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.
Mar 17, 2015

UN Security Council Gets a "Fail" Grade on Syria

Syria
Syria

The agencies today released a scathing critique of the UN Security Council powers detailing how they have failed to alleviate the suffering of civilians in Syria amid intensifying conflict four years after the start of the crisis.

Despite three Security Council resolutions adopted in 2014 that demanded action to secure protection and assistance for civilians, humanitarian access to large parts of Syria has diminished and more people are being killed, displaced and are in need of help than ever before, according to the report "Failing Syria."

In the hard-hitting report agencies present a score card that compares the demands made in the Security Council resolutions last year, with the reality on the ground. The grim statistics reveal how the resolutions have been ignored or undermined by the parties to the conflict, members of the Security Council and other UN member states, leading to the worst year of the crisis for civilians:

  • People are not protected: 2014 has seen reports of 76,000 people killed in the conflict out of a total of at least 220,000 deaths over four years.
  • Aid access has not improved: 4.8 million people reside in areas defined by the UN as "hard to reach," 2.3 million more than in 2013.
  • Humanitarian needs have increased: 5.6 million children are in need of aid, a 31 percent increase since 2013.
  • Humanitarian funding has decreased compared to needs: In 2013, 71% of the funds needed to support civilians inside Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries were provided. In 2014, this had declined to 57%.

"The bitter reality is that the Security Council has failed to implement its resolutions. Last year was the darkest year yet in this horrific war. Parties to the conflict have acted with impunity and ignored the Security Council's demands, civilians are not protected and their access to relief has not improved," said Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland.

Fewer people were reached via inter-agency convoys from Damascus in 2014 compared to 2013 (1.1 million compared to 2.9 million), and less than half of the requests were accepted by the government of Syria. Some assistance has been entering across the borders from neighboring countries, but out of Syria's 34 border crossings, only five are currently open for humanitarian convoys, nine are restricted and the remainder are closed.

"Across Syria, children are missing out on their education because we cannot reach them, many schools have been destroyed and parents are afraid to send their children for fear their schools will be attacked," said Save the Children's Regional Director Roger Hearn. "While heroic humanitarian workers risk their lives to give essential aid and services, millions of Syrians remain out of reach, not only because of fighting and a worsening situation but also because of lack of funding and bureaucratic hurdles."

The humanitarian organizations are calling on UN member states, including the permanent members of the Security Council, to go beyond words and ensure the resolutions are fully implemented.

"The Security Council's words now ring hollow. The last year has seen little concrete action from parties to the conflict and governments with influence to tackle the spiralling humanitarian crisis in Syria. What good is a resolution to a mother whose house has been bombed and children are hungry if it is ignored and undermined? It is time for powerful governments to stop fuelling the conflict, significantly scale up humanitarian assistance to meet people's immediate needs and push the warring parties towards a political solution. Russia, the US and other states have the political and diplomatic influence to make the changes set out in the resolution real; there is no more time to lose", said Andy Baker, who heads Oxfam's response to the Syria crisis.

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Mar 17, 2015

A Wake Up Call - Lessons From Ebola

Ebola
Ebola

Health systems throughout the developing world need to be strengthened to prevent another Ebola-style outbreak, or worse, warns Save the Children in its new report ‘A Wake Up Call: Lessons from Ebola for the world’s health systems’.

The report ranks the world’s poorest countries on the state of their public health systems, finding that 28 have weaker defenses in place than Sierra Leone where, alongside Liberia and Guinea, the current Ebola crisis has already claimed more than 9,500 lives.

The report also advises that prevention is better than cure, finding that the international Ebola relief effort in West Africa has cost $4.3bn, whereas strengthening the health systems of those countries in the first place would have cost just $1.58bn.

Ahead of an Ebola summit attended by world leaders in Brussels today, the charity warns that alongside immediate much needed support to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, lessons need to be learned and applied to other vulnerable countries around the world.

President and CEO of Save the Children USA, Carolyn Miles, said: “A robust health system could have helped get Ebola under control much sooner, saving thousands of children’s lives and billions of dollars.

“Without trained health workers and a functioning health system in place, it’s more likely that an epidemic could spread across international borders with catastrophic effects.

“The world woke up to Ebola but now people need to wake up to the scandal of weak health systems, which not only risk new diseases spreading, but also contribute to the deaths of 17,000 children each day from preventable causes like pneumonia and malaria.”

The reports’ index looks at the numbers of health workers, government spending on health, and mortality rates. Somalia ranks lowest, and is preceded by Chad, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Haiti, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic (CAR), Guinea, Niger, and then Mali.

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Feb 20, 2015

Sisters Transform Their Homes with a Goat

The Perez sisters with their children
The Perez sisters with their children

Margarita and Juana are sisters, they share their joys, sadness, hopes, and dreams. They learn from each other’s experiences.

Three years ago, Adolfo, Margarita’s son, was weighed and included in the list of underweight boys and girls in the Xevitz community, located in the municipality of Nebaj in the Department of Quiché. Margarita was concerned and she registered him in Save the Children’s project Improving Food Security and Health for Families in Coffee-Growing Areas in Guatemala, which taught her about integral goat management.

After 3 months, Margarita started to see the results of owning and taking care of a goat in her home, since the weight of her child started to increase as a result of the glass of goat milk that she gave him every day.

However, this was not the only benefit; other benefits from the goat also included improvements in the household budget. As she says, by using organic fertilizer and goat urine, they do not have to buy chemical fertilizer, and this has resulted in household savings. “Now my land is stronger and this year, my corn is greener than it was last year.”

At present, Margarita López Pérez, her husband Tomás García Simón, and their son, Juan Adolfo García, are happier, since they have improved their quality of life. Margarita shared the information on the benefits that the goat had brought to her home with her sister, Juana, who sought the support of the project to establish a goat module in her home.

With support from Global Giving throughout the Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala (7097) project, Juana and other families in the region implemented goat modules in the community. As a result of this, Juana started to give goat milk to her grandson, Edgar Roberto Matom Hermoso, who is 4 years old and was also underweight, according to the weight and height monitoring performed in the community.

“I was very happy to learn that my sister had realized how really helpful it is to have a goat, since we do not have a monthly salary to buy milk for our children, and feeding and keeping a goat in ideal conditions helps us in many ways. I hope that she can help her grandson, who really needs it”, Margarita says.

The sisters’ experience was positive, and Margarita’s older son, Felipe Rolando López García, 22 years old, requested support to install a module in his home. He, along with Marta Rivera Marcos, his wife, told us about the benefits of the goat and how they wanted their baby, Tomás Emilio, to grow up healthy.

Thus, they asked for support to start their goat module in their home. “I feel very good and I am very happy, since my family, my sister’s family, as well as my son’s family are experiencing the benefit of owning a goat, which are not limited to providing milk, but also include other benefits obtained from it. I hope that other families in my community realize what we are doing and that they can do the same thing”, said Doña Margarita López Pérez.

Thanks to you for contribute in improving children's nutrition in Guatemala!

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