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400 missing, including many children, as boat capsizes on route to Italy – Save the Children

April 14, 2015 – Rescue operations continue in Italy today after a boat carrying 550 people capsized 24 hours after departing Libya.  According to the testimonies collected by the charity Save the Children – who helped survivors at a port in Reggio Calabria – as many as 400 people are still missing, many of whom are thought to be unaccompanied children.

 The charity warns that more landings are expected as instability continues in Libya, raising concerns that many more children will brave the perilous journey to find safety in Italy.

 Save the Children has been responding to the needs of children arriving in Lampedusa, Sicily, Calabria and Apulia and is deeply concerned at the reports of violence experienced and witnessed by children in Libya.


While not one of today’s survivors, one 17-year-old boy recently described his journey to aid workers when he reached safety.


“We lived near Tripoli for four months in a sardine factory. There were more than 1,000 of us. We ate only once a day and we could not do anything. If anybody spoke with a friend or a neighbour, they were beaten up. All this, to extort money from us. They made you call home, saying you were dying, and in the meantime they beat you up so that your family could hear the screams,” said Brahane*, a 17-year-old Eritrean boy after landing in Sicily.


The last incident follows a sharp rise in the number of migrants arriving on the shores of Italy. Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada says: “Rescue at sea of migrants must be a priority for Italy and for Europe, and the European Union should strengthen its capacity for search and rescue missions, as more people risk and lose their lives making this perilous journeys,” “Children arriving have experienced harrowing journeys and are in desperate need of psychological support. Adequate care and protection should be provided to all children, in particular those who have suffered violence.”

 A full multimedia collection featuring stories from children recently arrived in Italy via the Mediterranean is available here: http://storycentral.savethechildren.org.uk/?c=29050&k=a67c9347f3


A handful of schools to re-open in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu, says Save the Children

‎In a positive development, a handful of schools in Vanuatu will open their doors to hundreds of students, 10 days after Cyclone Pam tore across the country and a week ahead of the government’s planned national opening date. 

About 500 schools were damaged or destroyed during the storm which devastated Vanuatu’s education system by ripping roofs off school buildings, flattening classrooms and wrecking books and learning materials. 

“Two schools in Port Vila have confirmed they will open today (Monday, March 23), while a dozen others on the island of Efate were also planning to open if they could repair enough classrooms in time,” Save the Children Country Director Tom Skirrow said. “It’s a really promising sign to see schools resuming classes again, which is incredibly important for children so they can continue learning." 

School also helps children recover from the distress they’ve been through by providing a sense of routine and an opportunity to see their friends, learn and have fun again. 

“However, we know the road ahead is still long and hundreds of schools are still several weeks or months from opening.” 

Save the Children is concerned that up to 40,000 students in Vanuatu won’t be able to go back to class for the foreseeable future, mainly because their schools were either badly damaged or destroyed during the cyclone. At least 34 schools are still being used as evacuation centres too. 

"We know from previous humanitarian crises that children who are out of school are particularly vulnerable and are at an increased risk of exploitation or abuse,” Mr Skirrow said. “Despite some schools opening, hundreds of other schools won’t be and there is still a lot of work to be done.” 

Save the Children is working closely with the government and the Ministry of Education to get schools up and running. The aid agency’s cyclone response will include setting up temporary learning spaces, rehabilitating schools and providing additional training for teachers. 

Nearly 45,000 children cannot go to school in cyclone damaged Vanuatu

Many of Vanuatu's schools have been damaged or destroyed, leaving nearly 45,000 school-aged children without access to education, says Save the Children.

Save the Children's Tom Skirrow in Vanuatu said, “The cyclone has effectively knocked out Vanuatu's schools system. It is estimated that nearly 45,000 school-aged children cannot go to school, mainly because their school has been damaged, destroyed or is presently being used as an evacuation centre for people made homeless by the cylcone."

"We expect that schools will remain closed for some time. Children who are out of school are at increased risk of exploitation or abuse. There will likely be a need both for temporary learning spaces and support for school rehabilitation, so that children can resume learning as soon as possible,” said Mr Skirrow.

To donate to Save the Children’s Cyclone Pam Appeal, click here. 

For interviews, contact Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

Save the Children aid reaches families in cyclone devastated Vanuatu

Save the Children has started relief distributions to families affected by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu. 

In the last few hours 1,800 people sheltering in evacuation centres have received vital aid packages that include hygiene kits, food and water.  This is just the start of a much larger and broader humanitarian relief operation being mounted by Save the Children.

Save the Children's Tom Skirrow in Vanuatu said, “It will take many weeks for us to reach many thousands of people with aid packages in Vanuatu.  However today 1,800 people sheltering in evacuation centres received aid from Save the Children.

"As you can imagine, many children and families are extremely vulnerable right now, many have lost their homes and livelihoods.  It is very important that we provide as much support as possible to people who find themselves homeless.  That has started today with the basics like food and water."

Save the Children is coordinating its aid effort with the Government of Vanuatu and other aid agencies to ensure that the most vulnerable and the most in need are reached with relief supplies as quickly as possible.

To donate to Save the Children’s Cyclone Pam Appeal, click here. 

For interviews, contact Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

Aid agencies give UN Security Council a 'failing grade' on Syria

Three major Canadian aid agencies say warring parties and powerful states have failed to implement UNSC resolutions leading to worst year of crisis for civilians in Syria.

TORONTO/OTTAWA, CANADA (March 12, 2015) – Three of Canada’s largest humanitarian aid agencies, Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision, today released a scathing critique of how the United Nations Security Council has 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,” endorsed by 21 humanitarian aid agencies currently working to help Syrian refugees, both inside and outside Syria.

The report presents a score card that reviews the demands made in the Security Council resolutions last year and compares them with the reality on the ground in the affected areas. 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: Statistics show that 76,000 people were killed in the conflict in 2014, out of a total of at least 220,000 deaths over past four years.
  • Humanitarian aid access has not improved:  Over 4.8 million people now reside in areas defined by the UN as “hard to reach”, that’s an increase of 2.3 million people from 2013.
  • Humanitarian needs have increased: More than 5.6 million children are in need of aid, a 31 per cent 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%.  

“Women have been particularly affected by the violence in Syria and when they flee to neighboring countries”, says Ann Witteveen, Oxfam Canada’s Humanitarian Manager. “Forced and child marriage, rape, and sexual harassment are common occurrences. Women and girls rarely report such incidents and so they occur with impunity”. She adds: “The harsh winter weather has been particularly hard on refugees whose shelter is barely adequate for survival. Many women have been caring for families and living in camps through 4 seasons of ice, snow and storms.”

The report notes that almost 2 million children have now fled Syria and more than twice that number are still in Syria, many under direct threat of violence. Children have lost homes, friends, family members and witnessed or experienced violence. As they wait and hope for peace, many children are missing out on an education.

“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 Canada’s President and CEO, Patricia Erb. “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. 

“After four years of violence, the children and families of Syria need peace. We urge all governments, including Canada, to use their influence to pressure the conflicting parties to enter into inclusive and meaningful peace talks,” says Dave Toycen, president and CEO of World Vision Canada. “In the meantime, the urgent and growing humanitarian needs in the Syria crisis require continued financial aid, and as a proven generous donor, we hope that Canada will be a champion for Syria within the international community”.  


A copy of the report is available for download here.


For interviews regarding the report, media should contact the following:
Melanie Gallant
Media Relations, OXFAM Canada
Phone: (613) 240-3047 
E-mail: Melanie.Gallant@oxfam.ca

Kirsten Walkom
National Senior Manager, Save the Children Canada
Phone: (647) 631-3862
E-mail: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

Robert Neufeld
Manager, Emergency Response Communications, World Vision Canada
Phone: 647-622-2045
E-mail: robert_neufeld@worldvision.ca

The number of children impacted by migration crisis increases

More child survivors of migrant boat tragedies transferred to Italian care 

Toronto, CANADA, March 6, 2015 – The number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea continues to spiral as another 88 children have been placed in child care facilities in Sicily.

This latest group of children was transferred by ferry from the initial reception centre on Lampedusa to Sicily.

The children, including 85 who were unaccompanied, had spent almost two weeks in a facility designed to accommodate people for just 48 hours, owing to adverse weather conditions affecting the ferry service to and from Lampedusa.

To date, a total of more than 700 unaccompanied children are still living in initial reception facilities in Italy while they wait to be placed in children’s homes, where they will begin the long-term process of integration into Italian society.

“The journey these children have taken often involves crossing deserts and war zones before they even reach the treacherous sea crossing to Europe,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada. “On route they face dehydration and malnutrition, kidnap, detention and extortion, torture, child slavery, trafficking, sexual abuse, all alone without their families.”

The placement of the children into Italian care on February 28 came just days before a frantic 24 hour period on March 4th which saw nearly 1,000 migrants rescued, including Syrian children. At least 10 people died after their boat capsized.

“It is essential that the rescue at sea of migrants is a priority for Italy and for Europe, and that the European Union strengthen its capacity for search and rescue missions, as more people than ever are risking their lives making this perilous journey on rickety boats.”

Children interviewed by Save the Children teams in Lampedusa have recounted extremely disturbing stories of their journeys, from their country of origin to the transit point in Libya, and then on via boat to Italy. They are often deeply distressed upon arrival with many unaware of where they have landed.

Children shared stories of exploitation and abuse by traffickers, and others have told of being handcuffed and beaten in Libyan detention cells until their families could send money for the crossing to Italy.

The illegal boats in which they travel are overcrowded, prone to leaks, and break down regularly in the open sea. One 16-year-old boy told staff that he witnessed fellow migrants pushed over board by the traffickers because they were ill and weak.

The majority of the unaccompanied children who have arrived in Italy by boat this year, through Libya, are from Eritrea and Somalia, while others are from sub-Saharan and West Africa, including the Gambia, Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nigeria and Guinea. Most of the families and accompanied children arriving have been Syrians.

Save the Children runs a ‘Children on the Move’ programme across Italy, which aims to identify children’s individual needs and refer them to the appropriate social services to ensure their protection. The agency also monitors the standards of service in the various reception facilities where minors are transferred. 

In Rome and Milan, Save the Children provides basic facilities (shower, change of clothes, and food), health services, legal advice, support in contacting family members, and recreational and educational activities for children.

Notes to editors:

*Figures from Italian authorities up to the end of February 2015.

  • This year*7,882 people have travelled from Libya by boat to reach the coast of Italy. 
  • January and February 2015 showed a staggering increase of 69% more migrants arriving than in the same period last year.
  • Despite efforts by the Italian coast guard, from February 13-17, more than 300 migrants were shipwrecked and died at sea, including many children. According to testimonies collected from survivors, another 50 migrants, including children were shipwrecked and died on 4 March. 10 dead bodies have already been brought to Sicily.



About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. Save the Children aims to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in the lives of children. Across all of their work, Save the Children pursues several core values: accountability, ambition, collaboration, creativity, and integrity.

For more information, please contact:
Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations


Almost 30 countries are highly vulnerable to an Ebola-style epidemic jeopardising the future of millions of children, 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 defences in place than Liberia where, alongside Sierra Leone and Guinea, the current Ebola crisis has already claimed 9,000 lives, and provoked an extraordinary international response to help contain it.  

The agency warns that an increasingly mobile population intensifies the threat of infectious disease outbreaks and, added to the emergence of two new zoonotic diseases each year – those that can be passed between animals and humans - it is crucial to invest in stronger health systems to avoid a virus spreading faster and further than the current Ebola outbreak.

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 learnt and applied to other vulnerable countries around the world. 

Patricia Erb, President & CEO Save the Children Canada, said:  “A robust health system could have stopped Ebola in its tracks saving thousands of children’s lives and billions of pounds. 

“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 Mali. 

In a snapshot of dangerously inadequate global health systems the index shows:•In Afghanistan, public spending on health is just $10.71 per person per year, compared to $3,099 in the UK; and•In Somalia, there is one health worker for every 6,711 people – by comparison in the UK there is one health worker for every 88 people. 

As well as rebuilding the fractured health systems of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea following the Ebola crisis, Save the Children is calling for:

•The international community to make a clear commitment to Universal Health Coverage for every country – the principle that every person should have access to essential health care, not just those that can afford it – including the IMF encouraging countries to collect progressive taxes and increase investments in public health services;

•Countries to increase domestic tax revenue to 20% of GDP and allocate at least 15% of their national budgets to health; 

•Donors to ensure that the aid they give is better aligned and contributes to building comprehensive primary healthcare systems;

•The new Sustainable Development Goals – which will replace the Millennium Development Goals, due to be negotiated at the UN General Assembly in New York in September – to explicitly include a commitment to Universal Health Coverage; and,

•World leaders to commit to end preventable maternal, new-born and child deaths by 2030.

Download the report

PRESS STATEMENT: Migrants in Lampedusa

About 250 children have arrived in Italy over the past week, as part of the flow of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.  

To date, more than 700 unaccompanied children are still living in initial reception centres in Italy while waiting to be placed in local communities.   

"It is essential that the rescue at sea of migrants is a priority for Italy and for Europe, and that the efforts of the international community to address the crisis in Libya does not take away attention and resources necessary for saving the lives of migrant children, who are vulnerable and who continue to risk their lives by attempting the treacherous crossing. For this reason, Save the Children reiterates its call on the European Union to strengthen its capacity for search and rescue missions," says Valerio Neri, Director General of Save the Children, Italy. 

"Save the Children warns that Italy is not prepared to deal with this massive surge of arrivals.  It is critical that a national system of adequate reception and protection for unaccompanied migrant children is put in place, one that ends the current practice where children spend months waiting in inadequate structures where they are at risk of violence, trafficking and exploitation” 

“The situation in the first reception centre of Lampedusa is deteriorating because of overcrowding", continues Valerio Neri. "We hope the transfers of migrants from the island to the structures in charge of hosting them, will be immediate and continuing. This is crucial for children, in order that they are best protected from possible abuse.”  

The deteriorating situation in Libya has led to a surge in the number of migrants departing for Europe. As a transit point, Libya has for many years been the point of departure for thousands of people fleeing poverty and conflict in western and sub-Saharan Africa and conflict in Syria. Despite efforts by the Italian coast guard, last week more than 300 migrants died at sea, among them were children.  

Notes for editors:

  • From the 1st of January 2015 to February 17th, more than 6,482 migrants landed in Italy by sea, including up to 500 women and more than 700 children. Among them about 200 are unaccompanied children while about 500 are accompanied ones.
  • In just five days, 13-17 Feb 2015, more than 3,500 migrants arrived on Italian coasts.
  • In January 2015, 3,528 migrants reached Italian coasts, including 195 women, 374 children; a staggering rise of 60% compared to the number of migrants arriving in 2014.

To arrange media interviews

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

EBOLA CRISIS: Save the Children supports safe reopening of one in five Liberian schools

Monrovia, Liberia - Save the Children is actively supporting the long-anticipated re-opening of hundreds of schools in Liberia today following a six-month educational hiatus due to the Ebola crisis.

The move comes after weeks of steady declines in the number of new Ebola cases in Liberia, which, at the peak of the epidemic in mid-2014, was reporting more than 300 cases a week, but recorded only three new cases for the week ending February 8, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

“This is obviously a time for much celebration for a country that has been ravaged by the worst Ebola outbreak in history,” said Save the Children’s Liberia country director, Greg Duly. 

“However, we must be sure that schools re-open safely so that students and parents won’t fear a flare-up of the disease. It is more important than ever to remain vigilant as we send Liberia’s most precious resource back to school.” 

The Government of Liberia has established strict guidelines to ensure that school children return to an Ebola-free environment, including the provision of hand washing facilities; accurate non-contact thermometers; a small space for the temporary isolation of any suspected Ebola case; and a robust referral system with a nearby health facility.

Save the Children has been working closely with the Liberian Ministry of Education, and other local partners, to provide intensive Ebola-prevention training for teachers and community members in more than 840 schools, including helping to set up local Ebola safety committees and reliable patient transfer systems.

In 546 of these schools, the agency is also distributing hundreds of safety kits comprising of digital thermometers, chlorine, soap, buckets, brooms, educational posters, and rubber gloves and rain boots, as well as providing hand washing facilities and reliable water supplies. 

“Now is not the time to let our guard down, despite the tremendous progress we’ve made against this disease,” Duly said.

“More than half of Liberia’s schools lack a reliable water supply, suffer from poor building and general infrastructure, and don’t have adequate educational supplies. In light of this situation, the re-opening date of 16 February should be seen as a starting point and not an end date.”

More than one million children in Liberia were affected by the closure of schools as a result of the Ebola outbreak. 

Over the last six months, Save the Children has been working with local communities to help spread Ebola prevention messages, and develop innovative approaches to learning, including teacher training, radio-based education, and the distribution of learning materials to children in their homes.

More than 300 Migrants die attempting to reach Italy by sea

Italy – More than 300 migrants are presumed dead, according to UN’s refugee agency, after the boats carrying them sank trying to reach Italy having departed the Libyan coast on Saturday. Latest reports indicate that just nine people survived.  

“Save the Children has repeatedly raised concerns that the Italian navy’s comprehensive search-and-rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, was stopped last October, citing fears about accentuating the already extreme risks faced by migrants, especially those most vulnerable, such as women and children, in migrant sea crossings,” says Valerio Neri, chief executive of Save the Children Italy.

Sadly, despite this latest tragedy, the number of migrants continuing to attempt treacherous sea crossings is increasing. In January 2015, despite the bad weather conditions, 3,528 migrants reached Italy, including 195 women, 374 children; a staggering rise of 60% compared to the number of migrants arriving in 2013.

Save the Children calls on EU leaders to urgently strengthen the search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean to help mitigate the high number of migrant and refugee deaths at sea.

This incident follows the deaths reported yesterday of at least 29 migrants after the inflatable boat carrying them overturned in the Mediterranean Sea. 

To arrange media interviews

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

  • Global efforts to end preventable child deaths have saved tens of millions of lives since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were set, but this progress masks major inequalities within countries
  • Structurally disadvantaged social, economic, or ethnic groups of children are being left behind their better-off peers in more than three-quarters of developing countries
  • Policies which achieve equitable reductions in child mortality across all groups are associated with 6% faster progress in improving overall national child survival rates

Despite historic global progress in reducing under-five child mortality rates over the past 15 years, new research conducted by Save the Children has found that large groups of children are still being left behind, simply because of where they live and the circumstances in which they are born.

Many factors, including whether a child lives in a rural area or belongs to a disadvantaged ethnic group, play a huge role in a child’s chances of survival. Save the Children describes this situation as a ‘lottery of birth’.

The Lottery of Birth report, based on inaugural analysis of disaggregated data from 87 low and middle income countries around the world, reveals that in more than three quarters of these countries inequalities in child survival rates are actually worsening, resulting in some groups of children making far slower progress than their better-off peers. 

  • In 78% of the countries covered in the report, at least one social or economic group has fallen behind and is therefore making slower progress in reducing child mortality
  • In 16% of the countries covered in the report, inequalities in child survival rates have increased across all social and economic groups

Save the Children’s analysis suggests that, without a true step change in action, the lottery of birth will continue into the future, slowing progress towards the ultimate goal of ending preventable child deaths for generations to come.  

However, tackling this inequality is possible. Indeed, almost a fifth of the countries in the report, including Rwanda, Malawi, Mexico, and Bangladesh, have successfully combined rapid and inclusive reductions in child mortality, achieving faster progress than most countries, while at the same time ensuring that no groups of children are left behind.   

The agency calls for the international community to commit to ending preventable child deaths by 2030.  
The new development framework, which will replace the MDGs, will be agreed upon at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. This framework must set out ambitious child and maternal survival targets and commit to working towards universal health coverage.  
It should also include targets to ensure that even the poorest, most marginalised and disadvantaged groups of children are included in global race to improve under-five child survival by 2030.
Some country illustrations:

  • In Niger, a child born in the sub-national region with the highest mortality rate in 2012 was nearly five times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than in the region with the lowest rate. This inequality has doubled since 1998.
  • In Indonesia a child born into the poorest 40% of households in 2012 was nearly 2.5 times more likely to die than a child in the richest 10%.  This inequality has grown double since 2002.
  • In Honduras, in 2012, a child born in Islas de Bahia region was 3.5 times more likely to die than a child born in the most advantaged regions in the country. This inequality has increased considerably since 2006.
  • In Vietnam children born into the Kinh ethnic group in 2010 were 3.5 times less likely to die than their non-Kinh peers.

Other key Lottery of Birth findings include:

  • Disadvantaged ethnic groups and regions are most likely to be left behind; regional disparities in child mortality rates increased in 59% of the countries, while disparities between ethnic groups in 76%.
  • More positively, 17,000 fewer children now die every day than they did in 1990, and the global under-five child mortality rate nearly halved from 90 to 46 deaths per 1000 live births between 1990 and 2013.
  • About a fifth of countries have achieved above median reductions in child mortality over the past decade, while at the same time ensuring that no particular groups of children are left behind

Download the report

Notes for Editors

The background research in this report is based on new data produced, or compiled into, the Groups and Inequality Database (GRID), developed by Save the Children in collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute. It is based on direct data processing of 257 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), aggregated public sources (the UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, WHO, UNICEF, DHS), and official disaggregated figures for a few countries without survey data. It contains 87 developing countries with disaggregated data on disparities across social and economic groups, and a total of 64 countries with data over time for up to seven data points (170 periods).

Providing critical winter support for Ukrainians displaced by conflict

The escalating violence in Eastern Ukraine is leaving hundreds of thousands of civilians in utter devastation.

Already, more than 1.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes and over 5,000 people killed, and the numbers keep increasing. For those remaining in the midst of the conflict in the Donbas region, the challenges they face are tremendous.

Basic everyday services have been disrupted, access to banks and cash is limited, and food and essential items are increasingly rare and expensive. Nearly half of the displaced people are children. Children who have recently fled tell us that they were forced to spend days at a time in basements while the bombardment continued overhead.

Our team on the ground managed to get in and out of Donetsk recently, and reported that children trapped in the affected regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are in urgent need of safe shelter, food, healthcare, safe water, education and protection. 

The team also shared there is a serious lack of medicine and hospital supplies. A few hospitals are operating but with severely restricted resources. Some of the hospitals have displaced families living in them, especially in communities where heavy bombing has destroyed or severely damaged many homes.  

In communities which have old bomb shelters, displaced families are sheltering in them – sometimes with as many as 20 or 30 people in one room. There is further anecdotal evidence that many people are at risk of, or near to starving, in the heavily bombarded areas. 

On top of all this suffering, this winter is presenting unprecedented challenges for the thousands of internally displaced, facing temperatures as low as-25 degrees Celsius. With the help of the European Union's department of humanitarian aid (ECHO), Save the Children is aiming at supporting up to 10,000 vulnerable individuals with cash assistance that would allow them to purchase items they need.

While the needs are immense, the assistance would be sufficient enough to provide warm clothing, a blanket and heater for each person. 

"Thanks to this support we can reach out to thousands of displaced and vulnerable Ukrainians who have been forced to leave everything behind," said Sam Crago, Save the Children's Humanitarian Manager in Ukraine. "It is not just aid, but the way we do it, that matters a lot to us, and that's why we want to ensure that people receiving this assistance feel they will be able to meet some of their own most pressing needs with dignity and freedom of choice." 

Save the Children has been working in Eastern Europe for over 20 years, and through partners in Ukraine for the last seven years. Last year, we moved to a direct emergency response, as a result of this crisis. We now have a team of thirty people, working around the clock to support fleeing families through food, essential items access to safe water and cash payments to help them survive the winter. We are currently planning a scale up of our response to ensure children have access to specialist emotional support and education, and to reach those families trapped within the heavily contested areas. 

IKEA customers help raise €10.1 million for children in Africa, Asia, Europe over holiday season

Donation from the IKEA Foundation will enable UNICEF and Save the Children to improve education in 18 countries.

Millions of IKEA customers took part in the Soft Toys for Education campaign over the holiday season, raising €10.1 million for educational projects by buying IKEA soft toys and children’s books.

For every soft toy or children’s book sold in IKEA stores during November and December, the IKEA Foundation donates €1 to educational projects run by Save the Children and UNICEF.

The projects train teachers, improve child-protection systems, provide educational materials, and increase school attendance in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Thanks to this year’s donation, UNICEF will fund the Schools for Africa initiative in eight countries and the Schools for Asia initiative in China. Save the Children’s share will support education for children with disabilities and those from ethnic minority groups in Asia and Europe.

“Helping children with disabilities and children of minority groups gain access to a quality education is empowering children, families and communities in creating a better and brighter future. Through the IKEA Foundation’s commitment to helping marginalized children, change is made. We are very grateful for our partnership with the IKEA Foundation and thankful for all hard working IKEA employees as well as IKEA’s customers,” said Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General of Save the Children Sweden and Chairperson Global Lead Agency for the Save the Children and IKEA Foundation collaboration.

Josephine Bourne, UNICEF Global Chief of Education added “Giving the most vulnerable and excluded children the opportunity to go to school and learn is essential to building their future. No child should be denied this opportunity because of poverty, disability, gender, conflict or disaster, such as the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. UNICEF is grateful for the continued and invaluable support from the IKEA Foundation, IKEA customers and co-workers worldwide to fulfil children’s right to quality education”

The Soft Toys for Education campaign has helped improve education for more than 11 million children in 46 countries since 2003.

The funding can be used for a wide range of educational activities, even helping children continue to learn when disasters strike. For example, €880,000 of last year’s donation is supporting UNICEF’s efforts to help children in Sierra Leone learn remotely via radio programmes while their schools are closed because of the deadly Ebola outbreak; the money is also helping children and families get the lifesaving information and support they need to survive.
About IKEA Group
Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people and we offer well designed, functional and affordable, high quality home furnishing, produced with care for people and the environment. The IKEA Group has 315 stores in 27 countries. In addition there are more than 40 stores run by franchisees outside the IKEA Group. The IKEA Group had 716 million visitors during FY14 and 1.5 billion people visited IKEA.com.  www.ikea.com

About IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and sustainable family income. Currently-funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.IKEAfoundation.org and www.facebook.com/IKEAfoundation

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org and Follow UNICEF on Facebook and Twitter

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organisation for children. We are 30 national organisations working together to deliver programmes in more than 120 countries around the world. 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.

Action 2015

Dear World Leaders,
Cc: Everyone else
There are moments in history that become turning points. In our view, 2015 will be such a moment. It is the most important year for global decision-making since the start of the new millennium.
We believe it’s just possible that we could end 2015 with a new global compact – an agreed pathway to a better, safer future for people and planet that will inspire all the citizens of the world. We can choose the path of sustainable development. Or we might not – and regret it for generations to come. Which side of history will you be on?
There are millions of voices you can’t afford to ignore – the voices of the people you represent. They are voices of all ages from every corner of the planet – the voice of a young girl currently deprived an education… of a pregnant mother deprived healthcare… of young people deprived decent work… of a family from a minority group fearful of discrimination from corrupt officials… of farmers forced to migrate to cities as climate refugees… and of billions of other people. Their voices will roar ever louder against the inequality and injustice that keep people poor. They – and all who stand with them – are calling on you to come up with a grand new global contract for our one human family – and then deliver on it together. The great news is that in 2015 you have a historic chance to do just that.
Two critical United Nations summits will take place this year. The first in September, where the world must agree new goals to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle inequality and ensure a more sustainable planet. The second is the climate summit in December where we must ensure the wellbeing of people today doesn’t come at the expense of our children’s futures.
Together with critical discussions on financing, these opportunities are the biggest of our lifetime. We know from past efforts against AIDS, malaria, preventable diseases and saving the ozone layer that when we come together, so much can be achieved. Yet, with just months to go before these summits, few leaders are playing the leadership roles we need. We see climate progress but not yet of the scale that is needed, and a set of goals that are hugely ambitious but will be meaningless without brave financing and implementation agreements led from the very top.
If this does not change, we fear you and your fellow leaders could be sleep-walking the world towards one of the greatest failures of recent history. It’s not too late to rise to the occasion. We’re asking you to help lead that change.
Let’s be clear: the actions we take in 2015 will decide which way the world turns for decades to come. Please take the right path.

  • Aamir Khan, Actor & campaigner
  • Angelique Kidjo, Singer songwriter & activist
  • Annie Lennox, OBE, musician & activist
  • Ben Affleck, Actor, Filmmaker & Founder of Eastern Congo Initiative
  • Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Bono, lead singer of U2 & cofounder of ONE and (RED)
  • Dbanj, Musician & activist
  • Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Hugh Jackman, Actor
  • Kid President – Brad Montague & Robby Novak
  • Prof Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute & author of The Age of Sustainable Development
  • Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate & Chair of Nobel Women’s Initiative
  • José Padilha, Film Director
  • Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Malala Yousafzai, Co-Founder of the Malala Fund & 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice
  • Matt Damon, Actor & Founder of Water.org
  • Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Mia Farrow, Actor & activist
  • Mo Ibrahim, Philanthropist & campaigner
  • Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Queen Rania Al Abdullah, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
  • Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group
  • Ricken Patel, President and Executive Director of Avaaz
  • Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation
  • Ted Turner, Chairman, United Nations Foundation
  • Wagner Moura, Actor
  • Yvonne Chaka Chaka, President of the Princess of Africa Foundation

Although the catastrophic physical damage to housing, roads and public buildings wrought by the Haitian earthquake on 12 January 2010 is still visible, the psychological legacy that many young earthquake survivors are still struggling to live with is less easy to see with the naked eye.

Five years since the earthquake hit the tiny Caribbean island nation of Haiti, many children there still have limited access to education, and some report exposure to exploitation and sexual violence after the already-fragile country descended into chaos in the aftermath of the disaster. Many Haitian children still show signs of emotional and psychological stress, and remain in desperate need of assistance and protection today.  

Their on-going distress, along with their hopes for a better future, is what Riccardo Venturi, World Press Photo award winner in 1997 and 2011, hoped capture while visiting Save the Children relief programmes in Haiti. Venturi’s resultant images are a humbling reminder to all involved in the rebuilding of Haiti that the international response to the disaster is far from complete.           

Children who have lost one or both parents, are unaccompanied by a family member, or are still living in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, are particularly at risk of exploitation, with sexual violence against minors in such settlements commonplace.

“I don’t feel safe here at all because people don’t respect each other. There are many cases of abuse,” says *Marie Darline, a 15-year-old girl who has been living in a sprawling Haitian IDP camp for four years.

She is one of more than 85,500 people are still living in temporary accommodation following the earthquake, more than half of which are children.

“If my mother and father were alive I would be protected. They wouldn’t let me live like this,” says Lovely*, a 12-year-old domestic worker living and working in Port-au-Prince.

Since the death of her parents in 2010, Lovely has been forced into casual domestic worker in order to survive, and is frequently beaten and mistreated.  Sadly, Lovely’s story mirrors that of approximately 225,000 children aged between five and 17 who now find themselves economically trapped into working as domestic child labourers, with little or no chance of escape from their dismal living conditions.

Lovely*, Marie*, and other children pictured in Venturi’s photo series, illustrate the fears and hopes for the future of Haitian children across the island.

“When I headed to Haiti in 2010 right after the earthquake I saw that fear and shock were particularly evident, most of all in children,” he says.

“But children have an incredible ability to smile and to live each day to its fullest.  Haitian children are always full of positive energy, but today under the surface it is easy to see the signs of suffering and emotional stress they still experience because of the earthquake and because of the difficulties they encounter in their daily lives.

“Many of my images have tried to capture their look of veiled melancholy while always trying to keep their sense of dignity.”

Kevin Novotny, Country Director at Save the Children Haiti, says that Venturi’s portraits also show the children’s willingness to take a lead in being of the recovery progress, participating rather than passively coping with what doesn’t work for them.

“As Save the Children we encourage children to develop their own capabilities across all of our programmes in terms of education and protection. This approach also contributes to overall resilience of families and the community while building a better chance for the future.”

Announcement: Save the Children and Street Kids International

Save the Children is delighted to announce that Street Kids International – a leading organization committed to empowering youth – will become part of Save the Children Canada. Together, the organizations will make a stronger impact for children and youth.

Save the Children and Street Kids International are both committed to helping children and youth reach their full potential. In many countries where Save the Children works, this aim is hindered by the systemic cycle of poverty. Save the Children and Street Kids International’s Livelihood programs focus on creating sustainable income-generating activities to help youth break that cycle. Both organizations use similar practical-based methodologies, which will allow for a natural transition.

Named a Global Best Practice Leader in youth work by the United Nations, Street Kids International has worked to improve the lives of youth in 60 countries for over 25 years. Street Kids International’s curriculum is deeply specialized, which will allow Save the Children to strengthen an existing competency in youth livelihoods and Street Kids International’s programming to reach more beneficiaries through Save the Children’s expansive reach.

Both organizations believe that every child has the right to a better future. Street Kids International’s mission to empower youth to earn and sustain a living, will further Save the Children’s mission of inspiring breakthroughs in the way the word treats children. Together, the organizations will create lasting change for children and youth around the world.

If you would like additional information regarding this transition, please call to speak to a member of our donor services team at 1-800-668-5036.

A decade on, Indian Ocean tsunami-affected communities tell Save the Children about their recovery

December 26, 2014, marks the tenth anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami, which resulted in an estimated 230,000 deaths across South-east and South Asia.

Save the Children’s tsunami response covered Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Somalia between 2004 and 2009, the largest emergency response in the aid agency’s history. Worldwide, US$284 million was raised to operate programmes in all five countries.

Through the eyes and voices of the affected communities, Save the Children have analysed the strengths, weaknesses, sustainability, and impact of the tsunami response in Sri Lanka and Indonesia (Aceh Province), and look at the extent to which communities are better prepared to respond to and cope with natural disasters.

‘Ten years after the tsunami, it is vital to review the long-term impact of humanitarian and recovery programmes,’ says Mike Novell, regional director, South and Central Asia.

The agency’s study highlighted four key findings:

  • Children are the most vulnerable in times of a disaster: It is essential that children are prepared for future disasters, and are regularly informed about methods of keeping themselves safe. Save the Children have introduced a wide-reaching school programme in which children teach their peers about best practice safety and evacuation procedures in times of disaster.
  • The importance of investing in disaster reduction: Progress has been made in both Sri Lanka and Indonesia in terms of strengthening disaster management policy and bolstering government capacity. Modifications in houses and public buildings to enable them to withstand disasters in the future represent important changes, coupled with investment in early warning systems and tsunami evacuation infrastructures. At community level, there is now a far greater awareness of what to do in the event of a disaster in the future.  
  • Participation as the cornerstone of humanitarian response and recovery: When people were able to determine their own future they tended to have greater ownership of the outcome. When they received relief items as passive recipients, they were often grateful but more critical. 
  • Partnership as a pre-requisite for long-term change: Programmes undertaken in partnership with government departments tend to have led to the most enduring changes. This kind of partnership certainly takes time to establish but it has the potential to provide a level of sustainability that is rarely achievable through other means.

Find out more from the communities after 10 years of recovery from the tsunami in 2004: Read our report. 

CAR: Four times more children associated with armed groups, two years after the outbreak of the crisis

Just two years after the outbreak of bloody civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR) in December 2012, the number of girls and boys under the age of 18 recruited by armed groups has escalated to four times its previous level.

An estimated 6,000 to 10,000 children are currently members of armed groups, compared to around 2,500 at the beginning of the crisis.

Some were abducted or forced to join armed groups, while others joined voluntarily in order to survive when they found themselves in desperate need of food, clothing, money and protection. Many also joined because of pressure from peers or parents, a desire to protect their community, or to avenge dead parents or relatives. 

Children, some as young as eight years old, are forced to fight, carry supplies, and perform other frontline and support roles. They are often victims of physical and mental abuse by militants, and some have been ordered to kill or commit other acts of violence. 

“Every morning we trained hard, crawling through the mud. The soldiers wanted to make us mean, unforgiving,” says Grâce à Dieu* who joined an armed group in December 2012 at the age of 15.

 “When we fought, it was us, the children, who were often sent to the frontline. Others stayed further behind. I saw many of my brothers-in-arms killed while we were fighting. I saw many things, many atrocities.”

Having witnessed or committed killings and other acts of extreme violence for months, or even years, children associated with armed groups are highly likely to suffer fear, anxiety, depression, grief, and insecurity, and many require specialised psychological support.

“Many of these children have been through things that no adult, let alone child, let alone child, should have to go through, witnessing the loss of loved ones, seeing their homes destroyed, and surviving in harsh and insecure conditions in the bush for months,” says Julie Bodin, Save the Children’s Child Protection Manager in CAR. “Even if they leave the armed group or are released, these children can find themselves stigmatised, feared or rejected by their communities, while they can struggle to re-enter 'normal' life after being so long immersed in violence.” 

Extreme poverty, coupled with the dire lack of access to education for young children and employment opportunities for older children, all contribute to the spike in children joining armed groups, effectively creating a huge reservoir of potential new recruits.

Two years after the outbreak of the latest conflict, and three months into MINUSCA’s mandate, the CAR Government, MINUSCA, UN agencies and troop contributing countries and donors, must scale up their efforts to prevent child recruitment and demobilise children. Rapid and sustained interventions must also include specialized support to help children recover and reintegrate into their communities.

“Further resources are urgently needed to rebuild these children’s lives, and to rebuild and strengthen the institutions, such as schools, which will help them thrive. This is essential not just for them but for the future of the country,” Bodin says.

While the situation remains volatile in many parts of the country, Save the Children provides specialised psychological support for children associated with armed groups, as well children who have witnessed crimes or other acts of violence, through Child Friendly Spaces and Youth Networks. The agency also facilitates demobilized children to return to school. 

Read the report "Caught in a Combat Zone" here >

Media Contact
Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

New International Guidelines Address an Insidious Gap in Protecting Education during War

Government armed forces and non-state armed groups should refrain from using education facilities for military purposes in accordance with the new Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, unveiled today at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland, said the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA).

The release of the Guidelines follows a March 2014 UN Security Council resolution encouraging all states to take action to deter the use of schools by armed forces and groups in contravention of applicable international law. 

“The Guidelines provide a practical tool for preventing schools from becoming part of the front lines during war,” said Diya Nijhowne, the GCPEA Director. “By promoting responsible practice by commanders and their troops to preserve schools for learning, the Guidelines can help minimize the devastating impact of armed conflict on students.”

The finalization of the Guidelines represents the culmination of over two years of extensive consultations with governments, militaries, UN agencies, and civil society to develop guidance to keep armed parties out of schools and universities. They were released today at an event hosted by the Permanent Missions of Norway and Argentina. Also announced was an endorsement ceremony for the Guidelines, planned for mid-2015 in Norway, and the intention to prepare a Declaration on Safe Schools to be adopted at the 2015 ceremony.

Attracted by their often central location, solid structure, and ready toilets, kitchens, and other facilities, fighting forces have used schools and universities for military purposes such as bases, firing positions, armories, and detention centers in conflicts in at least 25 countries over the past decade. For example, according to the UN Secretary-General, by early September, 2014, 124 schools in South Sudan were being used for military purposes.  And in Islamabad, Pakistan, schools and colleges have been submitting claims for damages from the Federal Directorate of Education after they housed up to 40,000 security personnel from other cities for a month in September, 2014. 

Under international humanitarian law, the military use of schools and universities can compromise their civilian status, transforming places of learning into lawful military targets, potentially placing students and staff on site directly in the line of fire from opposing forces. In addition to the risk of attack, the presence of fighters in schools for weeks or even years can have a debilitating effect on education: it disrupts teaching and learning activities, can leave children exposed to recruitment and violence, and can lead to increased absenteeism and dropout among students. Girls can be disproportionately affected, as families are particularly reluctant to send their daughters to study in classrooms used by armed men. 

“Communities must often make an impossible choice between sharing their school with soldiers and endangering students and teachers, or stopping classes altogether and denying their children an education,” said Nijhowne. “When impeding education access and quality, and exposing students to violence and possible attack, the military use of schools and universities can violate human rights.”

In June 2014, the Norwegian government announced its commitment to champion the Guidelines and lead the endorsement process among states. Prior to today’s event, 29 states had already made public statements in support of the Guidelines. At the Geneva meeting, in addition to statements by concerned governments, civil society organizations that are GCPEA members, urged states to use the 2015 Norway ceremony to pledge publicly how they intend to incorporate protections for schools and universities from military use into their own domestic military doctrine, policies, and trainings.

Governments are not the only parties encouraged to adopt and implement the Guidelines. The Guidelines were also presented for discussion at a meeting of representatives from 35 non-state armed groups from 14 countries, organized in November, 2014 by Geneva Call, an organization that engages non-state armed groups to respect international humanitarian norms, including by adopting Deeds of Commitment. In a declaration by signatories to the Deeds, the non-state armed groups took into consideration the Guidelines and expressed their appreciation that the Guidelines recognized armed non-state actors as stakeholders.

“The release of the Guidelines and announcement of the endorsement ceremony in mid-2015 are significant milestones in the journey to improve the safety of schools, including in the midst of war,” said Nijhowne. “Over the next six months, states and non-state armed parties alike should prepare to endorse and implement the Guidelines to keep soldiers out of schools, and schools off the battlefield.”

The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is a unique coalition of international organizations, including CARA (Council for At-Risk Academics), Geneva Call, Human Rights Watch, the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund, Norwegian Refugee Council, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict, SAIH (the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund), Save the Children, the Scholars at Risk Network, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, and War Child Holland. GCPEA is a project of the Tides Center, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at www.protectingeducation.org

For further information, please contact: 
Diya Nijhowne, Director, Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack 
Office: +1-212-377-9413
Mobile: +1-202-746-1339


Anielka, 15, from a rural village in Nicaragua and Liseth, 17, from a community outside La Paz, Bolivia, were chosen by Glamour Magazine to receive the Women of the Year Award 2014 in New York City.

