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Cross-cutting themes

A woman working on a farm - Community

Across all our programmes, capacity building, collaboration, participation, advocacy, gender, disability, and the environment are of importance to the people and communities we work with.

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Why we do what we do

Nepal baby boyThe poorest of the poor face systematic disadvantages which form a vicious cycle of poverty and despair.  Children are often at risk of losing parental or family care.  Typically, in the communities where we work, we support children whose families face all of the disadvantages brought by extreme poverty:

Hunger and malnutrition – weakens health; stunts growth; delays development

Interrupted education – hungry children can’t concentrate; hungry parents are apathetic about their children’s daily routine; poor children can’t afford fees, uniforms and books – often a pre-condition for school admission; poor families need their children (especially girls) at home – to work in fields, mind children, fetch water, care for the sick and sell goods, services or themselves in a bid to make money

Chronic and acute health problems – poor people are more likely to suffer ill health most often; the poorest communities are the least well-served with clinics and basic healthcare; very poor children are least likely to drink safe water or use safe latrines and sanitation;

Premature deaths and absent parents – many parents in Sub Saharan Africa have died from HIV/AIDS; the burden of HIV/AIDS is borne in addition to the risk of water borne diseases, malaria and TB – all common causes of premature death; economic migration often leaves poor children without one or both parents

Communities with a high proportion of families in extreme poverty are very vulnerable to shocks such as price rises for food, natural disasters, crop failure and epidemics.  Many post-conflict communities find themselves facing all of the burdens of poverty.  Such communities lack resilience - it is hard for them to bounce back after a shock.

We want to make children safer and we know that stronger families and more resilient communities are the key to safe, fulfilled childhoods. Our community based family strengthening programmes have a proven track record of success in holding families together, improving food security and income generation.   Family strengthening programmes empower families and communities so that they can care for their own children.

We work with individual families: a grandmother in Zambia receives help in securing an allotment.  Now she grows enough maize to feed herself and her grandchildren for 10 months of the year, releasing her and the children from the constant distress of hunger.  We make sure her grandchildren go to school – a crucial step towards breaking the cycle of poverty, poor education and lost life chances.

We work with community groups: a farmers’ association in Sierra Leone receives materials to build a barn in which it is able to house a community herd of cows, creating income and security for the association members and beginning to provide a centre of excellence for husbandry and basic veterinary skills.

Every project we undertake is designed in partnership with the community participants.  Every project has the potential to be replicated elsewhere.  Many projects are extended in scale as they prove successful within the founding community.

As long as the needs are there, we will ask communities and families if they wish us to support them.  As long as communities and families say “Yes” to working in partnership with us, we will do our best to be there.

Core Policies

We have strong guiding core policies for all areas of our work; programmes, child protection, HIV/AIDS, education, inclusion and emergency relief.  These are approved by our international senate.  They guide our internal practice, our work with participants and our external advocacy.

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