We live in strange times and I hope this finds everyone safe and well.
In 2014, we responded quickly to the Ebola crisis and some may remember our ‘Safe, Strong and Smiling’ programme that resulted in a mobile website, a poster (in three languages) and a storybook. We co-created these resources with experts and teachers on the ground in Freetown, Sierra Leone. So many of the key lifeskills messages are relevant for these times too.
In the first week of ‘lockdown’ here in the UK, we created a list of 30 messages specifically on COVID-19 for children to learn and share. Not our final list, but (as always) a starter list for discussion with medical and education practitioners. However, because we have had very little engagement from our usual networks (they are busy!), we have not felt able to publish this content yet. Here instead, is some resources we have found which we think are useful.
On the whole, we only go to the WHO, UNICEF and government websites for our source materials. WHO is describing the MIS-information as an ‘infodemic’ and, this week, we have participated in two seminars about this, to learn how we can contribute to ensuring that all COVID-19 related info is accurate, and clear and the blight of misinformation tackled.
In the last 12 months, we have put a great deal of effort into fundraising and especially making links with new donors and partners. These relationships can often take 1-2 years to develop. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen an immediate downturn in our income and prospects. Three projects, quite advanced in the planning, which we expected to start this year have been put ‘on hold’; several grants that we planned to apply for, are now closed to all but frontline COVID-19-related work; a large event that was raising money for us has been cancelled; and individual donors who had pledged support are no longer able to do so. We are doing all we can to get ready for new partnerships and possibilities. It’s important to stay positive.
After this crisis has passed we know that people will have deeper empathy for the public health work we do and be profoundly touched by the staggering numbers of children who suffer or die in our world each year due to preventable causes.
Towards the end of 2019, we saw an increase in the number of regular supporters to Children for Health and this is WONDERFUL! We are striving to reach 100 regular supporters and we still have a way to go. We are notified each time a donation comes through and it feels like a cheer and a hug. If YOU are one of our regular supporters THANK YOU so much! If not, might you consider becoming one? We need you more than ever. Here is the donation link.
Since our last newsletter our LinkedIn community has grown a great deal and some of these new contacts are joining our community here too. If you are one of these… WELCOME!
We have SO MUCH to update you on at Children for Health that in the rest of this newsletter we share links to the blog to click for more details. If you only have time to look at ONE thing, take a look at our slide deck on our field work with the children in Mozambique. More details on it below.
In February 2020, Clare and Bibiche Sangwa (our colleague who has been involved in this work for nine years), spent four days with 29 children aged 10-14 at a primary school in Changara, Tete Province. Alongside education advisers from the Province and the District and teachers from the school, we demonstrated how the Children for Health approach works. We demonstrated the children’s capacity to quickly identify health issues of concern, learn about them, find creative ways to communicate health messages for behaviour change, and develop simple activity plans that addressed nutritional and health issues relevant to their school and community. We put together a report that includes the background to this project. It’s quick to view on the slide share platform and we think you will really enjoy the many photos!
We have six posts on our blog highlighting aspects of the field work there. Here is one of them.
During ‘lockdown’ Clare has been very pleased to present the work of Children for Health at:
We are very pleased to have begun a programme with a team at the University of Loughborough using versions of our messages and other content to create flash cards for use with children and by children at home with their families in a Mayan community in Mexico. The content we develop together will be translated into Spanish and Maya and focus on Nutrition, Physical Activity, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and the Stimulation and Development of Young Children. The team have baseline data from previous projects so this intervention will be able to track the impact of the children’s messaging and activities on the health and well-being of their families. We hope to be involved in field work in October.
We are quite far advanced in developing partnerships with:
We do so hope that these potential partnerships are ‘on hold’ and that we will soon be able to resume our work to make these important programmes happen.
Thanks, as always to the Children for Health wonderful Trustees: Madeleine, Tobias, Shelley and Anise, to David and Liz for the artwork and stories and to Amy and Jean for your ongoing work on our website.
Thanks so, so much to our regular donors old and new.
…and thanks to the very many hundreds of people and organisations all over the world using our content and approaches! Do get in touch and tell us your stories.
CEO, Children for Health April 2020