Liseth has been part of our program Niñas Viviendo con Altura while Anielka has been a leader in a program with CESESMA, a local organization with whom Save the Children partners.

Together with eight other school girls from around the world, they traveled to New York City to accept the award for their perseverance in overcoming challenges to get an education. The girls shared the stage with other honourees such as US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, philanthropist Chelsea Clinton and actresses Lupita Nyong'o and Jodie Foster.

Since Liseth's mother passed away she has been the head of the household, having to take care of the home and her younger siblings. She wakes up at 4am every morning to do household chores and help her siblings get ready for school. These challenges have not stopped her from going to school and excelling there.

Niñas Viviendo con Altura program, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has a unique approach to use sports to empower girls in a community where sports activities traditionally have been practiced only by boys. Activities focus on adolescents in the city of El Alto, Bolivia, and the goal is for participants to take the lead and promote gender equality, social inclusion and personal development through sports.

Anielka works in the coffee fields to help support her family but this has not stopped her from going to school or from tutoring other children in reading. She reads to younger children in her community, including her sister, and participates in drama workshops to teach other children about important issues like child labor and child rights. Anielka works to support her family by picking coffee beans, and goes to high school, which is only open on Sundays. The program has helped build her self-esteem and confidence. After she completes her education, she aspires to be a writer.

Talking about her participation in the program and her visit to New York to receive the award, Liseth says:
"Thanks to Save the Children, I have learned a kind of life leadership […] they came to my school and we found new aspirations, how to be leaders in our daily lives and how we can succeed […] as adolescents, we have a voice, we can make ourselves heard, because we have the willpower to excel and achieve all our goals.

"I felt very proud to be there…it was an unforgettable experience, there were so many people and I felt like I was in another world. Nothing else existed, only us. And to share it also with my new friends, the other girls that had become like sisters. We shared everything, stayed in the same hotel and did things together."

Anielka talks about her experiences from the Save the Children program:
"One of my favourite activities is reading stories to other children in my community school and elsewhere […] I was very shy before I began participating with CESESMA […] Now, I know what it is to feel good about oneself, to feel comfortable with who we are, to know we are special […] My family has changed a lot since I joined CESESMA, now they see me as being important; they admire me a lot. Kids in school approach me more, sometimes because they do not know something, or because I have a good relationship with the teacher. Community members also listen to me more, and to my sister.

"It was wonderful to share one's experiences with others and see that they were interested and thought that what we do is important; to help other children get an education and to learn how to read."

During the ceremony, Anielka and Liseth both received a letter from Michelle Obama congratulating each one on the award and stressing the importance of girls receiving an education. "When girls thrive, nations thrive," writes Mrs Obama, and continues: "That's why my husband and I are so grateful for the example you have set for young women in your country and around the world."

In addition to participating in the ceremony, the two girls took in the sights and sounds of famous landmarks and experiences of New York City, including the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the New York City subway, the Museum of Natural History, and Central Park, among others. They also visited with students at a school in Long Island, New York and met with their consulates, including the Permanent Representatives of their countries' Missions to the United Nations.

Save the Children presents Christmas Jumper Day in Canada

Canadians urged to give back this holiday season by donning an 'ugly sweater'

Save the Children is challenging Canadians to make the world better with a sweater this holiday season by launching its first Christmas Jumper Day campaign on December 12th in Canada.

"During the holidays, we become acutely aware of the often grim conditions faced by millions of children around the world," says Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada

"Since Canadians have really embraced the 'ugly sweater' trend, this a great opportunity for them to don their winter woollies, or host a sweater-themed party, donate to Save the Children and help children in need," says Erb.

Christmas Jumper Day, which encourages Canadians to wear their favourite holiday sweater and donate $5 or more to Save the Children, will help make a difference in the lives of some of the world's most vulnerable children and give them a brighter future.

This campaign – created by Save the Children United Kingdom – has generated nearly $3 million CDN in donations in its first two years thanks in large part to mass participation, celebrity support, and social media fame. 

To promote the campaign, Save the Children is engaging corporate partners – including the Air Canada Foundation, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and GlaxoSmithKlein – as well as celebrities and youth through a variety of activities.

Learn more about the campaign at www.ChristmasJumper.ca and join the fun at #XMASJumperDay. 

About Save the Children 
Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children's lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world's most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 143 million people in 2013.

Learn more here:
www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

For further information:
Kirsten WalkomNational Senior Manager, Public Relations, Save the Children

Philippines aid effort intensifies as Typhoo​n Hagupit makes landfall
Save the Children aid trucks are travelling into areas affected by Typhoon Hagupit with life-saving supplies, as the storm makes landfall. Across the country, the government is working with aid agencies on pre-emptive evacuations, pre-positioning essentials like food and water and deploying response teams into the worst affected areas. 
Save the Children staff are now positioned at strategic points, hibernating until the storm has passed, ready to distribute basic household and hygiene necessities, tarpaulins for temporary shelters and crucially, a water treatment unit to ensure children and families have clean water. The agency has also send out a medical unit and set up child friendly spaces in evacuation areas.  
Tom Howells, Save the Children's Field Manager in Ormoc, Leyte, says: “We have been informed that storm surges of 3-4 meters may hit the city, and we know from experience that children are most vulnerable as they can drown or easily be swept away by the water. We are supporting the local officials in moving people to evacuation centres and safer areas." 
The main concern for workers in the field is that Hagupit is moving very slowly. Staff are worried that those in the path of the typhoon may face a whole day of prolonged rains and typhoon strength winds, which could cause huge devastation.  
Communications Officer Jerome Balinton, who is on his way to the Bicol area, says: "Hours before the expected landfall, we are seeing heavy rains and winds on our way to target areas. We are concerned over the safety of children and their families. Once the storm passes, we need to get to communities as quickly as possible to provide life-saving aid to the most vulnerable." 
For more information or to arrange interviews with Save the Children staff in the Philippines (Manila, Tacloban, Ormoc and Bicol), please contact:

Lynsey Pollard: +639175234472 / lynsey.pollard@savethechildren.org
April Sumaylo: +639173011240 / april.sumaylo@savethechildren.org
(please bear in mind that the Philippines is GMT +8) 
Just one year on, Haiyan survivors face another Supertyphoon

As Supertyphoon Hagupit barrels towards the Philippines with wind speeds of around 195kph, Save the Children teams are preparing and positioning emergency supplies and getting ready to distribute aid to affected communities.

The storm is currently on course to hit on Saturday, December 6 and is heading to some of the areas devastated by last year’s Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm to ever make landfall.

In November 2013, Haiyan killed over 6,000 people and affected over 14 million others. Communities affected have spent the last year coming to terms with the loss and horror they experienced, rebuilding their homes and finding new ways to earn their living. For many recovery is still a long way off and a new storm could plunge many families back into a desperate situation.

“This storm is heading for a community which is just beginning to recover from last year's super typhoon," said Ned Olney, Save the Children's Country Director for the Philippines. "For children this new emergency has already started. Evacuations, worried parents, suspension of classes will bring back traumatic memories of last year’s typhoon. Our priority now is to help ensure that communities heed the evacuation messages and get out of the storm’s path, while ensuring that our teams are ready to respond to the needs of affected communities afterwards.”

Save the Children's response teams have been sent to strategic points across the country, while trucks are being packed with emergency household, shelter and hygiene kits to distribute to families who may be affected by this new typhoon.

Save the Children staff are on the ground and working in communities, disseminating safety messages and ensuring that they are ready for evacuation and that children understand what is going on.

"We’ve seen real progress this past year, but as we prepare for another supertyphoon we are desperately concerned about the potential devastation this will cause." 

To arrange interviews or find out more about our work in the Philippines:
Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations

Visit www.savethechildren.org.ph
Facebook: facebook.com/SavetheChildrenPH
Twitter: @SaveChildrenPH

Statement: Syria Conflict

As we enter one of the coldest months of the year, Save the Children is extremely concerned about the large numbers of Syrian refugees who will not receive any food assistance in December, and the detrimental impact this will have on hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children and families.

We are working closely with the World Food Programme (WFP) and other humanitarian agencies and local authorities to urgently find a solution, but unless donors step up immediately to make good the shortfall, 1.7 million refugees – more than 1 million of them children – will be left without any food support this month.

This is extremely concerning given the severe difficulties these families already face, many of whom live in desperate conditions with no other form of assistance.

We urge donors and the WFP to urgently resolve the situation and ensure that the food needs of the most vulnerable are met, so that children and families who fled from the crisis in Syria do not go hungry this winter. 

RESULTS Canada and Save the Children applaud Canada’s $500 million to global vaccines initiative

RESULTS Canada and Save the Children congratulate Canada’s $500 million to global vaccines initiative.

Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper continued Canada’s leadership in maternal, newborn, and child health by announcing a commitment of $500 million to Gavi: the Vaccines Alliance ahead of the 2015 replenishment conference in Berlin, Germany. This represents an increase of 41% over Canada’s previous commitment to Gavi (2011 to 2015) 6.7% of Gavi’s USD $7.5 billion replenishment target.

“Prime Minister Harper is delivering on the commitment made to the world’s children at the Saving Every Women, Every Child Summit in May,” says Amy Bartlett, Executive Director of RESULTS Canada. “RESULTS Canada and citizen advocates across the country are proud to have a played a lead role in ensuring vaccines reach 300 million more children through Gavi.”

The Prime Minister made the announcement at an event with Senegalese Prime Minister Mohammed Dionne and Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, at the Philippe Manguilen Senghor Health Clinic in Dakar to mark the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine in Senegal.

“Gavi’s work has already helped save the lives of more than 5 million children.  We welcome Canada’s increased commitment to Gavi and see it as vital to reducing the burden of infectious disease and helping to finally put an end to the preventable death of children,” noted Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children.

Since, its launch in 2000, Gavi has immunized 440 million children around the world. If fully replenished, by 2020, Gavi will have protected an addition 300 million children with vaccines.

“Disease knows no borders. Ensuring every child has access to life-saving vaccines is critical to reducing child mortality and is the only way to reduce global burden of infectious diseases,” says Ms. Bartlett.

Syria's children: Denied rights, suffering in silence

On the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child and as the conflict in Syria nears its fourth year, Save the Children and the European Union call on world leaders to live up to their commitments and obligations that the Convention entails:  to ensure the protection and rights of children.

The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 25 years ago, which today is signed by 194 countries. To this day, the Convention remains the most widely- ratified international human rights treaty.

"The Convention's acceptance shows a great commitment. What is lacking is action and the will to ensure that every child, everywhere, enjoys his/her full rights. And that includes children affected by the conflict in Syria," said Roger Hearn, Save the Children's Middle East and Eurasia Regional Director.

Among the rights listed in the CRC are the right to education, the right to protection from violence and abuse, as well as the right to a standard of living that meets the physical and mental needs of children. The Convention also insists that children in war zones should receive special protection and that governments are to ensure children's survival.

"As the world marks Universal Children's Day, we would like to remind signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child of their commitment and duties towards children," said Jane Lewis, Syria crisis co-ordinator for the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO).

“Syria’s children have been silently witnessing and experiencing the horrors of the war and its consequences for more than three years. Many have not been to school for years. But they are the future of Syria and we need to offer them hope and support”, said ECHO's Jane Lewis.

The conflict in Syria has lasted for three years, eight months and five days – the biggest humanitarian crisis of our times.  It has caused immense human suffering and children are the biggest victims.

"These children are deprived of the very basic rights the Convention is meant to guarantee, including the right to go to school and the right to protection,” said ECHO’s Jane Lewis.

At least 1.6 million children have fled the conflict, and become refugees in neighbouring countries, while more than five million children are in need of humanitarian assistance.

“With every day that goes on in this conflict, Syrian children are denied the little big things that make up childhood; the safety of home, the comfort of friends to play with, dreaming about the future while enjoying the present. All of that is put on hold or erased forever because someone, somewhere, decided this was not a priority," said Roger Hearn, of Save the Children. 

Today, Save the Children and ECHO, The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department tell the stories of just eight of millions of Syrian children, by launching the website www.8syrianchildren.com and posting on Twitter under the hashtag #8syrianchildren.

Save the Children opens first Ebola Community Care Centre in Liberia

Save the Children opens its first Community Care Centre (CCC) in Liberia, to provide rapid assessments of suspected Ebola patients close to their community.

The CCC is a community-based approach that aims to provide a rapid way of isolating and treating patients suspected of having Ebola, while offering families and communities the opportunity to remain close to them, and reducing the trauma of family separation. The Centre, located in Margibi County, consists of 30 beds, with separate triage sections for suspected and confirmed Ebola cases.

Some people in Liberia are still dying at home without seeking treatment,” says Greg Ramm, Country Director in Liberia for Save the Children. “The Community Care Centres will help patients be assessed quickly, isolated, and tested for Ebola. This will lessen the chance that they infect others, whilst also ensuring them a basic level of care before they are either transferred to an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) – if they test positive for Ebola – or referred to a local healthcare facility if they test negative.”

The CCC is designed in a way that allows visitors to see and speak to patients and will help to demystify Ebola for anyone who is wary of seeking medical help. It also offers the opportunity to train the communities and families of those infected on how to care for their loved ones in a safe way while reducing the stigma surrounding Ebola. Ideally, Ebola survivors, who may have immunity to the disease, will be engaged in routine activities at the CCC and be a valuable source of support for patients, having experienced the impact of the virus first-hand.

Although a significant undertaking, the CCC is comparatively quicker and easier to get up and running. This approach is being replicated by other organizations in line with the Liberian Government’s support for the initiative. The Liberian government has embraced the idea and other organizations have embarked on building 65 CCCs across the country, in areas of most need, to help combat the virus. Save the Children plans to build up to ten Community Care Centres (CCCs) in Margibi.

To donate, please click here. 

Photo Credit:  Aubrey Wade/Save the Children

CEO Statement: International response to the Ebola outbreak

By the time the G20 meets in Brisbane this weekend, the international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will have been shamefully inadequate. As the summit which brings together the world’s richest and most powerful countries, leaders must ensure that the Ebola crisis is at the top of their agenda, and urgently step up their response.

Despite strong leadership by some G20 countries, and also notably by countries like Cuba, Ethiopia, Nigeria, some non-governmental organisations and the United Nations (UN), the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is still out of control. Thousands of lives have been lost and thousands more will be at risk if we don’t do more to stop the outbreak. This crisis also bears unforetold and potentially devastating consequences for the economies and health infrastructures of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, as well as for the wider region. According to the World Bank, the economic impact alone could cost West Africa an estimated $32.6 billion by the end of 2015. Ebola has shut down schools across the region, leaving millions of children without an opportunity to learn and threatening to leave a generation of children without an education.

We urge global leaders and their governmentsto do their part and commit to sending the personnel, equipment and money so desperately needed to reverse this global health crisis.

Patricia Erb, President and CEO
Save the Children Canada


Save the Children opens Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone

Kerrytown Treatment Centre 

Save the Children is opening its first specialist Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Sierra Leone, as part of its wider fight to treat and stop the spread of Ebola.


Located in Kerry Town, 40km outside the capital Freetown, the 80-bed facility provides diagnosis and treatment to infected patients, while ensuring that children receive the care and protection they so desperately need. The centre will increase local capacity to rapidly assess and hospitalise patients, while helping to reduce the risk of further infecting friends and relatives at home.


“Sierra Leone, which has seen the number of new Ebola cases rise for six consecutive weeks, is one of the countries in the region most gravely affected by Ebola, leaving its population and health care system completely overwhelmed,” says Rob MacGillivray, Country Director for Save the Children in Sierra Leone. “This treatment centre will help with the early diagnosis of those infected with Ebola, increasing their chances of survival, and will also help to protect the wider community from further infection – including thousands of children, who stand to lose the most as a result of this unprecedented deadly outbreak.”


The Ebola Treatment Centre will have more than 200 frontline medical staff, including a contingent of Cuban doctors, with around 50 on shift at any one time. A further 50-70 non-clinical support staff and more than 100 hygienists will also be based at the Kerry Town site, with 100-120 staff working at the centre at any given time. In addition, the centre will house a small separate clinic run by the UK Ministry of Defense to treat both Sierra Leonean and international health workers should they become infected with the virus.


We hope that offering a separate wing for staff treatment will restore the confidence of health workers previously reluctant to join the fight against Ebola – particularly when thousands of doctors, nurses and other medical staff are still desperately needed in the region to help save lives and prevent the disease from gaining any more ground,” says MacGillivray.


Patients arriving at the treatment centre will be triaged by staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), who will take blood samples and immediately send them to the onsite lab for testing, with results expected within a matter of hours. If patients test positive for Ebola, they will be sent to one of three wards, based on the severity of their symptoms: one for mild cases, another for severe cases, and one for emergency cases.


“While this treatment centre is a significant step in the right direction in treating those affected by Ebola and slowing down its spread, if the virus is to be contained, the international community must step up its efforts in the coming weeks by allocating more funds and medical personnel,” McGillivray adds.


The Kerry Town Ebola treatment centre was built in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), the Ministry of Defence and Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health.


In September, Save the Children opened a 70-bed Ebola treatment unit in Bong country, Liberia, which is being run by the International Medical Corps (IMC) – and is set to open a second treatment unit in Margibi county later this year. It will also open the first of 10 Community Care Centres in Liberia next week, which are smaller, community-led facilities designed to isolate and treat Ebola patients within their towns and villages.

West Africa - Ebola - Email

Click here to donate.To view more about our response and sign the petition, click here


IKEA Canada, Save the Children and UNICEF Launch Annual Soft Toy Campaign to Support Education for the World's Most Vulnerable Children
Save the Children Canada   IKEA Canada   UNICEF


TORONTO, ONTARIO- Nov. 3, 2014 - Today, IKEA Canada, in partnership with Save the Children and UNICEF, is launching its 13th annual Soft Toys for Education campaign The idea is simple: for every soft toy or children's book purchased at an IKEA store during the campaign period - November 3, 2014 through January 3, 2015 - the IKEA Foundation will donate EUR1 (approximately $1.41 CDN*) to support children's education programs.

Since the campaign began, donations have totalled EUR67 million (approximately $95 million CDN), helping more than 11 million children living in poverty in 46 countries enjoy their right to a quality education.

"IKEA Canada believes in the power of education to break the cycle of poverty and prepare children for a successful life," said Stefan Sjöstrand, President of IKEA Canada. "We are honoured that each year the Soft Toys for Education campaign connects our co-workers and customers to such a meaningful endeavour to improve lives around the world."

A love for reading opens the door to education, which is why, every year, IKEA creates a children's book based on IKEA soft toy characters as part of the annual campaign. In this year's book, "The Frog Prince," young readers visit a fairy-tale forest and learn about the special bonds of friendship. The book is written by award-winning Swedish author Ulf Stark and illustrated by Silke Leffler.

This year's new soft toy friends from The Frog Prince fairy tale world are:

  • TOSIG: the silly frog
  • LILLGAMMAL: the red-hooded rebel
  • PIPHARE: the wise hare
  • KATTUGGLA: the sweet owl

"Education drives development and empowers the most vulnerable and excluded children - especially girls. Through the continued support of IKEA Foundation and IKEA customers and co-workers worldwide, we can provide children with access to the education they deserve. We are excited to kick off this campaign again in Canada and join forces to help build a brighter future for children, their families and communities worldwide." -David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada.

"It is with great pride that we take part in the IKEA Soft Toy for Education campaign," said Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General Save the Children Sweden and Chairperson Global Lead Agency for the IKEA Foundation Collaboration. "The funding means that Save the Children and the IKEA Foundation together invest in childhood. We are transforming the lives of children with disabilities and children of minority groups, the most marginalized children, in Eastern Europe and South East Asia. We're providing access to quality education for millions of children, impacting on generations to come."

"Investing in children's education is the most powerful way to help them escape poverty," said Per Heggenes, CEO IKEA Foundation. "Through IKEA's Soft Toys for Education campaign, we have been able to improve the education of more than 11 million children through our partnership with Save the Children and UNICEF. Access to a quality education is key to help them create a better future for themselves and their families." *Currency conversion as of October 30, 2014.

About IKEA Canada

IKEA is a leading home furnishings retailer with 342 stores in 42 countries worldwide, which are visited by 776 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 12 stores which are visited by over 25 million people every year. Last year the IKEA.com websites attracted 1.1 billion visitors. Founded in 1943, IKEA's business philosophy is to offer a wide range of products of good design and function at prices so low, the majority of people can afford them. For more information on IKEA, please visit: www.IKEA.ca

About IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world's poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child's life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and sustainable family income. Currently-funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org and www.facebook/IKEAfoundation

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organisation for children, delivering programmes and improving children's lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca


UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.

For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.


IKEA Canada
Tanya Bevington
Corporate Communications Manager
905-637-9440 x6224

Save the Children
Kirsten Walkom
National Senior Manager, Public Relations

Tiffany Baggetta
416-482-6552 ext. 8892
647-308-4806 (mobile)



End Ebola Petition


Save the Children teams in West Africa are doing whatever it takes to defeat the virus and save lives.
But the world needs to step up.
Call on the leaders of the 20 most powerful and richest countries to do more to end this crisis.
They need to make sure there’s enough money, people and equipment to get the job done.

Please sign our petition asking the G20 to act today.

Race for Survival 2014: Children’s Race for Survival in the Toughest Places

A staggering 17,000 children under-five are still dying every day from easily preventable causes such as malaria and diarrhea, suffering from poor or non-existent access to medicines and skilled health workers, in regions and countries where extreme poverty is widespread.

That’s where Save the Children’s Race for Survival comes in. Held on October 17, the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, it’s a chance for children’s voices from the toughest places in the world to be heard, loud and clear.

This year’s Race for Survival is taking place in the some of the world’s toughest places to survive as a child. Places where children and mothers are surviving against the odds.

Thousands of children in over 50 countries will take to the streets in organised running races, to help amplify the voices of millions children living in the world’s most unforgiving environments. 

In 2000, world leaders made a bold promise: to cut the number of child deaths for under-fives by two thirds before December 2015 (Millennium Development Goal 4: reduce child mortality). A lot has been done to save the lives of children and their mothers. Almost 30 developing countries will honour this commitment. But, with only 440 days left before the deadline, the world remains off-track to deliver this promise.

Through the Race for Survival, we will re-focus the world’s attention on the survival of the poorest and most disadvantaged children.

Save the Children was founded in 1919 on the principle that every child has the right to survive.  For almost a century we have worked tirelessly to make this happen. We are now calling on those in power to speed up the pace towards the 2015 goal of reducing child deaths and give every child a fair chance at life, no matter where they live.

Desperate demand for Ebola treatment in Sierra Leone as five new people infected every hour

Ebola Donate HC

The demand for treatment beds and nurses to halt the rapid spread of Ebola across Sierra Leone is far outstripping supply, according to Save the Children.

An estimated 765[1] new cases were reported last week – a rate of five every hour - while there are only 327 beds in the country. The critical shortage comes as untold numbers of children are dying anonymously at home or in the streets, meaning the scale of the problem is massively unreported.

Ebola is spreading across Sierra Leone at a terrifying rate, with the number of new cases being recorded doubling every few weeks. At the current rate, 10 people every hour will be infected with Ebola in the country before the end of October. Even as health authorities get on top of the outbreak in one area, it breaks out in another. In the Port Loko district, cases have risen five-fold in the last month[2].

Even with the 700 new beds pledged by the UK government, unless the international community radically steps up its response people will continue to die at home, infecting their families and wider community.

Save the Children’s country director in Sierra Leone, Rob MacGillivray, says: “We are facing the frightening prospect of an epidemic which is spreading like wildfire across Sierra Leone, with the number of new cases doubling every three weeks. Children, more than anyone, are suffering painful, anonymous and undignified deaths at home. It’s very difficult at this stage to even give accurate figures on the number of children who are dying from Ebola, as monitoring systems cannot keep pace with the outbreak.”

Save the Children is working with the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and its Ministry of Defence to build and run a 100-bed treatment centre in Sierra Leone, as well as supporting an Interim Care Centre in Kailahun for children who have lost their families to Ebola. The organisation is pledging to raise and spend $70m (£43m) to stop the spread of the disease across the region, treat more patients and support children who have lost their parents. Save the Children is tackling Ebola in Liberia and Guinea too.

Patricia Erb, Save the Children Canada President and CEO, says: “The UK government has taken the lead on supporting Sierra Leone to tackle this crisis, but it cannot act alone. The scale of the Ebola epidemic is devastating and growing every day, with five people infected every hour in Sierra Leone last week. We need a coordinated international response that ensures treatment centres are built and staffed immediately.

“This is not only an immediate humanitarian threat, but risks completely undoing the hard work which has been done to build up the fragile health systems in Sierra Leone and Liberia after the devastating wars of the past few decades. ”

To learn more or donate to our Ebola efforts in West Africa, please visit: https://www.savethechildren.ca/ebola

[1] Based on Sierra Leone Ministry of Health figures which show 306 new cases were reported in the week to Wednesday 1st October. This is then multiplied by 2.5 to take into account underreporting, according to CDC guidelines.

[2] According to Ministry of Health figures from August 30th and September 30th.

Save the Children builds its first Ebola treatment centre in Liberia

A 70-bed Save the Children-built treatment centre has now opened its doors in Liberia and is being run by the International Medical Corps (IMC). 

Bong county – where the centre is located – is one of the five counties in Liberia worst affected by the outbreak, which experts claim could infect up to 1.4 million lives by January. 

“We only have a few weeks to stop the spread of the disease spiralling out of control and, for those affected, it’s imperative that care and treatment are made more widely available”,says Mercy Gichuhi, Country Director for Save the Children in Liberia. 

“Beds available in treatment units are not keeping up with demand, and infected people, including children, are being turned away because these are full beyond capacity. It's tragic that in some areas people are being left to die in the streets, in undignified and deplorable conditions, while no one dare approach them”, Mercy continues.

Save the Children is to build another Ebola treatment unit in Margibi county, which is also heavily affected by the outbreak. These treatment units include safe isolation wards and provide expert medical assessments, care and treatment until the patient’s death or recovery. They will also reduce pressure on mainstream healthcare services, which outside of Monrovia, have almost all shut down because of the deadly toll they have had on healthcare personnel. 

Since August, 20 healthcare workers have died in Margibi alone after they were infected with Ebola. Nursing staff and teams were not sufficiently aware of how to identify Ebola and lacked the protective equipment to assess and treat them safely.  

In addition, Save the Children will open an additional 10 Ebola care units in Liberia. These differ from the more conventional Ebola treatment centres because they are faster to build, less resource intensive and employ locally-trained staff who are able to assess patients and detect if anyone has the early stages of Ebola. Such care units can be rapidly set up in hot spots for the disease, while facilitating assessment of people presenting with symptoms. 

Ebola care units complement treatment centres, and will be closely monitored and evaluated. This approach will help ensure more people can be assessed quickly and start treatment. They will also train one family member to safely help care for them, reducing the trauma of family separation at such a painful and frightening time.

“What we urgently need now however are more trained healthcare professionals to support the international response, as well as the financial resources to get this right and curb the rapid progress of the disease” Mercy notes.  

Notes to editors:

  • Liberia is the country worst affected by the Ebola crisis so far, with over 3,360 people who’ve been infected, of whom over half, nearly 1,770, have died.
  • The Ebola Treatment Centre was successfully handed over to the International Medical Corps (IMC) to run, and opened its doors on the 15th September.
  • The Ebola Care Units approach, approved by the World Health Organisation, was brainstormed by Save the Children’s Senior Health Adviser Francesco Checchi and Prof. Ron Waldman, Team Leader, Ebola Response Team for Save the Children in the US, Jesse Hartness, Director of Emergency Health at Save the Children US, David Wightwick, Operations Manager at Save the Children International and Abraham Varampath, Senior WASH Adviser at Save the Children in India. Ebola Care units will be set up in various parts of the country, depending on where hot spots develop.
  • Save the Children is rapidly scaling up its response to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. In Liberia, its teams are working in Monrovia and in four out of five of the worst affected counties, helping orphaned or separated children, providing emotional and psychosocial support to children and families, building treatment centres, care units and water and sanitation facilities, as well as carrying out prevention campaigns in communities and on national radios.

For more information, please contact:
Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children,delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfill their potential.

Humanitarian Coalition Launches Joint Appeal for Ebola Outbreak

Ottawa, September 22, 2014 - Today, the Humanitarian Coalition launches a national joint appeal to raise funds for public health and disease prevention efforts in West Africa.

This latest outbreak of the Ebola virus has so far infected more than five thousand people, with confirmed cases resulting in more than 2,500 deaths. Centred in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the outbreak is rapidly spreading and threatens to infect thousands more.

The countries affected by Ebola are some of the poorest in the world, with fragile public health systems that are ill equipped to handle the magnitude of the outbreak. While front-line medical services and interventions must be funded to treat those who have contracted the disease and to quarantine people who exhibit symptoms, there is also an urgent need to scale up public health interventions in affected areas and beyond. 

The member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition are on the ground right now and their dedicated staff are busy helping families and communities adopt practices that will help prevent the further spread of the disease, and supporting those who have been impacted by the crisis. With basic measures such as the sharing of accurate information, the training of community health workers, and the distribution of hygiene kits and clean water, the number of new cases can be reduced. As in all emergencies, women and children are the most vulnerable. That is why our agencies have put in place particular programs to protect and support them throughout this crisis.

Liberia and Sierra Leone have both declared a state of national emergency. The Humanitarian Coalition urges all governments and health authorities to contribute in the fight against Ebola. Inaction is not an option as the number of cases continues to rise. This Ebola outbreak calls for a concerted, global response. The Humanitarian Coalition is proud to play a role in this effort.

Canadians who want to learn more about the current Ebola outbreak and our member agencies’ response can go to www.together.ca 

- 30 -

humanitarian coalition

About the Humanitarian Coalition

The Humanitarian Coalition is Canada's only joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs.

For questions and interviews, please contact:
Humanitarian Coalition
MJ Proulx

CARE Canada
Darcy Knoll

Oxfam Canada
Melanie Gallant

Justine Lesage

Plan Canada
Dena Allen

Save the Children
Kirsten Walkom

West Africa Ebola Crisis

West Africa - Ebola - Email 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a global health emergency. Unless it is brought under control, the epidemic has the potential to spread more widely across the region and put many more lives at risk.

Save the Children is working in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and Guinea. We are involved in regional discussions with WHO and OCHA.​

Our work includes: 

  • Training teachers, health workers, ​nurses and local organizations on prevention measures. 
  • Dist​ributing protective kits​ in schools and medical equipment in health centers
  • Br​oadcasting messages informing people on prevention and protection measures
  • Providing psychosocial support to help survivors come to term with their experiences
  • Supporting the child welfare committees to work with children and investigate in communities with high-deaths to ensure that no unaccompanied child is left behind.

Since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa over 2,000 people – many of them children – have died. 

People are in urgent need of protective kits, essential medical equipment and information on how to stay safe from infection.

Help us reach children and their families who need these urgent, life-saving supports.  

Donate today!

South Sudan Needs Urgent Humanitarian Assistance | Le Soudan du Sud a besoin urgent d'aide humanitaire
July 9, 2014 | le 9 juillet 2014
Humanitarian Coalition | la Coalition Humanitaire

On the third anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, the Humanitarian Coalition is extremely concerned by the rapidly rising demand for emergency assistance as well as the shortfall in funding required to address the needs of the most vulnerable.

The ongoing conflict in the world’s youngest country has displaced 1.5 million people, including almost 400,000 who fled to neighbouring Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, and Kenya. The turmoil is disrupting farming activities and impeding access to village markets, putting 4 million people at risk of severe hunger.

Recent estimates from the United Nations (UN) indicate that 235,000 children under five will be malnourished and 50,000 may die if food aid and nutrition programs are not urgently scaled up.

Gender-based violence is also on the rise as a result of the conflict, and an outbreak of cholera has infected more than 2,000 people and caused more than 60 deaths so far.

The member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition were working in South Sudan well before the violence began. Now, they are responding to the crisis by providing emergency food; water sanitation and hygiene training; basic medical treatment; sexual and reproductive health services; and protection for refugees with a special attention to women and girls.

While the global fundraising target set by the UN for the emergency relief effort in South Sudan for 2014 is $1.8 billion, less than half of that amount has been pledged by donor governments and raised by NGOs. Without this money, the rapidly deteriorating situation is expected to lead to famine conditions before the end of the year.

Canada, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), has played a role in answering the UN’s call. It allocated more than $29 million in humanitarian assistance for the crisis in South Sudan, and recently added the country to its list of Development Countries of Focus, thus increasing the bilateral aid it will receive.

Steadfast in our determination to help the people of South Sudan, and despite the security challenges and relatively low level of attention the crisis is attracting, we continue to monitor and respond to the growing needs. As Canada’s only partnership between leading humanitarian agencies to enhance coordination, maximize impact, and engage Canadians, the Humanitarian Coalition strongly urges Canadians to consider making a donation to its member agencies. Together, we can alleviate the alarming suffering of individuals, families, and entire communities living in very precarious circumstances.

The Humanitarian Coalition has repeatedly called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in South Sudan. We do so again today, on this sombre anniversary.

To learn more about how Humanitarian Coalition member agencies are responding and to make a donation to relief efforts, please visit their websites:

CARE Canada

Oxfam Canada


Plan Canada

Save the Children Canada

À l’occasion du troisième anniversaire de l'indépendance du Soudan du Sud, la Coalition Humanitaire est extrêmement préoccupée par la forte croissance de la demande en aide d'urgence ainsi que le manque de financement pour répondre aux besoins des plus vulnérables.

Le conflit en cours dans le plus jeune pays du monde a déplacé 1,5 millions de personnes, dont près de 400 000 ont fui vers l'Ethiopie, l'Ouganda, le Soudan et le Kenya. La crise perturbe les activités agricoles et empêche l'accès aux marchés dans les villages, et 4 millions de personnes sont menacées par la faim sévère.

Des estimations récentes de l'Organisation des Nations Unies (ONU) indiquent que 235 000 enfants de moins de cinq ans seront mal nourris et 50 000 peuvent mourir si les programmes d'aide alimentaire et de nutrition ne sont pas renforcés d'urgence. La violence sexiste est également à la hausse en raison du conflit, et une épidémie de choléra a infecté plus de 2,000 personnes et causé plus de 60 morts à ce jour.

Les agences membres de la Coalition Humanitaire répondent à la crise en fournissant des vivres d'urgence; l'assainissement de l'eau et de la formation en matière d'hygiène; des soins médicaux de base; des services santé sexuelle et reproductive; et la protection des réfugiés avec une attention particulière aux femmes et aux filles.

Bien que l'objectif de collecte de fonds mondial fixé par l'ONU pour les efforts de secours d'urgence au Sud-Soudan pour 2014 soit de 1,8 milliards de dollars, moins de la moitié de ce montant a été promis par les gouvernements donateurs et élevé par des ONG. Sans cet argent, on s'attend à la détérioration de la situation de conduire rapidement à des conditions de famine avant la fin de l'année.

Canada, par l'entremise du ministère des Affaires étrangères, du commerce et du développement, a joué un rôle en répondant à l'appel de l'ONU. Il a alloué plus de 29 millions de dollars en aide humanitaire pour la crise au Soudan du Sud, et a récemment ajouté le pays à sa liste des pays en développement ciblés, augmentant ainsi l'aide bilatérale qu'il recevra.

Fermes dans notre détermination à aider le peuple du Sud-Soudan, et malgré les problèmes de sécurité et le niveau relativement faible de l'attention que la crise attire, nous continuons de surveiller et de répondre aux besoins croissants. Comme seul partenariat du Canada entre les principales agences humanitaires ensemble pour améliorer la coordination, maximiser l'impact, et soliciter l'engagement des Canadiens, la Coalition Humanitaire exhorte vivement les Canadiennes et Canadiens à envisager de faire un don à ses agences membres. Ensemble, nous pouvons soulager les souffrances alarmant de personnes, familles, et communautés entières vivant dans des conditions très précaires.

La Coalition Humanitaire a appelé à plusieurs reprises pour une résolution pacifique du conflit au Soudan du Sud. Nous le faisons encore aujourd'hui, en date de ce triste anniversaire.

Pour en savoir plus sur la réponse de nos agences membres, veuillez consulter leurs sites internet:

Aide à l'enfance Canada

CARE Canada

Oxfam Canada


Plan Canada


Is all work bad for children?

Patricia Erb, President & CEO, Save the Children Canada


Since the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh, international attention has focused on the working conditions in the garment factories – especially for children. In response to this tragedy, many organisations are calling for action. But, is ending all forms of child work the right solution? 


Save the Children is the world’s leading organisation for children. We have been accompanying working children, up to the age of 18, for decades, to improve their lives and those of their families. Our long experience has helped us to understand that beyond the unacceptable economic exploitation of children, the realities of children involved in work are much more complex than originally considered.


First, child work is not a uniform phenomenon. While some forms of work are harmful to their development, there are types of work that are beneficial to children (for example helping their parents on the farm). Work can provide children the opportunity to develop skills, self-confidence, and to participate in their community. We have learned that there are very few black and white situations: most of the time, work situations combine both harmful and positive aspects in children’s lives. More importantly, we’ve learnt that the best allies, for our work, are the children, because they are powerful agents of change. We are more successful when we don’t only work for the children but with the children.


Children work for a variety of reasons. A central one is the lack of family resources. Children need to work to bring in extra money to support the livelihood of the family. It can be used to pay for housing, food, or school fees. Also, for many children, working is a better alternative than the poor quality schooling that is available. Often the educational curriculum is not relevant to their particular context – potentially not even in their mother-tongue. Sadly, school can also be a place of abuse and violence, or simply inaccessible – too far, too expensive. Through our years of working with children globally, we’ve learned that many children actually choose to work, because it provides an encouraging sense of pride and accomplishment by earning their own money, learning a profession, and helping to support their families. Is it the case of children in Bangladesh? 


The history of children working in garment factories in Bangladesh is not new. In 1992, there was a call to end employment of children, which received strong international support. Frightened by the risk of boycotts, the manufacturers expelled children from the factories. However, the parties did not consider what these children would do instead, nor were the available program options considered viable by the children and their families. Therefore, many ended up in more harmful forms of work such as servants, working in the streets or even prostitution.   


Experiences like this one oblige us to look at the situation of working children carefully and demand that we take a child-centered and context-specific lens when developing our interventions. Blanket bans on children’s work can have terribly negative impacts, such as children ending up in invisible and informal forms of work. Two of the fundamental components for effective intervention are to first build partnerships with governments, local authorities, and the private sector to create positive environments for children, including continued access to quality education. Secondly, Save the Children aims at reducing the harms children face in their workplace – taking into consideration each individual’s age and capacity – and enhance the benefits that they can receive, while ensuring the child’s perspective and voice are considered when finding solutions.


Specifically in Bangladesh, the inequalities are so prevalent that children have very little opportunities to thrive in dignified conditions. Today, the garment industry is not the major employer of children. More than 90 per cent of working children are engaged in the informal sectors, which are often more hazardous forms of work.Save the Children partners with a local NGO and corporations to find responsible solutions to child labour, in the textile industry, by offering basic education and vocational training that meets the needs of the industry and complies with occupational safety and health requirements. After children complete an apprenticeship and appropriate training, the newly skilled workers are able to get more formal positions, with decent wages and appropriate conditions for their age, in the same factory.


Children are the first victims of our inequitable systems. We pledge for immediate action. But to be efficient and sustainable, those actions must be driven by the best interest of the child. This includes effective participation of children, adequate understanding of the local realities, and of the available alternatives offered, including dignified work combined with relevant education. Only by considering the child’s situation, will we be able to collectively protect working children and to enable them to develop into skilled, healthy, and self-confident citizens – reaching their full potential.

Canadian Government proves to be a leader in support of mothers, newborns and children in sub-Saharan Africa

Save the Children would like to commend the Canadian government for its continued support of mothers, newborns and children in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, during an event co-hosted by the Permanent missions of Canada and the United States at the World Health Assembly meetings, in Geneva, Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced a $36 million investment to help pay for primary health care research in nine countries, which will focus on the needs of mothers, newborns and children.

The Canadian government continues to show real leadership on this issue. Next week, Prime Minister Harper will host world leaders, global health experts, Canadian and global civil society representatives, and the private sector, at the Saving Every Woman and Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit, in Toronto. Together we can save the lives of millions of mothers and children, and I look forward to working with people from all sectors to accomplish our ultimate goal – to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children within a generation.

Patricia Erb
President and CEO
Save the Children Canada

Canada to host Summit on maternal, newborn and child health

Summit on maternal, newborn and child healthThe Micronutrient Initiative welcomes Canada´s announcement of a high-level Summit on maternal, newborn and child health. The Summit will focus on increasing global efforts to reduce preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths. It will be hosted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Toronto, from May 28 to 30.

“We are encouraged and in full support of today´s announcement to hold a high-level Summit in Canada to increase the global commitment to maternal and child survival and health,” said MI President Joel Spicer.

The Summit will ensure that Canadian experts in maternal, newborn and child health will have the opportunity to collaborate with global leaders to build agreement on how to save more lives and ensure a healthier future for the next generation.

The Government of Canada has continuously demonstrated leadership in this area, most notably through its Muskoka Initiative at the 2010 G8. The high-level Summit will build on the commitments established there. The focus on women´s nutrition will not only ensure healthier and safer pregnancies but help to ensure that children will be born healthier and have a better chance at life.

Canadian investments in maternal, newborn and child health have lead the world in reducing preventable deaths, especially in its commitment to global nutrition. However, over the next five year, up to 30 million children will die, with undernutrition as the underlying cause of 45% of those deaths. These deaths are preventable, and at a low cost.

“The fight against poverty cannot be won while entire generations are still being born stunted, malnourished, and with their development potential impaired because they don´t have access to good nutrition,” Joel Spicer said.

