A quick round-up of a great year!
Our overriding aim for the year was to start becoming a Global Knowledge Hub of health education content for children that anyone could use for free with their families and in their classrooms and programmes. In 2017 we have had much more activity on our website, lots of people joining our community and with our steady contributions to relevant groups and forums, we have really accelerated the interest in our work. So much so that in the last weeks of the year we received a fantastic and exciting invitation to include our content in an off-line gadget that provides families without an internet connection throughout India the health information they need to lead healthier, happier lives. We are now in the throes of translating much of our core content into the 18 main languages spoken in India.
This year we completed our Children for Health vision poster. This can be downloaded for free here.
Our planned Children for Health Online Training Course has not yet been funded, but we have been experimenting with video and so far I have made 22 videos that we are beginning to put online; we continue to seek funding to develop the full course.
It is extremely important that we connect with friends – old and new each month and make visible the work we do developing messages, story books, posters, lessons and training plans. Also, we like to celebrate the amazing work others have done in our field so this year we have spent much more time blogging and on social media to highlight the fascinating work of others. In October, we focussed on Accidents & Preventing Injuries and in November on Sexual Health, HIV & AIDS. Take a look at our very rich content in these two topics and make sure you are connected to us via our Facebook Page and Twitter Feed.
As well as the potential of the BIG reach into India, it was great to spend time throughout 2017 on Skype with several individual health professionals and educators working in Africa who have found and adapted our content and activities for their schools and community health programmes. They contacted us to say thank you and tell us about their work. We have also led and participated in several webinars. We have seen our content and activities woven into programmes all over the world. This brings us great joy!
Through our partnership with Save the Children on their Diarrhoea Prevention & Control programmes, this year we are reaching over 14,000 children in Nigeria and very many more in India. We conducted training in Lagos and finalised two versions of each of four handbooks. These are now being distributed and used by teachers in their classrooms in the Save the Children programs.
It would be hard for us to avoid the righteous noise around the need for more engagement with Mental Health, and at the tail end of 2017 we began this new work. We are working with our trusted, long-term friend, Sarah Newton and next year we aim to bring experts who have worked on Mental Health in difficult settings to help us get this right. We envisage developing messages – a poster, a storybook and activities – for educators to use in large classrooms. Our focus is, as always, on what children can do to help themselves and each other. We are inspired by the work of Jane McGonagall. We are building upon my work in numerous refugee settings and my work with children living on the street where addressing the psychosocial needs of children comes first in any programme hoping to reach them.
We are delighted to have concluded 2017 with a flurry of funding pledges for this year’s activities. In the last two weeks we raised over £15,600 and we are still receiving pledges today. The donations raised in 2017 will be matched by our seed donor ARM, who have been alongside us since our beginnings. What has been especially useful are the personal introductions friends have given us to companies and foundations that they know. An introduction seems to short-cut what can be the arduous and time-consuming process of getting in front of the right people. Do let us know if you can help!
If there is one thing that has made 2017 distinctive it’s been our success in connecting with academic partners at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). I have mentioned these connections before, but this year we have been getting closer and closer to being called upon to contribute to some fascinating research programmes. We have been approached and met with three separate departments: nutrition, eye health and hygiene – with the idea of contributing ideas to the design and delivery of their research programmes in Malawi, Botswana and Ethiopia.
Towards the end of 2017, we played an important role in two research meetings – one in Abu Dhabi convened by the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the University of the United Arab Emirates, and one in London organised by Save the Children, LSHTM and the Emergency Nutrition Network. At both meetings it was concluded that the highest priority was to investigate the added impact of involving and empowering young adolescents as agents of change in nutrition education programming. More than this, it’s looking likely that I will be directly involved in building this evidence.
There is so much more to tell you but there is a limit to what you will want to read. I hope that you are interested and will read our annual report, which we expect to publish in February. This will have much more detail reflecting on our work in 2017 and looking forward to 2018. Also more, much more, will be shared on our blog each month!
Thank you supporters!
Thank you community!
Thanks especially to John for your help this year and Neil for your incredible generosity. You know who you are!
The Children for Health fan base has grown hugely this year. We hope that you find it worthwhile attaching yourself to us. We love having you here alongside us. Please stay with us, and best wishes for 2018!