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.
Oct 1, 2009

Saving Young Lives in Bolivia

Addressing high rates of newborn and child mortality around the world remains one of the most urgent health issues of our time. Every year, over 9 million children under age 5 die. Incredibly, almost two-thirds of these deaths are caused by easily preventable and treatable illnesses.

The majority of these deaths occur among children living in marginalized and remote areas that lack access to trained health professionals or well-equipped health facilities.

Save the Children is committed to supporting the Bolivian Ministry of Health in delivering proven, existing life-saving health and nutrition interventions to families living in hard-to-reach, remote communities. This important effort requires Save the Children to raise $1.8 million to help implement a five year comprehensive health and nutrition program to children under age 5, women and adolescents. We are pleased to share this overview of our program and invite you to consider pooling resources with the gifts of others to support this project.

BACKGROUND Bolivia suffers from serious health inequities, especially for rural, indigenous children living in small communities ranging from the high Andes to the steamy and flood-prone lowlands of the Amazon. Distance and remoteness contribute to the challenge of providing adequate health services. Approximately half of the rural population lives at least a one hour walk away from the nearest health post and some must walk over ten hours to reach the nearest facility― which may or may not have adequate staff and supplies. Cultural and linguistic differences may also prevent effective treatment.

Save the Children is committed to assisting the Bolivian government in providing effective health care to the youngest and most vulnerable. Our Community Case Management (CCM) strategy reaches children at the village level with early and appropriate treatment for common, yet serious, childhood illnesses. Its simple and cost-effective interventions involve carefully-selected community members who are trained to assess, classify and treat children with signs of infection; the local Ministry of Health which is strengthened to support, supply and supervise community-based workers; and families who are trained to recognize and seek care for signs that indicate serious disease.

PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION In order to attain the long-term objective of reducing illness and preventing maternal and child mortality in Bolivia, Save the Children has prioritized the following strategies: -Promote evidence-based models and strategies -Strengthen health systems -Promote healthy practices at community level -Advocate for improved funding and policies

Measures of Success: At the end of the pilot program, we expect to have: -Established agreements with local authorities to expand methodologies -Adapted methodologies to local contexts -Trained community health promoters (volunteers) -Trained local health workers in support of community health promoters -Supported mid-level Ministry of Health workers in supervision of the above mentioned processes -Supported central level Ministry of Health workers with print material, editing and mainstreaming activities. -Developed Communication strategies with multi-media health messaging campaign -Signed agreements with national, departmental, municipal and community authorities -Developed advocacy strategy for Community Case Management

In the communities covered by this program, children under five (at least 8,000), women of reproductive age (at least 12,000) and adolescents 10-19 years (8,000) will directly benefit each year from improved access and quality of services. The program impact will be further expanded by reaching the following indirect beneficiaries: 10.000 older children; 100 health staff; 400 teachers, and 200 community leaders.

May 26, 2009

Nicaragua Update

The Nicaragua project in Health and Nutrition has increased availability, access, utilization and education for beneficiaries of the program. Through this project Save the Children has made strides to improve chronic malnutrition for children under 5 in poor rural families by implementing integrated activities in agriculture and Health/Nutrition increasing availability and access to food, strengthening income generation, elevating levels in health and nutrition in mother and child through the improvement of key family practices, strengthening access to selected maternal/child services of project beneficiaries.

A series of diagnosis have been carried out to learn difficulties with management of storing technology. The results indicated that the biggest problem is the low availability of money to purchase the metallic structures whose efficacy is superior to other types of technology. Plastic container technology; with a purchase price 3 times lower than the metallic silo, is an alternative for the poorest families.

The beneficiary families learned how to properly use silos and pre-harvest activities to guarantee a proper storage of grains. Families used salt to determine the adequate humidity of the grain to be stored, helping them have healthy grains with good weight stored over a longer period. A storing structure allowed families to provide part of their harvest for animal feed.

In Nicaragua, there are problems with water shortage would lead to food shortages. Families with water shortage overcame this by plating vegetables in sacks with manual irrigation. Families with wells and crop land had access to low cost micro-irrigation systems enabling them to plant up to five products (yams, beans, pumpkins, cucumbers and green peppers). Micro-irrigation systems were also installed in larger areas for groups for commercialization purposes.

Families acquired the capacity to manage technology and the skills for non-traditional crops, introducing tomatoes and green peppers at a commercial level. Families learned to handle vegetables with irrigation systems throughout the year. In addition, they made better use of small areas in their patios using irrigation and learned to save water to harvest better crops. Most of all, families received a high economic benefit from planting non traditional crops.

Some accomplishments perceived by the project’s beneficiaries: The most important achievement for mothers and volunteers is the improvement and eradication of infant malnutrition in some of their communities. They recovered sick or weak children with improved diets by cooking new recipes using vegetables and fruits which are now available to them through family vegetable gardens. They also learned that providing more attention through fun and play during meal times, their children eat everything on their plate.

Mothers evolved from being simple spectators of their own health and their children’s health and nutrition, to being proactive by monitoring their weight. They jointly decide with the volunteer what steps to take when their children do not reach their weight or when they are missing a vaccine.

Through proper agriculture education the people of Nicaragua can supply food for their families all year round and even use their food to sell in the market to create a steady income for their families. Building a sense of community through these educational lessons is also important. If a child is going to fall into malnutrition, the community steps in to help that child. The increase in basic resources, productivity, income, equity and sufficiency in food consumption, added to the human capital development in the families, communities, municipalities, and economic and social services entities, are strategic factors for the program’s success and sustainability.

Apr 23, 2009

Teaching adolescent girls how to be financially well rounded.

A key aspect of Kishoree Kontha project is financial literacy, supporting adolescent girls to make decisions about investments in income-generating opportunities and continuing education. The financial literacy component of the project provides an important opportunity to explore savings with adolescent girls.

As the girls involved in the project learn more about financial literacy and value investments in education, personal hygiene and income-generation opportunities, interest in savings will grow. Already many girls are saving, but most often put their savings in boxes made of dried mud or in bamboo, which puts their savings at risk.

To enable adolescent girls to be viewed less as burdens and more as contributors to both households and communities, the Nike Foundation has provided additional funding to Save the Children to complement the existing program with a savings component in those areas that are currently receiving Save the Children’s set of financial interventions. Project staff will work with a minimum of 5,000 girls and the financial sector to develop safer savings and investment options during three program cycles. Save the Children will explore partnerships with existing banks and microfinance institutions. The project will explore both individual and group savings and investment mechanisms

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