MI, through support from the Government of Canada and other generous donors, has realized tangible results through our micronutrient programming, saving and improving hundreds of millions of lives every year. The Summit will provide the opportunity to bring these results home and share them with Canadians, as well as determine how to accelerate progress. 

MI works to end hidden hunger by eliminating vitamin and mineral deficiencies, helping to improve the lives of close to 500 million people in more than 75 countries every year.

Canada´s Muskoka Initiative has invested over $7 billion to improve the lives of the world´s most vulnerable and is a key supporter in MI´s impact. These investments not only reflect Canadian values to help those in need, but are also cost effective: for every dollar spent reducing chronic undernutrition, there is a return of $138.

The world has come so far and yet more can be done. The moment is now to accelerate impact, and MI is happy to partner in that pursuit.

For the full announcement released by Prime Minister Harper, visit http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/03/06/pm-convenes-canadian-experts-and-global-leaders-maternal-newborn-and-child-health.

Thank you, IKEA customers and co-workers! 11 million children supported since 2003

IKEA’s Soft Toys for Education campaign raises €10.1 million to help improve children’s education across Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia.

The IKEA Foundation donates the money to projects run by UNICEF and Save the Children.

The annual IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign ran from November through December 2013 in all IKEA stores around the world. For each soft toy or children’s book purchased, €1 will be donated to UNICEF and Save the Children by the IKEA Foundation.

Since the start of this annual campaign in 2003, the IKEA Foundation has donated €67 million, which has helped improve the educational opportunities of more than 11 million children in 46 countries. The donations help UNICEF and Save the Children train teachers in child-friendly teaching methods, improve child protection systems, supply educational materials, and increase school attendance rates.

Thanks to this year’s donation, the IKEA Foundation will support 19 UNICEF and Save the Children projects in 18 countries. UNICEF’s share will fund the Schools for Africa initiative in eight countries and the Schools for Asia initiative in China. Save the Children’s share will support education for children of the most marginalised groups in Asia and Eastern Europe.

"Education is the key to unlocking a brighter future for every child, especially the most vulnerable and excluded. UNICEF is grateful for its strong partnership with the IKEA Foundation, as well as IKEA's customers and employees, as we work together to help all children receive the quality education they deserve," said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of our long-term strategic collaboration with the IKEA Foundation. It’s also the 8th consecutive year that Save the Children is part of the IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign. Through the IKEA Foundation’s commitment to helping vulnerable children gain access to a quality education, children of minority groups and children with disabilities—as well as their families and communities—all benefit from the proceeds of the campaign for a better and brighter future,” said Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General of Save the Children Sweden and Chairperson Global Lead Agency for the Save the Children and IKEA Foundation collaboration.  


Pledge to protect Syrian children must be Geneva II priority

Save the Children and global leaders call on governments to remember the innocent victims of war


TORONTO, ON – January 21, 2014 – Save the Children and other leading humanitarian agencies have published an open letter today, calling on the parties to the Syrian conflict meeting in Geneva to urgently focus on the plight of children.


The 14 signatories include Antonio Gutteres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; David Miliband, President of the International Rescue Committee; Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF.


For the first time, top humanitarian agencies have come together to publically call on all sides to take measures to allow life-saving aid to reach children trapped inside Syria and prevent them from being targets of violence.


More than 11,000 children have died in this conflict already, 71 percent of them killed indiscriminately by explosive weapons used in towns and cities. 


Save the Children, the world’s largest independent child’s rights organisation, wants the Geneva II participants to make protecting children the first item on their agenda.


Save the Children is calling on all parties to commit to the following:

  • Allow life-saving aid to reach children inside Syria
  • Protect schools and health facilities
  • Prevent the use of explosive weapons in populated area

“Every day in Syria, children are experiencing the brutality of war: injury, death and displacement. Scandalously, hundreds of thousands are trapped in besieged or hard-to-reach areas and receiving little or no aid,” said Save the Children’s President & CEO, Patricia Erb.The first item on the agenda at Geneva II must be protecting children. The parties have already demonstrated the power of political will when they began moving chemical weapons out of Syria. We need to see the same political will to ensure that children and other civilians are no longer targeted.Save the Children’s three point plan to protect the children of Syria is about ending the appalling situation that places the most vulnerable directly in harm’s way. If parties to the talks come together to make these three things happen, fewer children will die. It is that simple.”


"I will tell you my story. It starts with the death of my two sons. There was shooting in my town, and shelling. Both of my sons were killed. A short while later, Amal, my daughter - the third one - died the same way. About a thousand shells fell on us that day. She was six years old." - Za'ahir, a Syrian refugee in Lebanon


One Billion dollar appeal launched to save Syria’s lost generation Save the Children joins other global aid organizations to call for immediate help for Syrian children

One Billion dollar appeal launched to save Syria’s lost generation
Save the Children joins other global aid organizations to call for immediate help for Syrian children


TORONTO, ON (January 7, 2014) –  Save the Children, UNICEF, UNHCR, World Vision and other aid agencies today called for governments, NGOs, and members of the public to become champions for the children of Syria and support efforts to protect a generation of Syrian children. 

The organizations announced the launch of a US$1 billion campaign, called ‘No Lost Generation’, which will focus on donor and public support for critical programmes to help Syrian children affected by the continuing conflict. The strategy is being publically unveiled one week ahead of a major donor conference in Kuwait for humanitarian aid for Syria. 

The US$1 billion will be spent to deliver safe education, protection from exploitation, abuse and violence and psychological care for affected children. These programmes include strengthening national and community-based child protection systems, which respond to the needs of girls, boys and families at high risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence while protecting all children against such risks. 

“As this conflict approaches another bitter anniversary, we cannot just sit and watch a generation disappear in front of us,” said Patricia Erb, President & CEO, Save the Children Canada. “For nearly three years, Syria’s children have been the most vulnerable of all victims of the conflict, seeing their families and loved ones killed, their schools destroyed and their hopes eroded. Children have also become vulnerable to the worst types of exploitation including child labour, early marriage, and recruitment into armed groups and forces.”

 A major public engagement campaign under the hashtag #childrenofsyria is also being launched, using social media to enlist influential supporters and public contributors. 

The initiative will also scale up access to quality education, for refugee children who have escaped Syria and those who remain inside. The ‘No Lost Generation’ initiative will provide remedial education and psychosocial support organized in school clubs for younger children and those out-of-school. 

Across the region, Save the Children teams have so far helped over 600,000 refugee children and family members including 230,000 children and family members inside Syria with food, safe water, medicine, and shelter.

For more information please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations




  •  Over one million Syrian refugees are children, of which more than 425,000 are under the age of five. The vast majority of these refugees have fled either to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq.  Among them, nearly 8,000 children have been identified as being separated from their families. The situation for the over three million displaced children inside Syria is even more dire. 
  • A special website has been established at www.championthechildrenofsyria.org that tells the stories of children affected by the conflict, and shows how investments in children can deliver important dividends, not just for the current victims of the war but for the longer-term future of Syria and the wider region.
  • Most of the funding for the No Lost Generation initiative is being sought through two existing appeals – the Regional Response Plan aimed at addressing the needs of Syria’s child refugees and The Syrian Humanitarian Assistance response plan which addresses the needs of Syrian children who are internally displaced.


Statement from Save the Children Canada’s CEO, Patricia Erb regarding the loss of Nelson Mendela

Statement from Save the Children Canada’s CEO, Patricia Erb regarding the loss of Nelson Mendela

My thoughts go out to the Mandela family and to the people of South Africa today at this time of loss and sadness.

Nelson Mandela was a true personal hero of mine because of his struggle against racism and the evolving reconciliation process of South Africa. I have lived through human rights violations on another continent and know of the value that is placed on those who were part of bringing the injustice to its end. His spirit and determination to help a nation heal and overcome gross injustice has been inspiring to not only me, but many worldwide. During a recent visit many people told me that he would never die. This is true as he has left and imprint through his values and ideals.

Nelson Mandela was a strong supporter of Save the Children and for that we are fortunate. Children and youth were very important to him. He believed in giving them a voice and ensuring they were heard. He knew the power children have.

I believe we have all benefited from Nelson Mandela’s strength and will. This is a will we can all push forward. His loss will be deeply felt, but his memory will continue to change the world.


For additional information please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations



Fears pneumonia on the increase, as thousands of children remain in cramped evacuation centres in Philippines

Toronto, Canada, December 2, 2013 – Dr. Miguel Dorotan, leader one of two medical teams who were the first to reach Dulag, 30km south of Tacloban in the Philippines, confirmed today the increasing concern of respiratory diseases or pneumonia among children in evacuation centres. 

As part of a joint initiative between Save the Children and Merlin, health staff saw 292 patients on the island of Leyte within the first two days of opening. Dr. Dorotan assessed 127 sick children under five years old. The majority of children presented with acute respiratory tract infections, with 42 of them requiring medical treatment for pneumonia. Save the Children Canada’s CEO, Patricia Erb, visited these medical sites during her visit to the affected areas.

“Given the number of homes which were destroyed, families are now living in very overcrowded conditions, in schools or temporary evacuation centres, as well as staying with other families whose homes might also have been severely damaged,” Erb stated. “This, combined with the ongoing rain and stagnant waters, make managing health conditions and reducing the spread of disease a significant challenge.”

The number of houses damaged during typhoon Haiyan is estimated at 1,173,413 with almost half completely destroyed.  With the number of displaced people currently estimated at over 3.54 million (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), concerns continue to grow for those living in damaged, overcrowded, or hastily built shelters, who are highly vulnerable to infection, as the rainy season continues.

Two mobile health clinics were set up on Leyte this week and were able to reach the more remote barangays (villages) of Dulag – Calubian and Cabacunguan, covering a catchment area of 12 to 16,000. A third clinic was opened in San Jose, the biggest barangay in Dulag district, where a further 181 patients were assessed. In the past eight days Save the Children and Merlin doctors have assessed more than 730 patients on the island of Leyte.  Mobile health clinics have also been rolled our across the island of Panay reaching a further 417 patients. They form part of a wider move by Save the Children and Merlin to control the spread of communicable diseases. As well as supporting local clinics, health teams will offer mobile healthcare to residents in some of the hardest-hit areas of Panay and Leyte islands where previous facilities have either been destroyed or overwhelmed with increased demand. These will address some of the most urgent healthcare needs and ensure people, especially children, are treated quickly and effectively. 

Dr Dorotan also raised concerns over the treatment of patients with tuberculosis, an illness that proved challenging to manage in the Philippines, even before the typhoon struck. The country was ranked ninth in the list of 22 countries identified as having the highest burden of tuberculosis in the world, with 212119 new cases recorded in 2012 (World Health Organisation). 

“While we have only seen a few cases, we know that the prevalence of tuberculosis in the Philippines is already very high. Tuberculosis treatment needs to be continuous to be successful and interruptions increase resistance to primary treatment, which is a significant concern.” Said Dr Dorotan.

As part of its emergency response to ensure families and children have sufficient shelter against the prolonged rains, and to restore at least the minimum level of dignity to their living conditions, Save the Children is distributing shelter kits, household items such as bedding and kitchen sets, and household-level water treatment supplies. Its teams have so far reached over 30,000 people in Tacloban, and over 8,000 on Panay island and harder-to-reach islands.     

Save the Children’s Sarah Ireland, who was deployed to Tacloban as Field Manager just after the typhoon struck, warns that the significant health risks posed to children must remain a priority. "While we now need to be looking past the immediate response phase and to helping people recover and rebuild, we must not forget that needs for immediate relief are still extremely high. Hundreds of thousands of children remain without adequate shelter or accommodation, and remain exposed to infectious and life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia and upper respiratory tract infections."

Save the Children Canada is responding to Typhoon Haiyan as part of the Humanitarian Coalition.



Notes to editors:


  • Save the Children teams have so far distributed essential items to over 40,000 people.
  • Emergency shelter needs remain significant, with displaced people needing an estimated 4 million corrugated iron sheets and other shelter material to reconstruct their homes.
  • Continued rains are affecting debris clearing roads. Many families are living in damaged buildings or hastily built shacks, resulting in an increase of acute respiratory conditions and infections
  • Merlin and Save the Children have launched a joint response to the emergency in the Philippines. Thanks to this collaboration we are establishing several mobile clinics that will support affected communities both in Leyte and Panay.

For further information or to arrange interviews with our spokespeople in the Philippines, please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Save the Children




Humanitarian Coalition Invited to Receive Typhoon Haiyan Donations at DFATD Charity Gala

(Ottawa, November 28, 2013) The Humanitarian Coalition is pleased to announce that it will be represented at this year’s Art of Giving Gala hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) as the main recipient organization for Typhoon Haiyan donations. The second edition of this high-profile event will be held on Friday, November 29 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Qc.


The evening brings together the diplomatic and international communities for music, dancing, food, a silent auction, and a unique opportunity to mingle while at the same time taking a moment to think about the less fortunate around us. Following  the most devastating typhoon ever to hit the Philippines, we are especially mindful of those whose lives have been deeply affected by the immense devastation that it caused in the country’s southern region.


To date, the Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies have raised more than $4 million to help Haiyan survivors. This is in large part due to the generous donations of Canadians, be they individual or corporate gifts, or the result of fundraising activities organized by community groups, employers, sports teams, radio stations, or schools.


We look forward to an entertaining and successful evening this Friday and thank DFATD employees for inviting the Humanitarian Coalition, Canada’s only group of leading relief agencies working in collaboration to respond to humanitarian disasters.


Together, we continue to help the people of the Philippines as they rebuild their lives and restore their neighbourhoods. For more information, go to: www.together.ca 





To make a donation to support Typhoon Haiyan relief, visit: www.savethechildren.ca/helpnow


Save the Children Canada President and CEO Patricia Erb on the ground in the Philippines

Save the Children Canada President and CEO Patricia Erb on the ground in the Philippines

TORONTO, November 25, 2013 – Children are especially vulnerable during times of disaster. Currently, in the Philippines, an estimated 5.4 million children have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan, including being separated from parents and caregivers. Save the Children Canada’s President and CEO Patricia Erb is on the ground in the Philippines and available for interviews to discuss Canadian aid in the region and Save the Children’s commitment to child protection.


As an aid and development organization, Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981, responding to dozens of emergencies across the country.  The agency says providing protection and psychosocial support to children is as vital to relief efforts as food, shelter, and water.


With the ever-increasing death toll and the chaos of the storm, an estimated 1.7 million children have become internally displaced, many have been separated from their parents and caregivers, and some may have been orphaned. These children are extremely vulnerable to violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect, and rates of child labour and trafficking are likely to rise significantly. These children need to be reunited with their families as soon as possible.


Patricia is available to speak to media from the Philippines. If you’d like to arrange an interview, please contact:


Kirsten Walkom
National Senior Manager, Public Relations
+63 999 651 9345

or +63 915 949 7920



About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivery programs and improving lives in about 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca.

The Humanitarian Coalition is a joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam  Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs. To make a donation for Typhoon Haiyan, go to www.together.ca or call 1-800-464-9154.


Typhoon Haiyan Response Relief


TORONTO, CANADA, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 – Save the Children is emptying warehouses of aid for the Philippines to deliver help on the ground to children and their families following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

Technical and medical experts have scrambled from around the world to deliver aid arriving by plane to support millions of people across the country, including:

  • More than 100 staff already on the ground in the hardest hit areas;
  • A team of 12 doctors from the UK will be arriving to offer immediate treatment of the injured and sick;
  • Nine senior logistics experts – from Britain, Australia, and Denmark – making sure help gets through to the people who need it most; and
  • Teams assessing need in Llolio-llolio, Rohas, Tacloban, and two sites on the island of Cebu.

More planes are planned for the coming days which will see aid delivered from warehouses in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Medical support is desperately needed as the full extent of the devastation is realised.

Cat Carter, Save the Children humanitarian officer, speaking from Tacloban, said: “We are talking to doctors in Tacloban who are completely running out of medicine and supplies, finding conditions impossible and unable to do their job. They are desperate to treat children with major cuts and bruising sustained during the storm and are now seeing young patients coming to them showing symptoms of flu and diarrhoea and suffering from fevers.

“The lack of shelter, lack of food and bottled water is only making things worse as children suffer under such brutal conditions.

“There are still dead bodies everywhere you look and carcases of animals also litter the ground. There are major concerns that these could be a health hazard which will heap further pressure on doctors and medical teams.

“We have a strong teams on the ground which are doing all they can in extremely difficult conditions. Aid is on the way and will be distributed as soon as possible.”

When our medical teams arrive they will give priority to open wounds, and obstetrics and paediatric care to pregnant mothers, babies and children.

Save the Children Canada’s President & CEO, Patricia Erb, said: “Aid is on its way and we have experts on the ground in the places hit hard by the typhoon to make sure it is delivered to children and families as quickly and safely as possible.”

A Save the Children aid plane will arrive in Cebu on November 14, 2013

Supplies and aid on board include:

  • 2,000 sheets of tarpaulin & 7,380 pieces of plastic sheeting
  • 12,000 blankets
  • 4 mobile clinics with all the necessary medical equipment
  • 13,600 Jerry Cans
  • 2,500 Kitchen Sets
  • 500 New Born Kits
  • 100 ‘Winterised Tents’
  • 5,000 buckets

Save the Children Canada is a member of the Humanitarian Coalition and is responding as part of the Coalition’s Typhoon Haiyan joint appeal to Canadians. Canadians can help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan by donating now: www.together.ca.


For more information, please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations

Save the Children



About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivery programs and improving lives in about 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca.


The Humanitarian Coalition is a joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada.

With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs. Follow us on and  . To make a donation for Typhoon Haiyan, go to www.together.ca or call 1-800-464-9154.


Humanitarian Coalition Launches Appeal for Typhoon Haiyan
Nov 10, 2013

Today, the Humanitarian Coalition is launching a national joint appeal to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. It is with heavy hearts that we receive reports of deaths, injuries, and extensive damage caused to people's homes and livelihoods.

Our member agencies have been working in the Philippines for decades alongside local partner organizations. They are now assessing the needs of the more than 4 million people affected by the typhoon and scaling up their programs to respond to the urgent needs of the most vulnerable communities.

In this early stage of the emergency response, exact numbers remain difficult to confirm. But the sheer force of the storm and the populated area where it made landfall point to very high casualty estimates. To assist survivors, our member agencies will be providing drinking water, food, shelter, and medicines.

The Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies welcome the Government of Canada's decision to match donations from Canadians. The generous support of Canadians is essential for relief efforts to have an impact and reach stranded families, children who have been separated from their parents, and the elderly.

Together, we are responding and will continue to help the people of the Philippines as they rebuild their communities in the weeks and months ahead. For more information, go to: www.together.ca

The Humanitarian Coalition is a joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs.

For interviews, please contact :

Humanitarian Coalition
Marie-Jo Proulx

Save the Children
Kirsten Walkom

CARE Canada
Suzanne Charest

Plan Canada
Dena Allen

Oxfam Canada
Melanie Gallant

Justine Lesage
514- 513-0013



Save the Children statement on Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Friday, 8 November 2013 - 10:35am


Anna Lindenfors, Save the Children Country Director for Philippines said: 

“We expect the level of destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan to be extensive and devastating, and sadly we fear that many lives will be lost. As the storm batters across the country, homes, schools and offices are being destroyed by the record-breaking winds. The storm surge is causing widespread flooding.

“Children are going to be particularly affected, swept away in floods, hit by falling debris and separated from their families in the chaos. We expect thousands to be left homeless. 

“Our priority at this time is to help the children that are being affected. Our teams on the ground were well prepared and we deployed a rapid response team to Tacloban, a heavily populated area where the storm was expected to hit hardest. We will be distributing emergency kits for children and families, including toiletries, cleaning items, temporary school tents and education materials. 

“Once the typhoon passes, we can have a better idea of the scale of the damage and loss of life. Right now, we just need to do all we can to help the affected children, many of whom are shocked, injured or alone, and hope for all those that are in the storm's path."

To make a donation to Save the Children's emergency fund and help those affected please visit www.savethechildren.ca.

Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981 and has a long experience responding to emergencies in the Philippines. The aid agency mounted large-scale emergency responses to Typhoon Washi in 2011 and Typhoon Ketsana in 2009, and most recently to last year’s Typhoon Bopha and Manila floods. 

Super Typhoon Hayian, in the Philippines, Threatens Life and Shelter for a Significant Population
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 7, 2013) - A super typhoon - with winds of up to 250 km/h - is presently headed for densely populated parts of the Philippines. This massive storm is an extreme threat to life and property.

Save the Children with its long history of responding to emergences in the Philippines, has already deployed a rapid response team to meet the needs of children in the city of Tacloban where the super typhoon is expected to hit hardest.

"Typhoons bring with it strong winds and heavy rain, which can cause flash flooding and extensive damage to infrastructure. Thousands of children and their families could be made homeless as houses from the extensive damage," said Save the Children's rapid response team member, Lynette Lim.

The super typhoon is expected to make landfall off the coast of Eastern Visayas on Friday, November 8, 2013, as a category five storm, which is strongest level typhoon. The heavy wind and rain will make it very dangerous for the ten million people who are estimated to be in the path of the Typhoon Hayian.

Save the Children has pre-positioned relief material kits for children and families, which will include toiletries, household cleaning items, temporary school tents and learning materials.

Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981, responding to dozens of emergencies across the country. The aid agency mounted large-scale emergency responses to Typhoon Washi in 2011, Typhoon Bopha and Manila floods last year, and most recently to Typhoon Utor in September which pummelled Luzon, ripping roofs off houses and affecting nearly 400,000 people.

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivery programs and improving lives in about 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca.



  • For additional information or
    to speak to a spokesperson please contact:
    Save the Children
    Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager


Celebrities join free-runners in innovative new global campaign film for Save the Children

Actress and Save the Children Ambassador Isla Fisher, legendary Kenyan marathon runner Patrick Makau Musyoki, Bollywood star and Save the Children Ambassador Kunal Kapoor, and US actor and dancer Cameron Boyce, feature alongside children and young acrobats, parkourists and free-runners from around the world in an energetic new film from Save the Children.

 Every five seconds, a child dies needlessly from preventable causes. This new film, which shows children and celebrities taking part in a global relay race, travels from rural Kenya to woods in California, via Nairobi, Mumbai, Honolulu and Los Angeles, and aims to inspire people to join Save the Children’s global campaign to end this injustice. The film is being launched around the world in conjunction with Save the Children’s global Day of Action on the 23rd October, when over 50,000 children in 67 countries will take part in campaign activities including a global relay race called the Race for Survival. 

Jasmine Whitbread, CEO of Save the Children said: "Our global ambassadors have given their support to this criticial issue. We want this energetic film to inspire people to take action all around the world.  All children must be able to access life-saving care and given the opportunity to thrive, no matter where they are born."

Isla Fisher said “I recently visited Save the Children’s work in Brazil and there is nothing more important than making sure every child gets the health and nutrition they need. All children should be able to reach their potential”.

 Patrick Makau said: “Dramatic progress is being made around the world in saving children’s lives from poverty and disease. Change is possible and I encourage people to join Save the Children’s campaign and be part of this movement. Growing up is hard enough. It shouldn’t be a race for survival.”

Kunal Kapoor said: "This breath-taking film is energetic, exciting and fun. It is a celebration of the power, resilience and ingenuity of children and young people around the world. I have seen first-hand the work done by Save the Children and ask people to back their global campaign to save children’s lives.”

Save the Children thanks everyone around the world who has donated their time to make this exciting new film a reality, with a special thanks to executive producer Nabil Elderkin. The stunning photography and exuberant feel of this film were created by director Mason Rose and executive producer Nabil Elderkin. The music track for the film, entitled ‘Follow’, was written by and performed by Crystal Fighters.


Watch the video on our YouTube Channel now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4txUGTDyTto

Syria's children at risk of malnutrition

Lack of access to food and soaring prices have left the children of Syria at risk of malnutrition, Save the Children warns today.


A lack of access to food, soaring prices and a collapse in food production has left the children of Syria at risk of malnutrition, Save the Children warned today.

The aid agency has gathered testimonies from refugees in neighbouring countries as well as residents trapped by fighting and enduring siege like conditions who detailed families' desperate struggle to feed their children.
More than four million Syrians - over two million children - are unable to produce or buy enough food, with many thousands living under fire and with no access to all but the bare minimum foodstuffs needed to survive. We are already seeing reports that one in 20 children in Rural Damascus is severely malnourished.

Save the Children has heard refugee accounts of children forced to subsist off nothing more than lentils or bread for days on end, with one family trapped in their basement by explosions eating just half a piece of bread each over the course of four days.

In a briefing on the state of hunger in Syria, released today, Save the Children also details how severe food shortages are being compounded by an explosion in food prices. The cost of even the most basic food items has spiralled out of control with the cost of the most basic supplies increasing 100 per cent.
Among the testimonies the charity has gathered:

It was very dangerous for me and my children - we had no food and were always hungry. When this hunger had continued for two months and we were very weak, that is when we decided to flee. We realised we would starve if we stayed in Syria - Roula, mother

The price of food doubled in my village and we couldn't afford to eat at all. Milk, bread, everything - doubled. The children became very hungry all the time. And with no nutrients, they also became sick. - Jinan, mother of Siba, 3
Because of a lack of food my children didn't grow as they should. They started losing weight and it was all we could do to keep them alive. - Maryam, mother of two

The war has shattered Syria's economy and the United Nations now estimates close to seven million inhabitants have been plunged into poverty since fighting began. In addition, Syria's agriculture and infrastructure is collapsing, with grain production falling to less than half of what was typical before the war.

Save the Children's Regional Director for the Middle East, Roger Hearn, said: "The world has stood and watched as the children of Syria have been shot, shelled and traumatised by the horror of war. The conflict has already left thousands of children dead and is now threatening their means of staying alive.

"That some children are going to bed trapped amid fighting - terrified, alone, vulnerable - and with empty stomachs ought to be a stain on all our consciences. We understand there is a political debate over what to do next in Syria but we believe everyone can agree on the critical need for safe humanitarian accessacross the entire country. There is no room for delay or argument: Syria's children must not be allowed to go hungry."

A lack of security makes gathering data on child malnutrition rates extremely difficult throughout Syria. However, all available evidence - including spiralling food costs, a collapse of infrastructure and food production, and testimonies of individuals' experiences with hunger - suggests Syria's children are facing a mounting struggle to feed themselves.

Read the full report, Hunger in a War Zone: The growing crisis behind the Syria conflict

Donate to Syria, visit www.savethechildren.ca/donatetosyria

Save the Children ready to respond in flood-hit Manila

Save the Children ready to respond as tens of thousands of children flee from their homes in flood-hit Manila and its surrounding regions

Save the Children is ready to respond to the needs of 60,000 displaced people, after floods triggered by heavy monsoon rain, enhanced by Tropical Storm Trami, swept through the Filipino capital and five other nearby regions.

At least three people have been killed in the floods, including a five-year-old boy. Schools, government offices, businesses and even the stock exchange were shut today. Heavy rain is expected to continue until the storm exits the Philippines on Wednesday. According to the Philippines’ disaster agency, about 320 areas in 44 municipalities/cities have been flooded.

“Children are always most vulnerable in these situations,” said Anna Lindenfors, country director for Save the Children in the Philippines. “We are especially worried about children who may have been separated from their parents during the flooding. Children are also less likely to be able to cope with torrents of floodwater. They would have been absolutely terrified, some would have panicked and as rains continue to fall it will place them in greater danger.”

“Save the Children teams are already on standby in Manila, National Capital Region, to respond to the needs of the affected population. Our teams are currently monitoring the situation, and we are in the process of contacting our local partners in the affected areas, so that we can provide relief as necessary. We have pre-made relief packages in our warehouses ready to be mobilized.”

Save the Children has worked in the Philippines for the past 30 years and quickly delivers humanitarian relief after the nation’s frequent typhoons and other disasters. The children’s aid agency is currently responding to the needs of affected communities in Typhoon Bopha and Typhoon Utor. A prime target of natural disasters, the Philippines experiences an average of 20 tropical storms a year and is located in a major earthquake zone housing a number of active volcanoes.


To help children around the world facing conflict, violence or natural disasters, you can donate to our Emergency Response Fund.


For additional information and/or to speak with someone, please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National, Senior Manager, Public Relations
Save the Children Canada
Mobile: 647-631-3862

Thousands of Syrian refugees stranded on the Iraqi border

Thousands of Syrian refugees stranded on the Iraqi border as influx overwhelms aid effort, Save the Children says

Save the Children field staff distribute supplies along the Syrian borderThousands of Syrian refugees are stranded on the Iraqi border after more than 10,000 people, mainly women, children and the elderly, crossed in just two days, Save the Children says.

The influx follows a sharp deterioration in the security situation in north eastern parts of Syria, with thousands of people seeking safety in Iraq’s Kurdish region, overwhelming the aid effort there.

Around 7,000 refugees have been taken to an emergency camp, but thousands are still waiting to be registered at the border, and the influx is showing no signs of slowing down.

Save the Children has launched an emergency response to deal with the stranded refugees, distributing basic supplies to families waiting to be registered. Over the next few days, the aid agency will distribute more than 40,000 liters of water at the border crossing.

“This is an unprecedented influx of refugees, and the main concern is that so many of them are stuck out in the open at the border or in emergency reception areas with limited, if any, access to basic services,” Alan Paul, Save the Children’s Emergency Team Leader said. “The refugee response in Iraq is already thinly stretched, and close to half of the refugees are children who have experienced things no child should. We urgently need to cover their basic needs- food, water and shelter.”

With the Syrian conflict in its third year the Kurdistan region of Iraq already hosts more than 150,000 Syrian refugees, a figure UN expects will rise to as much as 350,000 by the end of the year.

It is still unclear how long the border will be kept open, but Save the Children will continue to coordinate closely with organizations and UN agencies to meet the needs of the new arrivals.

Save the Children is working in refugee camps across Iraq, including in the Kurdish region, as part of its Syria crisis response. It is also delivering aid in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria itself.

You can help us provide vital support to Syria's children. Donate today.

For additional information and/or to speak with someone, please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National, Senior Manager, Public Relations
Save the Children Canada
Mobile: 647-631-3862


Merlin is joining Save the Children

Merlin is joining Save the Children

International health charity Merlin is joining Save the Children to create a world-class humanitarian health force for children and their families living in some of the toughest places in the world. By combining Merlin’s unique network of frontline health workers with our life-saving work in over 120 countries, we will be able to help more children affected by disaster or conflict.

Why is this happening?

Merlin and Save the Children have responded to many different crises across the world together and there has always been mutual admiration between the two organisations. Now there’s a shared recognition of the huge potential of combining our efforts.

We’ve worked alongside one another since Merlin was founded 20 years ago. While there have always been differences in scale and breadth of programming, our shared values and a commitment to helping those in extreme need make this a natural fit that will help save more lives. and Save the Children have responded to many different crises across the world together and there has always been mutual admiration between the two organisations. Now there’s a shared recognition of the huge potential of combining our efforts.

Why now?

Merlin approached us to explore the possibility of joining Save the Children to create a world-class humanitarian health force combining the expertise of both organizations.

We welcomed this opportunity to extend our ambitious humanitarian and health programs and significantly expand and deepen our frontline health capabilities for children and their families.

Merlin’s strategic plan for 2012-15 was always to enter into partnerships to help achieve the goal of expanding its reach and providing medical support and assistance to countries where they have never previously been able to work.

This is an opportunity for Merlin to see its work continue and create a sustainable future for the organization in a tough external environment for smaller charities.

Merlin’s new trustees will work closely with Save the Children. A transition team is being formed which will work with Merlin to develop a plan over the next few months. During this time Merlin’s life-saving work for children and their families around the world will continue.

What it will mean for children?

Joining forces will provide substantially greater reach, impact and value for money for frontline health services.

Together we can be more than the sum of our parts, and ultimately it will mean more children’s lives are saved.

EMERGENCY APPEAL: New response underway in Alberta Flood Crisis


Statements by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children, and Richard Running Rabbit, Siksika First Nation’s Brighter Futures Coordinator, on Flooding in Alberta

Toronto, ON – (June 27, 2013) – Save the Children's Canadian emergency response team is mobilizing staff and essential supplies to provide support, relief, and recovery services to communities and families affected by flooding in southern Alberta. Save the Children is establishing a Child-Friendly Space in the Siksika First Nation reserve, one of the hardest hit communities.

Flooding in the province has a dozen communities under a state of emergency, where evacuations have affected over 100,000 people across the province. Since school is out for the year and evacuated children have nowhere to go, Save the Children’s Child-Friendly Space will provide a space for games and activities, helping children return to a sense of normalcy while their parents deal with the flood’s fallout.

“About 250 homes have been evacuated, and these families will not be able to return for at least three months, possibly longer,” said Richard Running Rabbit, Siksika’s Brighter Futures Coordinator. “The wider community is full of anxiety because of this displacement, and we’re working hard to bring a sense of normalcy to all those affected as soon as possible.”

“Save the Children is very pleased to have been asked by the Siksika Nation to provide support to families and children affected by the worst flooding in the history of Alberta,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. “We look forward to this new partnership as we continue to grow our Canadian programs including our domestic emergency response. We encourage the public to support these efforts on our website at www.savethechildren.ca/AlbertaFloods,”

Save the Children has programming both in Canada and internationally. In 2012, we responded to 77 humanitarian crises caused by conflict and natural disaster, assisting 5.8 million children in 46 countries. In addition, our measures to reduce the risk of future crises reached 2 million children and family members.

Visit the Save the Children’s website to donate to relief efforts now.


For further information please contact:

Cicely McWilliam, Senior Advisor, Policy, Campaigns, Media

Tel: (416) 221-1888 | Cell: (647) 291-1683

Email: cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca


About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children's lives in about 119 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca.           

Statement by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children on Flooding in Alberta

Statement by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children on Flooding in Alberta

Sana*, aged 3, lost her father and her home. She now lives in a small dank, dark tent in a bordering countryToronto, ON – (June 24, 2013) – Flooding in parts of southern Alberta has a dozen communities under a state of emergency, where evacuations have affected over 100,000 people across the province. Officials in Calgary have said it is the worst flooding in Alberta’s history.

Patricia Erb, President & CEO Save the Children:

“Our thoughts are with those affected by flooding in Alberta. A member of our own staff has been evacuated with her family, bringing this emergency close to home even for us in Toronto,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. “Save the Children will collect donations to support children and families affected by the floods on our website at www.savethechildren.ca/AlbertaFloods.

 “We know from experience that children are always the most vulnerable in emergency situations. Whether they experience these events themselves or through heart-wrenching images on television, disasters like flooding can have a traumatic emotional impact on children.

“There are steps that parents and caregivers can take to help children cope with emergencies, such as limiting TV time, listening to your child’s concerns, and letting them know that their safety is your top priority.”

Save the Children has programming both in Canada and internationally. In 2012, we responded to 77 humanitarian crises caused by conflict and natural disaster, assisting 5.8 million children in 46 countries. In addition, our measures to reduce the risk of future crises reached 2 million children and family members.

Visit the Save the Children website to donate to relief efforts now.



For further information please contact:

Cicely McWilliam, Senior Advisor, Policy, Campaigns, Media

Toll Free: 1-800-668-5036 x300

Tel: (416) 221-5501 x300 | Cell: (647) 291-1683

Email: cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

World Day Against Child Labour: Protecting working children from harm

World Day Against Child Labour: Protecting working children from harm

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(June 12, 2013) - Today the international community marks World Day Against Child Labour, to recognize the millions of children engaged in work that deprives them of their rights and is harmful to their physical and mental development. This year’s focus is on children who participate in domestic work, often in the homes of distant relatives or even strangers, in an effort to earn a small amount of money, food, or other things that children may require to grow and develop. However, the risk is that these children are particularly vulnerable to harm and exploitation as their work is often hidden from view, sometimes far from their family and community.

“For over 30 years, Save the Children has been addressing the needs of working children,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. “Our response is two-fold: First, we protect children from the most dangerous forms of work, such as sexual exploitation. Second, we support children in situations where they must work to ensure that all their rights - including protection, education, and play – are realized.”

For example, Save the Children’s Children Lead the Way program, which supports working children in Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Peru, brings formal and informal education to children who work. The program also supports child-led organizations which equip children to advocate for their rights, and creates children’s clubs to allow working children to be protected, to learn and to play. “Not all forms of work are dangerous and exploitative, but there are still far too many children whose rights are being violated in the workplace,” said Ms. Erb. “Most workplaces can be improved to ensure that where children have to work, their rights are protected.”

To this end, in 2012, Save the Children partnered with UNICEF and the UN Global Compact to
develop the Children’s Rights and Business Principles – the first comprehensive set of principles to guide
private sector companies on the full range of actions they can take in the workplace to respect and
support children’s rights.

“I speak to many children who tell me that work is important to their lives,” said Olivia Lecoufle, Child
Protection Officer at Save the Children. “Where work is dignified – it respects their rights, creates
space for learning, and builds their sense of belonging – it can help children contribute to their families,
create links to the community, and build life skills, self-esteem and a sense of pride.”

Children the Priority in Syria

Children the Priority in Syria

Amar (3) is a Syrian refugee in the Domiz Refugee Camp in IraqAccess to millions at risk in Syria must become priority, Save the Children says, as UN announces largest ever humanitarian appeal

Gaining access to the millions of children trapped in Syria and at acute risk must become the international community’s priority, Save the Children said today, as UN launched the largest emergency funding call in its history.

Save the Children President and CEO Patricia Erb said: “What the UN today announced was the price tag of our collective political failure to end this conflict. But money is not enough: humanitarian organizations must be able to safely reach the people most affected. It is the children of Syria who are bearing the real cost of this war. Growing numbers are being killed and maimed, denied education and forced to flee their homes.”

According to the latest UN report, massacres are now happening inside Syria at the rate of one a week. Nothing can undo the horrors that children in Syria have faced, but we must ensure that full access is granted to humanitarian organizations to get aid to those most desperately in need.

Donate now to support Syrian children.

(Photo credit: Sebastian Meyer/Getty Images for Save the Children)

Save the Children reaction to new Lancet figures on child deaths through malnutrition

Save the Children reaction to new Lancet figures on child deaths through malnutrition

Sordibie feeds her son Djoumilou, 24 months, some therapeutic milk in the stablisation clinic supported by Save the Children in Aiguie, Niger.  “New research showing that half of all preventable child deaths in the world are caused by malnutrition represents a shocking wake-up call,” said Save the Children President and CEO, Patricia Erb.

“World leaders meeting in London for Saturday’s Nutrition for Growth event need to take urgent action and take steps to ensure that every child has enough food to survive and thrive. Canada has been the leader in supporting global nutrition improvements and we look forward to that leadership continuing. We are pleased that Minister Fantino will be attending the event this weekend.

“Funding national plans in the developing world to tackle malnutrition must be a priority if we are to put an end to this silent, devastating crisis.

“Failing to act now will condemn more than three million children to die needlessly every year, and for millions of others to left physically and mentally stunted.”

(Above: Sordibie feeds her son Djoumilou, 24 months, some therapeutic milk in the stablisation clinic supported by Save the Children in Niger. Photo credit: Rachel Palmer/Save the Children)


  • Thousands of campaigners will be gathering in some 20 countries around the world on Friday June 7th during the Global Day of Action to urge G8 and world leaders to act on the hunger crisis.
  • Currently only 0.4% of aid is spent combating malnutrition despite it being the leading cause of child deaths.
  • The 'Nutrition for Growth' summit to be held in London on Saturday June 8th is co-hosted by the UK and Brazilian governments and will bring together the Heads of State and ministers from 16 Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) countries – Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Gambia, Uganda and Yemen. Additionally, leaders from India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan will also attend, as well as business leaders, scientists and representatives of civil society.
  • The $125 billion figure on the global economic impact of malnutrition comes from the recent Save the Children ‘Food for Thought’ report. Link: bit.ly/EVERYONEFoodForThought

For more information or for an interview contact the media team

Cicely McWilliam (416) 218.1888 (o) (641) 291.1683 (c) cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca
Bryna Jones (416) 221-5501 x222 (o) (647) 273-7134 (c) bjones@savethechildren.ca


Chronically malnourished children are 20 per cent less literate – Save the Children

Chronically malnourished children are 20 per cent less literate – Save the Children

Food for Thought ReportChronically malnourished children are on average nearly 20 per cent less literate than those who have a nutritious diet, according to ground-breaking new research out today.

In the study, Save the Children sheds new light on how missing out on nutritious food can impact on a child’s cognitive development, and its far-reaching effects on economic growth. Recent findings suggest that the global economic impact of malnutrition could be up to $125 billion.

The Food for Thought report comes just ten days before a global nutrition summit in London in advance of this year’s G8 where world leaders from both developing and donor countries must commit to more leadership and funding to transform the lives of millions of children affected by malnutrition. Despite enormous progress in other areas - such as a halving in the number of child deaths over the last two decades - the charity says malnutrition is acting as an Achilles heel to development and that momentum will stall if the world fails to tackle the condition.

The research shows that not having a nutritious diet can severely impair a child’s ability to read and write a simple sentence and answer basic maths questions correctly – regardless of the amount and quality of schooling they have received.

“It is well known that malnutrition is an underlying cause of mortality in children under five. What is less known is the chronic impact of malnutrition. Poor nutrition is a leading driver of the literacy and numeracy crisis in developing countries.” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children.

“A quarter of the world’s children are suffering the effects of chronic malnutrition, putting millions of young lives at risk. Canada is the leading donor for global nutrition, something that should make us proud. When world leaders gather for the G8 in London on June 8th Canada must continue its leadership in the face of this crisis and tackle the scourge of malnutrition for good.”

