ChildFund International

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Notes from the Clinton Global Initiative Meeting

Anne Goddard and Bill Clinton

ChildFund President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard and former President Bill Clinton.

 

 

It isn’t every day that you get to meet a United States president, but our president and CEO, Anne Lynam Goddard, attended the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting last week in New York City, convened by former President Bill Clinton.

On her Tumblr blog, she expresses hope and optimism about the future, despite such daunting problems as the spread of Ebola. The event, which draws business and nonprofit leaders from around the world, “reinforces my belief that if you get the right people working on a problem, anything is possible,” she writes. Read more of Anne’s reflections on the conference.

ChildFund Honored for Social Sustainability

ChildFund International’s corporate partner, Procter & Gamble Company, honored our organization with its 2014 Social Sustainability Partnership Award this week during the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York City. ChildFund President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard accepted the award on ChildFund’s behalf. For seven years, ChildFund has helped administer the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water program, which provides safe water for families living in poverty and people living with HIV and AIDS. Recently, a ChildFund-supported community in Brazil received the seven billionth liter of clean water.

“ChildFund values our partnership with P&G and the company’s support in bringing clean drinking water to people across the globe,” said Goddard. “Improving access to clean drinking water is one the world’s most important needs. We look forward to continuing our work with P&G to increase the availability and sustainability of clean drinking water in developing countries.”

7 billion liters

Claudia’s family received Children’s Safe Drinking Water’s 7 billionth liter of clean water. Photo courtesy of P&G.

Celebrating ChildFund’s History

On Oct. 21, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the founding of ChildFund at our international office in Richmond, Va., where our Board of Directors and staff members gathered for a luncheon featuring global dishes, stories about our history, a display of pictures and other historic artifacts and a chance to catch up with our colleagues. Enjoy this slideshow of photos by communications team member Christine Ennulat! (If you can’t view the slideshow, click here.)

 

A Brief Encounter Leaves a Powerful Memory

By Federico Diaz-Albertini, ChildFund Americas Regional Program Manager

Editor’s note: As part of a training workshop, ChildFund staff members recalled a time in the lives when they made a deep connection with international development work, whether with ChildFund or another organization. Freddy kindly agreed to share his story.

It was another day in the life of an NGO worker, but this one started a little earlier than usual. The plan on this particular day was to visit rural Peruvian communities where we were in the earliest stages of starting work.

Honduras school

Freddy spends time with children at a ChildFund-supported school in Honduras.

I did not expect anything really surprising to happen during the course of the visit, since I was relatively familiar with the area and its population. We had a good preliminary assessment focused on supporting the community’s development efforts with the children. The car ride took us quickly from the paved streets of the city to the bumpy, unmaintained dirt roads of the countryside. As we climbed higher, I was once again impressed by the natural beauty of this rural area and dreamed about the potential of the region’s agricultural lands.

Of course, every one of the hundreds of bumps along the road tried to convince me that it was really more rational to be back in the city conducting a workshop that brought participants to a central location. