Save the Children Federation

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children. Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.
Jul 29, 2015

Nepal 3 Month Report

Nepal Earthquake
Nepal Earthquake

In one of the largest ever child consultations undertaken following a disaster, nearly 2,000 children who survived the earthquakes in Nepal have expressed fear and insecurity at having to live in tents and overcrowded shelters, anxiety about the risks to their health from unsanitary conditions, and worry about their future if they cannot return to school.

The aid organizations that carried out the consultations – Plan International, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision – highlight the need to strengthen the resilience of communities against major disasters. They also warn of severe risks to children’s health, well-being and protection during the monsoon season unless urgent humanitarian needs are met.

In the research released today, children shared their top priorities as adequate shelter, to be able to return to school and to have access to safe water supplies, sanitation and health care. After the earthquake: Nepal’s children speak out reveals the deep fears and anxieties of children, who are among the hundreds of thousands of people whose homes were destroyed.

Girls and boys described the difficulties of living in temporary shelters that were neither water or wind-proof in the aftermath of the earthquakes.

“Our shelter is at high risk of heavy storms. We were forced to stay awake for a whole night to hold on to the tarpaulins to save them from blowing away,” said a young boy in Nuwakot, one of the 14 most affected districts where children were consulted.

Save the Children’s Humanitarian Advisor and author of the report, Lucia Withers said: “Tens of thousands of children are living in inadequate shelters. Despite efforts to help earthquake-affected communities, it is still a race against time to provide basic needs of shelter, sanitation and protection.”

Children expressed concern about the lack of privacy and space, with some younger children fearing attacks of wild animals. Girls in particular reported feeling vulnerable in shelters shared with extended families and neighbors, while others felt subjected to sexual harassment and feared an increase in trafficking.

“Living under the sky increases our exposure to abuse,” said an adolescent girl from Sindhupalchowk – a district hit by the earthquakes.

World Vision’s Nepal Earthquake Response Operations Manager Admir Bajrami said, “With the monsoon season intensifying, we must act quickly and effectively to ensure the welfare of earthquake-affected children and their families is addressed. Children have lived through a hugely distressing experience which has also disrupted their education and they urgently need psychosocial support to recover.”

Children who took part in the consultation provided detailed and practical recommendations on how to rebuild their lives and communities, including the need for earthquake-resistant homes, schools and other buildings. Children also want to be better prepared for future earthquakes.

“I want to see earthquake-resistant houses built in flat areas with trees planted,” said a teenage boy from Sindhupalchowk.

Children suggested that schools be run in tents or other temporary shelters until new schools have been built and called upon the government to replace the books, stationery and other school materials that were buried under the rubble of their homes.

Furthermore, they called for stronger protection for themselves and other children in their communities.

Plan International’s Head of Disaster Preparedness and Response, Dr Unni Krishnan said: “Children’s lives in earthquake-affected areas have been turned upside down. The world must wake up to the fact that it is absolutely critical that children are factored in for any disaster preparedness and response efforts to be successful.”

Despite the huge challenges faced by the earthquake survivors, children also talked of communities rallying to help each other. In the consultation, children showed remarkable levels of resilience and optimism highlighting that their lives would normalize and even improve through the support of their communities.

UNICEF Deputy Representative Dr. Rownak Khan said: “These children have provided us with valuable insights that could have been missed by adult eyes. These suggestions now need to guide our programs in the rest of the country, to better prepare all communities in Nepal for impending disasters.”

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Jun 8, 2015

Genetic Improvement at the Community Level

Don Gaspar and his wife, Jacinta
Don Gaspar and his wife, Jacinta

At the beginning of 2013, Save the Children implemented elite modules, which were provided with support from ABC News and the project Improving Food Security and Health for Families in Coffee-Growing Areas in Guatemala

Gaspar, 65 years old, and his wife, Jacinta, 63 years old, joined the Project due to their experience and interest.

The aim of elite modules is for them to be collection and training centers to benefit nearby communities. To that end, they were given 5 milk goats of different breeds, which are able to produce 1.5 liters of milk each.

Gaspar lives at the Actxumbal community, better known as “LA PISTA”, which is located in the municipality of Nebaj, in the Department of Quiché, 8 kilometers from the municipal capital, and accessed by means of a dirt road. It is there that the project started with 5 adult goats and now, there are 16 goats, whose 11 kids were born from imported studs. “It is obvious that these animals are finer and that they have better reproductive characteristics, and I see a significant difference between them and the one I had before”, explained Gaspar.

But this was not so before. Don Gaspar stated that in previous years, he raised goats extensively and empirically, since he did not have the proper goats for adequate production, nor the appropriate facilities for proper management.

“I had been looking for support, not only to build facilities, but also to acquire knowledge, training, and technical advice about goat management, but unfortunately, I had not found help for this type of goat production. Then, ASAUNIXIL (local association) recommended me to Save the Children, to be one of the candidates to receive an elite module. After a series of evaluations, trainings and consultancies, I was able to achieve my desired project. That is why now I have appropriate facilities, milk goats, and technical knowledge on goat raising.”

This is a result of Gaspar’s and his family’s efforts. They have been trained on several issues. “By implementing this module, they have been providing me with support on several issues relating to goat management, as well as on sub-production of goat-derived products.”

The training that he has received has helped him, and reproducing goats with good-quality imported studs has improved his herd.

“As a result of this project, I have improved my small farm, and I have been able to support my grandchildren so that they can drink milk and eat cheese and goat meat”, said Gaspar.

But the benefits have not only been evident in the family, but also for the community. “I provide support by training new beneficiaries who will be receiving goats. I tell them about my experience and I show them that goats are a good alternative to fight malnutrition among my people, and besides, that the benefits I obtain include organic fertilizers to use on my crops.”

Jun 4, 2015

For Babies, It's Survival of the Richest

State of the World Mother
State of the World Mother's Report

As more and more mothers seek better opportunities for their children in urban areas, Save the Children's new report, State of the World's Mothers 2015: The Urban Disadvantage looks at the real story behind the bright lights of the big city. Focusing on the health and survival of urban children, the findings, released today, uncover a hidden truth.

"Our new report reveals a devastating child survival divide between the haves and have-nots, telling a tale of two cities among urban communities around the world, including the United States," said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. "For babies born in the big city, it's survival of the richest."

For the first time in history, more than half of the world's population lives in urban areas. But many cities are unable to keep up with the breakneck pace of urban growth, leaving one-third of all urban residents—including hundreds of millions of mothers and children—to live in slums, where a lack of clean water, basic sanitation and health services can equal death.

Yet, average national and urban child survival statistics tell a deceptively positive story. They show that in developing nations children living in big cities are surviving at higher rates than those living in smaller towns or rural areas. But these numbers mask the fact that a child's survival in the city too often is dependent on the family's wealth.

Save the Children's report reveals a harrowing reality for urban moms and their children living in poverty throughout the developing world:

  • In two-thirds of the countries surveyed, the poorest urban children are at least twice as likely to die as the richest urban children.
  • The disparity in child survival rates between the rich and poor in urban areas has widened over roughly the past two decades in nearly half of the 40 developing nations surveyed.
  • According to the report, in 60 percent of developing nations surveyed, city children living in poverty are more likely to die than those living in rural areas.
  • The 10 countries with the greatest survival divide between wealthy and poor urban children are: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, India, Madagascar, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda and Vietnam. In these countries, children from poor families are 3 to 5 times as likely to die as children from wealthy families.

The gap between the health of the rich and poor is just as prevalent in big cities in some of the wealthiest nations:

  • In Washington, D.C. for example, babies in the lowest income neighborhood are more than 10 times more likely to die than babies in the wealthiest part of the city.
  • In a ranking of child survival in 25 capital cities in the wealthiest countries, Washington, D.C. came in last. Joining our nation's capital at the bottom of the list are: Vienna (Austria), Bern (Switzerland), Warsaw (Poland) and Athens (Greece).
  • Leading the list of capitals where babies are most likely to survive are: Prague (Czech Republic), Stockholm (Sweden), Oslo (Norway), Tokyo (Japan) and Lisbon (Portugal).

However, the report has also uncovered some good news. It has identified a number of cities that are making significant gains for the poorest children, including Addis Ababa (Ethiopia); Cairo (Egypt); Guatemala City (Guatemala); Kampala (Uganda); Manila (Philippines); and Phnom Penh (Cambodia). These cities are working to increase access to basic maternal, newborn, and child services; raise health awareness; and make care more affordable and accessible to the poorest urban families.

"The survival of millions of children in cities should not be a privilege for the rich, but guaranteed for all," said Miles. "We call on our leaders not to forget these mothers and children struggling to survive in the shadows of our bustling metropolises. We must invest in making quality health care more accessible and affordable to all moms and babies."

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