The research was based on studies of thousands of children in four countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam) and found that at the age of eight, children who are stunted due to chronic malnutrition are 19 per cent more likely to make a mistake reading a simple sentence like “I like dogs” or “The sun is hot” than they would have been expected to do had they not been stunted.

Stunted children are 12.5 per cent more likely to make a mistake writing a simple sentence and do 7 per cent worse answering simple maths questions like “What is 8 minus 3?” than they would have been expected to do had they not been stunted.

“When I was going to school I used to struggle with lessons because I had often gone without any food.” Gatluak, 10, South Sudan

“Those children who come to school after having their breakfast do well. This is difficult for me as I don’t get enough to eat.” Shambel, 12, Ethiopia

Save the Children’s report also highlights the huge economic cost of chronic malnutrition. Malnourished children could earn as much as 20 per cent less in adulthood.

Despite being one of the most cost effective forms of development assistance, spending on nutrition programmes currently amounts to just 0.3 per cent of global development spending. Any investment now, the report says, would be a down payment on future prosperity.

Read the full report.

Read the press release.

Save the Children ready to respond as Tropical Cyclone Mahasen heads towards Bangladesh and Myanmar

Save the Children ready to respond as Tropical Cyclone Mahasen heads towards Bangladesh and Myanmar

Dhaka, Bangladesh – (May 14, 2013)
– Save the Children’s field offices are on high alert as Tropical Cyclone Mahasen crosses the Bay of Bengal towards the Bangladesh-Myanmar coast.

The Category 1 storm packs wind of up to 120 km/h and is expected to make landfall in Chittagong, Bangladesh, on Thursday morning.

Bangladeshi authorities have sent out warnings to the coastal population in the south eastern area of the country, and advised fishermen not to venture out to sea. Meanwhile, Myanmar authorities have started evacuating people in Rakhine State, the same area where Cyclone Giri struck in 2010, killing about 45 people and destroying over 20,000 homes.

“The storm is potentially dangerous but it is still too early to say for sure,” said Michael McGrath, country director for Save the Children in Bangladesh. “But strong winds and heavy rains could destroy homes and flatten crops at a time where the boro rice in Bangladesh is just ready for harvest. This could affect the source of income for many families, which could have devastating implications for their children such as dropping out of school to work.”

Save the Children has responded to cyclones in both Bangladesh and Myanmar, most recently in Cyclone Giri that struck Rakhine State, Myanmar, in 2010.

“We have been informing children in our vulnerable program areas in Rakhine State about what to do during a cyclone including, staying close to their parents or guardians and seeking a safe, protected place with their families during the storm,” said Kelland Stevenson, country director for Save the Children in Myanmar.

“Save the Children responded quickly and effectively to the needs of children and their families in the aftermath of Cyclone Giri in 2010, reaching over 135,000 people in our relief work. We have prepared emergency relief supplies so that our field offices in Sittwe and Chittagong will be able to respond swiftly to the needs of affected children and their families.”


Save the Children has spokespeople available for interviews in both Bangladesh and Myanmar.


Bryna Jones                Tel: (416) 221-5501 x222 or (647) 273-7134 Email: bjones@savethechildren.ca

Cicely McWilliam         Cell: (647) 291-1683 Email: cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond to the unique needs of children in emergencies or conflict situations, or to scale up our work when children’s lives are in danger.

The Humanitarian Coalition Launches Joint Appeal for Syrian Refugees

The Humanitarian Coalition Launches Joint Appeal for Syrian Refugees

(Ottawa, May 14, 2013)
Today, the Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies are launching a national joint appeal to raise funds to assist the 6.8 million Syrian civilians affected by the ongoing conflict in their country.

Almost five million civilians have been forced to leave their home and many have had to move repeatedly from one location to another inside Syria. Moreover, as many as 1.4 million people have fled to refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt. Every day, more than 7,000 more vulnerable individuals seek protection outside of Syria.

Whether they are internally displaced people (IDPs) or refugees, they all need emergency assistance with life’s necessities. Our member agencies are on the ground responding, but resources are stretched more and more with every week that passes.


“When I met Syrian refugee families in Jordan last month, I saw how they were living in very precarious and harsh conditions, with many feeling extreme pressure,” says Kevin McCort, President and CEO of CARE Canada. “At CARE, we are continuing to scale up our response to this humanitarian crisis, but with another million Syrian refugees forecasted in the next year, we urgently need financial support.”

Our other member agencies are responding by providing clean water, food, clothing, medical assistance, and shelter. More than 3 million children are affected by the conflict. They require protection and their education should not be interrupted.

“For millions of Syrian children, the innocence of childhood has been replaced by the cruel realities of trying to survive war,” said Save the Children President and CEO, Patricia Erb. “While visiting refugee families in Lebanon, I saw firsthand their urgent needs for support. Through our work across Syria, and in neighbouring countries, we know that Syrian children, who should be learning at school and playing secure in their homes, are instead consumed with grief and trauma and focused on finding the necessities of life: shelter, food and water.”

Together, the Humanitarian Coalition, its member agencies are appealing to Canadians and asking them to contribute what they can to help the Syrian people. Because we know we can make a difference, we feel a responsibility to try. Please join us.

For more information on the refugee situation and what we are doing to help, please visit our website.  

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The Humanitarian Coalition is a joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs. 

For information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Bryna Jones, Manager, Communications

Toll Free: 1-800-668-5036 x222

Tel: (416) 221-5501 x222 | Cell: (647) 273-7134

Email: bjones@savethechildren.ca


GSK and Save the Children form unique partnership to save the lives of one million children over five years

GSK and Save the Children form unique partnership to save the lives of one million children over five years


Toronto, ON – (May 9, 2013) – An ambitious new partnership to save the lives of a million of the world’s poorest children has been launched by GSK and Save the Children. This unique collaboration will see the two organizations work together in a very different way: sharing expertise, resources, reach, and influence to tackle some of the leading causes of childhood deaths.

Amongst the key initiatives are the transformation of an antiseptic, used in mouthwash into a life-saving product for newborns, and the roll-out of a powder-form of an antibiotic in child friendly doses to help fight pneumonia - one of the main killers of children under five.

For the first time, Save the Children will be involved in helping GSK to research and develop medicines for children, with a seat on a new paediatric R&D board to accelerate progress on innovative life-saving interventions for under- fives, and to identify ways to ensure the widest possible access in the developing world. GSK will be able to leverage Save the Children’s child health expertise and on-the- ground experience to reach children in the most remote and marginalized communities with basic healthcare.

The GSK-Save the Children partnership will also focus on widening vaccine coverage to the poorest children, increasing investment in health workers, as well as developing a low-cost nutritional product to help combat child malnutrition.

Flagship programs will run initially in Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. These will be closely monitored and the evidence on how to save children’s lives at scale will be used to replicate programs in other countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America.

While good progress has been made in recent years, almost seven million children died in 2011 through lack of access to basic healthcare, vaccines or nutritious food. Through these and other initiatives, the partnership aims to help save the lives of one million children in the next five years.

Justin Forsyth, the Chief Executive of Save the Children, UK, said: “This ground breaking partnership involves both organisations working in genuinely new ways to save the lives of a million children. In the past Save the Children may not have embarked on a collaboration with a pharmaceutical company like GSK. But we believe we can make huge gains for children if we harness the power of GSK's innovation, research and global reach."

Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK said: “A partnership of this scale gives us an opportunity to do something amazing – to save the lives of one million children and to transform the lives of millions more. At GSK we are motivated by developing innovative life-saving medicines and getting them to the people that need them. By joining forces with Save the Children, we can amplify these efforts to create a new momentum for change and stop children dying from preventable diseases. I hope this partnership inspires GSK employees and sets a new standard for how companies and NGOs can work together towards a shared goal.”

Key features of the partnership are:

  • Reformulating the antiseptic chlorhexidine – found in GSK’s Corsodyl mouth-wash – for cleansing the umbilical cord stump of newborns to prevent serious infection, a major cause of newborn death in poor countries. Studies from South Asia suggest this simple intervention could prevent up to 1 in 6 new-born deaths in low resource settings.
  • Seeking the accelerated registration and roll-out of a child-friendly antibiotic used to treat pneumonia – which currently kills 1.4 million under-fives, in countries with a high incidence of the illness. This will be developed in dose packs suitable for small babies and young infants. GSK will also work with Save the Children to explore the reformulation of an alternative child-friendly version in places where access to water and milk is not easy.
  • Seeking to widen vaccination coverage to the hardest to reach communities: for example, through greater use of mobile technology solutions, sending SMS messages to remind parents to take up vaccination services and providing health workers and health facilities with smartphones to allow them to record and schedule vaccinations.
  • Researching a new affordable nutrition product combating the scourge of malnutrition - the underlying cause of one in three deaths in under-fives. A joint GSK-Save the Children project team in Kenya is investigating the development of a low-cost nutritional product for the poorest families.
  • Investing in health workers in the poorest communities, building on an existing GSK-Save the Children collaboration to help address the estimated shortfall of at least 3.5 million trained healthcare workers, who can deliver vaccines and essential medicines to babies and young children, provide health advice and treat malnutrition.
  • Building flagship country programs, initially in Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya, to include these interventions, which will be closely monitored and evaluated to determine how the partnership is saving lives before scale-up and replication of the programs in other developing countries.
  • Developing a blueprint for how businesses can deliver better social outcomes by engaging with health and development issues and pursuing joint advocacy efforts to ensure a focus on children’s health and well-being are maintained in global health policy discussions.
  • Inspiring and engaging GSK’s global workforce to help raise awareness through volunteering and fundraising, with the ambition to encourage employees to raise $1.5 million a year, which will be matched by GSK. Through this and other charitable donations to Save the Children, GSK expects to donate at least $23 million over the course of the partnership. Additional contributions will be made through specific research and development programs.

Save the Children and GSK have been working together for eight years on a number of public health projects, including GSK’s initiative to reinvest 20 per cent of the profits it makes in least developed-countries in community programs to strengthen healthcare infrastructure, primarily through the training of community health workers.


For further information please contact:

Bryna Jones, Manager, Communications

Toll Free: 1-800-668-5036 x222

Tel: (416) 221-5501 x222 | Cell: (647) 273-7134

Email: bjones@savethechildren.ca

Democratic Republic of Congo world’s toughest place to be a mother, Finland the best – Save the Children

Democratic Republic of Congo world’s toughest place to be a mother, Finland the best – Save the Children


The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the toughest place in the world to be a mother – and Finland the best – according to Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers report. The Nordic countries sweep the top spots while, for the first time, countries in Sub-Saharan Africa take up each of the bottom ten places in the annual index.

The Mothers’ Index, contained in the report, is a unique ranking of 176 countries around the globe, showing those that are succeeding – and those failing – in their support to mothers.  It assesses mothers’ well-being using indicators of maternal health, child mortality, education, and levels of women’s income and political status.

The startling disparities between mothers in the developed and developing world are summed up around maternal risk.  A woman or girl in the DRC has a one in 30 chance of dying from maternal causes – including childbirth – but in Finland the risk is one in 12,200. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which performs poorly across all indicators, girls are likely to be educated for eight and half years compared to Finland at the top, where girls can expect to receive over sixteen years of education. 

“Research shows the importance of investing in mothers and children,” said Save the Children President and CEO, Patricia Erb. “The prosperity and stability of a country improves as women are better educated, have better personal incomes and are politically represented. When women do better their children are healthier and do better in school. It starts a virtuous cycle of development. We have made great progress around the world but much more can be done to save and improve millions of the poorest mothers’ and newborns’ lives.”  

The Mothers’ Index reveals the United States ranks 30th, behind countries with much lower incomes, such as Lithuania or Slovenia, owing to weaker performance on measures of maternal health and child-wellbeing: in the US, a girl is ten times more likely to die of a maternal cause than a girl Singapore.  Singapore itself is ranked 15th, above countries such as Canada (22nd) and the UK (23rd). But the report shows how all countries need to improve the education and health care of disadvantaged mothers.

The Birth Day Risk Index, also contained in the report, compares first-day death rates for babies in 186 countries. One million babies die each year on the day they enter the world – or two every minutes – making the first day by far the riskiest day of a person’s life in almost every country in the world.

This is despite the low-cost interventions that are available to tackle the high rate of baby deaths on the first day of life. Sub-Saharan Africa remains by far the most dangerous region to be born – with the deaths of newborns actually increasing there in the past few decades.  There, babies are more than seven times as likely to die on the day they are born as babies born in industrialized countries.  A baby in Somalia, the most dangerous country, is 40 times more likely to die on its first day than a child born in Luxembourg, the safest.

Throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, the poor health of mothers, where between 10 – 20 per cent are underweight,  contributes to high rates of death for babies, as does the relatively high number of young mothers who give birth before their bodies have matured.  Other factors are low use of contraception, poor access to decent healthcare when pregnant and a severe shortage of health-workers.

In East Asia and the Pacific, progress has been made and the number of newborn deaths is declining. South Asia, Bangladesh and Nepal have made significant progress in reducing newborn deaths, but in other countries including India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, child marriage and the poor nutritional status of mothers are factors in the regions’ stubbornly high levels of newborn deaths.    

Industrialized Countries

In the industrialized world, the United States has the highest first-day death rate. The U.S. has approximately 50 per cent more first-day deaths than all other industrialized countries combined, due, in part, to higher premature birth rates.

Compared to top-ranked countries, Canada could be doing better. While the United States has the highest first-day death rate in the industrialized world, Canada and Switzerland have the second and third highest rates, respectivelyNewborns in these three countries are at least four times as likely to die on the day they are born as babies born in the lowest mortality countries where first-day death rates are at or below 0.5 per 1,000 live births.

While the data are not conclusive, it is clear that significantly higher child mortality rates in the remote north contribute to Canada’s lower ranking.  More research still needs to be done to determine the precise causes for these rates – and for the regional variation one finds across the country – so that proper public health policies and investments in health systems can be implemented.  Save the Children strongly believes that Canada should – and has the capacity to – do much better to support newborn lives.

The report identifies four lifesaving products that can be used to save lives in the developing world:  corticosteroid injections to women in preterm labour to reduce deaths caused by newborns’ breathing problems; resuscitation devices to save babies who do not breathe at birth; chlorhexidine cord cleansing to prevent umbilical cord infections; and injectable antibiotics to treat newborn sepsis and pneumonia.

Save the Children calls on world leaders to:

  • Strengthen health systems so mothers have greater access to skilled birth attendants. They can provide lifesaving interventions to all mothers and children, in addition to providing more funding for maternal, newborn and child health programs. More should be invested in frontline healthcare workers and community health workers to reach the most vulnerable mothers and babies.
  • Fight the underlying causes of newborn mortality, especially gender inequality and malnutrition. Helping mothers become strong and stable – physically, financially and socially – makes their children stronger and more likely to survive and thrive.
  • Invest in low-cost solutions that can dramatically reduce newborn mortality. Proper cord care and newborn/paediatric doses of antibiotics can prevent and treat simple but deadly infections. Exclusive breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact (known as “kangaroo mother care”) should be encouraged. Such practices cost very little but can save hundreds of thousands of babies’ lives each year. Additionally, birth attendants should be trained and given proper support and supplies.


Click here to Read More


Bryna Jones                  Tel: (416) 221-5501 x222 or (647) 273-7134 Email: bjones@savethechildren.ca

Cicely McWilliam         Cell: (647) 291-1683 Email: cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca


Other key findings of the annual report include:

  • This is the 14th year of the State of the World’s Mothers report.
  • The top 5 countries in the global mothers’ ranking are: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands. The bottom five (in descending order) are: Niger, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and the DRC.
  • Two thirds of all newborn deaths occur in just 10 countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Afghanistan and Tanzania.
  • With 98 per cent of all newborn deaths occurring in developing countries, a gap between the health of the world’s rich and poor is persistent and widening.
  • In many countries, the mortality gap between rich and poor has widened despite falling national rates.
  • Newborn health funding doesn’t match the need. While overseas development assistance for maternal and child health doubled between 2003 and 2008, only six per cent of the funding, in 2008, went to activities specifically focused on newborns and only 0.1 per cent targeted newborns exclusively.
Save the Children reaction to new UN findings that 130,000 children died in 2011 Somali famine

Save the Children reaction to new UN findings that 130,000 children died in 2011 Somali famine

As new figures reveal that 130,000 children under the age of five died in 2011’s Somali famine and its aftermath, Save the Children has warned that the humanitarian situation for children in the country remains extremely serious.

The charity says that despite an improvement in food security since the peak of the famine, children continue to die because they don’t have enough to eat, and is calling on the international community to maintain focus on combating hunger in the war-torn country.

Ben Foot, Save the Children Somalia country director, said:

“These figures clearly show how children bear the brunt of hunger crises. 130,000 children under the age of five lost their lives in a crisis that was predicted months in advance. We must never let that happen again, and we must recommit to helping the 2.7 million Somalis who remain in crisis. While conditions in Somalia have improved in recent months, the country still has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition and infant mortality in the world.

“With next week’s London Conference on Somalia, this is a timely reminder to the international community of the urgent need to refocus on the humanitarian situation in Somalia.”

Last year, Save the Children and Oxfam launched A Dangerous Delay, a report that showed how the international community’s slow response to the famine cost tens of thousands of lives. Save the Children continues to work across Somalia, providing life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable and helping families to strengthen their resistance to future shocks.

Donate now to Save the Children relief efforts in Savar, Bangladesh, visit www.savethechildren.ca/bangladesh 


Read the UN report.


Press Release: Savar Disaster: Save the Children to help affected children and families

Press release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (26th April 2013)

Savar Disaster:  Save the Children to help affected children and families 

Save the Children and PLAN Bangladesh have committed themselves to assist children and families affected by the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar. The two organizations will work closely with Bangladeshi partner organizations and the responsible government authorities to support the ongoing relief efforts.

At least 290 people have died, 800 missing and over 3000 injured after the eight-storey building collapsed yesterday while many were at work. The Rana Complex building houses four garment factories, a bank and several commercial shops. ­­

The number of people in the building at the time of the collapse is unclear, but it is estimated that more than 3000 people were employed by the garment factories in the building alone. Rescue teams have worked through the night using floodlights to break through the rubble and reach survivors.

Save the Children and PLAN Bangladesh expressed their shock and sadness at the heavy loss of life and the number of people injured in the disaster, and offered their condolences and sympathies to the victims and their families.  The two organizations noted that children were among those who had been killed and injured, and that many more children will have lost one or both their parents.

Immediately following the tragedy, Save the Children and PLAN Bangladesh consulted with their NGO partners, who are on the ground in Savar.  Together with local partners, the two organizations are intending to set up a help desk to offer assistance to separated children and others who are vulnerable as a result of this disaster. 

Initial funding allocated by the two organizations totals 85 lakh, with additional funds available to meet needs as they are identified.

“Children are the most vulnerable from this situation because many are reported to be separated, traumatized and became orphan”, said Michael McGrath, Country Director, Save the Children. He also stressed that we urgently need to develop effective plans and procedures for responding to urban disasters.

Save the Children has been working in Bangladesh for over 40 years, providing relief during and after the war for independence. The children’s aid agency also responds to the frequent floods and cyclones that hit the country of 150 million people, and help children and their families prepare for future disasters. In the aftermath of Cyclone Sidr that hit Bangladesh in November 2007, Save the Children provided spaces for children to play, nutritious meals, temporary shelter for displaced families and classrooms for preschool children.


For more information contact the Save the Children press office:


Cicely McWilliam (direct) 416-218-1888   (cell) 647-291-1683   cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

Bryna Jones  (416) 221-5501 x222  (cell) Cell: (647) 273-7134    bjones@savethechildren.ca


About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organisation for children, delivering programmes and improving children's lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.


Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca.

New Report: Ending the Hidden Exclusion, Learning and equity in Education post-2015

The last decade has witnessed enormous progress in expanding access to education worldwide. The job is not yet finished: 61 million primary schoolaged children are still denied the opportunity to learn. But as we continue to make progress and look ahead to 2015 and beyond, it is vital to shine a light on the ‘hidden exclusion’ affecting children’s
education around the world.

When a child is out of school it is an obvious injustice and exclusion, but millions more in-school children suffer because they are not given the opportunity to learn. There are 130 million children in school who are not learning even the basics – a shocking figure masked by the focus in recent decades on getting more children into classrooms.
As we look forward to the next set of global development goals, the focus needs to be on ensuring that no child is excluded – that every child, including the poorest and most disadvantaged, is both in school and learning.

Expanding educational opportunity in this way will be one fundamental building block in the creation of fairer societies – where human rights are respected, democracy is strengthened and widely-shared prosperity is achieved. Ensuring better quality and more equal school systems will be critical to reversing the income and wealth inequality that is doing so much damage to societies and undermining national prosperity.

In this paper, we argue that setting an ambitious global learning goal, as part of a post-2015 development framework, will be crucial to realising this vision. It is, of course, only one element of the solution, but it will be an important one.

Save the Children believes we are now at a critical juncture: with the right decisions, level of ambition, and focus, our generation has the opportunity to fully realise the right to education: to ensure no child is excluded from school and every child in school is receiving a good quality education and learning. 

Read more in Save the Children's just released report: Ending the Hidden Exclusion, Learning and equity in Education post-2015

Two million Syrian children caught in crossfire of conflict entering its third year

Two million Syrian children caught in crossfire of conflict entering its third year, Save the Children warns

Syrian girls stood at a refugee settlement near the Syrian border

(Right: Syrian girls stand at a refugee camp near the Syrian boarder. Photo credit: Jonathan Hyams/Save the Children)

*Names have been changed to protect children's identities.

Two million children trapped inside Syria are innocent victims of a bloody conflict that has already claimed 70,000 lives, Save the Children warns in a new report, Childhood Under Fire, launched today to mark two years of violence in Syria.

“For millions of Syrian children, the innocence of childhood has been replaced by the cruel realities of trying to survive war,” said Save the Children President and CEO, Patricia Erb. “While visiting refugee families in Lebanon, I saw firsthand their urgent needs for support.”

In Childhood Under Fire, Save the Children details the impact of the conflict on children, showing that many are struggling to find enough to eat; are living in barns, parks and caves; are unable to go to school with teachers having fled and schools being attacked; are being forced into early marriage; and that damage to sanitation systems is forcing some children to defecate in the street.

“Through our work across Syria, and in neighbouring countries, we know that Syrian children, who should be learning at school and playing secure in their homes, are instead consumed with grief and trauma and focused on finding the necessities of life - shelter, food and water,” said Ms. Erb.

Citing new research carried out amongst refugee children by Bahcesehir University in Turkey, the report also reveals the extent to which children have been directly targeted in the war, with one in three children reporting having been hit, kicked or shot at.

Combined with the breakdown of society in parts of the country and more than three million people displaced, the conflict has led to the collapse of childhood for millions of youngsters, the charity says. Childhood Under Fire details how some young boys are being used by armed groups as porters, runners and human shields, bringing them close to the frontline, while some girls are being married off early to ‘protect’ them from a widely-perceived threat of sexual violence.

The report’s key findings are:

  • Thousands of children are facing malnutrition as food production is wiped out and severe shortages take hold. “Why did we leave? Hunger. Food. There was none. No bread. If I stayed my children would have died from hunger.” – Rami, father of three.
  • Millions of children have been forced from their homes and tens of thousands are living in parks, barns and caves. “There were 13 of us in total, crammed into one room. We did not leave that room for two weeks.”- Yasmine, 12.
  • Girls are being married off early in an effort to protect them from perceived threat of sexual violence. My daughter is 16 and she loved school. She is innocent and very pretty. I know that men are hurting women. We could not protect her, so we had to marry her. We needed her to have a protector.” - Um Ali, mother of 2.
  • Families have been left without heating in winter as fuel prices have risen by up to 500 per cent. “In one area of Syria where Save the Children is responding, during the bitter winter, school benches were stolen for firewood; desperate, understandable measures to stay warm, but further erosion of children’s opportunities to learn and play.”- Childhood Under Fire.

Omar *, five and Ali *, six at a Save the Children distrbution site of essential items near the Syrian border

(Left: Omar *, five and Ali *, six at a Save the Children distrbution site of essential items near the Syrian border. Photo credit: Jonathan Hyams/Save the Children)

The research by the Bahcesehir University also reveals the extent to which children have been affected by war, with nearly one third of children surveyed saying that they had been separated from members of their families due to the conflict. Three quarters of those surveyed had experienced the death of a close friend or family member. Many are showing signs of emotional difficulties as they struggle to come to terms with their experiences.

Save the Children, which is providing humanitarian relief in Syria and neighbouring countries, is calling for all parties to the conflict to allow unfettered, safe access to populations in need and to ensure that everything is done to bring the fighting to an end.

It welcomes pledges to fund the $1.5 billion humanitarian appeal for Syria, and calls on governments to urgently deliver the money, which is designed to target aid both inside the stricken country and to refugees living on Syria’s borders.

The aid agency is appealing for funds to help its response in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan where it is delivering
food, warm clothes, blankets, providing education and helping children recover from their experiences.

Interviews with Patricia Erb, and regional spokespeople, are available. Please call: 1-800-668-5036 x222
or off hours at (647) 273-7134.

Read the full report, Childhood Under Fire

Donate now to support our work with Syrian refugees.

Statement by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children, on International Women’s Day

Statement by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children, on International Women’s Day

Students in a midwifery school in Afghanistan

(Right: Students at a midwifery school in Afghanistan. The training of 50 new midwives for Uruzgan is part of the four-year AusAID funded Children of Uruzganprogram, which is being delivered by Save the Children to improve the health and education of 300,000 people, particularly women and children, in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan.)

Today, Save the Children celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD), which recognizes the achievements of women, and the advances women have made in fulfilling their human rights. This day also serves as an important reminder that although much progress has been made, there is still critical work to be done in closing equity gaps and creating positive and sustainable change for women and girls.

Patricia Erb, President & CEO Save the Children:

“On this International Women’s Day, Save the Children recognizes that equality of girls and women is not only a moral obligation, it is the foundation of successful development,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. “We also recognize that to achieve equality for women and girls, boys and men must be part of the solution.

“Inequality leads to inequity. If we are ever to succeed in reducing the preventable deaths of children, improving their health and education and reducing poverty we must win the battle against inequality in all forms, particularly gender inequality.

“Save the Children wholeheartedly believes that children and youth, girls and boys, have a vital role to play in promoting gender equality and in the development of programs to uphold this right.”

Visit our website to learn more about our work supporting women through the Benishangul Gumuz Food Security and Economic Growth Project in Ethiopia: http://bit.ly/savethechildrenblog

Thousands of displaced children in Mali face food shortages

Thousands of displaced children in Mali face food shortages

Zeinabou Cisse, 44, sits with her daughters and her sister in front of the house she now rents in Sikasso.  *All names have been changed for child protection

(Right: Zeinabou Cisse, 44, sits with her daughters and her sister in front of the house she now rents in Sikasso.
*All names have been changed for child protection)

Thousands of children displaced by the conflict in Mali face food shortages, warns Save the Children. These children were already suffering from the devastating food crisis even before being displaced, and require urgent humanitarian aid as their families cannot afford to buy enough food.

The children’s aid agency estimates that 203,500 children fled their homes in the northern regions of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal since the outset of the conflict over a year ago. Just over half of them have been displaced within the country, while the rest have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

"Thousands of children have had to flee their homes in terror after suffering months of extreme hunger and are now at risk," said Tom McCormack, Save the Children’s Country Director in Mali. “Children are still going hungry, with many cutting down on meals and some reduced to eating only rice. They need urgent help.”

Displaced families have told Save the Children staff about their daily struggle to get by:

  • “Food is a problem. We don’t have money so we don’t have food. I only eat rice and gruel and am hungry,” Amada, 13-year-old boy [Koutiala].
  • “The children tell me all the time they’re still hungry. We only have rice to eat, we can’t afford vegetables, we urgently need food,” Zeinabou, 44, mother of seven children [Sikasso].
  • “It was really hard in Niger, especially because of the hunger. I was eating rice, only rice. It was expensive, and there wasn’t enough money to buy anything more,” Maimouna, 15-year-old-girl [former refugee in Niger, recently displaced to Koutiala].

As the conflict begins to abate in some parts of the north, tens of thousands of displaced families are now faced with the difficult decision of whether to return home. But without assistance, Save the Children says that they face the prospect of returning completely destitute, many to houses and shops that have been destroyed and pillaged during the fighting.

Many will be forced to rebuild and replace what was stolen or damaged with no income or savings to do so. Making matters worse, the northern region is still affected by the food crisis which is affecting hundreds of thousands of children.

“While fighting dies down in some areas, the situation is far from stabilized and many families will remain displaced for weeks or even months to come. Those who do return home will face extreme difficulties in rebuilding their lives, and for all those affected by both the food crisis and the conflict, it is clear the road to recovery will be a long one,” said Mr McCormack. “We need to remember that even before the recent conflict or food crisis Mali was already one of the poorest countries in the world.”

Operating in Mali for 25 years, Save the Children is now working to expand its existing protection, livelihoods and nutrition programs to meet the needs of displaced children who have arrived in Mopti, south of Gao and Kidal, as well as southern areas of the country such as Sikasso.

Donate now to the Children’s Emergency Fund which enables Save the Children to respond quickly when an emergency strikes, or to scale up our work when an existing situation deteriorates and children’s lives are in danger.

Save the Children welcomes new funding commitments to Syria

Save the Children welcomes new funding commitments to Syria

Statement by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children, on Canada's Funding Announcement in Support of Syrian Children and Families

Children gather in Al Qaem refugee camp.

(Right: Children gather in Al Qaem refugee camp in Iraq. Photo credit: Save the Children.)

Save the Children welcomes the news of an additional $25 million commitment by the Government of Canada to provide aid for the over 700,000 refugees fleeing conflict in Syria. The announcement was made today by the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, at the high-level International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria.

Patricia Erb, President & CEO Save the Children:

“This week I’m in Lebanon, visiting children and families in Beddawi refugee camp,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children. “I have seen firsthand the urgent need of those fleeing conflict in Syria. Despite the best efforts of aid workers, camps are reaching a breaking point.

“We thank the Government of Canada, and Minister Fantino, for the announcement of additional funding for Syrian refugees. Save the Children has already reached almost 130,000 people in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and inside Syria, and we are committed to continuing to deliver crucial humanitarian assistance to reach even more children and families with the aid they so urgently require.” 

Read Patricia's statement in our Newsroom. 

To donate to Save the Children’s response in Syria please visit: www.savethechildren.ca/donatetosyria

Syrian families without vital aid as humanitarian response faces major funding shortages

Syrian families without vital aid as humanitarian response faces major funding shortages, Save the Children warns ahead of major donor conference

More than 200,000 Syrian refugee children are now facing a bitter winter

(Right: More than 200,000 Syrian refugee children are now facing a bitter winter in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Visit our photo gallery for more images of their plight.)

A huge funding shortfall is leaving thousands of Syrian children and families without essential aid, Save the Children warns, as governments meet this week in Kuwait for the high-level International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria.

“While governments are meeting in Kuwait, I’ll be in Beddawi refugee camp in Lebanon, meeting children and families who’ve fled the conflict in Syria,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. “Many of them have literally run for their lives – escaping intensified fighting and shortages of food, medicines and fuel. They’re in urgent need of aid.”

Syrian children are facing freezing temperatures, sometimes living in abandoned buildings and farms. Many have fled with their families with little or no food.

Over 4.6 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, and refugee numbers have doubled in many places in the past few weeks.

In the face of this crisis, just 3 per cent of the United Nation’s $1.5 billion humanitarian appeal has been met.

“The international community needs to engage in the effort to assist Syrian refugees,” said Ms Erb. “Despite the best efforts of aid workers, camps are reaching a breaking point. Governments meeting in Kuwait need to give them a life-line before it’s too late.”

Humanitarian needs created by the Syrian conflict have spiraled in recent weeks. This month, nearly 40,000 people have fled Syria into Jordan alone, double the number who arrived in December. Numbers of registered refugees overall have quadrupled in the past six months as the fighting intensifies.

Despite the huge cost of hosting approximately 700,000 refugees, as reported by the UN, since the conflict began almost two years ago, countries around Syria have offered support to those who have fled.

But more funding is urgently required in order to provide life-saving assistance to Syrian children and their families in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey as well as the millions of people displaced inside Syria.

“The international aid appeal for Syria has always been massively underfunded. Funds are urgently needed as the number of families in need of help increases by the day,” added Ms Erb.

Save the Children is bringing vital life-saving assistance to children and their families in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, reaching nearly 130,000 people across the region. The aid agency is aiming to raise $94 million with only a third funded so far.

To donate to Save the Children’s response in Syria please visit: www.savethechildren.ca/donatetosyria

For more information visit: www.savethechildren.ca/syria

Mass exodus as Syrian children run for their lives

Mass exodus as Syrian children run for their lives

Syrian refugees arrive at the reception/registration area in Za`atari camp on January 24th

(Above: Syrian refugees arrive at the reception/registration area in Zaatari camp on January 24. Photo credit: Save the Children)

In the last 24 hours an estimated 10,000 children and their families have fled Syria into Jordan.

As fighting intensified in Southern Syria almost 20,000 refugees arrived at the border. Nearly 3500 people made it to Zaatari refugee camp last night.

Up to four to five buses are arriving in the camp every hour – the majority crammed full of frightened and exhausted people who fled with what little they could carry.

Saba Al Mobaslat, Save the Children’s Program Director in Zaatari camp, said:

“Many women and children are running for their lives, arriving with just the clothes on their backs. Many are unable to pack essential supplies and desperately need our help.

“It’s freezing, wet and the camp is already over-crowded. Many children who are arriving are exhausted, shocked and terrified.

“Despite the best efforts of aid workers, the camp is reaching a breaking point and this is going to get so much worse in the next few days if numbers continue to rise at such an alarming rate.”

Temperatures have already hit minus four degrees in the camp. Heavy rains are expected next week prompting concerns for the over 50,000 people already living in the Zaatari camp.

Save the Children, in partnership with UN agencies and Jordanian authorities, is working around the clock to help the refugees providing food, blankets and winter clothes. It is also providing emotional support for children who have suffered or witnessed brutal attacks within Syria.

Save the Children is bringing vital life-saving help to children in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Across the region we have already reached nearly 130,000 people.

To donate to Save the Children’s response in Syria please visit: www.savethechildren.ca/donatetosyria

Renewed fighting forcing Mali's poorest to flee

Renewed fighting forcing Mali's poorest to flee

As French and other forces attack northern districts of Mali in an offensive against Islamist rebels, Save the Children today warned that children and women forced to flee for their lives are among the poorest and most vulnerable in the country. Families forced from their homes are adding to the almost 350,000 people who fled the region after last year’s fighting erupted.

Save the Children’s Country Director Tom McCormack said, “Families and children are starting to arrive in Bamako and other areas. They have fled the fighting and are especially vulnerable. Many of these displaced families were likely too poor to flee the fighting last year as the northern reaches of Mali suffered through one of the worst droughts in living memory. Many will be in dire need of assistance.”

Save the Children works in Gao and Mopti, two of the northern cities worst affected by recent fighting. Programs in these areas include feeding programs, cholera prevention, health clinics and helping children return to education. 

Read the press release. 

Donate now to the Children’s Emergency Fund which enables Save the Children to respond quickly when an emergency strikes, or to scale up our work when an existing situation deteriorates and children’s lives are in danger. 

The Humanitarian Coalition Marks the Three-Year Anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake

The Humanitarian Coalition Marks the Three-Year Anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake

A Save the Children health worker examines 3 month-old baby boy, Antoine.(Right: A Save the Children health worker examines 3 month-old baby boy, Antoine. His Aunt, 19-year-old Manoushka brought the child to a Save the Children-supported clinic in Haiti, where he was treated for diarrhea. Photo credit: Susan Warner/Save the Children)

As the three-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti approaches, the member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition want to collectively take a moment to reflect on the successes and challenges that have marked the complex recovery efforts in that country.

First and foremost, it is the people of Haiti who must be commended for their courage and resilience in the face of catastrophic material destruction and immeasurable human suffering. Immediately after the earthquake struck, they were the first responders, helping family, friends, and neighbours as all struggled to reach safer grounds.

The member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition have been working in Haiti for decades. When disaster struck, they were able to respond quickly to the most pressing needs of the Haitian people in Port-au Prince and other affected areas.

Over the last three years, they have focused on a wide range of programs, including water and sanitation, food security, basic education, maternal and child health, and inclusive and accountable governance. As part of their commitment to the country’s long-term economic sustainability, they are also building more disaster resilient structures and communities, developing livelihoods projects in camps and neighbourhoods, and investing in the agricultural sector.

Since the cholera outbreak of October 2010, a number of our agencies are dedicating additional resources to the spreading of prevention messages, promotion of good hygiene practices, and support for medical facilities.

While much remains to be done across all regions of Haiti, our member agencies and their local partners remain committed to the country’s recovery. Together, we are making a difference and helping the Haitian people as they continue to strengthen the health, safety, and future of their communities.

About the Humanitarian Coalition

Save the Children is a member of the Humanitarian Coalition, a joint Canadian approach to humanitarian response. The member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition work together during humanitarian emergencies to reduce unnecessary competition, inform the public on humanitarian needs, increase the impact of Canadian humanitarian responses and reduce administrative costs. 

Visit the Humanitarian Coalition website to learn more. 


End extreme poverty in 20 years, Save the Children urges UN panel

End extreme poverty in 20 years, Save the Children urges UN panel

Ending Poverty in Our GenerationA United Nations panel should use its influence by adopting a new plan to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, Save the Children says.

The High Level Panel – co-chaired by Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and British Prime Minister David Cameron – will meet later this month to discuss a new system to replace the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015.

Save the Children’s new report Ending Poverty in Our Generation outlines an ambitious new development framework which, it says, can help all countries end extreme poverty in the next 20 years. This is the first time that an organization proposes specific new targets to replace the MDGs.

“Ending extreme poverty in a generation is possible. We have an historic opportunity to end the devastating cycle of poverty that is at the heart of preventable death, chronic illness, inadequate educational outcomes, and thwarted opportunity for children around the world,” said Save the Children’s CEO, Patricia Erb.

The MDGs were eight international targets adopted by every United Nations member state in 2000 with commitments to tackle global ills such as extreme poverty, child deaths and a lack of free education. Progress has been mixed, with some developing countries on track to achieve all targets and others looking unlikely to meet any.

Ms Erb added: “The Millennium Development Goals succeeded in lifting 600 million people out of poverty and helped 56 million more children go to school. But there were gaps in that framework that must be addressed and we call on the UN Panel to commit to new targets to secure a prosperous, sustainable future for the world's poorest children.”

The report says the end of extreme poverty is now in sight because of remarkable progress made in improving the lives of millions over the last two decades. For example, the number of under-five deaths worldwide declined from nearly 12 million in 1990 to under 7 million in 2011, and an additional 56 million children enrolled in primary school from 1999 to 2009.

The report warns of three major threats to the process:

- A failure to tackle inequality in the framework will mean progress will be too slow and some groups will be left behind.
- A desire to cram too much into the framework leading to a lowest common denominator outcome.
- A fragmented and already fractious political process at UN level.



Read the report.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Global Artist Ambassador for Child Hunger and Nutrition

Cristiano Ronaldo Global Artist Ambassador for Child Hunger and Nutrition

Cristiano Ronaldo Global Artist Ambassador for Child Hunger and Nutrition

(Right: Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo is kicking off the New Year as Save the Children’s new Global Artist Ambassador. Photo Credit: Jorge Monteiro)

Real Madrid football star Cristiano Ronaldo is kicking off 2013 as Save the Children's new Global Artist Ambassador. In his new role, Cristiano will fight child hunger and obesity, and promote physical activity and healthy eating.

“When I learned that 1 in 7 kids around the world go to bed hungry each night, I jumped at the chance to get involved,” said Cristiano Ronaldo. “It is an honor to join Save the Children. I want to work with them to make sure that fewer parents will have to struggle with putting the right kinds of food on the table.“

About Cristiano's Causes

Fighting Hunger

Chronic hunger impair children's development and leaves them vulnerable to deadly disease. Children are more likely to be healthy and educated when their families are not worried about where the next meal will come from. To help parents fight hunger and malnutrition, Save the Children's programs focus on improving the food supply, farming practices and finances of families in need. Learn more

Promoting Good Health

How can you be starving and obese at the same time? Turns out, for 1 in 3 kids in America, it’s pretty darn easy. When kids live in poverty—when struggling families have to make the choice between putting cheaper, unhealthy food on the table or no food at all—eating healthy often isn’t a choice at all. As a result, more than half of children living below the poverty line in rural America are overweight or obese. Learn more

Read the Press Release

About Cristiano

Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese footballer who currently plays for Real Madrid in Spain and represents Portugal at national level as the team's captain. Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, commonly known as Cristiano Ronaldo, was born on the 5th of February 1985 in Funchal, Madeira (Portugal). He began his professional career with Sporting Lisbon in Portugal but his talent was soon recognised by many of Europe's elite clubs all wanting to capture his signature.

Ronaldo's personal highlight with Manchester United was being crowned as the Ballon d'Or in 2008. Cristiano recently got his 100th cap for Portugal at senior level, becoming the third youngest player at 27 years of age to reach such a feat. He is also the first football player in the world to surpass 50 million likes on Facebook.com/cristiano.

Thousands of separated children at extreme risk in eastern DRC

Thousands of separated children at extreme risk as displaced families flee conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Save the Children warns.


DRCToronto, ON – (December 28, 2012) – Save the Children warned today that thousands of separated and displaced
children in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo are at extreme risk of sexual violence, including rape, or of being kidnapped and recruited into armed militias.

The aid agency is now helping to identify some of the thousands of youngsters separated from their families, working with partner organisations to start the meticulous process of tracking down their parents, with some success.

