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.
Jan 29, 2014

The Right to Learn

All Children Have the Right to Learn
All Children Have the Right to Learn

Parents throughout developing countries are frustrated by the staggering 40 percent of primary-school-age children who are unable to read, write, or do basic math by fourth grade, according to a new report.

Save the Children released the report, "Right to Learn," this afternoon at the United Nations during a presentation co-sponsored by Women Thrive Worldwide, UNICEF, the UN's Global Education First Initiative, UNESCO, ASER Pakistan, and the Center for Universal Education at Brookings Institution. The report's insights come as the global community considers next steps to the UN's Millennium Development Goals – the world's largest anti-poverty effort ever – which expire in December 2015.

The current set of goals have led to record numbers of girls and boys attending school, but learning outcomes in many areas remain grossly inadequate for preparing students to reach their professional aspirations as adults. Parents and advocates from India to Zimbabwe report high teacher absenteeism, overcrowded classrooms, poor facilities, lack of books and more.

"We are facing a real and global crisis in learning," said Meredy Talbot-Zorn, global development manager at Save the Children and co-author of the report. "Parents are frustrated. Right now, we are failing them, and failing children."

"This is a call to action for anyone who cares about the world's children," said Laura Henderson, director of education policy at Women Thrive Worldwide, and a reviewer of the report. "This report brings parents' concerns directly to the world leaders who will shape education priorities around the world."

The report shows that while parents expect their children to learn basic skills at school, they face many barriers for holding schools, service providers and government accountable. The report also cites several country examples of where parents and stakeholders are working together to improve accountability for children's progress in learning and getting positive results.

The findings of the report are based on qualitative research in seven countries, including Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

"When the current Millennium Development Goals were being created, parents and advocates from developing countries were largely left out from being able to provide input," continued Henderson. "That can't happen again. World leaders need to be accountable to parents for the quality of education that their children receive."

Save the Children has included six recommendations for UN institutions and member states to get education and learning for children right:

  • Ensure that voices from developing countries – especially civil society – inform the post-2015 framework and surrounding policy discussions.
  • Seize the opportunity during the post-2015 negotiations to advance an ambitious equitable learning goal for the next global framework.
  • Improve data collection that allows every country to reliably measure progress on learning outcomes and put systems in place to disaggregate data.
  • Commit to increased funding and target vital educational resources to the most marginalized groups in countries.
  • Improve accountability to local stakeholders by supporting both a global post-2015 equitable learning goal, and participatory, national level decision making to create national targets and indicators.
  • Empower all communities with information and transparency on school performance.

"There's just too much at stake for decision-makers not to listen to parents and advocates in developing countries about what needs to be done to improve education and learning for the world's children," said Talbot-Zorn.

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Jan 29, 2014

January Update on Typhoon Haiyan

Families in the Philippines are getting help.
Families in the Philippines are getting help.

The Philippines is an extremely disaster prone country – it has been affected by close to 200 disasters over the last decade. Building back better to increase communities’ resilience to disasters must guide the recovery and rehabilitation process. 

Reaching the most vulnerable children remains urgent. Humanitarian assistance is still needed to prevent deterioration of health and nutrition, to ensure that livelihoods can be re-established and to secure children’s safety. In the absence of rapid planning and delivery on shelter, health care and clean water the lives of children remain at risk.

We are currently running 28 Child Friendly Spaces in Eastern Leyte, and 8 in Ormoc, where children can play and learn skills to cope with tragedy in the aftermath of the disaster. On Panay we have begun activities on the "Save Boat" which will identify and respond to needs on the offshore islands.

Our response in nutrition and health care remains strong. In just one week, more than 1,600 children received emergency therapeutic food to prevent acute malnutrition. To date, more than 4,700 children have been screened malnutrition. In just one week, our mobile health unit saw a total of 722 patients in Eatern Leyte. On Panay, 798 new consultations were held, and access to health services was provided for the population of 3 new barangays.

To help families rebuild their lives, we continue distributions of shelter and household items. In Leyte, we have distributed household kits, hygiene kits, blankets, plastic basins, kitchen sets, tarpaulin, tool kits, water jugs and water purification tablets. In Ormoc, 200 rapid response toilets have been completed and on Panay we distributed 125 boxes of water treatment products to 25 elementary schools, benefiting 11,781 students. 

Many children have been out of school since the disaster, but education is being restored. In Ormoc, we 176 classrooms to reopen tarping the roofs. An additional 43 temporary learning spaces have been made light materials. 

Thank you for your generosity. Together, we are making a difference. 

Jan 27, 2014

Final Report on Syria Emergency Care

Thank you for supporting emergency care for Syria
Thank you for supporting emergency care for Syria

Save the Children, working with our partners at Merlin, has already reached over 250,000 people across Syria, and our staff and partners are risking their lives to deliver lifesaving aid across the different areas in Syria – our humanitarian impartiality is often our only and our best defense. Here is a summary of our work in the health sector.

  • Families and children are struggling to access health care when they most need it. Save the Children is supporting health centers and hospitals across the country, providing them with appropriate equipment and services specifically for children, pregnant women and new mothers. We are also carrying out a vaccination campaign to protect thousands of children from potentially deadly diseases.
  • Health and nutritional interventions address nutritional deficiencies among children and young mothers. With young girls marrying early, most young mothers suffer from malnutrition and are unaware of nutrients they need for breastfeeding and good health.
  • Merlin is providing emergency response health care for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and  working to find new arrivals – both registered and unregistered – through  partners and community leaders, so that when groups of refugees arrive we are the first to know, and can respond immediately.
  • Merlin is focusing on the most in need and most vulnerable – pregnant women, children, people with disabilities and older people. We are educating people about health and hygiene to help halt the spread of communicable diseases and are improving the way information about health needs is shared to help agencies on the ground co-operate better.

We continue our response to help children and families affected by the devastating conflict. Thank you again for your support. Please visit www.savethechildren.org/syria for further updates. 

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