and
  3. Collaborate together to create a bank of open-source CfH-branded child-friendly messages to support health education interventions across health and nutrition programmes, to be delivered using mobile technology and social media.

I am delighted to report that our partnership is flourishing: here are some of the programmes we currently have on-going with Save the Children in 2014:

  • Pakistan – we are providing technical support for Save UK’s Diarrhoea Prevention and Control programme, another of Save’s Signature Programmes.
  • Nigeria – Children for Health has helped facilitate a pioneering partnership between Save the Children UK and the Hygiene unit at the London School of Hygiene & Topical Medicine (LSHTM) to conduct a piece of formative research looking at the drivers of behaviour change in children. This will be linked to one of Save UK’s ‘Signature Programmes’ in Nigeria.
  • Sierra Leone – The Ebola Crisis meant that our work in Sierra Leone this October had to be postponed indefinitely. This is an action research programme looking at how children can contribute to the ‘Integrated Community Case Management’ approach (ICCM) to health education and health promotion. The programme is very well thought-out and Ebola permitting it is likely that Save the Children in Sierra Leone will re-commission it once the epidemic is contained. We expect to be liaising with colleagues at Save the children in Sierra Leone as we develop our ‘app’ (see below)

The CfH Collection – with a contribution from Save the Children UK, we are developing a bank of health messages and resources that can be used across Save’s health and nutrition programmes. This includes website and app development, as well as development of specific field tools.

Through the encouragement of partners met in the ‘CHIFA’ forum (Child Health Information For All) Children for Health has become involved in the international response to the ongoing Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone. We have created special messages for children in families and communities impacted by the disease, to try to address some of the confusion and misinformation that exists, and with schools closed. The messages have been admired and recommended for their relevance and compassion, and are now being incorporated into a specially-developed app. Funding for this initiative has come from an additional grant from ARM as well as the United Methodist Church of Nashville, for which we are very grateful. Our messages have already been sent via mobile to many thousands of young people in Southern Africa through www.Every1Mobile.com with whom we will be developing other projects next year. In the first 24 hours that our content went ‘live’; 17500 young people accessed our content and 2500 took a quiz that had been designed around our content.

The Children for Health Nutrition project in Mozambique – which used to be called CPLAN but is now called PCAAN – has developed and expanded, and has gone from strength to strength. Clare has been to Mozambique twice in 2014 to drive the project forward in partnership with DANIDA, the programme funder, and SETSAN teams from the local government. The programme is aimed at addressing up to 38% under-nutrition in the under 5’s in a district that has  abundant food through teaching the principles of balanced diet in schools, with children then children taking this learning back to their homes and families through games, songs and role plays. Our Children for Health mascots ZuZu & ZaZa have been very active, and we are developing a series of books entitled “ZuZu & ZaZa Go, Grow and Glow with Health”!

This brings me to our next exciting initiative: Stories for Health. We are developing a series of storybooks to complement our existing work with The 100 – the 10 key messages in 10 health categories which form the basis of our work in every country. Stories for Health will be a collection of downloadable children’s adventure stories which incorporate basic health education into their storylines, with ZaZa & ZuZu as heroes. We are in early discussions to have them re-purposed as audio books to achieve penetration into communities where literacy is poor.

We rely on both corporate and individual funders to support and sustain our work. We would like to express our continuing appreciation for ARM architecture, who have been with us since the inception, and their Director of CSR, Dominic Vergine. We are also very grateful to Dr. Sam Agbo at Save the Children, whose enthusiasm for Children for Health was the motivation behind many of the Save programmes that we are now working on today. Sam has now left Save to return to Angola, and will be missed. We appreciate the support of all the Save teams, and particularly: Paula Valentine.

2015 is the 300th anniversary of Allen & Hanburys, and we are in discussions with GSK to celebrate this historic milestone with a benefit dinner in aid of Children for Health in November 2015. We will send details nearer the time.

I would like to express my appreciation here of our Board of Trustees – Dr. Stephen Gillam, Madeleine Kavanagh, Shelley de Breton and Tobias Hanbury – who have worked tirelessly during 2014 to help Children for Health become established.

Finally, I would like to say thank you to all the Friends and Supporters of Children for Health. Your support and generosity are crucial in our early years, and I hope you will agree that we have made great progress in 2014.

Happy Christmas and my best wishes for 2015!

Clare

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