Many of those displaced live in sprawling camps, and have no idea what has happened to their loved ones. There are now almost a million displaced living in North Kivu province after the recent upsurge of violence between a rebel army and Congolese forces.

Fourteen year old Beatrice is one of them. “I was at home with my little sister. We heard the gunfire and we saw soldiers coming into the village, everyone fled,” she said. “I felt awful, I didn’t know where my mum was and we were all on our own. My sister and I just followed everyone else, we all ran into the forest. It took a whole day of walking. My little sister cried the whole time – she kept calling for our mum.”

Lillian, 14, found herself alone as she returned from school one day, only to discover that an armed group had occupied her village. “I went home but my mum and brothers and sisters had fled. Some soldiers raped four girls – they were my friends. I saw it happen. I was so scared and just ran away. I heard that two of the girls died from the attack,” she said.

“I didn’t know what to do, so I followed the villagers who were fleeing in the same direction. I didn’t have any clothes or money to pay for any transport or food. We then arrived at a camp where I stayed for four months but had to move again in November because the fighting got nearer. I walked here to Goma, it took me six hours. I walked through the bush and I was very scared – I knew it wasn’t safe.”

In the face of this growing crisis, Save the Children is planning to scale up its child protection work in the region. “We’ve found separated children who have heart breaking tales of how they they’ve lost their parents as they fled the fighting,” said Rob MacGillivray, Save the Children’s DRC country director.

“They often have no idea what has happened to their families, or even if they’ve survived. They’re terrified and vulnerable and desperately want to find their parents. We’re doing all we can to make sure these children get the support they need to be reunited with their families.”

In areas particularly badly affected by the conflict, Save the Children has identified 923 separated or unaccompanied children, raising fears that there are thousands more in settlements across North Kivu.

Ten year old Anicet is one of the luckier ones – his parents have been traced. He was separated from his parents during a firefight in North Kivu earlier this year. “I remember the day we were separated – I heard gunfire and was very scared. I thought my parents had died,” he said. “We lived on our own for many months this year and survived from the help of kind people and neighbours.”

Save the Children’s local partner managed to trace his parents, and arranged for them to be reunited.

“One month ago I heard the news that they might have found my parents,” Anicet said. “I am so happy to meet my father again. Please carry on doing your work to help other children find their parents.”


Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond to the unique needs of children in emergencies or conflict situations, or to scale up our work when children’s lives are in danger.

EU Nobel prize money granted to Save the Children and Norwegian Refugee Council

13,000 children victims of conflict in Somalia and DRC to benefit from EU Nobel prize money granted to Save the Children and Norwegian Refugee Council

Kibonge, 4 years old sits outside his tent in a camp in Goma.

(Right: Children like Kibonge, 4, in the Democratic Republic of Congo will benefit from EU Nobel prize money. Photo credit: Katie Seaborne/Save the Children)

13,000 children who have fled from conflict in Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will benefit from EU Nobel prize money, granted to Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), it was announced today.

The announcement was made in Brussels by ECHO, the European Community Humanitarian Office, following the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU. The joint initiative between Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council received €900,000, and was one of four proposals to receive a total of €2 million, made up of Nobel Peace Prize money matched by the EU.

Save the Children will provide education to 4,000 Somali children living in refugee camps in the border town of Dollo Ado in Ethiopia. NRC on the other hand will focus on 9,000 children affected by the conflict in Petit Nord Kivu DRC.
The proposed projects will ensure that over 13,000 highly vulnerable children displaced by conflict have access to safe, protective and nurturing spaces, in which they can attend education classes, begin to recover from the trauma of conflict and be supported in building their resilience to cope with their lives ahead.

“It is crucial that key agencies like ECHO see education as a vital component to ensure it is responding to what children need, and ensuring it endorses this through its own humanitarian operations”, said Tove Wang, the chief executive of Save the Children Norway.

“We are thankful and honoured. It is particularly gratifying that the prize money is earmarked for education in conflict areas. Education should be considered a critical part of any humanitarian response, in line with shelter, food and health care. Unfortunately, it is often deprioritized and underfunded. Globally, only 2 percentages of total humanitarian funding goes into education programmes, said Elisabeth Rasmusson, secretary general of Norwegian Refugee Council.

Specifically in Dollo Ado, a special emphasis will be placed on bringing girls to school, including young mothers and girls attending to younger siblings. A total of 60 % of the beneficiaries will be girls, aged 11-14. Funding from the EU will also train teachers, men and women, to ensure quality teaching.

Save the Children and NRC will set up temporary schools and learning spaces, in addition to training to teachers and other community leaders and provide essential teaching materials such as books, stationery, learning materials and educational play materials.

The projects will ensure that children attending these schools have access to other key lifesaving services including health, nutrition, hygiene and school feeding programs, as well as child protection services that identify and protect children from the threats and risks they face associated with living in refugee camps.

Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond to the unique educational needs of children in emergencies or conflict situations, or to scale up our work when children’s lives are in danger.

Typhoon Bopha forces children to sleep outside

Children sleeping in open areas after Typhoon Bopha ravaged eastern parts of Mindanao

Over 1.6 million children have been affected by Typhoon Bopha

(Right: These are just six of the 1.6 million children affected by Typhoon Bopha. Photo credit: Save the Children)

Thousands of children and their families are sleeping out in open areas after Typhoon Bopha flattened entire villages in the worst-affected parts of eastern Mindanao, Save the Children says.

The aid agency says emergency shelter materials are needed urgently as evacuation centres overflow and families either live in open areas or attempt to repair their roofs and walls with whatever material they can find around them.

“Children have a right to feel protected regardless of their situation, and a sturdy house is important for them to feel safe at night. Sleeping in open areas also makes children more vulnerable to abuse and trafficking,” said Anna Lindenfors, country director for Save the Children in the Philippines. “Save the Children is working to distribute emergency shelter materials for families as soon as possible.”

In the worst-affected areas, Save the Children spoke to children whose homes had been damaged or destroyed. An 11-year-old girl, Kimberly, from Davao Oriental said: “We tried to fix our house with plastic sheets and scraps of wood we found in the area. But the floor was completely damaged as well, so I slept in my chair at night.”

“My father and older brother fixed part of the floor, but I am scared that another storm like that would come, so I still sleep in my chair.”

Kimberly is among 1.6 million children affected in the storm, and her fear of rain and storms are shared by many who were unprepared for Typhoon Bopha. Save the Children, along with UNICEF and Plan International are now urging all government agencies, local representatives and communities, as well as humanitarian partners to be attentive towards the needs and rights of children in emergencies. Together with the government, these aid agencies have also started registering children and making temporary care arrangements when needed.

Save the Children has been responding to the needs of children and their families through the distribution of pre-made aid packages containing toiletries, blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and cooking pots and pans to nearly 2000 families. Additionally, Save the Children has also begun preparations to provide emergency shelter items, including tarpaulins and repair kits containing hammers, pliers and nails to over 6,000 affected families in Compostela Valley and Agusan del Sur. Child-friendly spaces will also be set up with toys and art materials that children can play, draw and paint with in the day. Volunteers and staff running these spaces will also provide psychosocial support to these children.

“These are some of the poorest and most vulnerable children, and they many have been through a terrible ordeal of losing their family members, relatives, friends, homes and belongings. It is important that we give them a sense of normalcy as soon as possible,” said Anna Lindenfors. “A safe place to play in the day and a roof over their heads at night is vital to achieving that.”

Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond quickly when emergencies like Typhoon Bopha strike, or to scale up our work when an existing situation deteriorates and children’s lives are in danger.

Save the Children honoured for work on vaccines and immunization

Leading the way: Save the Children honoured for work on vaccines and immunization

By Simon Wright, Head of Child Survival, London office

GAVI Award 2012On December 6, we were especially pleased to be awarded the Rise-Up award at the GAVI Partners’ Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The award recognises the non-governmental organisation that has done the most for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) through its policy and advocacy work.

Immunization for all

GAVI is a multilateral partnership that aims to expand access to immunization in the world’s poorest countries. Our role is to make sure that giving the poorest children access to life-saving vaccines is the top priority.

On Wednesday, we launched a new report, Immunization for All, which argues that equity is the real priority and that immunization should be expanded alongside other health services. The report urges all actors to seize the opportunity we have this decade to achieve universal access to immunization.

Leading the way

Save the Children has also been doing high profile work with NGOs and voluntary groups, including through my role on the GAVI Civil Society Steering Committee. This afternoon, I was a panellist in an important session on equity, arguing that immunization should be the flagship for Universal Health Coverage.

Championing vaccines

However, it was last night that we had the highest profile during the GAVI awards ceremony. The Rise-Up award, which I bring back to London tonight, recognises how we championed vaccines and immunisation with the UK government and other donors, leading to the spectacular success of GAVI’s pledging conference in 2011.

This event achived a milestone in children’s health, raising US$ 4.3 billion to immunise more than 250 million of the world’s poorest children against life-threatening diseases by 2015.

Save the Children is calling for greater world action to stop the hardest-to-reach children from being denied their right to life-saving vaccinations. Our new report released at the GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) Partners’ Forum in Tanzania this week shows that 22 million children are not receiving basic vaccines. 

View key statistics and recommendations of our 'Immunization for All' report. 

1/5 children denied their right to immunization

End the injustice: a fifth of children denied their right to immunization


Save the Children is calling for greater world action to stop the hardest-to-reach children from being denied their right to life-saving vaccinations. Our new report released at the GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) Partners’ Forum in Tanzania this week shows that 22 million children are not receiving basic vaccines.

While impressive progress has been made in expanding immunization, 20% of children are still missing out. The poorest, those in remote areas, from migrant communities, particular castes, or other disadvantaged groups, are not receiving vital vaccinations as well as other basic, essential healthcare.

Simon Wright, Head of Child Survival at Save the Children, said: “There are proven strategies to reach these children, and at the same time extend access to essential health services that they badly need. We are calling on donors, the private sector and others, as they gather in Tanzania to review GAVI’s progress, to do much more to support countries to achieve and sustain universal immunization coverage.”

“Equity is at the heart of GAVI’s mission because we believe protection against vaccine-preventable diseases should be a basic right for all children,” said Helen Evans, Deputy CEO of the GAVI Alliance. “Vital vaccines are reaching more children than ever before but we are committed to keep working hard with our partners to ensure that a child’s chance to lead a healthy, productive life is not determined by factors such as wealth, gender, or geography.”

Professor A F M Ruhal Haque, Minister of Health and Family Welfare for Bangladesh, said: “It is a matter of joy that we have reached four-fifths of the world’s children with routine immunization. What is now most important is to finish the rest of the job to achieve 100% coverage. This report will be an important tool and source of inspiration toward achieving this goal.”


Immunization for All

View key statistics & recommendations or download full report.


Read More 

Schools could be closed for months in the Philippines

Schools could be closed for months as clean up begins following killer typhoon in the Philippines

Children play in an evacuation centre in Mahayahay, Iligan City

(Right: Children play in an evacuation centre in Mahayahay, Iligan City. Photo credit: Save the Children)

Schools could be closed for months, disrupting the education of tens of thousands of children whose lives have been affected by a killer typhoon in the Philippines, warns Save the Children.

The leading child rights agency says up to 188,000 children have been caught up in the aftermath of Typhoon Bopha, many of them school-aged children.

Anna Lindenfors from Save the Children in the Philippines said, “The extent of the damage means that children will not be able to return home or to school anytime soon. This can be very unsettling for them as they will now have to stay in cramped conditions in evacuation centres without any private bathing areas, sleeping areas or safe play spaces.”

Emergency response teams from the children’s charity have been to the worst affected areas of Mindanao only to find flattened villages covered in mud. The death toll is now reported to be 327 and 437 missing. The authorities say it will take at least two months to restore power in the affected provinces.

Save the Children says that children in the worst affected areas including Compostela Valley, Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental will require long-term assistance.

In response to the crisis Save the Children is mobilising pre-made aid packages that include crockery, mosquito nets, toiletries and blankets. Distributions will start tomorrow to at least 500 of the worst-affected families.

“These are families living in areas that were unaffected by last year’s Typhoon Washi and have never been through anything like this. We are hearing reports that few families heeded warnings from the authorities to evacuate, resulting in a higher than expected death toll.”

Destruction caused by Typhoon Bopha in Compostela Valley, Philippines“Children will require much more aid to recover from this disaster,” said Anna Lindenfors. “We need to set up safe spaces for children to play and talk about their experiences. Students will also need a place to learn and school materials to study with when the semester starts. These are essential to create a sense of normality for the children whose lives have been turn upside down by the typhoon.”

Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981 and has decades of experience responding to emergencies in the Philippines. The aid agency mounted large-scale emergency responses to Typhoon Washi in 2011 and Typhoon Ketsana in 2009.

Prone to natural hazards such as landslides and floods, the Philippines experience an average of 20 tropical storms a year and is located in a major earthquake zone where there are also active volcanoes.

(Above: Destruction caused by Typhoon Bopha in Compostela Valley, Philippines. Photo credit: Save the Children)

Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond quickly when emergencies like Typhoon Bopha strike, or to scale up our work when an existing situation deteriorates and children’s lives are in danger.

Syrian children struggling to survive bitter winter

Fears are growing for Syrian children and families hit by freezing winter weather as huge funding shortages endanger relief operations in the region

A new Save the Children report, Out in the Cold, documents the desperate steps that children in Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan are taking to survive increasingly bitter weather in the region, with snow and sub-zero temperatures expected to hit many areas in the coming weeks. The current aid shortfall is over $200 million – half the total estimated needs - for Syrian refugees, hindering relief efforts and putting families at risk.

Among the heart-rending testimonies given to Save the Children are children huddling three to a blanket, sleeping in makeshift shelters made of billboards and falling sick as temperatures plunge in the region.

“Syrian refugees are facing rapidly deteriorating conditions as the winter is coming on. As is always the case, when there is conflict children suffer the most,” said Save the Children’s President & CEO, Patricia Erb.

“The international community needs to engage in the effort to assist the Syrian refugees. Without that funding thousands of children are going to spend a bitter winter without proper shelter from the cold, and many will become sick as a result.”

Some 400,000 refugees are living in tents, barns, unfinished buildings and other temporary shelters ill-equipped to provide protection from the cold. Many fled during summer months with only the clothes on their backs, and often children lack warm jackets and clothes to withstand the winter. In Iraq, the only footwear most refugee children have is the flip-flops they fled in.

In Jordan, parents are going into debt to provide basic clothing for their children, and in Lebanon, where there are no camps, high rents are preventing families finding or keeping adequate shelter. One group of refugees in the Beka’a Valley is facing freezing temperatures in shelters constructed from tarpaulins.

There are now fears that infections and diseases could spread amongst refugee children, who are particularly vulnerable to the cold weather, and are living in close proximity in refugee settlements.

“When I feel cold I start shivering – even now I feel cold. My throat hurts, and I feel like I have the flu. We need medicines,” said Ines, 8, living in a shelter made of billboards.

 “I have two daughters that are sick because of the cold. All my children are sick,” said Nadia, 30, mother of five-month-old child, living in an unfinished building.

Meanwhile, the international aid response remains only around half funded for those who have fled the country, prompting fears that the aid effort will fail to deliver help to many of those who urgently need it. Numbers of refugees pouring out of Syria have already far outstripped official expectations published earlier in the year.

Save the Children is on the ground in Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, helping thousands of children who have fled to neighbouring countries recover from their experiences and prepare for the coming winter. The agency has launched an appeal for $35.9 million to help fund its work in the region.

Read more about the plight of Syrian refugees.

Donate to relief efforts to help Syrian refugee children and families brace for winter.


Syria - Out in the Cold

Download full report.

Help Syrian Children Brace for Winter

Please donate to help Syrian children. 

Read More

Read more about the growing emergency.

Typhoon Bopha targets the Philippines

Save the Children prepared to respond to children’s needs as Typhoon Bopha targets the Philippines

As Filipinos brace for the imminent arrival of Typhoon Bopha, aid workers from Save the Children are on high alert and ready to meet the needs of children affected by the storm, if there is a need for a large-scale humanitarian response.

The typhoon, known locally as Pablo, is expected to pound the country’s eastern border on Tuesday, bringing high winds and heavy rains. Already thousands of people in Mindanao have begun to evacuate areas where the typhoon is expected to hit.

Save the Children’s Anna Lindenfors in the nation’s capital Manila said, “Mindanao has experienced heavy winds and rain over the last 24 hours. Save the Children is monitoring the situation closely. We have staff on the ground and pre-made aid packages to distribute if needed. Children are always the most vulnerable in a disaster and we stand ready to respond to their needs."

Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981 and has decades of experience responding to emergencies in the Philippines. The aid agency mounted large-scale emergency responses to Typhoon Washi in 2011 and Typhoon Ketsana in 2009.

Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond quickly when an emergencies, like Typhoon Bopha, strike, or to scale up our work when an existing situation deteriorates and children’s lives are in danger.

Children risk recruitment to armed groups in the DRC

Children risk recruitment to armed groups as Goma battle sees thousands flee

Thousands of children displaced by fighting in and around the city of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) risk recruitment to armed groups, Save the Children has warned.

Thousands of people have fled Goma as rebels took over the city on Tuesday. Save the Children staff on ground in the city report that children have been separated from their parents in the rush to escape the rebel advance, and could face recruitment from armed groups operating in the area.

“Any child separated in the rush to flee the fighting is at grave risk of being recruited by any one of several militias in the area,” said Rob MacGillivray, Save the Children’s country director in the DRC. “We know that these groups have had few qualms about forcing children to join in the past and have no reason to suppose they will take a different approach now. The situation is extremely chaotic, with some families being displaced more than once, and we can only imagine how confused and frightened children caught up in this violence will be.”

The aid agency is also deeply concerned that vulnerable families and children are unable to access healthcare and warns that food supplies are quickly running out. An estimated 400,000 people live in Goma, and the surrounding area is home to another 300,000 displaced people, according to the UN.

Tens of thousands of people have already fled the area, with children particularly vulnerable. “In any refugee crisis children face a range of risks, including separation from their families, abuse and exploitation, but the long-term insecurity in the eastern DRC means children are in a particularly dangerous situation,” MacGillivray continued.

“They may be alone in an area where armed groups often recruit children, have witnessed terrible things, and without basic supplies like food and clean water. We call all sides to ensure that children are offered the protection they are owed and that they can be reunited with their families as soon as possible.”

Save the Children is on the ground in Goma, but its humanitarian work has been suspended until the situation becomes safe enough to commence operations. In the meantime the aid agency is preparing to assist refugees and displaced families should there be movement from the DRC into Rwanda.

Should children and youth work?

Universal Children’s Day: Canadian Perceptions on Children and Youth and Work

November 20 marks Universal Children’s Day, and the 23rd anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“Save the Children is proud to share such deep roots with Universal Children’s Day,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children.

“When our founder, Eglantyne Jebb wrote the first Declaration of the Rights of the Child for the International Save the Children Union in 1923, she was creating the principled foundation for what would become the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child—a pivotal tool in advancing children’s rights around the world. Today we honour this legacy and recommit ourselves to protecting the civil, political, social and cultural rights of every child.”

In recognition of this day, Save the Children, in partnership with Leger Marketing, conducted a survey with 1526 Canadians on their attitudes towards children and youth and work in Canada and abroad.

Children and youth work for many reasons. Many children around the world must work to help support their families. Equally, children and youth choose to work because it offers them opportunities to learn and grow.

The survey found that respondents believe that work is a part of life, be it in Canada or in a developing country. But we must continue to be diligent in protecting children and youth from exploitation. Save the Children remains steadfast working to ensure that work creates opportunities for children and youth.

“On Universal Children’s Day we recognize the many barriers confronting children around the world, and understand that within every child is the strength and potential to create a better future,” said Will Postma, Director of Programs at Save the Children.

Are you a child or youth who works? Are you an adult who had a paper route or worked on the family farm when you were a kid?

The survey is still open - please take 5 minutes to complete it.

  Children and Youth who work - Take Survey

Want to know more about the survey and Save the Children's programs that help protect children who work from exploitation?

Read about the key findings of the children/youth and work survey.

   Children and Youth who work - Survey Results
Video: Marking World Prematurity Day

World Prematurity Day: Interview with Dr Joy Lawn


More than 40 countries are planning activities this Saturday, November 17, for World Prematurity Day. Activities are designed to raise awareness about the more than 1 in 10 babies who are born prematurely and to mobilize action to improve care and address prevention worldwide.

Watch the short interview with Joy Lawn, Director of Global Evidence and Policy for Save the Children's Saving Newborn Lives program, as she outlines what can be done to improve care for preterm babies and what countries like Malawi have done to champion change for newborns:

Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn deaths, and now the second leading cause of death after pneumonia in children under the age of 5. This Saturday, Save the Children along with global partners, nations, parent organizations and advocates worldwide are marking the second annual World Prematurity Day, continuing momentum for the Born Too Soon movement that will ensure life-saving solutions are put into action.

  • In Malawi, which has the world’s highest estimated preterm birth rate, health officials are holding a summit to expand the use of kangaroo mother care and help ensure that antenatal steroids reach all who need them.
  • The Government of Uganda will host a national stakeholder meeting on preterm birth and announce a commitment on preterm birth to the Every Woman Every Child movement, which is led by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
  • Other countries are participating in awareness campaigns, such as the Global Illumination Initiative where cities are lighting landmarks and buildings, such as The Empire State Building, in purple to honor preterm babies and their parents. 


Download the Born Too Soon report (May 2012) 


Read Dr Joy Lawn's study published in the Lancet (November 2012)

New Lancet study: Preterm Birth Rates

Rising preterm birth rates leveling off, but prevention remains difficult


Prevention of the world's 15 million preterm births remains difficult, but this contrasts with the high, immediate potential to save 75% of the 1.1 million preterm babies who die every year, ays the lead author of a new Save-the-Children-led Lancet study.


The first multi-country study on trends in preterm births and the current potential to reduce them appears in today’s Lancet medical journal and shows that after years of poorly explained rises in preterm birth, the rates over the last 5 years are now leveling off in more than half of 39 high income countries assessed.

But with few highly effective prevention interventions for preterm births, the U.S. and 38 other high-income countries could reduce preterm births by 5% by 2015, if the five currently available evidence-based interventions were fully implemented, according to the new study.

The research was conducted by an international team of researchers, coordinated by Dr. Joy Lawn of Save the Children, and including experts from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Boston Consulting Group, March of Dimes, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth, and the World Health Organization.

“This study shows that even the best efforts based on current science could prevent only a tiny fraction of the massive number of preterm births,” said Dr. Joy Lawn of Save the Children, the study’s lead author.

“On the other hand, we already have high impact low-cost care that could save at least half the 1.1 million newborn deaths that occur from preterm births each year. More than 85% of preterm babies are only a few weeks preterm – born too soon, but not born to die. There is no excuse for these babies to die when essential, simple care will save their lives.”

“We need urgent action on two gaps – the knowledge gap for preventing preterm birth, and the action gap to save newborn babies’ lives now by getting frontline workers and essential medicines to the mothers and babies who need care the most,” Dr. Lawn said.

75% of Preterm Babies Could Be Saved without Neonatal Intensive Care

Existing, low-tech interventions could prevent 75 percent of 1.1 million annual preterm deaths, the vast majority of which occur in developing countries. Steroid injections for women in preterm labor, antibiotics for newborn infections and Kangaroo Mother Care (wrapping preterm babies in skin-to-skin contact with their mother for warmth and easier breastfeeding) could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Greater investment in training and equipping frontline health workers is needed to deliver the care needed to save babies’ lives, Save the Children said.

The new Lancet study is a follow on from the groundbreaking “Born Too Soon” report on prematurity published in May with input from 50 organizations coordinated by the World Health Organization, March of Dimes, PMNCH and Save the Children. That report was based on the first national and global numbers of preterm babies, also published in The Lancet in a study coordinated by Dr. Lawn.

Born Too Soon set a target of reducing preterm deaths by 50% by 2025. The new Lancet paper addressed prevention, and recommends a target of only 5% by 2015 for preventing preterm births and only in high-income countries, where detailed records made the analysis feasible.

The five interventions the authors found could lead to that 5% reduction are:  smoking cessation, decreasing multiple embryo transfers during artificial insemination, cervical cerclage (a surgical procedure), progesterone supplementation and reduction of elective C-sections.


Read the full Lancet article here (published 16 November 2012).


Launch: Soft Toys for Education Campaign

IKEA Canada partners with UNICEF and Save the Children to launch the 9th annual Soft Toys for Education Campaign

Campaign will support life changing education programs for vulnerable children in some of the most inaccessible areas in the world.

IKEA Canada is launching its ninth annual IKEA Soft Toys for education campaign across Canada. From now until December 29th the IKEA Foundation will donate one dollar of every Soft Toy purchased at IKEA stores in Canada to support UNICEF and Save the Children’s programs educating vulnerable children around the world.

“At IKEA, we believe every child has the right to a healthy and secure childhood that includes access to a quality education,” said Kerri Molinaro, President of IKEA Canada. ”IKEA Canada’s Soft Toys for Education campaign continues to be an inspiring program that engages our customers and co-workers every year because it continues to improve the lives of children around the world.”

Funds donated this year will reach the most vulnerable, marginalized children including ethnic minorities and children living with disabilities and special needs in more than 15 countries in Asia and Africa including: Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Madagascar.

“Last year, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of Canadians, who contributed more than $450,000 to the IKEA Soft Toys campaign,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. “Those donations helped us train teachers, supply educational materials like pencils, books and bags, and rebuild schools.”

New to this year’s soft toys family are forest friends from the VANDRING series, which includes a hedgehog, a bear and an owl hand puppet, that encourage curiosity and caring about nature among children. The new toys are created from different VANDRING textiles, designed by Ann-Cathrine Sigrid Ståhlberg.

Since 2003, donations from the annual IKEA Soft Toy Campaign have totalled over $61 million CAD, helping 8 million children in more than 45 countries enjoy their right to a quality education.

"Last month world leaders rallied together in a final push to meet the global commitment to ensure access to primary education for all children,” said David Morley, President and Chief Executive Officer, UNICEF Canada. “IKEA, the co-workers and customers who have supported the Soft Toys campaign are helping to make this important goal a reality.”

Through the “Global iWitness Citizenship Program” IKEA Canada will also offer two IKEA co-workers the opportunity to visit a Soft Toy sponsored education program in either Asia or Africa. The program’s goal is to provide co-workers with the opportunity to see first-hand the impact the Soft Toys campaign has on supporting education for vulnerable children around the world.

20,000 children in 42 countries racing for survival

20,000 children in 42 countries, including Canada, "Race for Survival"

More than 20,000 children across 42 countries will take part in Save the Children's Race for Survival, a global relay race to raise awareness of the urgent need to tackle child malnutrition. 

Children from Afghanistan to Canada, Zambia to Brazil, will run on October 16th, coinciding with World Food Day, to bring attention to malnutrition, the underlying cause of a third of all child deaths. In 2011 alone, 2.3 million died due to the effects of malnutrition. Participants from around the world have invited politicians and celebrities to the event so they can highlight the importance of ending child malnutrition.

In Canada teams will be running in Calgary, Toronto and Lac Seul (northern Ontario). In Toronto, the two teams participating in this year's event will be Lawfield Elementary (Hamilton) and Samuel Hearne (Toronto). They will be racing at York University's indoor track (4700 Keele Street) from 10am - 1pm on Tuesday 16 October.

Before the race, chef and television host, Roger Mooking, from Food Network's Everyday Exotic will speak to the kids about his recent trip with Save the Children to Bangladesh where he saw health and nutrition programs up close. He will share what he and his family are doing to help put an end to hunger by supporting Save the Children's Extra Plate campaign.

Roger Mooking will appear at 12noon EST as part in Save the Children's 12-hour 'Great Debate' on child survival on the Google+ hangout platform. A total of 30 panelists from 15 countries, including celebrities, politicians, civil society actors, and children, will discuss ways to avoid millions of preventable child deaths. Join the Save the Children / Google+ 'Great Debate' at www.raceforsurvival.net.

Find out more about the Race for Survival and how you can get involved.

Read More


Celebrating the first International Day of the Girl

Celebrating the first International Day of the Girl

Raghu Rai/Magnum for Save the Children

 It's the United Nations first International Day of the Girl! The Day of the Girl is about highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing girls lives and opportunities across the globe. 

Save the Children is committed to gender equality as an essential foundation for realizing young people’s rights.

Save the Children is committed to working for a world where girls and boys have equal access to, and control over, opportunities, resources and decision-making.

We base our work on a common understanding that gender equality is critical to both overcoming poverty and to the fulfillment of the human rights of girls and boys.

Assumptions about gender roles and identities must be continually challenged. What was relevant and true for past generations is not necessarily applicable in today’s world. Save the Children and our partner Children/Youth as Peacebuilders are working with children and youth to improve our ability to understand what it means to be a young female or male in the 21st century, so that we can develop programs to better support the rights and needs of young people.

Gender Maps is a manual of participatory techniques to facilitate the involvement of young people in individual and group discussions on gender issues.

It is based on a series of workshops that were conducted in Bolivia, Colombia, Kenya and Northern Uganda.

Download Gender Maps. 

(Photo credit: Raghu Rai/Magnum for Save the Children)



Failure to tackle malnutrition putting millions of children at risk

Persistent Failure to Tackle Malnutrition Putting Millions of Children at Risk

Save the Children and World Vision are calling for political promises to be urgently translated into actions to avert the deaths of millions of undernourished children, 2.3 million of whom died in 2011 alone.

Together we have have launched a Nutrition Barometer which assesses governments' political, legal and financial commitments to tackling malnutrition in the 36 countries where 90 per cent of the world's undernourished children live. Almost a quarter of these countries have shown little progress in tackling this silent crisis.

"The Nutrition Barometer released today is a way to assess and hold governments accountable in terms of their political and financial commitment to end child malnutrition," said Save the Children CEO Patricia Erb.

"I will be in Bangladesh visiting our nutrition and health programming next week. Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries, has shown significant improvements in child mortality, health and nutrition. Through political will they have demonstrated that by investing in health, by targeting the poorest and by working closely with grassroots organizations, they are on the road to ending preventable child deaths in a generation."

Strikingly, India appears at the bottom of the list despite experiencing strong economic growth in the past few years. At the other end of the spectrum lies Peru which have shown strong political resolve and committed growing resources to fight child undernutrition, achieving results.


Nutrition Barometer: Gauging national responses to undernutrition

Read more or download full report.

World Vision and Save the Children are calling on world leaders gathering in New York for the UN General Assembly summit to take urgent measures to tackle child undernutrition. Unless promises are translated into swift action, the ambitious commitment made at the World Health Assembly earlier this year to reduce the number of stunted children by 40 per cent, by 2025, will not be met.

World Vision Canada's Elly Vandenberg said: "Every child deserves the best start in life. Combatting child malnutrition demands good governance and multi-sectoral strategies backed by long-term investments. As Minister Fantino heads to his first UNGA, we are counting on Canada to keep pushing other countries for accountability on this issue. Hungry children need concrete commitments delivered, not empty promises."

More information, including country by country results.

 Read More

Accelerating reduction in child deaths is welcome, but progress remains insufficient

Save the Children welcomes accelerating reduction in children deaths, but warns progress remains insufficient


Save the Children says the latest United Nations figures on children mortality suggest the world is achieving strong results in the fight to end preventable child deaths.

For the first time, annual global child mortality figures are reported to have fallen below seven million (6.9 million) in 2011, down from 7.6 million in 2010, with breakthroughs taking place even in many of the poorest countries.
But whilst progress is accelerating, global progress is still too slow to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, warns Save the Children.

“These new child mortality estimates show that we are within reach of ending preventable child deaths. That we have halved child deaths in a generation is absolute validation that aid and programs focused on children and women work," said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children.

“To save the last 6.9 million children, we will need to keep up the fight. We know what low-cost solutions work to save the lives of moms, newborns and babies. What we need now is the political will to ensure that these solutions reach the poorest who need it the most. All of us – individual Canadians, companies and government – need to work together to get this job done."

In an effort to accelerate this progress and end all preventable child deaths, Save the Children's EVERY ONE campaign is calling for concrete action to help achieve this goal, putting special focus on ensuring access to healthcare workers, support for immunization, and increased efforts to tackle malnutrition.

The new UN report ranks the leading causes of child death as pneumonia, premature birth, diarrhea, childbirth complications, and malaria, with child malnutrition remaining an underlying cause of a third of child deaths. Additionally, the findings reveal that nearly half of under-five deaths occur in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and China.

The report also shows that as deaths to all children aged below five have dropped, those occurring in the first month of life have declined more slowly. As a result, newborn deaths now account for 43 per cent of child deaths, up from 36 per cent in 1990. Overall, the vast majority of child deaths – 83 per cent – now occur in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia.

Save the Children said it is a critical time for all supporters to help to maintain momentum to fight this continuing crisis. Healthier children are the foundation for more productive, prosperous and stable communities, which benefit everyone, the agency said.

About 60,000 children displaced in China earthquake

About 60,000 children displaced in China earthquake: Save the Children deploys team to assess needs


About 60,000 children were displaced in the earthquake that hit the south west provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou in China yesterday.

The double earthquake of 5.7 and 5.6 magnitude left 80 people dead and over 700 injured. Local authorities have reported damages in more than 430,000 homes.

“There are reports that children were killed while in school yesterday. Their classmates and other children from the affected areas will need special support, both to meet their immediate needs, but also to provide them with psychosocial support,” said Pia MacRae, country director for Save the Children in China.

“Children who have been displaced will need warm clothing, hot food and clean water. With more aftershocks and rain expected in the coming days, there is a possibility that landslides could hamper relief work.”

Local authorities have sent rescue teams to assist, with tents, blankets, mattresses and coats released.

“Save the Children has projects in the quake-hit area. We are deploying an assessment team from our Kunming field office, and we will launch a response with local partners as necessary,” said Pia MacRae.

Save the Children has been working in China for nearly 25 years, responding to over 15 disasters in that time, such as the 2010 Yushu earthquake and 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

You can donate to our Children's Emergency Fund to help children trapped in conflict situations around the world. Your support enables Save the Children to respond quickly when disaster strikes, or to scale up our work when an exsisting situation deteriorates.

Click here to donate.

Syrian refugees left without basic supplies as Jordan camp overwhelmed by influx

Syrian refugees left without basic supplies as Jordan camp overwhelmed by influx, Save the Children warns.


A refugee camp in Jordan set up to house families fleeing fighting in Syria has been overwhelmed by thousands of desperate people and is now chronically underfunded, Save the Children warned today.

The number of refugees crossing the border from Syria to the Zata’ari camp in Jordan has risen hugely in recent days, leaving camp authorities swamped and unable to meet their basic needs when they arrive.

Sixty five per cent of camp inhabitants are children, but funding shortages and a sharp rise in the numbers of families arriving from Syria have resulted in flawed distribution and registration processes, leaving many without basic supplies such as nutritious food and healthcare.

The Zata’ari camp was set up last month to house just 500 people, but has grown to almost 20,000, with as many as 3,300 people arriving every day.

There are fears the poor conditions in the camp could get even worse unless urgent action is taken. Save the Children is calling for funding to be made available to prevent a full-blown humanitarian crisis developing on the Jordanian side of the border.

Earlier this month, Foreign Minister, John Baird, announced that Canada would provide $6 million in aid to Jordan and $1.5 million to the World Food Program to help Syrian refugees, but since that time the situation has dramatically escalated. Additional funding from donor governments, including Canada, would allow humanitarian groups to scale up their interventions to meet the growing needs of refugees.

“Families have fled the conflict in Syria, but instead of reaching safety in Jordan, they are arriving to find there is food of poor quality and limited general services. More than half of the refugees are children, and conditions in the camp are appalling,” said Ibrahim Younis, Save the Children’s Syria emergency response coordinator.

“Until funding is made available to help Syrian refugees, the situation will only deteriorate as more families arrive. The international community must step up and help these desperate families by making funding urgently available.”

The conflict in Syria is forcing more and more people from their homes, with 30,000 people believed to have fled Syria into neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq over the past week alone.

United Nations predictions of 200,000 refugees by the end of the year have already been met, but the aid effort of the humanitarian community to meet their needs in the region remains chronically underfunded, with only 33% of what is needed.

Save the Children is currently responding to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, providing basic supplies, education and specialist child protection to children who have been forced from their homes.

You can donate to our Children's Emergency Fund to help children trapped in conflict situations around the world. Your support enables Save the Children to respond quickly when disaster strikes, or to scale up our work when an exsisting situation deteriorates.

Click here to donate.

Tropical Storm Isaac threatens Haiti, Save the Children warns

Tropical Storm Isaac threatens almost 400,000 people still in temporary shelters after Haiti quake, Save the Children warns


400,000 people still living in tents more than two years after Haiti’s devastating earthquake are bracing themselves for the landfall of a huge tropical storm on Friday, Save the Children has warned.

Tropical Storm Isaac is forecast to hit Haiti late on Friday, by which time its winds could have strengthened to hurricane force.

The storm is expected to bring heavy rain, flash floods and mudslides, posing a serious threat to thousands of families made homeless by the enormous earthquake.

Close to 400,000 people still live in tents and makeshift shelters after the earthquake destroyed many buildings in the capital, Port-au-Prince, in January, 2010. Also at risk are thousands who live in hastily constructed slums in the city.

“As Isaac bears down on Haiti, thousands of families are relying on flimsy canvas to protect them from a potential hurricane,” said Lisa Laumann, Save the Children’s Country Director in Haiti. “Hurricanes can cause enormous destruction and even those in permanent buildings are not safe. It’s important that we are as ready as possible to reduce risks and to respond to disasters.”

“Families living in Haiti’s tent cities are in an extremely precarious situation. They have no-where to go to seek shelter from the storm.”

Haiti is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and hurricanes which, as well as causing widespread destruction, can cause disruption to badly needed services such as health care and education.

Save the Children is working on the ground in Haiti, helping families recover from the earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreaks. Specialist emergency staff are currently in Port-au-Prince and are ready to launch a humanitarian response if required.

You can donate to our Children's Emergency Fund to help children in Haiti, and around the world, who are facing emergencies. Your support enables Save the Children to respond quickly when disaster strikes, or to scale up our work when an exsisting situation deteriorates.

Click here to donate.

Flooding in the Philippines expected to prolong for up to three months

Floods expected to prolong for up to three months, Save the Children calls on the National Government and International Community to intensify efforts to address crucial needs of children

Manila, Philippines – Most of heavily flooded low-lying areas in the National Capital Region, Region III (Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac provinces) and Region IV-A (Rizal and Laguna provinces) are still underwater after monsoon rains for the past two weeks battered the country, affecting 4.2 million people including more than 2.5 million children.

Even with reports that families have started going back to their homes, more than 212,000 people remain in 656 evacuation centres with limited access to safe and potable water, non-food items, sanitation facilities, and healthcare. Coastal areas, particularly those surrounding Laguna de Bay, may remain flooded for up to three months.

Anna Lindenfors, Country Director for Save the Children in the Philippines said: “As we expect around twelve more typhoons to hit the Philippines for the remainder of the year, it is likely that the flood water in these areas will not subside at all. The longer children and families stay in evacuation centres, the more they are exposed to unhealthy and unsafe conditions.”

“Children and adolescents have very specific needs and experiences that are different from adults, which should be given primary consideration. During emergencies, they are exposed to extreme situations which may be difficult to cope up with. Aside from meeting their basic needs, we should also provide emotional and developmental support to help them recover from traumatic experiences,” she explained.

This week, Save the Children has started setting up Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) and Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS) for children and adolescents in evacuation centres in Laguna and Bulacan. These provide children and adolescents with a safe, designated area where they can play, learn, and express themselves under the supervision of trained adults. These also give the opportunity to detect, discuss and promote child protection issues in evacuation centres.

“Also, formal classes will need to resume as children should not be out of school for a long time. But we are looking at how this may displace flood-affected families who are staying in schools and are not yet able to go back to their homes,” Lindenfors said.

“Clearly, we need to come up with solutions that will deliver the best outcomes across all sectors for everyone, especially children,” she added.

To date, Save the Children has reached over 15,000 people in evacuation centres with water supplies, hygiene kits, household items and CFS sessions.

For media queries and interviews, please contact Cicely McWilliam at 1-800-668-5036 x300 or cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca.

Flood-affected children in Philippines require urgent access to health services

Flood-affected children in Philippines require urgent access to health services

(Manila, the Philippines) 13/8/2012 – Children caught in the Philippines floodwaters have little access to the health services that they urgently need, Save the Children says. According to the Philippines disaster agency, approximately 1.8 million children have now been affected by the floods.

“We cannot say for sure how many do not have access to healthcare,” said Anna Lindenfors, country director for Save the Children in the Philippines. “But in our assessments at evacuation centres in Metro Manila, National Capital Region and Laguna, many parents have expressed their concerns that the children do not have medicine for colds, fever, diarrhoea and skin rashes.”

In Calooncan City, Metro Manila, where Save the Children delivered hygiene items such as soaps, shampoo and other toiletries, families reported little help for their sick children.

“My husband has measles and so do some of my older children,” said 32-year-old Anafe Sinogbuhan, as she held her one-year-old baby, Tea May Abalus. She added that a doctor from the Department of Social Welfare and Development visited, “but did not have enough medicine to treat everyone.”

To help flood-affected families cope, Save the Children has delivered prepackaged household items such as sleeping mats and mosquito nets, as well as jerry cans of water and hygiene items like soaps, shampoo and other toiletries to 2,300 families. The children’s charity also aims to set up mobile health clinics, create spaces for children to play and learn in, as well as longer-term clean-up and livelihoods projects. 

Anna Lindenfors said: “We know that diseases spread easily among children because they have close contact with other children when they play together, as well as weaker immune systems, and a lack of knowledge on good hygiene practices.”

