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Newsletter for Quarter One April 2020

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.

New Publications

  • We are about to publish the Children’s Participation in Eye Health and the Promotion of Good Vision Teachers book. This is a project supported by Peek Vision that has been a very long time in the review stage. We can be confident that it’s a unique and useful resource.
  • Our Children’s Participation Diarrhoea Prevention and Control poster is now published in English and French and is being translated into a DRC local language, Tshiluba. This was co-created with the DRC Save the Children team. With thanks to the James Tudor Foundation and to Save the Children for their support.

Publications in Development

  • Girls in Sport
    In the last newsletter we let you know that our new book The Four Friends – Build a School was published.Since then we have been working directly with Worldreader to publish another storybook featuring The Four Friends and focussed on the theme of Girls in Sport. It’s great to be working on such a positive, creative project at this time.
  • Oral Health Poster
    We were very pleased to receive a grant from the Living Africa Fund and this has enabled us to develop messages for children and a poster on Oral Health. This is in the final stages of review.

Field Work in Mozambique

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.

Online Presentations

During ‘lockdown’ Clare has been very pleased to present the work of Children for Health at:

  • The Unite for Sight Global Health Innovation Conference. This was to take place at Yale University in the USA in April. We were not able to attend for lack of funding, but because the conference became ‘virtual’ we were invited to present our work. We understand that 4,000 delegates are registered and we hope they will enjoy Clare’s presentation. We will soon be uploading the presentation to slide share so that it is available to our community to enjoy and share.
  • The FRESH Working Group on Health Literacy, Life Skills & Social Inclusion. Access the webinar via YouTube.

Partnership with the University of Loughborough

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.

Other Partnerships

We are quite far advanced in developing partnerships with:

  1. A group in Uganda, looking to us to help develop the life skills and agency of adolescent girls living in difficult circumstances.
  2. A team in Guam wanting to focus on what children can do to help address health concerns in the society including obesity. This began as a storybook project. But seems to be growing into something bigger!
  3. A research group in Pakistan to test out the impact of young adolescent activities on health practices in their families re: immunisation, nutrition and communication.

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.

Our Digital Hub

  • Our average content downloads per month since December are well over 3,500 and our content is being discovered on the ‘Worldreader’ mobile platform. In December, we had 6,430 readers of our books on the Worldreader platform.
  • Our free content was downloaded 4,429 times from our website in March from 51 countries! Our most popular publication was The 100 Messages Booklet, downloaded 289 times in 69 countries! Have a browse and remind yourself what free resources we have on our website and share with your networks!

On the Blog

  • In January, February and March our focus was on three of our key topics: Caring for Babies & Young Children; Coughs, Colds & Pneumonia; and Immunisation. This month we focus on Malaria. There is plenty of information from us to find on these topics on social media. In addition to our regular topics here are links to other articles published in Quarter 1 2020.
  • March 24th was World TB day and it may be shocking to some to know that in 2018, an estimated 10 million people fell ill with Tuberculosis (TB) worldwide. 5.7 million men, 3.2 million women and 1.1 million children. There were cases in all countries and age groups. TB is curable and preventable. More details from the WHO.
  • We have been regularly publishing lesson/session plans from the 2020 LifeSkills Handbook, now available from the Children for Health website. This is the only publication with a pay wall, but those who cannot pay can apply for a free copy. The book has had a facelift from April 2020, so if you have purchased the book in the past and would like the new look, e-mail
  • Other posts

Thank You

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.

Clare Hanbury
CEO, Children for Health April 2020