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.
Feb 8, 2011

Bolivia: Program Update in Beni

Bolivia, with a population of approximately 10 million people, is the poorest country in South America.  Approximately half of Bolivia's rural population lives at least an hour away from the nearest health post, and some must walk over 10 hours to reach a health post, which may not be adequately staffed or supplied. 

Save the Children attempts to address these gaps and works to help improve the health and nutrition of children and their families.  In 2010, funds from GlobalGiving donors benefited our health and nutrition programs in the department of Beni.  There is a great need for assistance in Beni, as children and families are often faced with high levels of parasite infestation in children (greater than 60%), anemia (19%) and easily preventable childhood illnesses and disease (more than 43%).

Before Save the Children began to implement programs in Beni, 56 percent (21) of the communities did not have easy access to health centers or health posts, nor did they have basic first aid materials.  The nearest health post for some beneficiaries was 3 to 4 hours away by motorcycle – or 12 to 24 hours by foot. 

Save the Children coordinated with SEDES (Departmental Health Services) and developed a mapping of the impact area to determine the best locations for the communal pharmacies.  We used the following parameters:

1)  Communities were defined as having a population of at least 150 inhabitants or 30 families.

2)  We identified communities that did not have access (more than an hour walk) to the closest health centers.

In coordination with SEDES, Save the Children established 15 communal pharmacies (boticas): two in Trinidad, six in San Javier, five in San Andrés, and two in San Ignacio de Moxos.  The boticas are located in isolated communities far from health centers.  These boticas are now functioning under the supervision of SEDES in Beni, but managed by community health workers. Save the Children coordinated training for health workers through SEDES and the Red Cross.  Training sessions covered how to prevent common childhood illnesses and acute respiratory infections.

With the support of GlobalGiving donors, additional funding from the local NGO PLAGBOL[1], and collaboration with SEDES, boticas in Beni are now equipped with basic essential medicines and nutritional supplements.  Health workers now have the training and assistance needed to address the most common illnesses in their communities, including those that primarily affect children (e.g., diarrhea and colds).  In 2010, the 15 boticas in Beni directly benefited 664 families and their 1,067 children.  Save the Children is grateful to you, and your fellow donors on GlobalGiving, for helping to provide essential health services to children and families in Bolivia.



[1] PLAGBOL is an NGO working on the theme of Integrated Plagues Management.

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Jan 7, 2011

Haiti’s Children One Year Later: A Country at a Crossroads

One year after the historic Haitian earthquake, Save the Children is grateful to our global donors for their compassion and generosity in supporting the organization’s immediate relief and recovery efforts for Haitian children and their families. From the in-country teams to Save the Children staff around the world, we are thankful for your support and desire to help the people of Haiti. Your contributions have enabled Save the Children to mount and now sustain the largest humanitarian aid response in the Western Hemisphere in the agency’s 91-year history.

Below please find a link to Save the Children’s report, Haiti’s Children One Year Later: A Country at a Crossroads.

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Dec 17, 2010

Bangladesh - Strengthening Girl’s Voices

Sarah and girls discussing what they had learned
Sarah and girls discussing what they had learned

This spring, I had the opportunity to step outside my role of supporting our Title II food security programs to conduct a qualitative assessment for Kishoree Kontha (KK), a four-year project in Bangladesh funded by the Nike Foundation. KK, meaning “Adolescent Girls’ Voices” in Bangla, focused on developing the social and financial competency of adolescent girls, empowering them to develop strong voices and shape a bright and healthy future for themselves through four key strategies: 1) community mobilization; 2) peer education; 3) parental education; and 4) post-learning cycle practice. Working with rural communities in three coastal districts in south central Bangladesh, Save the Children established “safe spaces” within villages to enable 10-19 year girls to come together and learn about a range of topics including personal hygiene, health, early marriage, critical thinking skills, disaster preparedness and financial literacy. In addition, the project piloted group savings with a select number of the safe space groups to test the impact of operationalizing the project’s financial education and open up opportunities for girls to contribute to their families’ livelihoods strategies.

The purpose of the qualitative assessment was to enable Save the Children to gain a deeper understanding of the activities, accomplishments and challenges of the project and contribute to the learning through this pilot program. The qualitative assessment provides the insight and detail that complements quantitative methods and assists in triangulating findings. I reviewed project reports and materials, conducted focus-group discussions with project girls, parents and community members, and interviewed project staff and individual beneficiaries. The focus group discussions used participatory and exploratory methods to collect details to build a picture of the communities in which KK operated and the impact of the work on the people in these communities. Additionally, because I was dealing with young girls and some sensitive topics (e.g., early marriage, traditional women’s roles, personal hygiene), I used a lot of storytelling and alternative techniques (drawing pictures, ranking exercises) to allow the girls to distance themselves from the information if they wished.

The information I gathered from the focus group discussions, interviews, and meetings with staff painted a rich picture of the impact of the project on the beneficiaries and their communities. The girls had learned a great deal from participating in safe space activities ranging from proper nutrition to how to budget and save and, most importantly (from their perspective), about the physical and psychological dangers of early marriage and pregnancy. The girls demonstrated a new confidence, reported feeling more respected within their families and communities, and related a new desire to be more independent, to continue schooling and to demonstrate their ability to contribute to the household income.  The girls and their mothers also recounted a number of stories in which group members had supported each other to delay an early marriage or postpone pregnancy.

The chance to meet with project staff and beneficiaries in the field was invaluable. I now have a first-hand understanding of the impact of our programs, the many challenges facing Save the Children staff during program implementation, and the importance of documentation and sharing lessons learned.

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