“To prevent more children from falling sick, there is an urgent need for more health workers and medicine. The gap in health services coupled with poor sanitation, lack of clean water supplies and close living quarters, is a definitely dangerous combination.”

Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981 and mounted a large-scale emergency response to typhoon Ketsana in 2009, and more recently, last year’s Typhoon Washi.

For media interviews, please contact Anna Lindenfors at +63 9178527907 or anna.lindenfors@savethechildren.org.

For all other media queries, please contact Lynette Lim at +63 9192461428 or lynette.lim@savethechildren.org.

Ending the Everyday Emergency in the Sahel

Ending the Everyday Emergency: resilience and children in the Sahel


Millions of children across the Sahel are facing a serious hunger crisis: buffeted by drought and rising food prices, struggling with chronic poverty, hundreds of thousands of children lose their lives to malnutrition every year.

This is the everyday emergency faced by families in the Sahel.

While governments and international partners are working hard to assist communities in need, this latest crisis demonstrates the urgency to transcend “business as usual”.

The good news is that there is now a strong consensus on the need to integrate humanitarian and development efforts better to break the hunger cycle, but the concrete implications of this still need to be understood and acted upon.

Overcoming the hunger crises will require ambition and political will. It calls for significant changes, not only within organizations, but also in how governments, the UN, donors, international NGOs and civil society work together as a ‘system’.

Now is the time to make those changes.

Focusing on the situation in the Sahel, and in particular on the experience of children, Ending the Everyday Emergency: Resilience and Children in the Sahel - a new report from Save the Children and World Vision - assesses progress, lessons learned and challenges in promoting resilience.

It sets out clear recommendations on what needs to be done to end the everyday emergency once and for all: make reduction of child under-nutrition central to resilience; harness small-scale agriculture and invest in social protection and services for the poorest households.

Please donate to our Sahel appeal today. ** Canadian government will match donations until September 30. Donate now and double your impact. **


Find out more about our work in West Africa.


Ending the Everyday Emergency: Resilience and Children in the Sahel

Ending the Everyday Emergency: Executive Summary (July 2012)

More hungry children now than at any point this decade

More hungry children now than at any point this decadeChild Devolopment Index


The number of hungry children has risen for the first time this decade, warns Save the Children in advance of an international summit on hunger to be held by the UK Government in London during the Olympics.  

The findings come amid a back drop of high and volatile food and fuel prices, which is making it much harder for families to afford to feed their children properly. Save the Children warns that a significant rise in acutely malnourished children threatens impressive progress in cutting child mortality and getting more children into school. 

The new index, published every four years, measures child development against three criteria: the number of children in school, under five mortality rates and number of underweight children.

“When prices of food and fuel rise, children suffer. The Child Development index is showing this clearly. We have seen great improvements in both health and education,” said Jasmine Whitbread, CEO of Save the Children. “However we must not forget the most basic of needs: nutritious food.”

Somalia comes out as the toughest place for children in the index, reflecting last year’s deadly food crisis, which killed tens of thousands of children and left hundreds of thousands displaced. West Bank and Gaza fell nearly 50 places in part as a result of the blockade whilst Japan is the best place to be a child in the world.

The index showed some significant achievements:

  • Conditions for children have improved in 90 per cent of countries since the second half of the 1990
  • A child is a third more likely to go to school than the mid 90s
  • A child is a third less likely to die before their fifth birthday now than during the mid 90s 

However, in stark contrast, progress in tackling severe and acute malnutrition is seriously lagging behind:

  • Nutrition showed the least progress of any component of the Child Development Report, with the proportion of acutely malnourished children growing by 1.2 per cent during the 2000s  
  • East Asia had the biggest percentage growth in acute hunger  -  17 per cent – albeit from a low base

Save the Children is urging the world leaders to use the Olympic hunger summit to scale up efforts to tackle the problem and to announce that addressing the hunger crisis will be the theme of next year’s G8 in London. 

Whitbread continued: “We have seen that progress is possible.  We are urging leaders attending the hunger summit at the Olympics to build upon the progress to end child hunger and malnutrition, and ensure it is the theme of the next year’s G8 in the UK."

Save the Children is calling on world leaders to:

  • Use the UK's G8 presidency to keep hunger on the top of their agenda throughout 2013, building on the Camp David G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition
  • Tackle immediate hunger needs across Africa where 28 million people are suffering from acute malnutrition
  • Set national and international targets to dramatically bring down the number of chronically malnourished children helping to galvanise political action against hunger
  • Fix a broken humanitarian system where slow release of funds costs waste money and costs lives
Sahel food crisis: An East African repeat?

Sahel food crisis: An East African repeat?

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Humanitarian Coalition's joint appeal for the 2011 drought in East
, the images of vulnerable communities struggling to find food are still fresh in our minds. So are the lessons we learned from our concerted efforts.

Drought in East Africa

In East Africa last year, one of the worst droughts in 60 years left more than 13 million people in need of food, water, and emergency health care. Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and the newly-formed Republic of South Sudan were all directly affected by the crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people fled Somalia due to the drought and
conflict, and parts of the country were afflicted by famine.

In response to the crisis, the Humanitarian Coalition's joint appeal raised $14 million thanks to the generosity of the Canadian public. Donations helped hundreds of thousands of people through the delivery of emergency food, basic health care, water, and sanitation, as well as a number of programs designed to build resiliency.

A Dangerous Delay

But it is now clear that earlier action could have saved more lives. A joint report, A Dangerous Delay, issued in January by Oxfam and Save the Children, reviewed the international emergency response to the drought and famine in East Africa. It confirmed the need to intervene earlier to avoid a full-blown catastrophe. Had we, along with the international community, been faster out of the blocks, fewer children, mothers, families, refugees, and remote communities would have suffered. It would also have cost less to help them.

Applying lessons learned

One year later, on the other side of the continent, drought, low crop yields, high market prices for staples, and a violent uprising in Mali are putting more than 18 million people in the Sahel at risk of hunger.

While many of the causes behind the lack of food are the same in both regions, our collective response to the crisis in the Sahel does not have to be a repeat of last year's approach. In fact, it is not.

This year, we are heeding the report's recommendations and applying lessons learned. After weeks of raising awareness of the situation in the Sahel, on June 14, the Humanitarian Coalition members launched a joint appeal to bolster the response to the encroaching drought in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Mauritania, and other countries. Because our member agencies have been in the region for decades, they have been able to scale up their operations to reach more people.

Time for leadership

But as energetic, resourceful, and cost-effective as a coalition such as ours can be, our impact could go up exponentially with clear, open, and determined leadership from the Canadian government.

Whether that leadership is exercised by calling for, or even convening, an international donor conference, by establishing a matching-funds program for Canadian donations, or through other prominent means, it's time for global food security to make it to the front burner.

In February, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) committed $41 million to fight hunger in the Sahel. This was a welcome start. Last month's announcement of a Zero Hunger Challenge is a sign that malnutrition remains on CIDA's radar, but much more is needed now.

As he takes over the complex aid portfolio, International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino has an opportunity to make CIDA more relevant both on the world stage and at home. Drawing on his experience as Ontario's commissioner for emergency response, Mr. Fantino should be well positioned to enhance CIDA's ability to react quickly to early warning signs and manage the agency's disaster-preparedness systems.

On the home front, he may want to consider the development of a humanitarian tool box that could include a set of criteria for the deployment of matching funds programs, as well as ideas for social media campaigns during slow onset emergencies to inform and engage Canadians.

More regular dialogue with Canadian non-governmental organizations that specialize in humanitarian relief would also help CIDA anticipate the consequences and demands of certain types of disasters.

Averting Crises

The best way to fight a crisis is to avert it. That is how lives are saved. Success in this endeavour requires preparation, co-ordination, and the political will to lead. This means investing in disaster risk reduction mechanisms and a steadfast commitment to reducing vulnerability itself, not only its manifestations such as hunger and disease.

CIDA has all the human resources, technical expertise, and willing collaborators at its disposal to be a world leader in proactive humanitarian relief. Canadians expect that it will. Vulnerable populations the world over could benefit if it did.

Read more at http://embassymag.ca/page/printpage/moyer-07-11-2012

One year after catastrophe: still saving lives in East Africa

One year after catastrophe: still saving lives in East Africa

Ethiopia Ethiopia Crisis in East Africa (Jan Grarup)
Photos by Jan Grarup / Save the Children.

This time last year, millions of lives fell apart.

Underlying chronic poverty and malnutrition, conflict, weak health systems, high food prices, poor vaccination coverage, a lack of access to clean water and a changing climate all culminated in a deadly food crisis last year. Despite early warnings, livestock perished and thousands of families were pushed closer and closer to the brink of disaster.

It was to become the worst drought in east Africa in 60 years, affecting over 13 million people and killing tens of thousands. It remains one of the world’s largest and most severe humanitarian emergencies.

In response, we launched the largest emergency response in our 90 year history.

Save the Children was already on the ground when the first warning signs were seen. We rapidly scaled up our life-saving programs, delivering health, nutrition, water, crucial life-saving support, protection and education to children and their families, and with your help we’ve reached over 3.4 million people.

Despite these early warning signs the international community as a whole did not react fast enough. Funding was slow to come in, and the result was catastrophic. By the time the media had been alerted to the situation and the international community had fully scaled up, children were dying.


We have been campaigning tirelessly ever since, determined that the international community, including donors and governments, do not make the same mistakes again.

The crisis is far from over in east Africa.

We will continue to support children and families in east Africa for as long as it takes to help them recover and build resilience to future crises.

Please donate to our East Africa appeal today.


Find out more about our reponse in East Africa.


One year on: still saving lives in East Africa

One year after catastrophe: still saving lives in East Africa (June 2012)

Crisis in West Africa: new data shows hunger crisis is worsening


Crisis in West Africa: new data from Save the Children shows hunger crisis is worsening

The humanitarian emergency in drought-ravaged West Africa will worsen in coming months as the food crisis, which has already claimed young lives, enters its most severe period.

New analysis from Save the Children - compiled with government, UN and other aid agency partners - reveals that the poorest families in the Sahel region will not be able to survive the coming months without urgent help.

Canadian aid worker Annie Bodmer-Roy, who has spent the past month in drought-ravaged Niger, said there were alarming gaps in the food available in the Sahel region, where 18 million people are facing hunger.

“The situation in the Sahel is already appalling,’’ Ms Bodmer-Roy said. “In countries like Niger, families are struggling to survive on next to nothing, and children are paying the price. Our analysis shows how much worse it will get without additional support.’’

In the past month, families in the hardest hit areas have been struggling to live off less than half the food they need. With the lean season now starting, Ms Bodmer-Roy warns the worst is yet to come.

 “In Niger, mothers have told me they have little or no food to feed their children” she said. Our latest analysis shows just how bad the situation has become, and confirms our worst fears: a major emergency is now upon us.’’

Save the Children has already scaled up its emergency operations in the Sahel region of West Africa, and is aiming to assist 1.5 million people – including almost a million children - but is facing a funding shortfall of almost $40 million.

“The time to act is now,’’ said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. “Any further delays are sure to cost more children their lives. We know how to prevent these deaths – can prevent them, if we have means.’’

“With more funding we will  be able to increase our life-saving interventions, including nutrition, health and securing access to food for the most vulnerable families in Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Mauritania.’’

In parts of Mauritania, the poorest households are missing about 80 per cent of their basic needs for the months of June and July – and have already faced a deficit since January. As of this month in Burkina Faso, the poorest families will only have 30% of what they need to survive the next four months – unless they get help immediately.

Ms Bodmer-Roy warned that unless families receive help they will be forced to take drastic measures to survive, selling their remaining assets to buy whatever food they can until they have nothing left to sell.

To support Save the Children’s West Africa appeal please call 1-800-668-5036 or go to www.savethechildren.ca/sahel


Save the Children Statement on G8 Food Security Initiative

G8 Initiative Boosts Attention to Nutrition But Lacks Target for Helping Malnourished Children

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 18, 2012) - At a time when a billion people go to bed hungry every night, Save the Children applauds President Obama for refocusing world attention on the "injustice of chronic hunger" and the importance of nutrition in a child's first thousand days.

Save the Children welcomes G8 leaders' plans to lift 50 million people out of poverty and to address the global hunger and malnutrition crisis, which is devastating the lives of millions of children around the world.

Nutrition is an element of the initiative, but leaders missed an opportunity to take even bolder steps to tackle chronic malnutrition, which affects 171 million children every year. Boosting agriculture and private sector involvement is crucial to food security - but it is not enough. It's not just about growing economies - but growing kids. Children need the right kind of food and nutrition to help them thrive. Without setting a concrete G8 target for reducing chronic malnutrition, there is no way in which global leaders' and their partners can be held accountable over the course of this new initiative.

G8 leaders must build on these steps no later than their London summit next year: many young lives depend on their strong leadership.

Save the Children Challenges G8 Leaders to Stop Children Dying

Months of Warnings Fail to Prevent Malnutrition Crisis in Niger

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 17, 2012) - As G8 leaders prepare to meet at Camp David later this week, Save the Children says that months of warnings have failed to prevent a serious malnutrition crisis sweeping Niger.

The charity said today that they are now shifting their focus to crisis response. Despite efforts from the Niger government, some donors and humanitarian groups to prevent the emergency, aid agencies have raised only half of their cash target needed to protect the Sahel nation's beleaguered population. Throughout West Africa, more than 18 million people are affected by food insecurity with over 1 million children at risk of severe acute malnutrition.
Analysis carried out by the aid agency, which takes into account Niger government statistics, has found that a vast majority of families in the worst affected areas do not have access to enough food to survive the coming season without help.

"Our staff is already seeing an increase in the number of children needing medical treatment for malnutrition. Canada was an early donor to the Sahel crisis. Unfortunately we still expect the numbers of affected children to rise as we move into the lean season. It is unacceptable that children are dying because of malnutrition. We must work immediately to stave off the worst," said Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children.

The grim news comes not only on the eve of the G8, but as President Obama delivers a keynote speech on Friday on food security, alleviating poverty and promoting agricultural development in Africa. His audience at the symposium in Washington, D.C. will include a number of African heads of State.

Food security is on the agenda at Camp David, but Save the Children is concerned that leaders will shy away from making bold commitments to tackle malnutrition. As well as the food emergencies happening in parts of West and East Africa, a quarter of the world's children are suffering from chronic malnutrition, fuelled in part by a lack of affordable, nutritious food.

Erb also noted; "Minister Oda has herself has said that it is important to help meet the need for food, but that it is critical to provide the right food. Nutritious food is the foundation for better health and better learning for children. A food security package announced at the G8 must have nutrition at its core."

Without a nutrition focus millions of children will not be getting the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients within the first few years of their life, restricting their mental and physical growth - a condition known as stunting.
"Almost half a billion children could grow up physically and mentally stunted over the next 15 years because they do not have the right food to eat or they can't absorb the nutrients. It is a shocking statistic, and G8 leaders must make a firm commitment to drastically reducing the number of stunted children in years to come," Erb said.
Save the Children has written to G8 leaders asking them to make stunting a centrepiece of any food-security initiative. The international community along with the organization is calling for a 40 percent reduction in stunting by 2025.
The G8's flagship food security initiative signed in L'Aquila, Italy, in 2009 is set to expire at the end of this year but has yet been fully delivered. Early indications suggest that a new package will be announced but Save the Children is concerned that the focus will be more on agriculture projects aimed at increasing the volume of food produced, rather than focusing on the nutritional quality of that food and other actions that need to support nutrition.

The emergency in Niger is a sign of what can happen if hunger is not tackled before it is too late. Immediate action to reduce the number of malnourished children around the world can help millions fulfil their potential and protect families in lean seasons to come.

Save the Children has spokespeople available in Chicago, Niger, Burkina Faso (French) and London.

For Save the Children's G8 & G20 briefings go to http://www.savethechildren.ca/page.aspx?pid=915.

To donate to Save the Children's appeal or for more information go to http://www.savethechildren.ca/page.aspx?pid=563 or call 1-800-668-5036 .

Dalai Lama donates $1.5 million to Save the Children

Dalai Lama donates $1.5 million to Save the Children

TORONTO, ONTARIO- "We are honoured to accept this generous humanitarian gift, which will be used to save the lives
of some of the world's most vulnerable children. In line with the Dalai Lama's wishes, the funds will be used on programs which tackle malnutrition in India. Save the Children is at the forefront of the fight against malnutrition - one of the biggest causes of deaths of young children across the globe. This donation will be used practically, to help many more children survive, grow and as the Dalai Lama said realize their full potential. In selecting Save the Children as a beneficiary, His Holiness has spoken of his admiration for the work of Save the Children and its tireless efforts over the years to improve the world for young children."

2012 State of the World's Mothers Report released

The Best & Worst Place to be a mother 


The State of the World’s Mothers report reveals that once again Norway is the best place to be a mother. Canada ranks 19th moving up one spot since last year.  In 2012 Niger has sunk back to the worst place and Afghanistan, the worst country in 2011 has moved up the ranking by one.

Mothers are the foundation of our world. None of us would be here without them.  Know the state of mothers around the world and you will know the state of the world’s children. A healthy mother who has enough to eat and who is financially secure will raise healthy, well fed and well supported children.  Read more >>

Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth.

Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth

Each year, some 15 million babies in the world, more than one in 10 births, are born too early, according to the just released report Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth. 

More than one million of those babies die shortly after birth; countless others suffer some type of lifelong physical, neurological, or educational disability, often at great cost to families and society. An estimated three-quarters of those preterm babies who die could survive without expensive care if a few proven and inexpensive treatments and preventions were available worldwide, according to more than 100 experts who contributed to the report, representing almost 40 UN agencies, universities, and organizations. Read more>>




World Malaria Day: Sustain Gains, Save Lives

World Malaria Day: Sustain Gains, Save Lives


Incredible gains have been made in the fight against malaria over the last ten years. Through worldwide efforts, funding for malaria prevention and treatment reached $1.5 billion in 2010. The commitment made by governments, civil society, corporations and individual donors has reshaped the malaria map, making universal coverage with proven interventions achievable for the first time in history.

In the past decade, we have witnessed incredible momentum to tackle malaria. Malaria is one of the three main killers of children under 5 years of age, but where prevention and treatment options have been significantly increased, we have seen child mortality drop approximately 20%. Cases have been cut by one third in Africa and 35 of those 53 countries affected have reduced cases by 50%. 

Malaria is a completely preventable disease. Eliminating Malaria is not impossible. Many countries have achieved it. Education, prevention and treatment are all that is needed.

Eliminating malaria is also affordable. In fact, it is more cost-effective to invest $7 billion annually for the next ten years if we are to control malaria. Left unchecked, malaria will cause $2 billion in economic losses in Africa alone.


  • 106 countries are affected by malaria
  • Half the world’s population is at risk of infection
  • 80% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths are in Africa
  • 6 African countries represent 60% of malaria deaths
  • 1 in 6 childhood deaths in Sub Saharan Africa are caused by malaria.

How do we control malaria?


  1. Train community health workers to provide prevention education & treatment
  2. Distribute 50 million insecticide treated bed nets across malaria affected areas - $10 per net
  3. Provide ACTs (artemesinin-based combination therapies) to those infected - $6-10 per treatment

Help us Tackle Malaria


What can you do?

Today 2,000 children will die because of malaria. But we can stop this killer.

The successes achieved in rolling back malaria in the last decade are fragile. We can’t allow the gains achieved to be lost. Eliminating malaria is within reach. All of us, including governments, must continue to fund the fight.

Join us in campaigning to save children’s lives. | Donate to support our work.


Celebrating Global Action Week on Early Childhood

Celebrating Global Action Week on Early Childhood

April 20, 2012


Each year during its Global Action Week, the Global Campaign for Education and its members all around the world give profile to one of the core areas of the Education For All agenda. In 2012, this is early childhood care and education.

To mark the Global Action Week on Early Childhood, Save the Children in collaboration with various organizations is running the following event in Toronto to reflect childhood aspirations and the importance of early childhood education and care.

The Big Picture Art Installation and Event

9:30 – 11:15 am, Ryerson Quad
(rain location: Kerr Hall West, 1st Floor)


  • Gisèle from TVOKids "Gisèle's Big Backyard”
  • Children’s Author, Marla Stewart Konrad

Interactive Panel and Networking Session

13:30 – 16:30 (Registration at 13:00)
George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre, 245 Church St, The Atrium, Third Floor 

Keynote: The Honourable Landon Pearson
• Speakers and discussants working domestically and globally

See full program at www.ecdgroup.com/gaw

RSVP: Marine Sukhudyan msukhudy@ryerson.ca | (416) 979-5000 ext 4800

For more information visit www.globalactionweek.org

  The Big Picture - Global Action Week
Lack of funding threatens timely Niger crisis response

Lack of funding threatens timely Niger crisis response


The worsening food crisis in Niger could turn into a catastrophe unless millions of pounds worth of extra funding is secured, to enable aid agencies to expand their work in Niger. Save the Children said early intervention could make a dramatic difference, saving lives now, but the opportunity to act is shrinking by the day.

There are more than 6 million people in Niger already in need of urgent assistance and millions more across the wider Sahel region, due to a combination of crop failure and sharp rises in staple foods. Instability in neighbouring countries is driving refugees over the borders into Niger, creating further challenges.

In parts of Niger, families who rely on subsistence farming, saw drought claim 80% of their crops. Save the Children research shows that the poorest households are only able to afford two thirds of the food that they need to survive.

Justin Forsyth of Save the Children was in Niger earlier this month. He saw malnourished children receiving emergency treatment:

“I met families who were cutting out entire meals and resorting to mixing wild leaves into their food to make it go further. They were also selling possessions, and taking children out of school to save on school fees, in a desperate attempt to feed themselves. One 60 year old lady, Habeche, told me that she had never witnessed hunger as bad as this year. We have a matter of weeks to stop this situation from spiralling out of control.”

Save the Children is working in three regions in Niger (Maradi, Zinder and Diffa) running feeding centres, health clinics and cash transfer programs. Save the Children plans to reach 1.3m people, including 780,000 children. Save the Children says that as well as pledges for funds, donors must ensure it is delivered so that a timely response can prevent the situation deteriorating further. Existing pledges must be turned into action on the ground.

Earlier this year, Save the Children and Oxfam published a report showing how a slow response by donors and aid agencies to the East African food crisis in 2011 led to tens of thousands more deaths and millions of pounds of extra spending. The same will happen again unless donors learn the lessons of the past and provide adequate funding for an earlier response.

Please donate to our Sahel appeal today.

Read more about the situation in the Sahel.

World Water Day: the sanitation challenge

World Water Day 2012

The Sanitation Challenge

March 22 is World Water Day, and this year there is some cause for celebration as 89% of the world’s population now has access to safe drinking water. However, there are still huge challenges regarding sanitation and water-related diseases.

  World Water Day 2012

Water-related diseases are the leading cause of death in many countries around the world. Exposure to unclean water can be particularly deadly for children; for example, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old. It is preventable and treatable through access to clean water and improved sanitation.

In situations of emergency response, Save the Children responds to water needs through WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) projects. These projects can take many different forms, depending on the needs of the communities and the context of the crisis. For example, Save the Children addresses WASH needs by:

  • Constructing or rehabilitating clean water sources in the community, such as boreholes and chlorination techniques
  • Constructing or rehabilitating gender segregated latrines
  • Undertaking hygiene promotion activities to raise community awareness
  • Providing water and hygiene kits, including items such as soap, water filters and water storage containers

Find out how we're responding to devastating drought conditions and extremely heavy rains in Kenya with programs to increase access to safe water and sanitation and to improve hygiene practices.

Refugees report shortages of food, water and medical supplies in Syria

Refugees report shortages of food, water and medical supplies in Syria as conflict forces thousands from their homes

Syrian refugees in Lebanon Syrian refugees in Lebanon Syrian refugees in LebanonChildren in Tripoli, Lebanon. They fled with their family from the Syrian town of Rastan. Photos by Alessio Romenzi / Save the Children.

Families left behind in Syria are facing severe shortages of food, water and medical supplies due to the deepening conflict in their country, refugees arriving in Lebanon have told Save the Children.

In conversations with Save the Children staff who are helping the refugees arriving in Lebanon, displaced people have consistently told of food shortages that have left families without enough to eat, water shortages forcing them to collect and drink rainwater, and medical shortages that have left sick children without treatment.

Children have been badly affected, with many families describing the deep emotional distress the conflict has caused their children. Save the Children has also spoken with newly arrived Syrian children, who have spoken of their extreme fear under intense bombardment and gunfire. Many have been separated from their loved ones, and some children’s parents were killed in the fighting.

Sanna Johnson, Save the Children’s Middle East director said: “The stories we have been hearing from Syrian refugees are heartbreaking. Families say they have nothing to feed their children. We know that children are terrified by the fighting and the journeys they make to leave Syria, and worried about their relatives in still in the country. All this underlines the urgent need for humanitarian agencies to be given access to Syria so food, clean water and medicine can be delivered as well, and traumatised children can be helped."

Save the Children is working on the borders of Syria in Lebanon and Jordan, helping refugees who have fled the conflict by running safe spaces for children to play and helping children who have been through extremely distressing experiences. The aid agency supports Syrian refugee children to get back into education, and is preparing to do the same in Jordan.

Last week, we launched an international campaign calling for open and unfettered humanitarian access to ensure families and children in Syria receive the help they need.

Sign our petition calling for open humanitarian access.

Read more about Save the Children's work helping Syrian refugees and the host community in North Lebanon.

Unseen radiation danger fuels anxiety of Fukushima children one year on

Children no longer play outdoors, as unseen radiation danger fuels anxiety of Fukushima children one year on.

"The worst part wasn’t when the tsunami hit, it was after. ” - 9 year old Honami

One year after the meltdown at Japan’s nuclear power plants in Fukushima, new research by Save the Children shows that many children are afraid to play outside and live in fear of the unseen dangers of radiation.

The report, “Fukushima Families”, found children and parents overwhelmingly spoke of their fear and anxiety around the impact of the nuclear crisis, and a lack of reliable information to help them make informed decisions and move forward with their lives.

“Last year’s disaster has put children in a completely unprecedented situation – not only have they lost their homes or been separated from friends as a result of the earthquake and tsunami, but one year on they are still struggling with the anxiety prompted by the nuclear crisis,” explained Save the Children’s Annie Bodmer-Roy in Tokyo.

The children interviewed had little idea about what radiation is, what its effects are, and how to reduce exposure. Younger children agreed that radiation could be bad for them, but beyond that only knew that it was something you couldn’t see, smell or touch – often looking to their parents to ask where they could play safely without having to fear radiation.

The Save the Children report also found that children have picked up on their parents’ stress concerning the risks they may face. As a result many children that the child rights’ agency spoke to expressed fear of playing outdoors, or frustration and sadness as their parents no longer allow them to play outside.

We are working with local communities and authorities in Fukushima to enable children to have safe places to play in areas further removed from radiation hot spots. However, older children interviewed for the research highlighted difficulties adjusting to their new environments. Those forced to flee their homes because of the nuclear crisis worried whether children at their new schools would accept them. They were equally anxious whether friends left behind would remain their friends. Those who did remain around Fukushima, said they were upset by the change in their environments, citing empty classrooms, abandoned homes in their neighbourhoods and an absence of children playing on the streets.

Parents in particular are afraid of making the wrong decisions for their children – those who have relocated as well as those who have stayed in their homes say that with little clear, reliable information available to them, they constantly fear making the wrong choices to ensure their children’s wellbeing.

Outside of Fukushima, children and their families continue to face on-going challenges in recovering from last year’s triple disaster. One year on, the biggest challenge for children is overcoming the emotional and psychological impact of the disaster.

While children are out of evacuation centres and back in school, the extreme emotional difficulties of the past year are still strongly felt. As nine-year old Honami explains, “The worst part wasn’t when the tsunami hit, it was after. It takes a long time for things to get better.”

Save the Children is implementing a five-year recovery program in Japan to assist children’s emotional and psychological recovery, support their education, and enable them to play an active role in rebuilding their towns.

Download Fukushima Families report.

Donate to our Children's Emergency Fund.

International Women's Day 2012: Gender Equality & Women's Health

International Women's Day

Gender Equality and Women’s Health

International Women’s Day on 8 March provides a common day for globally recognizing and applauding women’s achievements as well as for observing and highlighting gender inequalities and issues. Save the Children is working tirelessly to support women and girls not just on this day, but all year round, through a multitude of initiatives, causes and actions.

  • We are committed to gender equality as an essential foundation for realizing young people’s rights, continually challenging assumptions about gender roles and identities.
  • We are working to improve women’s health by creating enabling environments where women can participate and by training community health workers and midwives, so that women can make healthy decisions about their and their family’s wellbeing.

Read more about our work on gender equality and improving women's health.

Emergency Alert: Stop the killing in Syria

Stop the killing in Syria: sign our petition today


Latest reports say hundreds of children have died or been seriously injured in the violence engulfing Syria. The killing must stop now.


Sign our petition calling on the UN Security Council to build on its statement demanding immediate and full humanitarian access and to pass a resolution requiring an end to the killing in Syria. Children have rights and must be protected.

If you share our outrage at what is happening in Syria help us give a voice to the thousands of children there who cannot speak for themselves. We’re asking millions of people across the world to text or sign our online petition to demand that the killing stops.

Together, we can increase the pressure on the UN Security Council to pass a resolution to stop the killing. We'll deliver it to the UN Security Council ambassadors in New York.

We know from successful campaigns in the past that if enough people take a stand it really can make a difference.

So please join our campaign and help stop the killing.
  Stop the killing in Syria: sign our petition


Read more about Save the Children's work helping Syrian refugees and the host community in North Lebanon.

Are you ready to jump?

Are you ready to jump?

Join adrenaline junkies all around the world as they come together to raise hope.


This April, you have the chance to join skydivers and bungee jumpers all around the world as they jump to raise funds to support Save the Children. Take the plunge of a lifetime!

Skydivers and bungee jumpers will collect pledge money online for Save the Children and on April 28th and 29th 2012, celebrate their sport. There will be individual and team jumps, demonstration jumps and who knows, maybe even a few world record jumps. It will be an adrenaline party unlike anything the charity world has ever seen.

But why should we have all the fun? If 2012 is the year when you decide to harness yourself to a bungee cord or jump out of an airplane for the first time, now is your chance to use that life moment to change the life of a child. Your leap of faith will never be more meaningful.

Register online and spread the word out to everyone that you are going to “jump to Save the Children”. Challenge other jumpers to do the same. The more jumpers we have, the higher we raise hope!

Take the plunge!



Hidden Malnutrition Crisis to Put Almost Half a Billion Children at Risk

Hidden Malnutrition Crisis to Put Almost Half a Billion Children at Risk without Global Action

Save the Children Launches new Report ‘A Life Free from Hunger’

Recognizes Nutrition Hero, Inventor of ‘Sprinkles’ Dr. Stanley Zlotkin

Take Action on Malnutrition Help End Extreme Hunger Take Action on MalnutritionPhotos (L-R) by CJ Clarke, Rachel Palmer and CJ Clarke / Save the Children.


Despite global efforts to address food security, childhood malnutrition has been largely overlooked, putting almost half a billion children at risk of permanent damage in the next 15 years, Save the Children said in a new report released today.

“Twenty years ago when I was a public health practitioner in the jungles of Bolivia I witnessed the impact of malnutrition on children,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. “Malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency are still a hidden crisis in too much of the world, which is why Save the Children is launching our 2012 A Life Without Hunger Campaign and why today we are recognize the groundbreaking work of Canadian Nutrition Hero Dr. Stanley Zlotkin.”

Save the Children’s new report, titled “A Life Free from Hunger: Tackling Child Malnutrition,” was released as the world begins to awaken to the latest emergency food crisis, in the African Sahel. But the report reveals that chronic malnutrition, or a lack of proper nutrition over time, is deadlier and far more widespread than the short-term acute malnutrition frequently seen during food crises.

“Canadians and the world respond when they see images of visibly emaciated children during a food crisis, but chronic malnutrition must also be addressed,” said Dr. Stanley Zlotkin, inventor of the micronutrient powder ‘Sprinkles’. “Chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency have a life-long impact, stunted children are more likely to die from illnesses that in Canada are treated easily and quickly. Children who survive face a life of diminished health and opportunity.”

Chronic malnutrition weakens young children’s immune systems, leaving them far more likely to die of childhood diseases like diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria. It leads to 2 million child deaths a year, three times as many as result from acute malnutrition.

“But chronic malnutrition also leaves children far more vulnerable to extreme suffering and death from acute malnutrition when emergency food crises do hit, as in the Horn of Africa and the Western Sahel right now.” added Erb. “We must begin to approach our response to nutrition more holistically we need to ensure that children are nutritionally healthy and resilient before a crisis.”

The new report calls for action on proven solutions that would prevent these deaths and help all children affected by hunger and malnutrition. Progress on reducing malnutrition has been extremely slow for 20 years, in comparison to great strides made on other global health crises.

Read More | Take Action

A Shift in Focus from Education for All to Learning for All

Canadian Global Campaign for Education Annual Learning Forum

On the Brink of 2015: A Shift in Focus from Education for All to Learning for All

February 28 & 29, 2012 8am – 5pm, Pavillon Desmarais, 55 Laurier East, 12th floor, University of Ottawa


Registration for the annual Canadian Global Campaign for Education (CGCE) Learning Forum “On the Brink of 2015: A Shift in Focus from Education for All to Learning for All” is now open! The exciting 2-day program features international and Canadian speakers and will explore topics including the following:

  • Gender Equality & Girls’ Education
  • Learning Outcomes & LiteracyTeacher
  • Training & Development
  • Canadian ODA Directed to Education and Basic Education

Keynote Address:

  • Hon. Michaëlle Jean, UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti, Chancellor, University of Ottawa
  Learning for All

The event will also feature speakers from Save the Children Canada and Save the Children Colombia. The Canadian Global Campaign for Education is a coalition of civil society organizations - including Save the Children - working to enhance Canada’s contribution to meeting the Education for All goals.

Register now to reserve your space at www.cgce.ca/lf-2012

Looming food crisis in Niger and the Sahel

Looming food crisis in the Sahel

 Food crisis in Niger Food crisis in Niger Food Crisis in Niger

Save the Children's work includes providing supplies such as plumpynut and therapeutic milk to treat malnourished children. Photos by Tugela Ridley (left) and Rachel Palmer / Save the Children.


Niger is facing a potentially deadly food crisis – rainfall has been limited and crops are failing. Food and medicine prices are rapidly increasing and communities have reported only having sufficient pasture to feed their livestock until March. Consequently, families are struggling to feed themselves – over 5 million people are already facing hunger and are vulnerable to malnutrition.

The worsening food crisis will have a big impact on these vulnerable families – including over a million children – unless we act now. Scenario analysis suggests that over 6 million people could face hunger this year.

The international community was slow to act in East Africa, and thousands of children are now paying the price. We must learn from our mistakes. Early warning signs are again signalling a looming food crisis – this time in Niger.

These early warning signs must result in an early response. Save the Children is already on the ground, urgently working to reach vulnerable families before it’s too late. We’ve already reached over 500,000 vulnerable children and adults and we’re planning to reach 1.3 million people in 2012. We are also calling on the international community to immediately scale up support for Niger – to enable aid agencies and the government of Niger to stave off a potential disaster.

Please support our Sahel appeal today.

Read more about the situation in the Sahel.

Thousands of lives and millions of dollars lost due to late response to food crisis in East Africa

Thousands of lives and millions of dollars lost due to  late response to food crisis in East Africa

Ethiopia Ethiopia Crisis in East Africa (Jan Grarup)
Photos by Jan Grarup / Save the Children.

Thousands of needless deaths occurred and millions of extra dollars were spent because the international community failed to take decisive action on early warnings of a hunger crisis in East Africa, according to a new report by the international aid agencies Oxfam and Save the Children.

“This report is a timely reminder given that it comes ahead of global meetings at Davos and the African Union” said Nic Moyer, Executive Director of the Humanitarian Coalition. “The agencies that make up the Humanitarian Coalition are already raising the alarm about a looming food crisis that now threatens millions of people in West Africa.  International donors must learn from past experience. Action must be taken before hunger turns into famine.”

The report, A Dangerous Delay, says a culture of risk aversion caused a six month delay in the large-scale aid effort because humanitarian agencies and national governments were too slow to scale up their response to the crisis, and many government donors wanted proof of a humanitarian catastrophe before acting to prevent one.

Sophisticated early warning systems first forecast a likely emergency as early as August 2010 but the full-scale response was not launched until July 2011 when malnutrition rates in parts of the region had gone far beyond the emergency threshold and there was high profile media coverage of the crisis. 

Save the Children and Oxfam say more funding for food emergencies should be sought and released as soon as the crisis signs are clear, rather than supporting large-scale emergency work only when hunger levels have reached tipping-point. By that time lives have already been lost and the cost of the response is much greater. The agencies call on governments to overhaul their response to food crises, as laid out in the Charter to End Extreme Hunger, a document that has already received backing from key international figures.

“Early action saves lives,” said Robert Fox, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada. “It’s irresponsible for governments to wait for the public to push them to act when they know the need and the risks months before the crisis makes headlines. Droughts happen when the rains fail. Hunger happens when governments fail – when they don’t give enough support to small farmers and don’t move fast enough to support families at risk.”

"That a serious food crisis was developing was known months before TV crews were on the ground in the refugee camps,” said Save the Children’s CEO Patricia Erb. “Children don’t have to face acute malnutrition because we know the steps that must be taken to avert this kind of disaster. First we need to improve early warning systems and second we need to empower the UN to release funds before crises turn into humanitarian catastrophes.”

Although it is impossible to calculate exactly how many people died as a result of drought, the UK government estimates that as many as 100,000 lives were lost between April and August 2011, more than half of them children under the age of five. Today, Somalia remains the most acute food crisis in the world, with hundreds of thousands of people at risk.   

Some early action did take place. But overall, the scale of crisis outstripped these efforts and late intervention cost more. For example, trucking five litres of water per day to 80,000 people for five months in Ethiopia costs more than $3 million, compared to $900,000 to prepare water sources in the same area before a drought occurs.  Such a proactive approach would mean more lives saved and less money spent. It is an approach that should be embraced at a time when accountability, aid effectiveness and proven outcomes are the focus of governments around the world.

View report:
A Dangerous Delay: The cost of late response to early warnings in the 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa

Donate to our East Africa appeal.

Future of Haiti's children put at risk by underfunding

Future of Haiti's children put at risk by underfunding, warns Save the Children

Darline, Haiti Haiti Earthquake - 2 years on Brick making, Haiti

From L-R: Darline Mizac, 17, holds her 6-day-old son, Marckensley in the Gaston Margron tent camp outside Port-au-Prince; Valentina Metelus, 8, waits outside of Ecole Splendeur Mixte in the Carrefour neighborhood outside of Port-au-Prince; A team of 8 brick makers shovel cement mixed with gravel, sand and water into a machine that makes bricks.

Two years after the Haiti earthquake, a severe funding shortage is threatening recovery programs in the country and putting children’s futures at risk, warns Save the Children.

The charity is urgently calling for the international community to fulfill its existing commitments to Haiti and increase long-term funding to build on the significant achievements made since the earthquake, as well as to scale up efforts to address the continuing cholera crisis.

Since the earthquake, Save the Children has reached 1.2 million people through medical clinics and cholera treatment centers. 40,000 people were given long-term access to clean water. Save the Children’s work on schools, including the construction of 229 classrooms and the training of over 1,200 teachers, has enabled 30,000 children to get to school – many for the first time. In addition, 3,500 families were given desperately needed cash grants to buy food, clean water and other essentials.

Save the Children also helped reunify children with their families after the earthquake and planned and supported community efforts to protect children threatened by violence, abuse, and exploitation.

But Haiti is a complex environment and massive needs remain.

“While we see signs of change in Haiti, there are still approximately 500,000 people living in makeshift tents,” said Gary Shaye, Save the Children’s Country Director in Haiti. “Children living in these conditions are extremely vulnerable to events such as hurricanes and outbreaks of diseases. Only six months from the next hurricane season, a long-term solution needs to be found before another emergency occurs.”

Shaye warned that with insufficient long-term funding, Save the Children’s support for children and families affected by the earthquake could be in danger. This work, in addition to helping people to prepare for future disasters, is crucial to ensure that Haiti’s children can survive their childhoods and develop to their fullest potential.

“Save the Children has raised almost three-quarters of the total needed but with emergency funds drying up for Haiti, our plan for recovery is being placed in jeopardy,” added Shaye. “The challenge now is to continue the momentum. If we stop now, the gains that have been made for Haitian families could be lost.”

Read more about our work in Haiti.

Donate to our Children's Emergency Fund.

Cristiano Ronaldo becomes Global Ambassador for Save the Children

Cristiano Ronaldo becomes Global Ambassador for Save the Children during Globe Soccer in Dubai

Ten signed shirts from ten football legends auctioned for charity

 Ronaldo, Global Ambassador for Save the Children, Globe Soccer, Dubai  Ronaldo, Global Ambassador for Save the Children, Globe Soccer, Dubai  Ronaldo, Global Ambassador for Save the Children, Globe Soccer, Dubai

Footballing legend Cristiano Ronaldo has become the global face of Save the Children’s worldwide campaign to prevent the needless annual deaths of nearly seven million children under the age of five from preventable illnesses like measles and diarrhea.

Unveiled as an Ambassador for Save the Children’s EVERY ONE New Born and Child Survival Campaign during the third annual Globe Soccer event in Dubai, Ronaldo took time out to host the “Champion for Children Initiative” charity auction event on December 28-29, which raised 37,000 Euros to combat infant mortality.  Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow footballing stars Del Piero, Messi, Ibrahimovic, Totti, Ronaldo, Casillas, and Lavezzi all donated signed football shirts in support of the auction and sent a video message to help promote the event.

