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 2, 2011

Increasing Impact for Girls in Bangladesh

Kishoree Kontha program
Kishoree Kontha program

During the past four years, over 42,400 adolescent girls in 458 villages were reached through Save the Children’s Kishoree Kontha (Adolescent Girls’ Voices) research program in southern Bangladesh’s Barisal Division.

The program’s goal was to reduce poverty by improving the health, education, economic opportunity, and social well-being of adolescent girls. Participants received a structured set of four different intervention packages, with each village within the target area randomly allocated to one of the intervention packages. In addition to a control group, the packages included: (1) a basic package of literacy, social competency, and reproductive health training; (2) a livelihoods package which included the basic package plus financial literacy training and participation in savings groups; (3) a full package which included all of the above, plus a nutrition incentive of cooking oil conditional on delayed marriage; and (4) solely a conditional nutrition incentive of cooking oil.

The program was implemented in partnership with the Bangladesh Development Society and the U.S.-based Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT, which serves as the research partner.

Initial quantitative and qualitative findings indicate that interventions positively impacted girls’ confidence, involvement in community activities, parental perceptions of girls, school retention, age of marriage and first pregnancy, and other indicators of girls’ empowerment. Using the Developmental Assets Profile[1]—a self-administered questionnaire measuring the personal and community assets young people need to succeed throughout adolescence—Save the Children found that girls who received the basic training package experienced an increase from a “fair” to “good” level of developmental assets. These assets included knowledge, skills, behavioral competencies, and positive experiences (self esteem, family support, reading for pleasure, etc.) that have a proven correlation with positive youth behaviors. A qualitative assessment in April/May 2010 found positive changes in community perception and treatment of adolescent girls, as well as increased social capital among girls in the program and cases of delayed marriage and first pregnancy.

In addition to targeted interventions designed to empower adolescent girls and increase age of marriage, Kishoree Kontha piloted Safe Savings Groups which developed girls’ financial literacy and laid the groundwork for economic empowerment. Save the Children found, through qualitative research, that this was a critical component in increasing girls’ well-being, giving families the means to realize positive changes for girls such as school retention and delayed marriage.

 


 

[1] Developed by the US-based SEARCH Institute

Feb 28, 2011

Community Health Workers in Nicaragua

Community health worker in Nicaragua
Community health worker in Nicaragua

Community health workers are critically important to newborn and child survival in northern Nicaragua. For 75 percent of the population, poor roads and difficult terrain make it difficult to reach much-needed healthcare. Save the Children is working with communities to ensure the affordable solutions that save children’s lives are available even in the most remote areas.

We are training, equipping and supporting existing community health workers – brigadistas – to provide treatment for babies and young children.

In 35 communities, 360 brigadistas have already treated pneumonia, diarrhea and dysentery using simple tools – antibiotics, re-hydration solution and zinc tablets. We have also taught parents to recognize the signs of common childhood infections and how to seek help. This approach has been so successful that we are expanding it to 100 communities and are working with health agencies to include community-based care in the Nicaraguan child health strategy.

We plan to adapt and apply lessons learned in Nicaragua to programs in other Latin American countries. We know we cannot tackle this problem alone. As well as working with communities, we are collaborating with other organizations, governments and donors. By working together we will magnify our voice and our impact, and make saving children’s lives a shared global priority.

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Feb 28, 2011

Student Councils in Afghanistan

Student elections in Balkh Province
Student elections in Balkh Province

Save the Children believes that children’s participation in school processes is critical for both their comfort and their success in school.  We therefore work with teachers and students to establish student councils that provide students with the platform to share issues affecting them with school authorities.

During 2010, Save the Children's education team worked with school authorities in Afghanistan to establish student councils in the 181 schools where we work.  The team also facilitated a forum for children to select (through voting) their council members.  The process of selecting representatives to the student council of each school was carried out by the children themselves, with the support of their teachers, and the active participation of education department representatives in each district. 

Save the Children also provided training to student-council representatives on the Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC), child protection, the use of alternative forms of discipline other than corporal punishment, and the promotion of non-violent learning environments within their respective schools.  The student representatives were also oriented on how to develop and promote positive conflict-resolution techniques among their peers. The skills acquired by these student representatives will be vital in creating friendly learning environments for all children, which in turn will yield positive learning outcomes.

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