Ronaldo said: “I’m so proud to support Save the Children. I’m delighted at the funds raised during tonight’s auction and at the support of so many players from across so many different world class teams in making it such a success. This is the most important thing of tonight.  I hope it’ll go a long way in stopping needless child deaths.”

Of all the funds raised at the auction, 65% went to Save the Children’s EVERY ONE New Born and Child Survival Campaign in Egypt, specifically funding child and maternal health in four villages and a slum in the country, 25% went to the Red Crescent and 10% went to the Autism Charity.

Francesco Aureli from Save the Children said, “Child mortality is a major global issue with over seven million children dying before their fifth birthday every year.  That’s why its incredible to have a figurehead like Cristiano Ronaldo at the helm of Save the Children’s Global EVERY ONE Newborn and Child Survival Campaign.  With Ronaldo’s help we can raise awareness of the millions of children’s lives cut short before they’ve really begun and continue to press for action to help curb their needless deaths from preventable illness.  From his first day as Ambassador for our charity, he has already raised funds that will help us ensure that 7,000 children and over 36,000 adults in Egypt have access to health and secure livelihoods.”

England football manager Fabio Capello, Secretary General of UEFA, Gianni Infantino, Chairmen of FC Barcelona (Sandro Rosell) and Porto (Jorge Pinto da Costa), the Directors of Arsenal and former directors of Manchester United and Chelsea, as well as a host of well-known footballing personalities also attended the star-studded event in Dubai. Some impressive trophies were also on display at the auction including the FIFA World Cup from champions Spain, the Club World Cup from champions Barcelona as well as the Champions League trophy, and the Europa League trophy.

The Football Festival in Dubai is part of the 6th Dubai Sports Conference organised by the Dubai Sports Council. The third annual Globe Soccer event was organised by BC Bendoni, with AC Milan, Juventus and Paris Saint Germaine all in Dubai to take part in what has become a huge event on the football calendar.

Flood-affected children in the Philippines may need help coping with psychosocial distress

Thousands of flood-affected children in the Philippines may need help coping with psychosocial distress

Jeric, Philippines Jee Anne, Philippines Evacuation centre, Philippines

Left: Jeric, 6, with his friends at an evacuation centre managed by a church in Cagayan de Oro City. Middle: Jee Anne, 5 years old, will be spending the holiday season in an evacuation centre in San Lorenzo Parish in Iligan City. Right: An evacuation centre in Iligan City. Nearly 2000 families are reported by local authorities to be living in just 16 evacuation centres across the city there. Photos by Ariel Balofiños, Save the Children.

Many of the estimated 330,000 children in Philippines’ flood-affected areas may need psychosocial support to help them deal with the distress caused by flash floods that hit Mindanao two weeks ago, warns Save the Children.

“Many children experienced the loss of their loved ones, homes and belongings, and are feeling fearful, helpless, insecure and uncertain. Since many of the adults are in distress too, they may be unable to provide the children the necessary support and comfort. Horrific memories of flash floods smashing their towns and cities could be triggered by heavy rains, firecrackers, pictures of unidentified dead people and even films played in evacuation centres,” said Sarah Ireland, Save the Children’s emergency response team leader in the Philippines.

Beverly (not her real name), aged 7, who lives in an evacuation centre in Iligan City told Save the Children, “There were firecrackers being set off over Christmas. I’m scared of the loud booming noises because they sound just like the floods.”

To minimize the distress and anxiety on the young and infants, Save the Children is calling on local authorities to enforce a ban on firecrackers in flood-affected areas this holiday season and install a centralized zone for the identification of dead family members.

To help child survivors deal with the horrifying experience of living through the floods and in some cases losing family members, Save the Children is conducting psychosocial support sessions that consist of creative art workshops, play groups and group processing activities. Child-friendly spaces are also set up so children can gather to play and talk about their experiences with children of a similar age.

“We're providing children with a space to talk freely about their experiences and fears,” said Sarah Ireland. “From there, we can assess the resilience of each child, which is crucial in the healing process. Children who manifest extreme fear or behaviours are referred to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and later to the Department of Health or to mental health practitioners for assessment and care.”

Returning to the rhythm of a school semester is also crucial for children to regain a sense of normality in their lives. Peers in school can also provide support through sharing their experiences. But many schools have been damaged and teaching materials lost in the floods.

“Our concern is that children may choose not to go to school if the next nearest school that has not been flood-damaged is far away. The longer they stay out of school, the more formal education they will miss. Some children may even drop out altogether. Save the Children is looking to repair and refurbish ten flood-affected schools with an enrolment of 12,000 children within the next four weeks,” said Sarah Ireland.

Save the Children has also prepared back-to-school kits for children, including a backpack, stationery, a raincoat and a water bottle. Many children have reported that their school materials have been swept away in the floods. Teachers will be briefed on supporting and addressing the psychosocial needs of their students.

In the longer-term, Save the Children and its local partners plan to train children to serve as peer support to other children, which will help address both their peers and their own psychosocial needs. Child-protection teams in communities will also be identified and trained to observe how children are coping and refer cases to appropriate agencies.

At least 50,000 children caught up in Philippines flooding

At least 50,000 children caught up in Philippines flooding, Save the Children estimates, as damage leaves key areas inaccessible.

Flooding in the Philippines Flooding in the Philippines Flooding in the Philippines

Photos of Acacia St. Carmen, Cagayan de Oro, by Eduardo Umali / Save the Children.

At least 50,000 children have been caught up in flooding in the Philippines, Save the Children estimates, after hundreds of people were swept to their deaths by an enormous cyclone.

A day after torrential rains triggered some of the worst flooding ever seen in the country, some areas are still cut off by damage and debris, hampering relief efforts and prompting fears for families trapped without enough food and clean water.
The children’s charity is particularly concerned that children may have been separated from their families during the floods, leaving them especially vulnerable.

Anna Lindenfors, Save the Children’s country director in the Philippines, said: “We fear that many children were split up from their parents as this disaster unfolded, and our priority is to reach them as soon as possible. We are especially worried about children trapped in areas that we cannot access due to the damage caused by the storm.”

Save the Children teams are on the ground to provide clean water and essential items to families caught up in the disaster. Without their families, children face a range of risks. They are often extremely frightened, unable to find food and clean water, and are vulnerable to abuse.

Hundreds of people are still missing after the storm tore through coastal villages in Mindanao, and there are reports that the majority of the bodies recovered so far have been children.

Anna Lindenfors continued: “Children are likely to have borne the brunt of this disaster, because they are less likely to be able to cope with torrents of floodwater. They would have been absolutely terrified, some would have panicked and in a situation like this, that is likely to put them in further danger.”

In areas where access is possible, the government has set up evacuation centres for those made homeless by the tropical storm. Save the Children is working with the authorities to ensure that families are getting the help they need.

Donate to our Children's Emergency Fund today.

Durban: children have much to teach us, if only we had the time to listen

Durban: children have much to teach us, if only we had the time to listen

Op Ed by Paul Mitchell, Senior Advisor - Climate Change, Save the Children


While the world’s governments were in Durban, once again, delaying action on climate change, at the other end of the African continent children in Kenya were taking matters into their own hands.

In the absence of a legally binding treaty committing all major emitters to verifiable emissions reductions in line with the science, ensuring poor and vulnerable communities in developing countries are better able to cope with a more variable climate, harsher droughts, higher floods, failed crops, more intense cyclones and an increasing disease burden must be the highest priority. The adaptation need is already great and it will only grow.

While governments are talking about climate change, children are already doing something about it: they are pioneering adaptation in their schools and local communities. I recently visited a project in Kenya where Save the Children supports the establishment of environment clubs in primary schools. The students participate in workshops where they discuss concepts like ‘vulnerability’ and ‘disaster’; learn about the current and likely future impacts of climate change; and develop school and community adaptation plans which they then work to implement.

These inspiring children are taking matters into their own hands. They develop school gardens and experimenting with drought tolerant crops and sustainable agriculture. They collect discarded plastic bags and weaving them into colourful shopping baskets. They make cleaner burning briquettes for cook stoves from coal ash and waste paper.  They are developing the kinds of locally relevant coping strategies needed as the climate changes and impacts intensify.

Another example, closer to home, is a project Save the Children implements in Timor-Leste to help children manage the risks of current climate hazards and be better prepared for future climate change impacts. The project has had astounding results. Not only are the children able to articulate the risks they face and the ways in which they and their families can adapt, they have also reached out to nearby schools that are not part of the project and started sharing resources. The project initially targeted 6,000 children in 50 schools, but, due to efforts of teachers and students, over 12,000 children in 118 schools now have access to risk reduction resources and an increased chance of coping with the world they will face as adults.

All this while officials from their governments and ours stayed up three nights running in Durban to nut out a new way to tackle climate change only to agree to disagree. With the UN climate change conference in Durban now over delegates are heading home to face their constituencies. They will no doubt put a positive spin on the outcome, but the fact of the matter is they have, once again, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

In the final hours of the conference two weeks of disagreement built to squabbles that reached fever pitch. The EU, backed by least developed countries and small island states, was calling for legally binding emissions reduction commitments from all major emitters, including China and India. Those two countries rebelled against the suggestion, with Indian environment minister, Jayanthi Natarajan, saying, “Am I to write a blank cheque and sign away the livelihoods and sustainability of 1.2 billion Indians…?”  China's lead negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, then asked the developed countries,  “What qualifies you to tell us what to do? We are taking action. We want to see your action.”

The deal finally reached is much less ambitious than the one that was initially on the table. And much less ambitious than the one required to ensure the world stays within the crucial two degrees of warming the science tells us will minimise the chances of major impacts. 

That said the world’s governments did two positive things on Sunday: they admitted there is an ‘ambition gap’ – that current pledges, even if achieved, are not strong enough to limit future warming to the two degrees threshold; they also managed to reach agreement to reach agreement on binding targets for all major emitters. Sadly they also voted unanimously to do nothing about either until at least 2020.

Even then, it remains unclear whether countries will be legally required to actually do anything. The Durban Platform refers only to development of “a new protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force”. Inter-governmental wrangling over what form this will take and to whom it will apply will take up much of the next four years – the timeframe countries have given themselves to come up with something to replace the Kyoto Protocol. All this in the face of mounting evidence that time will have run out before this new agreement, whatever it may be, has a chance to come into force.

Perhaps I should take comfort. Even if world leaders can only agree to disagree, children see there is a problem and are trying to do something about it. Children are incredibly resilient and knowledgeable. They see to the heart of the matter and, with a little encouragement and some tools, can effectively respond to the crises we create for them. They have much to teach us, if only we had the time to listen.

Calling for innovations to speed up saving the lives of mothers and newborns

Great expectations from grand challenges: Calling for technological innovation to speed up saving the lives of mothers and newborns

Dr Joy Lawn, Save the Children

This article was originally published on Save the Children's Healthy Newborn Network blog.


Wind-up powered devices for where there is unreliable electricity, needle-free injections, or inhaled instead. We need more innovation specifically to address the rich-poor gap for medical equipment. An Argentinian car mechanic, inspired by a party trick extracting a cork from a bottle, developed a low cost device to save babies and women from obstructed labor. The Odon device, a plastic bag that is inflated and fixes around the baby’s head to assist during complications due to prolonged second stage of labor, has the potential for wide application in low-resource settings. Across the world, a Norwegian business entrepreneur, has advanced efforts to save babies who do not breathe at birth with a simpler, upright neonatal resuscitation device and lower-cost training mannequins. We need more ideas and more thought leaders like these!

Three-quarters of the world’s births and most of the world’s newborn deaths happen where there is little or no access to devices that can make the difference between life and death. For example, most of the world’s preterm babies have no access to oxygen therapy if needed – or may have unmonitored, unsafe oxygen use, risking damaged eyesight. Pulse oximetry to check oxygen levels and other essential medical devices should not just be for the rich. Robust, wind up powered devices and universal probes could change this.

Advances in vaccines, drugs and diagnostics have revolutionised healthcare in the last few decades. Mhealth is bringing change at a rate we could not have imagined even a few years ago. Yet millions of mothers and babies continue to die needlessly, and many more have long term impairments. Each year 1.2 million babies die as intrapartum stillbirths, plus around 800,000 neonatal deaths happen from childbirth complications, closely linked to thousands of maternal deaths, or women who suffer an obstetric fistula. But our solution menu for childbirth complications has remained the same for centuries. Caesarean section was first done in ancient Roman times. Obstetric forceps were invented in the last 16th century by Dr. Chamberlen, the royal obstetrician. Vacuum extraction is modern -invented a mere 170 years ago. If health innovations were prioritised by the size of the problem, this challenge would be near the top of the global list.

During the Alma Ata primary care revolution of the 1970s and 80s, there was an emphasis on technology and on medicines. Essential drugs lists and generic drugs have enabled access to medicines, yet “appropriate technology” went out of fashion. The focus on higher coverage of “simple, low-tech interventions that work” should include investment in strategic research and development to more effectively and efficiently reach the poorest families.

Appropriate technology is sometimes called “poor solutions for poor people” but the opposite is needed. Families and frontline healthworkers in the poorest settings have greater challenges. Truly appropriate devices must be more cleverly designed to be fit for purpose - robust, able to deal with heat, humidity, dust and unstable electricity, as argued by Dr. Francois Bonnici, from PET. We need smarter devices for the greatest challenges in global health and to function in the most challenging settings. And we need to get the message out so that the smartest minds are working on the right challenges.

Yet technology is not magic – a device cannot save lives without health workers to deliver it, which are also urgently needed. To accelerate innovation, we need a rational, data-based approach to prioritize which investments are likely to save more lives. MANDATE, an initiative from RTI International, has developed a model to help analyse the potential of various technologies to save maternal and neonatal lives and help prioritize the efforts and investments that will have larger impact for women and newborns.

The Grand Challenges for global health, launched in 2003 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has sparked a new way of thinking and fosters scientific and technological innovation to solve key health problems in the developing world. Over 2000 applications have been received and awards have been made to more than 600 bold researchers from nearly 50 countries, totalling about half a billion US dollars. Many feature inter-disciplinary efforts, with work from leaders in fields such as chemistry, engineering, economics and business, bringing fresh ideas to global health approaches.

Grand Challenges meetings play a key role in the process of accelerating innovation and technology by linking discovery, development and delivery experts with industry, and stimulate thinking around reducing delays in commercialisation from an early stage in development. The last meeting, held in New Delhi, was the first to have a major focus on Family Health, showcasing ideas for contraception and for the care of mothers and newborns. However, advances are behind those for vaccines and diagnostics.

A new Grand Challenge, Saving Lives at Birth has begun to change this. Early 2011, the call was made for groundbreaking prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in rural, low-resource settings around the time of birth. Over 600 proposals poured in, and awards were granted to 19 seed grants and 3 transition grants– many from low income countries. Many could be game-changing, such as the development of a novel system for oxytocin to be inhaled from a simple, disposable device immediately after childbirth to prevent postpartum haemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal deaths, or a wind-up powered fetal heart rate monitor to help identify if a baby is not receiving enough oxygen and may die or suffer brain damage. Grand Challenges can catalyse such ideas and enable connections between experts in real world intervention delivery, trial design, regulation and advance market planning.

Preventing preterm birth is another new Grand Challenge that sets out to advance research on a key issue which is a knowledge gap across rich and poor countries around the world. Innovation in delivery of care and in devices is urgently needed to address the main cause of newborn death and save the lives of almost one million preterm babies who die each year, most of whom could be saved.

Today we launch a series of blogs on the Healthy Newborn Network about technological innovations for maternal and neonatal health – from Odon to wind-up powered devices, from MANDATE to mhealth, to the social and market disruptions needed.

Appropriate technologies in the hands of frontline health workers would bring major breakthroughs in our fight to save more lives. An Argentinian car mechanic and others have begun showing the way – who will be next?

Find out more about Save the Children's maternal and child health campaign.

Climate change negotiations: Glaring omission of children and young people

Climate change negotiations: Glaring omission of children and young people

Children and young people, especially girls, will be most affected by climate changes, yet they have been neglected so far in the negotiations. At COP 17 in Durban it is time their voices were heard.

As we stand before one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century, Save the Children is calling for children’s voices and experiences to be at the heart of the climate debate.

“It is a glaring omission that children are not mentioned in the current negotiation text. Children have enormous resources and the ability to generate change in their communities. The negotiations must ensure the right to a future for children and young people. Children, especially those in developed countries, are not the cause of the problem, but their lives and livelihoods will be the most affected,” said Nick Ireland, Save the Children’s Program Manager for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction.

In Durban, on December 7, negotiators will have the chance to see first-hand examples of how children and young people work to reduce the risks of climate change to their communities. Save the Children and the Government of Norway will host a side-event highlighting the importance of making children central to reducing the risks of natural disasters. The side-event will debut the short film “Agents of Change” highlighting children’s vulnerability to natural disasters and their capacity to reduce the risks faced by their communities.

“Children and young people, especially girls, are extremely vulnerable to climate change. However, they also have the ability to generate change in their communities. The Adaptation Framework should therefore actively involve and include the participation of children and young people, as well as give priority to securing their rights”, Nick Ireland said.

Climate change poses severe threats to child rights, child survival and wellbeing, food security and nutrition and children’s access to education and protection.

Save the Children urges the parties to reach the following decisions in Durban:

  1. Acknowledge the rights of children and young people as a priority in climate change adaptation
  2. Ensure enhanced agency for children and young people to adapt to climate change
  3. Ensure adequate, new and additional climate finance towards adaptation of the most vulnerable groups
  4. Prevent catastrophic climate change through a legally binding treaty including strong mitigation targets and an enforcement mechanism

Download briefing paper:

Climate change negotiations must ensure a right to a future for children and young people

  Climate Change Briefing
Download our Durban COP17 Briefing
International aid successes in jeopardy in Afghanistan

International aid successes in jeopardy in Afghanistan if donors cut funding following troop withdrawal

Warning from Save the Children as leaders gather in Bonn to discuss Afghan future

An Afghan woman holds her newborn baby An Afghan woman enters Qarqen public health clinic of Jawzjan province in Afghanistan Nazdana is 10 and goes to school just outside Tirin Kot in Afghanistan

From L to R: An Afghan woman waits for her turn to see Midwife Sadya Naeemi, 20, who won Save the Children’s EVERY ONE Midwife Award 2011, at the Qarqen public health clinic of Jawzjan province in Afghanistan; an Afghan woman enters Qarqen public health clinic of Jawzjan province in Afghanistan; Nazdana is 10 years old and goes to school just outside Tirin Kot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan in Southern Afghanistan. Photos: Farzana Wahidy (left and centre) and Mats Lignell / Save the Children (right).

A new report by the global children's charity shows that real progress for children has been made in Afghanistan, with some 2.5 million girls now in school and the number of trained health workers jumping from 2,500 to 22,000. Millions of children have also been vaccinated and protected against killer diseases. The results of these and other measures have led to the halving of child mortality since 2003 - a startling success in Afghanistan's challenging environment.     

But Save the Children warns that this life-saving progress could stall if international aid spending is cut significantly, following the ISAF's planned troop withdrawal. Millions of Afghan children are dependent on life-saving health, education and protection projects funded by the international community. The children's charity is calling on leaders attending the Bonn conference not to turn their backs on Afghan children.

"This is a crucial time for Afghan children. The Canadian government has stated it is committed to helping Afghanistan as it continues to rebuild after decades of war," said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. "We trust Minister Baird will outline Canada's future support at the Bonn conference this week and we hope that Canada's plan will put children and families at its centre."

“The lives of many Afghan children have improved over the past decade - thanks, in part, to international aid. But there is still a huge amount to do and we can’t turn our backs at this crucial moment.  265 children are dying every day in Afghanistan before reaching his or her fifth birthday, many girls are still not going to school and poverty pushes thousands of children out to work. The future can be changed for these children but the Afghan government and international community must make sure their needs are met when forces leave in 2014,” said David Skinner, Country Director for Save the Children Afghanistan.

The scale of the challenges remaining for Afghan children, as well as the successes of the past decade, have been outlined in the aid agency’s latest report: "Afghanistan in Transition: Putting Children at the Heart of Development”. 

The report shows that more than four million children are still out of school, and more than 60 percent of them are girls. For those in education, conditions are poor, with lessons carried out under trees or in tents. The report also highlights the fact that more than half of Afghan girls are married before the age of 16, and reveals that high rates of poverty have forced 37,000 children to work on the streets of Kabul.  

Recognizing the need for Afghanistan to take full control of the country's affairs, the report calls for Afghan officials and ministries to be trained to oversee development programs in the country in a transparent and fair way.

“For Afghanistan to succeed, it needs trained and motivated frontline local workers who prioritize children and families in need. National and international civil society should support them and help bring them up to speed,” David Skinner added.

The report makes several recommendations to ensure that gains made for children in Afghanistan are not lost as international forces withdraw:

  • Increased focus on children: Children make up more than half of the population and their needs must be met. Their education and protection is paramount. In one Save the Children study, 100 percent of boys reported that they had been physical punished or humiliated at school in some provinces. This is unacceptable and immediate steps must be taken to address this. 
  • Allocate funds based on need: Funds should go to the most vulnerable Afghans. Money should not be disbursed based on military, political or strategic interests.
  • Aid should focus on basic services: Training is needed for female teachers, community-based educators and health workers. Education and health workers must be based closer to their communities. Transferring responsibility to Afghan authorities and making sure they are properly equipped will promote sustainability.
Download the report: 'Afghanistan in Transition: Putting Children at the Heart of Development'.
Action to improve aid effectiveness is essential and urgent

Save the Children statement on the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness

Busan, South Korea, 1 December 2011


Save the Children welcomed the pledge made in Busan today by all countries, North and South, to endorse shared principles and common goals. But the aid agency warned that donor commitments still do not go far enough to bring the world back on track to meet the MDGs.

The greatest progress made this week was on transparency. A number of donors - who provide over three quarters of overseas development assistance - have shown leadership by signing up to the Independent Aid Transparency Initiative. Transparent aid will be more effective aid.

Save the Children's Campaign Mobilisation Director, Ben Phillips, said:

"The acceptance of the International Aid Transparency Initiative by key donors will save lives. If all DAC countries provide their aid in a transparent way the efficiency gains could be equivalent to an additional 3 billion dollars - that's enough money to buy vaccines to immunise over 350 million children.  By providing aid in a transparent way we'll also increase accountability. Governments and local communities will be able to see what money they are being given and can make sure it arrives. The progress made on transparency was only possible because champion donors took the bold step of committing without waiting for everyone else to do so, and because of strong campaigning by civil society across the world."

But on other issues critical to delivering key services for the poorest children there was a marked shortage of strong, time-bound commitments. Using country systems, untying aid, and better coordination amongst donors would enable aid to make even more of a difference. OECD analysis shows that by untying aid, donors can improve the value by 15-30%.

Jessica Espey, Save the Children's aid effectiveness advisor, said:

"Evidence from the health sector shows that supporting countries' own systems is the best way to reach the poorest people, but this week donors failed to make concrete commitments to do so. The litmus test of donors' commitment to aid effectiveness will be whether they work with countries to build their own health systems and local capacity, both of government agencies and civil society. "

The next 6 months will be crucial. This is the time the monitoring framework for the Busan partnership will be developed. Save the Children is calling for a strong international framework, with clear indicators, so that we the international community can hold all development actors to account, at the global and national level.

With the 2015 Millennium Development Goal deadlines fast approaching, action to improve aid effectiveness is essential and urgent.

Cutting funding for HIV and AIDS work is a false economy

On World AIDS Day (December 1st), Save the Children warns cutting funding for HIV and AIDS work is a false economy.


A major shortfall in pledged resources to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria could leave up to 1.4 million orphans and vulnerable children without support and hamstring successful prevention and treatment activities for those most at risk, said the global children's charity.

For the first time in its 10-year history, the Global Fund has been forced to cancel Round 11 of its application process because of insufficient support from donor countries. As the Fund accounts for one fifth of external assistance for people affected by HIV and AIDS, and two-thirds of funding for TB and malaria, the impact of donors' delays or cancellations is enormous.

"In the current economic climate, governments obviously have to think very carefully about how they spend taxpayers' money," said Patrick Watt, Global Campaign Director for Save the Children. "But just as the world is making huge strides in the fight against HIV and AIDS, the goal of creating an AIDS-free generation, where no children are born with HIV will not be possible unless the Global Fund is able to continue scaling up its work."

Loss of funding will mean less support for critical HIV and AIDS programs, and cuts in new maternal and newborn health activities linked to these. Plans to extend care and support to an additional 1.4 million orphans and vulnerable children in the developing world, improvements in prevention of HIV for young people most at risk and strengthened services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV will now most likely be shelved.

"The Canadian government is one Global Fund donor that has led governments not only by increasing support but also by committing their funding early,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. "Given the current situation we urge the Canadian government to make its full annual payment by December 31, 2011 as planned.”

Erb continued, “We also call on Prime Minister Harper to urge other funders to come back to the table. There is not only a moral imperative but also a strong economic case for the continued funding of the Global Fund. Investing in tackling HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria pays many times over. Donors need to think again as, in the end, hampering the Global Fund's work is a false economy."

Read about Save the Children's work on HIV and AIDS.

New survey shows decrease in the number of mothers and children dying in Afghanistan

Release of Afghanistan Mortality Survey 2010

Save the Children's reaction

Save the Children’s reaction to release of Afghanistan Mortality Survey 2010 Save the Children’s reaction to release of Afghanistan Mortality Survey 2010 Save the Children’s reaction to release of Afghanistan Mortality Survey 2010

The survey, carried out by the health ministry and the most comprehensive of its kind ever carried out in the country, shows a significant decrease in the number of mothers and children dying in Afghanistan:

  • The number of children dying under the age of five has fallen from one in five to one in ten.
  • One in every fifty women in Afghanistan will now die from pregnancy related cause in her lifetime. Previous data showed the rate to be one in every eleven women.

David Skinner, Save the Children’s Afghanistan Country Director says:

"These encouraging results show that even in the most challenging and difficult environments, dramatic improvements in child mortality can be achieved. Since 2003, around 20,000 community health workers and 2500 midwives have been trained. As a result of this, and other community-level activities, fewer children are dying from preventable causes like diarrhoea or pneumonia.  

"These results also show that international aid, which has funded many of the public health programmes in Afghanistan, has made a real difference - saving many children's lives.  Donor governments need to build on this success, and continue to invest in Afghanistan in ways that directly benefit ordinary Afghans. 

"Of course much remains to be done. One in ten Afghan children still die before their fifth birthday, and care needs to be given to the plight of newborns which are still dying at unacceptably high rates. But today's announcement on the halving of child mortality in Afghanistan shows that there are solutions which work, and which to build on for the future."

Case Study: Sakila, community health worker, Afghanistan.

Download Save the Children's recent report:
Afghanistan in Transition: Putting Children at the Heart of Development

Transparency initiative could save billions—if aid commitments kept

Transparency initiative could save billions—if aid commitments kept

Patricia Erb, President & CEO of Save the Children Canada, and David Morley, President & CEO of UNICEF Canada.

This article was originally published on 30 November 2011 in Embassy, Canada's Foreign Policy Newspaper.

Accountability and results. Two words we hear often these days. Is Bay Street accountable to the 99 per cent? Are hospitals seeing results on wait times? And for those of us involved in international co-operation, are Canadian foreign aid dollars—donations and taxes—improving the lives of the most vulnerable and poorest around the world?

This week in Busan, South Korea, over 2,000 individuals from donor and recipient governments, NGOs and multilateral agencies will gather to discuss accountability and results at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. The Forum is a time for the international community to take stock of what has been accomplished and look at how to achieve improved results going forward, particularly as the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 approaches.

An important part of any exercise of looking forward is looking back to see what has been accomplished and what lessons can be learned. Last week, UNICEF and Save the Children did just that when we released a report called Progress in Child Well-Being: Building on What Works.

The report shows remarkable progress has been made for children and provides evidence that should guide decisions about future aid investments during the meetings in Busan.

Three of the most important factors in delivering positive outcomes for children include: Stronger and explicit national commitments from recipient countries to invest in children; policies and programs at country level that support development goals; and greater and well-targeted development assistance.

If we look closely at how to support these three critical factors for achieving sustainable results through development  co-operation, it is clear that donor governments may have to readjust their definition of accountability and results—at least in the short term.

Strong and explicit national commitments require that recipient countries are empowered to take the lead on deciding their national priorities and delivering on international goals, norms and standards which requires the capacity to lead strategies that address these priorities.

This need for capacity building from the highest levels right down to the community is critical to ensuring supportive policies and programs are in place for achieving development goals. Capacity building should be at the heart of development co-operation, but it is not easy to monitor or associate with clear results—at least in the short term. For donor governments who want to reach their commitments to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, this can make capacity development a less appealing strategy to support.

Greater and well-targeted development assistance is also a critical factor of success, and again likely to be seen as a challenge for donor governments. Investing in the social sector must continue, even during times of financial austerity. No society has ever become or remained strong without such investment.

So now, more than ever, it is critical Canada sets a positive example to the international community and ensures its aid budgets do not decrease, current commitments are met, and increased funding is provided.

As well, donors must commit to international standards on aid transparency. Earlier this week, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda announcedCIDA’s membership in the International Aid Transparency Initiative. If other donors do the same, $2.8 billion could be saved— enough money to vaccinate over 350 million children against deadly diseases like pneumonia and meningitis.

The report provides examples of significant progress in children’s well-being around the world from these critical factors. For example, in 2010, 12,000 fewer children under five died every day compared to 1990. An additional 58 million children enrolled in primary school from 1999 to 2009 and rates of child marriage and child labour decreased in many countries.

Globally, there was a 24 per cent decline in new HIV infections of children and a 19 per cent decline in children dying from AIDS between 2004 and 2009.

As one, if not the, strongest economy of all donor countries, Canada must show the world that we are not willing to lose ground on progress made to date. We have to remember that it is children and their families who will suffer most if the meetings in Busan end up as simply an exercise in rhetoric, rather than a real commitment to achieving results for the world’s poor. It is to them that we must be truly accountable.
Busan Conference a chance to save children's lives

Busan Conference a chance to save thousands of children's lives


Implementing promised aid reforms at this week's Busan conference could save thousands of children's lives, Save the Children says.

Six years after rich countries committed to wide-ranging reforms in an effort to make aid more effective, too many donors are yet to implement changes that would increase transparency and increase impact.

An estimated 2.8 billion dollars could be added to the global aid budget if international standards on aid transparency were being met by donors - enough money to buy vaccines to immunise over 350 million children against deadly diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis.

The Busan conference in South Korea is seen as one of the last chances to improve the way aid is delivered to the world's poorest countries in time for the 2015 deadline for achieving the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

Save the Children's Aid Advisor, Jessica Espey, says:

"Aid saves lives, helps children go to school, and pulls families out of poverty around the world. With these reforms in place, we could be reaching so many more.

"Busan is the last chance to take a decisive step towards the quality of aid needed if we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

"Save the Children is calling on all country donors at Busan to realise their previous commitments and to further reform the way aid is delivered."

Read more: Aid Saves Lives - Better Aid Can Help Change the World (Huffington Post)

The Boy Mir: new film supporting Save the Children’s work in Afghanistan

The Boy Mir

New film supporting Save the Children’s work in Afghanistan

A young girl raises her hand during class in Bazarak School, Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan An Afghan boy reads a book during class in Bazarak School, Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan An Afghan girl reads the alphabet in an English at Nahre Balla School in Shomali Plains, Afghanistan

Above: students at schools in Shomali Plains and Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan. Photos by Jean Chung / Save the Children.

British film-maker Phil Grabsky travelled to central Afghanistan a few months after the fall of the Taliban.  His aim was to produce a cinema film that would explore the lives of ordinary Afghans.  One young boy caught the film-maker's eye. Mir is ever-optimistic; a smile always on his face. He is cheeky, inquisitive and full of humour. And yet, when the film starts he is living on bread and water, and owns nothing — not one toy or book.  

Following the first film, the international hit The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan, this new major film The Boy Mir covers not just one year but ten. It tracks the irrepressible and lovable Mir from a naïve 8-year-old to a fully grown adult.  Over this decade, it not only is a journey that follows Mir as he journeys into early adulthood in one of the toughest places on earth but it a film that is unmatched in mirroring and revealing the vitally important story of modern Afghanistan.

The producer, Seventh Art Productions, has partnered with Save the Children and Afghan Aid to help support our work in Afghanistan. Donations will be split three ways:

  1. to support rural education programs run by Save the Children, such as Accelerated Learning Centres which help children who’ve missed out on school catch up on their studies to the point where they can join mainstream schools again;
  2. to benefit Mir’s wider community through the work that Afghan Aid does with community support projects in northern Afghanistan;
  3. Mir’s own fund for his education.

Canadian supporters can help by donating to our Children’s Emergency Fund.

Download briefing on Save the Children’s response to the drought in Afghanistan.

Official film site for The Boy Mir.

Universal Children’s Day: do child rights matter?

Universal Children’s Day: do child rights matter?

Universal Children’s Day on 20 November 2011 marks the 22nd anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Universal Children's Day 2011

Photo: Michael Bisceglie for Save the Children

The roots of modern children’s rights can be traced back to 1923 when Save the Children’s founder, Eglantyne Jebb, wrote the first Declaration of the Rights of the Child for the International Save the Children Union. The principles proposed by Jebb would later inspire the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Today, the UNCRC forms the basis of all our work around the world and is a powerful tool to advance children’s rights.

The UNCRC is a legally-binding international agreement setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities. No other human rights convention has ever had such great support around the world: since being adopted by the United Nations in November 1989, 193 countries have ratified the convention, meaning that in principle they have agreed to do everything they can to make the rights a reality for children around the world.

To mark Universal Children’s Day and the 22nd anniversary of the adoption of the UNCRC, we conducted a survey to assess interest in children’s rights among our supporters. A big thank you to everyone who participated!

Child Rights Survey: Key Findings

Among the 600 respondents, we found a high level of awareness of human rights issues and an interest in children’s rights both domestically and internationally.

  • 77.6%  are aware of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • 57.4% are aware of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Over 50% think that the Canadian government does not do enough to deal with domestic issues facing children in Canada, such as ensuring their right to education, protection, development, and health.

Respondents recognized the work of both Save the Children Canada and the Canadian government in promoting children’s rights to survival and development, to a high standard of health and access to health facilities, and to education.

We found that our supporters are most concerned by issues of child survival and development, education, and protection from economic exploitation (including hazardous labour practices) - all issues at the heart of our work. They would like to see the Canadian government and Save the Children Canada work harder to address these. This must happen in a collaborative effort.

With your continued support, Save the Children Canada is ensuring that children’s voices worldwide are heard and their rights are fulfilled. We are consistently advocating and campaigning for better practices, policies and solutions for children. This Universal Children's Day, 20 November 2011, we ask that you join us, support us and envision with us a better world for children.

Download factsheet on the UNCRC and Save the Children’s work on child rights.

Download full results of the child rights survey.

Read more about our work on child rights and governance.

Study offers new hope to prevent leading cause of child death

Study Offers New Hope to Prevent Leading Cause of Child Death

Right before World Pneumonia Day, a Save the Children study in the Lancet suggests empowering frontline health workers to treat severe pneumonia at home would reduce deaths of world’s #1 child killer.


Children treated at home for severe pneumonia by Pakistan’s “Lady Health Workers” were more likely to recover than children referred to health facilities, Save the Children found in a USAID-funded, WHO-coordinated study published in The Lancet medical journal today.

The results come the day before World Pneumonia Day, which aims to focus the world’s attention on the leading cause of child death. Roughly 1.4 million children under age 5 die annually from the disease—99 percent of them in the developing world.

“Pneumonia is the top killer of children in the developing world,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. “The study published today in the Lancet shows that when frontline health workers, most of whom have quite limited formal education, are properly trained, supported and provisioned, they save lives.” 

The Lancet study addresses a significant barrier to effective treatment for millions of poor families around the world – the difficulty in accessing quality health services. In poor and isolated communities where pneumonia takes its biggest toll, major challenges include distance to a health facility, lack of transportation and costs.

Amidst a global health workforce crisis, Pakistan is one of a growing number of low-income countries to deploy community health workers to improve child and maternal health. In Pakistan, Lady Health Workers receive several months training, ongoing supervision and basic supplies and attend to about 150-200 families at home monthly.

Previous studies have shown that community health workers can successfully treat children with non-severe pneumonia at home and substantially reduce mortality rates. However, current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines do not allow for in-home treatment when pneumonia is defined as severe (when a child’s chest draws in instead of expanding during inhalation). Instead, community health workers are to administer the first dose of antibiotic and then refer a child to a facility.

Around the world, many families never make it to a health facility. Until today’s publication, no rigorous randomized study had shown whether community health workers could safely and effectively treat cases of severe pneumonia at home.

“Our study aimed to show that children can recover just as well from severe pneumonia when treated at home as when referred to a health facility. In fact, we found that frontline health workers treating children at home can be even more effective,” said the study’s principal investigator, Dr.Salim Sadruddin of Save the Children.

Dr. Elizabeth Mason, Director of WHO's Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, said: “The results of the Pakistan trial are very promising, and we will be looking closely at future studies. If we see similar results in other places, we can update the global guidance to make treatment much more accessible for families, help governments make the most of limited resources, and save more children's lives.”

Learn more about frontline health workers saving children’s lives.

View the abstract published in The Lancet.

Feds should back Charter to end Extreme Hunger

Feds should back Charter to end Extreme Hunger

Patricia Erb, President & CEO, Save the Children Canada

This opinion piece was originally published on 2 November 2011 in Embassy, Canada's Foreign Policy Newspaper.

In September I visited the Dadaab Refugee Camp in North-East Kenya. I saw the vast encampment where almost half a million people, more than four times its capacity of 90,000, now live. Conflict drove many of Dadaab’s original inhabitants from Somalia. In 2011 we have witnessed a dramatic increase of refugees due to the extreme hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa, made worse by the delayed international response to the drought. A food emergency, even one that has become a famine, is not a natural occurrence.  While we cannot end a drought we do have the ability, particularly given the abundance of resources and technology available, to address such emergencies before they become catastrophes.

Today, millions of children are still at risk in the Horn but they have almost been forgotten. It is in the DNA of Save the Children to work so that children are never the victims of the actions or inactions of adults. Our visionary founder Eglantyne Jebb started the organization in 1919 to help Austrian children starving after World War I. That is why Save the Children today is a leading member of a coalition of international organizations calling on governments to endorse the Charter to End Extreme Hunger.

International agencies such as the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) and Save the Children raised the alarm that the Horn of Africa drought would lead to a food crisis several months before the world mobilized in July of 2011. By the time global action was taken over 12 million people were in crisis. We need to act more swiftly.

As world leaders sit down in Cannes, France at the G20 summit this week, price volatility and food security are on the agenda. The French hosts have said France’s presidency will be committed to ensuring food security in the world’s most vulnerable countries.

The Charter to End Extreme Hunger begins with a crucial step to end extreme hunger by calling on governments to link non-political, early warning signs with timely and appropriate responses which could include the release of funds from the United Nations CERF (Central Emergency Response Fund) at the first warning signs of disaster. It also presses governments to commit to support national and community preparedness plans and capacity building that can help families avert acute malnutrition before a crisis starts.

Sustainable local food production is key to effectively manage natural resources and protecting the most vulnerable from famine.  Support for small-scale food producers that help them to adapt to climate-related risks will ensure that the poorest are able to feed themselves.

The Charter calls on governments in developing countries to commit to providing social safety nets for their people, minimally the poorest 10 per cent, and for rich countries to assist these efforts through policy and investment. It also calls for a global effort to ensure the affordability of food. Every child has the right to be free of hunger and we must ensure that neither government policy, nor market volatility leaves children to starve. Finally, like after World War I, extreme hunger is often linked to conflict. The Charter calls on governments to ensure humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable during times of conflict.

The Canadian government should endorse the Charter to End Extreme Hunger and the principles it reflects. Each of the points outlined in the document will require considerable international effort to translate from words to action, which is why Save the Children calls on the Canadian government to lead on two key areas.

Canada has demonstrated its commitment to rapid response in times of global emergencies. We are well positioned to take the leadership role in the reform of the UN CERF system and improvement of global disaster risk reduction efforts. Similarly, Canada recently increased support for the World Food Program. International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda announced Oct. 26 a five-year $125 million commitment to the program and another $100 million over four years to support school meal programs. Canada has also taken a lead role on the decoupling of food aid from agriculture surpluses. Canada led in its support of L’Aquila Food Security Initiative to  address food security with adaptation and mitigation measures as they relate to climate change and sustainable management of natural resources. This positions Canada to lead on local food production policy as a means to protect vulnerable families against the worst effects of a hunger emergency.

Eglantyne Jebb once said- “It is the children who pay the highest price for our short sighted economic policy, our political blunders, our wars.” The Charter to End Extreme Hunger is an opportunity for us to ensure that children don’t pay with their lives.

IKEA Soft Toy Fundraising Initiative

IKEA Soft Toy Fundraising Initiative

 Bear - IKEA will donate $1 to Save the Children for every soft toy sold. Reindeer - IKEA will donate $1 to Save the Children for every soft toy sold. Snake - IKEA will donate $1 to Save the Children for every soft toy sold.

We are pleased to announce the beginning of the IKEA Soft Toy campaign in aid of children around the world. Between November 1st and December 31st, IKEA will donate $1 to UNICEF and Save the Children for every soft toy sold in IKEA stores worldwide to fund programs that provide children around the world with access to education.

The goal this year is to raise more than $315,000 in Canada’s 11 IKEA stores. Globally, since 2003, the annual Soft Toy campaign has raised a total of $46 million to help children in need.

“We are happy that IKEA Canada can contribute to the good work that the IKEA Foundation does with our global partners, UNICEF and Save the Children through the Soft Toy program,” says Kerri Molinaro, President, IKEA Canada. “We have a long standing commitment to contribute positively to the communities where we do business and this includes our supplier countries.”

Not only will IKEA donate $1 for every soft toy sold, they will also donate an additional $1 for each kid’s meal sold at IKEA restaurants.  

“Achieving the goal of universal education for every child, including the most vulnerable and marginalized, requires a commitment. In the past 10 years, IKEA has shown incredible dedication to that goal,” says David Morley, President & CEO of UNICEF Canada. “We are grateful for the generosity of IKEA, its Foundation, customers and employees in supporting UNICEF’s work in education.”

The funds raised by the 2011 campaign will help UNICEF and Save the Children extend and begin 16 new projects benefiting children around the world. Since IKEA’s Soft Toy campaign began in 2003, donations have supported 95 programs in 45 countries, helping 8 million children access quality education.

“IKEA continues to be an extraordinary partner and we are thrilled they want to expand this successful initiative. The Soft Toy campaign has had a tremendous impact improving the lives of children around the world,” says Patricia Erb, President & CEO of Save the Children Canada.

The IKEA Foundation believes all children should have access to quality education. Today, 67 million children are denied this right worldwide. UNICEF and Save the Children improve education for the most disadvantaged children, recognizing investments in education lift children out of poverty and benefit future generations.  Funds raised through the 2011 Soft Toy campaign will help purchase school supplies and improve school facilities including access to safe water and sanitary toilets. The funds will also ensure teachers are trained in the latest teaching techniques while strengthening the right to education for minority children.

G20 warning: Soaring food prices put children’s lives at risk

G20 warning: Soaring food prices put children’s lives at risk

Rising food prices over the last year have put the lives of 400,000 children at risk, warns Save the Children in advance of the G20 summit in Cannes.


In new research published today, Save the Children analyzes the relationship between rising food prices and child deaths, concluding that a rise in cereal prices - up 40% between 2009 and 2011- could put 400,000 children’s lives at risk.

With the current crisis in the Eurozone dominating the agenda at this year’s G20, Save the Children is calling for world leaders, including Prime Minister Harper, to ensure the world’s poorest children are not forgotten and are protected from the soaring costs of food.

At the G8 L’Aquila summit in 2009, 13 countries – 11 of them represented at the Cannes Summit - pledged $22 billion to help the poorest farmers. Even though Canada has disbursed almost 90% of its commitment, the majority of the funds committed by other G20 members are yet to be delivered, despite the scale of the hunger crisis. One year to the deadline and only 22% of promised funding has been disbursed.

Patrica Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada said:

 “Canada has been a leader on our L’Aquila promises. We are concerned that there is a risk that the economic crisis in the Eurozone may squeeze the global food crisis off the G20's agenda altogether. While we understand that Prime Minister Harper and Minister Flaherty cannot ignore the economic crisis in Europe, we urge them to encourage G20 leaders not to forget the on-going impact of the food crisis. According to our research 400,000 children's lives are at risk, linked to recent food price rises. 

“On the opening day of the G20 summit rising global food prices mean millions of children will wake up hungry.  Here in Canada we see children whose families cannot afford to give them healthy food because of high prices. In developing countries rising prices can lead to severe and permanent health implications like stunting or even death."

Malnutrition already contributes to just under a third of deaths of children each year, whilst one in every three children living in the developing world is stunted, leaving them weak and less likely to do well at school or find a job.

Globally, staple foods like rice and wheat have increased by a quarter, while maize has increased by three quarters. In some countries price rises have been even more severe – for example in Bangladesh in the second half of last year, the price of wheat increased by 45%.   

Save the Children is responding to the food crisis by presenting G20 leaders with an action plan to tackle hunger.  The plan calls on rich and poor governments to:

  • Keep their funding promises and protect small scale farmers
  • Ensure every child has access to a nutritious and healthy meal by joining the global Scaling Up Nutrition Movement
  • Endorse the Charter to End Extreme Hunger which contains five key actions governments should take to stop widespread hunger as a result of drought, high food prices and conflict

Download Costing Lives Food Briefing.


As seven billionth baby is born, 20, 000 children die

As seven billionth baby is born, 20, 000 children die

Investing in children’s survival can help tackle population growth, says Save the Children.


More than 20,000 children will die on the day the world’s seven billionth baby is born, mostly from easily preventable diseases like diarrhea or pneumonia.

But the children’s charity Save the Children is flagging that investing in improvements which help save children's lives,  in addition to family planning and women’s education, can also help slow population growth.

Brendan Cox, Save the Children’s Director of Policy and Advocacy, said,

“We know there is a real and urgent need to tackle the world population problem. But in the poorest countries, where parents are often worried that their children will die, it’s understandable that some would choose to have larger families.

The charity is urging world leaders to invest urgently in healthcare, education and family planning in the world’s poorest countries.

A mother living in Chad,  one of the world’s poorest countries, will give birth to an average of six children in her lifetime. The same statistic was true of Botswana in 1982, but after long-term investment in healthcare – which has helped nearly halve child mortality in the past 10 years - the average Botswanan mother now has just three children. In the UK, the average is two.

Although it’s impossible to predict exactly where the seven billionth baby will be born, the strongest possibility is that he or she will be born into a life of poverty in India, where a child is ten times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than in the UK.

Nearly 5,000 under fives will die in India on the day the population reaches seven billion – around a quarter of all under five deaths in the world that day.

Brendan Cox continues, "As we bring child mortality down, we hope parents will feel more confident that most of their children will survive and have smaller families as a result. Stopping children dying is a moral imperative.”

Globally, 7.5 million children still die before reaching their 5th birthday every year. Most will have lived their short lives facing a daily struggle for survival in the world’s poorest countries, where infections are frequent and many families don’t have easy access to a doctor or nurse or other trained healthworker. But progress is being made. The seven billionth baby is more likely to reach the age of 5 than at any point in history. In 1987, when the five billionth baby was born, 1 in 9 children never reached five years old. Today that figure is 1 in 16.

Save the Children says that critical, development investments to help save children's lives can also have a beneficial impact on population growth.

Children's lives at risk in flooded parts of Pakistan

Hundreds of thousands of children's lives at risk as killer diseases increase in flooded parts of Pakistan, Save the Children warns

 Hajira, 19, holds her seven month old son who is suffering from acute malnutrition.

Hajira, 19, holds her seven month old son who is suffering from acute malnutrition as they wait for medical treatment at the hospital and nutrition centre that Save The Children is running in an abandoned school in the remote village of Khumo Khaskheli, Sindh province. Photo credit: Eduardo Díaz / Save the Children.

Hundreds of thousands of children's lives are at risk in Pakistan due to increasing rates of malaria and pneumonia in flooded parts of Pakistan, Save the Children warns.
More than 5.4 million people in the Sindh province have been affected by the floods, caused when torrential rains burst the river banks in August.  Many children and their families have been left marooned, living on roadsides or in makeshift camps, without clean drinking water or sanitation, while stagnant floodwaters become breeding grounds for waterborne diseases and for mosquitoes carrying malaria.
In Badin, one of the hardest-hit districts in the province, cases of malaria increased in the space of two weeks by 20 percent in children, a quarter of them under 5. Malaria can kill if not treated in time. 

In Mirpur Khas, deadly respiratory infections such as pneumonia increased by 44 percent - half of the cases are children. Pneumonia kills more children under five in Pakistan than any other disease.

Ghulam Fatima, 25, brought her sick 9-month-old child to a mobile nutrition camp run by Save the Children some 30 kilometres from Badin city, surrounded by fields 15 feet under water. She said her daughter weighed 4 kilograms, less than half the normal weight for a child that age: “After the floods, my child got ill from disease and suffered diarrhea and had a high fever and she started getting weaker. We get water from hand pumps but everything is polluted. We only eat bread and rice twice a day when we’re fortunate – this isn’t enough and I can barely breastfeed.”

Almost one million people are living in temporary shelters and the situation could deteriorate rapidly in the winter months.

David Wright, Country Director for Save the Children in Pakistan said: “Displaced children and their families are living in terrible conditions as temperatures steadily decrease. They don't have proper shelter, proper clothing and water supplies are low so they're drinking flood water in some cases. Our health teams have reached out to remote areas and have found significant increases in the number of children suffering from these deadly diseases and we're concerned that these could spread at an alarming rate.”

The disease outbreak is compounded by the recent warning issued by the UN that food stocks, medicines, emergency shelter and safe drinking water supplies risk running out by the end of October. There has been a sluggish international humanitarian response to the crisis with only 22% of the $357 million UN appeal received so far.

Save the Children is one of only a few international agencies currently delivering aid in southern Sindh reaching over 400,000 people with food, healthcare, shelter and basic household goods and has established safe play areas to help children recover from the distress caused to them by the disaster.

The children's charity has received $800,000 from the Canadian government to help meet the emergency shelter and physical security needs of approximately 3,000 flood-affected households in the districts of Badin and Mirpur Khas in Sindh province.

“Save the Children has been working in Pakistan for more than 30 years,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada.”We were already on the ground supporting 7 million people when the devastating floods struck in 2010. The children and families already displaced because of that catastrophe are once again in danger with this new cycle of flooding and its effects.”

Libya must now make young people its priority

Following the death of Muammar Gaddafi, Save the Children is warning that Libya must now make young people its priority.

Save the Children spokesman in Tripoli and Nobel Peace co-Laureate, Rae McGrath, said: “Libya must now prioritise its children and young people if the country is to have a stable future. The effects of the conflict on children have been immense: many have witnessed horrific scenes, been separated from their parents, and are at huge risk from unexploded munitions and the prevalence of firearms on the streets. Action must be taken now to protect them.”
Save the Children has already set up safe play areas in cities affected by the fighting to help children get back to normal. The focus now is to address immediate threats to children such as landmines and unexploded bombs and weapons which can kill if not removed safely. Save the Children's teams are already on the ground in Libya in Tripoli, Benghazi and are in the process of assessing the needs in Sirte to see how the operation can be quickly scaled up.
Save the Children aid planes leave for Mogadishu as floods compound hunger crisis

Save the Children aid planes leave for Mogadishu as floods compound hunger crisis.

The first of two Save the Children cargo planes is flying today into Somalia laden with emergency aid aimed at alleviating flooding in the capital Mogadishu, where thousands of hungry people are struggling to survive in camps devastated by recent flooding. The planes will carry aid supplies for 9000 families, including soap for handwashing, plastic sheeting for emergency shelters and water purification tablets to prevent waterborne disease. They will be delivered to families whose makeshift shelters in the Somali capital were swept away by the first torrential rains of the season.  The charity is also working in the camps feeding malnourished children and providing medical help to families.

Sonia Zambakides, Save the Children’s emergency response team leader in Somalia said: "Save the Children teams are on the ground delivering life-saving aid to over 60,000 people in Mogadishu. Many families lost everything in the recent floods, and these new supplies will give them the proper shelter, safe drinking water and help protect children from life-threatening disease in the camp. Hundreds of thousands of people in Mogadishu are still desperately hungry and living in cold, wet conditions where diseases like measles, malaria and cholera fester.  Save the Children is ramping up its life-saving work in the camps, and is urgently appealing for more money to get life-saving help to thousands more families”.

Thousands of hungry and desperate families have arrived in Mogadishu since August after the worst drought to hit the region in living memory destroyed livestock and crops in rural areas. In some regions across East Africa, seasonal rains are helping to alleviate the drought, but flash flooding in Mogadishu has left thousands of displaced people, already desperately poor, without anywhere to live and has killed at least two children who were swept away last week in a storm.

Donate to Save the Children's East Africa appeal.
Treaty Three discussing youth mental health

Treaty Three discussing youth mental health

Representatives from Treaty Three First Nations in the regions received thousands of books to be put to use in their communities, courtesy of Scholastic Canada, Save The Children and Grand Council Treaty Three. They were presented at a recent gathering of Treaty Three representatives to discuss youth mental health services at Dryden’s Best Western, Oct. 12-13.

View full story in The Dryden Observer.
Children Make Global Marathon Record Breaking Bid

Children Make Global Marathon Record Breaking Bid

Elementary students racing in 13 countries aim to break Makau’s world record marathon time and to call for the right to health for all children everywhere.

From L - R: Running the marathon by the lake in Wabauskang; Kids from Lawfield Elementary (Hamilton) and Gulfstream Public (Toronto) pile on to the track to celebrate the end of an amazing 2+ hour relay race to beat the World Marathon record; Elementary school kids from several Treaty 3 Nation communities watch the race.

On 5 October, students from Lawfield Elementary School (Hamilton), Gulfstream Public School (North Toronto), Treaty 3 Nation and Nishnawbe Aski Nation joined thousands of children in twelve other countries across the globe, from Canada to China, in Save the Children‘s World Marathon Challenge, demanding that  every child have the right to a healthy life that includes access to health care, proper nutrition and physical fitness opportunities no matter where they live or the financial capacity of their parents.

“The children are running to raise awareness about issues facing Aboriginal children and children living in poverty right here in Canada,” says Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children, “It should be shocking to us all that there are malnourished children in Canada. Whether it is due to the contamination of traditional Aboriginal food sources or high prices and limited access to healthy food choices both in the north and in poor communities in the south, food security is an issue in Canada when it simply shouldn’t be.”

In the largest event of its kind ever attempted, teams of 31 children ran the 26.2 mile marathon in 200 metre relays. Each team was aiming to beat the marathon world record time of 2 hrs 3 minutes and 38 seconds, set only last week by Kenya’s Patrick Makau. Eight teams from four different countries have beaten Makau’s record time with the team from Kenya on top of the table.

“We are pleased to be working with Save the Children on these issues,” says Milt Ottey, Owner and Director, OT Fitness and Educational Services Inc. According to Ottey, a three-time Olympian and two-time Common Wealth gold medalist. “Aboriginal children and children living in poverty simply don’t have enough access to recreational opportunities. Our goal is to get kids across Canada active and having fun, no matter where they live or how much money their parents may have. A healthy active lifestyle is a right of every child not a luxury.”

The children who ran are calling on Canadians to work to ensure that no child goes hungry even for a day and that every parent can afford fresh healthy food choices for their families. They are calling on Canadians to support Aboriginal communities in their efforts to protect their traditional food sources. Finally we call on provincial and federal governments to work together to ensure that all children in Canada have equal access to health care.

“Though they might be separated by thousands of kilometers, children in Norway and Mali, New Zealand and Kenya, are all racing for the same goal,” said Diane Kelly, Grand Chief Treaty 3 Nation. “They are telling world leaders and their own communities that every child has a right to healthy life. Every child in Canada including First Nations children has a right to safe water, affordable healthy food, access to recreation and fitness opportunities, and most importantly, access to health care services within reach.”

View coverage in the Wawatay News.

Join our campaign for better access to health workers at home and abroad.

Children at risk as world ignores aid funding plea for Pakistan floods

At least 3 million children at risk of malnutrition and disease as world ignores aid funding plea for Pakistan floods, Save the Children warns


The lives of at least three million children in Pakistan are at risk from malnutrition and disease because of a huge shortfall in emergency funding needed to help families left destitute by recent heavy flooding in Sindh province, Save the Children has said.  

Only 9% of the £233 million required by the UN's emergency appeal has so far been raised, prompting fears that millions of people will be left without food and water if more money is not found.

The UN says that food and water supplies could run out in within weeks and is warning that a third of those affected could be without medical care in a month’s time. Emergency shelter supplies will run out in the next few weeks, according to the UN.

At least 5.5 million people have been affected by the flooding after torrential rains caused river banks to burst and overflow in late August. The disaster left 1.8 million people displaced and forced many to flee to roadsides, railway tracks and schools in search of shelter.  

The downpours left three-year-old Mushtaq’s village in Badin underwater. Mushtaq’s and his family of seven found refuge in a relief camp set up in a government run school near Badin city.

Hanif, Mushtaq's father said: “Mushtaq has been very weak since he was born. Ever since we moved to the camp he has lost even more weight and has become lethargic as well. He does not talk or play like other children of his age. There are no health facilities at our camp and we do not have sufficient food to feed our entire family. When we arrived here I took him to a local clinic but the medicines prescribed by the doctor were too expensive.” 

David Wright, Country Director for Save the Children Pakistan said: "Children are distressed and are living in desperate conditions with families barely able to feed themselves. Their stocks of food have been wiped out by flooding and they don't have the money to buy food.  Some people are still completely cut off  from help.  We are on the ground saving children's lives, but the need is huge. The world has to face up to what is happening here and fill the funding gap so aid agencies can reach millions more people."   

Save the Children is one of a few international agencies currently delivering aid in southern Sindh. The children's aid agency is reaching almost 250,000 people with food, healthcare, shelter and basic household goods, as well as establishing safe play areas to help children recover from the distress caused by the disaster. 

With most aid agencies focusing delivery of supplies to the districts of Badin and Mirpur Khas, Save the Children is also the first to start reaching out to communities  in new areas such as Sanghar where 900,000 people have been affected, according to local authorities. The children's charity has delivered food rations to 5,000 families in the district of Sanghar. Only 145,000 people of those affected in this district are receiving assistance in camps and the rest are fending for themselves.

"In Sanghar, people are living in makeshift shelters made from rushes and sticks and most families are surviving on small portions of rice,b read and vegetables. Children and families are drinking from floodwater contaminated with sewage  Floodwater is four feet high so access for aid agencies is extremely difficult. Without funds, helping these people is going to be impossible." Wright added.

The children's charity has launched a £20 million flood response for Lower Sindh. Save the Children aims to provide support to 1 million people, including 600,000 children in four of the worst hit districts: Badin, Mirpur Khas, Sanghar and Tando Allahyar.  

Save the Children has been working in Pakistan for more than 30 years and is already supporting nearly seven million people in the country.

Postponement of major pledging summit for East Africa will cost children’s lives

Postponement of major pledging summit for East Africa will cost children’s lives

The announcement that the African Union is to postpone its fundraising conference for East Africa is a serious blow to efforts to help millions of children suffering in the region's food crisis, Save the Children said today.   

While public donations have flooded into aid agencies responding to the crisis, the UN appeal for money from governments is currently less than half funded. Rich countries have pledged millions of pounds worth of aid, but are yet to deliver the funding on almost $400 million that has been promised.

There is currently a shortfall of readily available-cash of $1.3 billion USD for the UN appeal.  Whilst the African Union conference was to rally support across the continent for the crisis, there are no plans for rich countries to come together to fill the funding gap.  

 Save the Children is warning that the failure of the international community to act on East Africa has grave consequences for children. Despite the huge aid effort underway, the scale of the disaster continues to worsen, with millions of children still facing starvation. If the international community continues to delay, the UN says more than a million children across East Africa are at risk of dying within weeks.  

Rachel Palmer, working for Save the Children, at Dadaab in Kenya: "Children are dying from starvation every day yet world leaders are failing to make good on their promises. Young children are arriving at our feeding centres in shocking conditions - they haven't eaten or drunk anything for days."

"Yet we can pull them back from the brink.  We can save their lives – but there are many more we need to reach. The British public and government have been overwhelming in their generosity - now governments around the world have to turn words into action or more children will die.” 

Save the Children is running a major life-saving response across East Africa, delivering food, water, medicine and crucial support to families who have lost their incomes. In Somalia alone we've reached more than 70,000 people with life-saving water and treated more than 8,000 malnourished children in our feeding centres.  

To donate to Save the Children's appeal go to www.savethechildren.ca or call 1-800-668-5036.

Media Contact:
Denise Koulis, Communications Manager
Tel: 647-273-7134
Email: dkoulis@savethechildren.ca

Number of malnourished children doubles in East Africa

Number of malnourished children doubles as G20 leaders meet for emergency East Africa summit

July 25, 2011—As G20 leaders meet in Rome for an emergency summit to address the East Africa food crisis, Save the Children is warning that the number of malnourished children in 14 of its feeding centres in camps in Puntland, northern Somalia has doubled from 3,500 to 6,000 in just two weeks.

The number of acutely malnourished children - and those who will die without emergency assistance - has also doubled, rising from 300 children to 600 in the last two weeks at the charity's clinics in Puntland.

Save the Children and other aid agencies have launched a massive emergency response to help ten million people affected by what the UN has declared East Africa's worst drought in 60 years. But the charity is warning that if world leaders at today's emergency meeting fail to plug a one billion dollar funding shortfall for the East Africa aid effort, over a million children could die in Somalia alone.

The emergency summit, called at the request of the French Presidency, is designed to mobilise international support for the life-saving response across Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. However despite organising the meeting the French government has donated just $2.6 million to the aid effort, lagging far behind the UK Government's recent $85 million donation. Italy - the host of today's summit and Europe's fourth largest economy- has contributed a mere $900,000.

Sonia Zambakides, Emergency Programme Manager for Somalia said:

“Children across East Africa are dying every day, and the world cannot stand by and watch. We know that with enough funds and political will we can turn that crisis around. Today's meeting cannot simply be about talking - we need concerted action. World leaders must urgently step up and pledge their cash so we can save more children's lives.”

In the past two weeks, Save the Children's Puntland based feeding centres have been overwhelmed as families flee the effects of the drought in South Central Somalia region in search of food and water.

Sonia Zambakides, said:

“Outside the camps in Puntland there is no water, no food and animals have already died. We need to scale up and send teams out to get life saving help to children in remote, rural areas but we need more funding to do so. Without it, we can only provide help in the camps. ”

Despite a very generous response from the public – donating $57 million to the charity’s appeal – the aid effort in East Africa is massively underfunded. Just nine per cent of emergency health work is funded in Kenya whilst nutrition has received just 12 per cent of the money it needs to save lives. In Somalia just 37 per cent of nutrition work has been funded.

Throughout the disaster Save the Children has been delivering life saving support across Kenya, Somali and Ethiopia and has scaled up its programme to provide food, water, medicine and child protection. Its appealing for $100 million for its work across the region.

To donate to Save the Children's appeal go to www.savethechildren.ca or call 1-800-668-5036.

Media Contact

Denise Koulis, Communications Manager
Tel: 647-273-7134
Email: dkoulis@savethechildren.ca

Over one million children could die as the UN declares famine in Somalia.

More than one million children at risk of death in Somalia

More than one million children are at risk of death in Somalia, Save the Children warns as the UN announces famine in drought-afflicted nation. 

Figures released today show that there is famine in two areas of South Central Somalia - with up to half of children in the worst affected areas suffering from acute malnutrition. Save the Children said that without urgent action, it was inevitable that the famine would continue to spread through South Central and into parts of Puntland, with devastating impact on children and their families.

The crisis has been sparked by a deadly combination of conflict, escalating food prices and failed rains. For weeks, thousands of Somalis have been flooding across the border into  Kenya and Ethiopia - some arriving exhausted and too late to get help for their severely malnourished children.

Ben Foot, Save the Children's Somalia country director says:  "This declaration of famine has to be a wake-up call for the international community. At the moment, we simply don't have enough funds to meet the scale of the needs in Somalia. If we are to save children's lives over the coming weeks, then we simply have to step up humanitarian activities on a massive scale.  

Throughout the growing disaster, Save the Children has been working in South Central Somalia and in Puntland, reaching families with life-saving help, The agency is currently feeding 9000 children at feeding centres across  Somalia. In Puntland, the number of malnourished children visiting Save the Children's clinics has almost doubled in the past six months.

The agency is aiming to reach half a million of the most vulnerable children and their families with vital help, including food aid, nutritional support, water and health care.  

It is appealing for $100 million to fund its work across the drought-afflicted  East Africa region. 

Ben Foot continued, "In 1992, famine hit  Somalia and 200,000 people died. We are not yet at that crisis point, but unless we act rapidly, many children could lose their lives over the coming months." 

Media contact:

Denise Koulis
Communications Manager

Exploited child domestic workers to gain new protection thanks to global convention

Exploited child domestic workers to gain new protection 

The “invisible” children who are exploited as domestic workers could soon be much better protected thanks to a new international convention which has been agreed today (June 16th 2011), Save the Children said.

The International Labour Conference has voted to adopt a new global Convention which will protect the rights of children informally employed in homes as domestic servants, where they are almost invisible to the authorities.  Many are isolated from families and friends and physically and verbally abused. Often they are not allowed to go to school or to play. But in many countries labour legislation does not cover households, leaving children without legal protection.

Because the problem is so hidden, it is impossible to count the number of children working domestically and there are no formal statistics on the total number of children employed like this.

Ruma Bibi is a 10-year-old child domestic worker in Bangladesh. She said: "I started my work in one household. One lady from Save the Children convinced my employer to allow me to participate in the community learning centre and she finally agreed. I completed one year of non-formal education and then was admitted to the nearest government run school. Now I am studying and happy to introduce myself as a student. My dream is to become a teacher and of course one day I will be.”

Marlen Mondaca, Child Protection and Gender Adviser of Save the Children Canada, said: “Child domestic workers, many of them girls, urgently need better protection. They are easily exploited and often kept out of school. Many are abused, physically or verbally. In extreme cases some are vulnerable to trafficking, forced labour, and servitude. We hope the new global Convention will offer domestic workers decent working conditions, better pay and protection against abuse and violence”

The Convention on Decent work for Domestic Workers will:
• Set standards for domestic workers on hours, pay and living conditions and protection against abuse, harassment and violence.
• Require governments to set a minimum age of employment.
• Recognize the right of young domestic workers to an education.
• Ask governments to give special attention to the needs of domestic workers who are under 18 and above the minimum age of employment, by limiting hours of work, prohibiting night work, placing restricting on tasks and strengthening monitoring mechanisms.

“The ratification of the Convention by all Governments offers a new mechanism to ensure that the rights of child domestic workers are protected and that they do not suffer abuse and exploitation at the hand of employers” said Ms Mondaca.

Save the Children calls on all States to take specific measures to protect child domestic workers and to implement the Convention.

“The exploitation of children through domestic work is linked to poverty, discrimination and the difficulty some families have caring for their children. Programmes which deal with these problems will help the Convention become reality,” said Ms Mondaca.

For more information please contact:
Marlen Mondaca
Chair, Child Labour Task Group, Child Protection Initiative, Save the Children
Note to editors:
The International Labour Organisation has voted to adopt a new Convention and a Recommendation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children, working in over 120 countries. We believe in a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Through our work, we aim to inspire breakthroughs in the way that the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting changes in their lives.

Numbers of malnourished children in Somali feeding centres have doubled

Numbers of malnourished children in Somali feeding centres have doubled

The number of children suffering from malnourishment at key Save the Children feeding centres in Puntland, northern Somalia has almost doubled in the past six months from 3,500 a month compared to 1800 in January, the children's charity warned.

This is the biggest number of children in crisis in Puntland since the feeding programme began a year ago, with drought, war and rising food prices taking an alarming toll on the most vulnerable.

The monthly figures of malnourished children collated at Bosaso and Garowe, Puntland are reflected across all of the charity’s feeding centres in Somalia, indicating the food crisis is becoming more severe. The camps in Bosaso in the North are long term camps, but conditions elsewhere in the country are so severe that families are prepared to make the difficult and dangerous journey from the Somali capital Mogadishu and from other parts of drought-afflicted South Central Somalia to reach Bosaso.
Sonia Zambakides, Save the Children's emergency manager in Somalia, said: “Families are arriving from other parts of Somalia utterly destitute. They have lost their crops and livestock and have no money. They are struggling to survive on just one meal a day - or nothing at all."
A Save the Children team in northern Somalia visited a camp called Tawakal, which houses 7,000 people, over 5,000 of which are children. Zambakides said: “People are living in very bad conditions. There are no latrines or washing facilities, many of the dwellings are made from cardboard, pieces of corrugated iron roofing and materials. Most of the people there are women and children. Many of the women try to find casual labour as cleaners or cooks, to earn money to feed their families. This means they have to leave their children all day long, the younger being looked after by the older ones.”
40 year old Habiba had just arrived at the camp a few days earlier,  having fled Mogadishu. She told Save the Children: "This drought has left us destitute, and the war has taken what little we had left. I am happy to be in a place where there is peace and no guns or bombs, now I need to find somewhere to live and income so that I can feed my children”
Across East Africa, 9 million people are facing a food crisis.  In Somalia,  the situation is acute with recent UN figures showing the number of malnourished children in many affected areas has doubled since January. Estimates show that 1 in 3 children in south and central Somalia, and almost a quarter of all children in Bosaso are now malnourished.

Save the Children is feeding 9000 children at 60 feeding centres across south central Somalia and Puntland. The agency is providing therapeutic feeding to severely acutely malnourished children and giving monthly family rations to the families of children in our supplementary feeding programme.

Zambakides said: “We want to expand our work  to provide food for  mothers and their children, shelter and healthcare. Children who are alone all day looking after their siblings need education and protection. We already have teams delivering life-saving help to children in Somalia. We are urgently appealing for more money so we can scale up our work and save thousands more children's lives."

Media contact:

Denise Koulis
Communications Manager

Canada's leading relief agencies raise the alarm for East Africa

Millions face starvation as drought ravages the region

Ottawa, ON (July 6, 2011) – Canadian aid agencies, under the banner of the HUMANITARIAN COALITION, are urging Canadians, the Canadian Government and the media to support the urgent efforts to prevent the widespread food crisis that threatens the lives of 10 million people, mostly children, in East Africa.  The region is facing its worst drought in over 60 years according to UN reports and humanitarian personnel in the region. Consecutive years of failed rains have caused devastating losses of livestock, incomes and food supplies while resulting sky-rocketing food prices are exacerbating an already precarious situation.

CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada, five of Canada’s largest relief agencies are joining together to raise funds for the delivery of safe drinking water, food, health and nutrition services, shelter materials and crucial support for families who have lost their incomes.

“The situation in East Africa is dire. We must act now to prevent thousands of lives from being lost to malnutrition and dehydration”, said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada and member of the HUMANITARIAN COALITION. “Infants and children are especially vulnerable. Their survival depends on all of us—aid agencies, governments and the public—working together.”

HUMANITARIAN COALITION members, working in the region for decades, saw the warning signs of drought and responded quickly to save many lives. As the situation escalates, emergency relief operations are ramping up to meet the increasing needs of people in the region, including thousands living in refugee camps and scores more who are arriving each day.

“As a result of this drought, over 1,000 new refugees are arriving in Kenya each day,” says CARE Canada President and CEO Kevin McCort. “Organizations are scaling up programs in Kenya, and throughout the affected region, but resources are strained. Support is urgently needed to ensure people continue to receive the life-saving support they need.”

With a combined presence in over 120 countries, the joint efforts by the members of the HUMANITARIAN COALITION provide a widespread and effective response to emergencies. The group has one phone number and a joint website for online donations in order to make donating easy for Canadians. 

To donate to THE HUMANITARIAN COALITION, call us toll-free at 1-800-464-9154, log onto our website at www.together.ca or send donations to THE HUMANITARIAN COALITION, P.O. Box 7023, Ottawa, ON, K1L 5A0.


Media contacts:

CARE Canada
Alison Frehlich

Oxfam Canada
Katia Gianneschi
613-231-5561 Katia.gianneschi@oxfam.ca
Justine Lesage

Plan Canada
Kristy Payne

Save the Children
Denise Koulis

Emergency appeal for children across East Africa.

Save the Children launches emergency appeal to help thousands of children facing starvation in East Africa

Save the Children has launched an emergency appeal to get life-saving help to thousands of Kenyan and Somali children who are facing starvation in what the UN has called East Africa's worst drought in 60 years.

A deadly combination of failed rains and soaring global food prices has left more than nine million people living in remote areas across the region - more than half of them children - without enough food and water and at risk of malnutrition.

More than a quarter of children in the worst-hit parts of Kenya are now dangerously malnourished, and in Somalia malnutrition rates have reached 30 per cent in some areas, making East Africa one of the hungriest places on earth.

Save the Children has already launched a major humanitarian response in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, feeding tens of thousands of underweight children, providing life-saving medical treatment, and getting clean water to remote communities.

But with the situation worsening by the day - and no more rain due till late September - the children's charity urgently needs money to dramatically ramp up its response.

"Thousands of children could starve if we don't get life-saving help to them fast," said Matt Croucher, Save the Children's regional emergency manager for East Africa. "Parents no longer have any way to feed their children; they've lost their animals, their wells have dried up and food is too expensive to afford.

"We can stop this tragedy unfolding, but we only have half the money we need. We urgently need to raise the rest so we can save more children's lives."

Families have resorted to desperate measures to survive. In Somalia, thousands have left their homes in search of food, with malnourished children walking for days on end in searing heat and risking conflict to find help. Meanwhile, in Kenya, Save the Children has received reports of people feeding their animals the thatch from the roof of their huts in a bid to keep them alive, leaving families without adequate shelter. Many children are eating just a single bowl of porridge a day, missing out on the basic nutrients they need to survive.

How you can help Save the Children save lives:

  • $8 pays for enough water purification tablets to provide clean, safe water to a family of six for a month.
  • $24 pays for mosquito nets keep ten malnourished children safe from disease.
  • $128 will feed a family of six for a month.

As well as delivering life-saving help to families across the region, Save the Children is helping communities in East Africa adapt to more frequent droughts, reducing the number of children at risk in any future food crises.

Save the Children's response:

  • We are distributing life-saving water to areas severely affected by the drought and improving water supply and sanitation facilities in health clinics and schools.
  • We are providing jerry cans, water filters and water purification tablets to ensure that water is safe to drink.
  • We are treating tens of thousands of malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding women at our emergency feeding centres.
  • We are helping families afford nutritious food by distributing food vouchers, whilst supporting the local market to function.
  • We are supporting people who have lost their incomes through cash transfers, enabling them to buy essential items for their children.
Four hours to save four million

Save the Children Commends Canada’s new investment in GAVI

Toronto, June 13, 2011 - Today world leaders, including The Honourable Beverley Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, met to announce new investments in the GAVI Alliance, the international organization that helps developing countries ensure that millions of children are immunized against the most common childhood diseases.

Save the Children commends the Canadian government for its continued commitment to the GAVI Alliance and its mission to save lives. In October 2010 Canada was a leader with its early pledge of $50 million over 5 years at the GAVI meetings in New York.

Minister Oda’s announcement today of an additional investment of $15 million will mean life saving vaccines will reach thousands more vulnerable children most at risk from easily preventable but potentially deadly diseases like pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea and measles.

We are very pleased that the Canadian government has increased its commitment to the GAVI Alliance,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children. “Save the Children has been saving lives around the world for almost 100 years and we know that vaccines are a proven tool in that effort. GAVI’s work strengthening health systems in the poorest countries is also vitally important to achieving the Millennium Development Goals to dramatically reduce child mortality.

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Cicely McWilliam on cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca or cell 647-291-1683

Frigidaire and Save the Children Canada launch new initiative

Build virtual and real ice cream sundaes, raise funds

Toronto, ONFrigidaire  and Save the Children Canada, building on their partnership to better the lives of Aboriginal children in Canada, are pleased to announce a new series of ice cream-themed fundraising initiatives just in time for summer. Beginning Sunday, May 15, Frigidaire invites Canadian families to make everyone’s favourite summertime treat – an ice cream sundae (real and virtual) – in an effort to raise funds for the charity.

  • Participants can visit http://www.sundaefunday.ca/ to build the perfect guilt-free sundae by choosing everything from ice cream flavour to toppings. For each virtual sundae created, Frigidaire will give $1 to Save the Children Canada to a maximum of $25,000, as part of its commitment to donate a total of $100,000 to the charity this year.
  • Frigidaire will also host a “Sundae Funday” media event on May 15, where guests and their children will make real ice cream sundaes and learn more about the charity’s work. There will be a special video presentation from Jennifer Garner, artist ambassador for Save the Children. Garner works with Frigidaire as a partner of the charity, helping to raise awareness for this important cause.

Families visiting the Sundae Funday website will also be encouraged to host their own offline sundae parties throughout the summer so they can contribute directly to Save the Children Canada’s work at home. For every real sundae built, guests are encouraged to make a proposed donation of $5. Funds raised can be donated directly to Save the Children Canada following the party (online or by mail). Visit http://www.sundaefunday.ca/ for Frigidaire’s Sundae Funday party planning tips!

Through the website, families will learn about the initiatives carried out by the organization, while simultaneously teaching kids the valuable lesson of giving back.

We believe every child in this world, no matter what race, gender or religion, deserves an equal chance at success in life. Frigidaire provides financial support for the important initiatives that help heal Aboriginal families and communities in Canada,” said Stephanie Clarke, Corporate Marketing Manager for Frigidaire. “By participating in these ice cream sundae programs, Canadians can help us reach our goal of supporting programs that help to improve Aboriginal children's chances of survival, as well as their overall mental, physical, and behavioural development and well-being.”

Save the Children is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children around the world, with a particular focus on Aboriginal children in Canada. Save the Children, in partnership with Dr. Jean Wittenberg, a child psychiatrist and head of the Supporting Securities program, works to teach First Nations parents the skills to raise emotionally secure, psychologically and physically healthier kids.

Save the Children is truly fortunate to have such wonderful partners in Frigidaire and Dr. Wittenberg,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO Interim, Save the Children Canada. “The work being done with the Supporting Securities program will make things better for countless First Nations children and their families, and will have lasting impact with future generations.”

Canada’s Aboriginal communities continue to face social and economic challenges, with many living in the grip of poverty, psychological challenges and violence. They are Canada’s most marginalized demographic. Colonialism, residential schools, inequitable distribution of resources and geographic isolation have resulted in a range of devastating social and economic challenges for First Nations communities. Many families living on reserves continue to struggle to feed and protect their children. Together with First Nations communities, Save the Children Canada is working to preserve the unique culture of Canada’s Aboriginal people, while helping them create a brighter future for their children.

Toronto media interested in attending the May 15 Sundae Funday media event are encouraged to contact Lara Tobin at lara@rockitpromo.com or 416.656.0707 ext. 110.

About Electrolux Group:

Electrolux is a global leader in household appliances and appliances for professional use, selling more than 40 million products to customers in more than 150 markets every year. The company focuses on innovative products that are thoughtfully designed, based on extensive consumer insight, to meet the real needs of consumers and professionals. Electrolux products include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, cookers and air-conditioners sold under esteemed brands such as Electrolux, AEG, Eureka and Frigidaire. For more information, go to www.electrolux.com/press and www.electrolux.com/news.

About Save the Children:

As the world's leading independent child rights organization, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. We are is a member of Save the Children International, a network of 29 member organizations raising funds and operating programs in 126 countries, including Canada, focusing on the issues of health and nutrition, education, HIV and AIDS, child protection, livelihoods and food security, emergency relief and child rights governance. Learn more about our work at www.savethechildren.ca.

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For more information or high-res images, please contact:

Lisa Power, rock-it promotions, inc. at 416.656.0707 ext. 102 or lisa@rockitpromo.com
Debra Goldblatt, rock-it promotions, inc. at 416.656.0707 ext. 101 or debra@rockitpromo.com

More midwives could save over 1 million children

More midwives could save over 1 million children & improve the state of the world’s mothers

For interviews contact: Cicely McWilliam

Coordinates: 416-218-1888 (direct)     647-291-1683 (cell)   cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

Toronto, May 4 - One in three mothers – almost 48 million women worldwide – every year give birth without expert help. With no access to midwives or other health professionals women and they children often die alone.

This Mother’s Day, what mothers have to celebrate varies dramatically depending on where they live, according to Save the Children Canada’s Missing Midwives & the State of the World’s Mothers report, which ranks 164 countries based on the quality of life of mothers. This year the report also provides an in depth analysis on one key aspect that determines that ranking – a woman’s access to skilled attendance when giving birth.

This year, Afghanistan ranks worst and Norway best on Save the Children’s Index of best to worst countries to be a mother. Some progress is being made even in Afghanistan where the number of midwives — although still pitifully low — has tripled within the past three years, thanks, in part, to midwifery colleges run by aid agencies, including Save the Children. Still, around the world, far too many women, give birth with only a traditional healer whose only tools are a dirty blade to cut the umbilical cord and herbs to combat infection.

Save the Children along with advocacy partners like the Canadian Association of Midwives, have launched campaigns to address the estimated global shortage of 4.3 million health workers including doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers. A minimum of 350,000 midwives are needed to save not only thousands of mothers, but 1.3 million newborn babies, who every year die from easily preventable causes.
“This week when we celebrate our mothers and spend time with family let’s remember that women and newborns around the world are dying because a midwife is “missing” said Patricia Erb, President and Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children. “No mother should face giving birth alone. The care a midwife provides during those frightening moments of a woman’s life is not only reassuring; it can make the difference between life and death for the new infant and the mother.”

While most women in Canada have access to skilled birth attendance, women who live in rural and isolated communities are underserviced. First Nations and Inuit women, in particular, suffer from a lack of access in comparison to women you live in southern Canada.

Canada’s 20th place ranking on the State of the World’s Mothers Index is in part due to a slight increase in maternal mortality rates reported in the 2010 State of the World’s Mothers Report.  While part of Canada’s higher maternal mortality rate can be attributed to changes in reporting procedures, a study on stillbirths published by the Lancet and Save the Children found that the stillbirth rate for most Canadian women in 2009 was 3.3 per 1000 births, but it was three times that rate in Inuit communities.

 “The federal government must implement regulatory, educational and policy changes to bring birth back to rural and remote areas of the country, particularly to Aboriginal communities” said Anne Wilson, President of the Canadian Association of Midwives. “The National Aboriginal Council of Midwives is working tirelessly to bring maternity care services and midwifery back to their communities and we [CAM], will continue to support their efforts.”

No child is born to die – and yet thousands die needlessly every day. Save the Children’s global campaign, EVERY ONE, is determined to end this injustice and save children’s lives. Join us at www.savethechildren.ca.

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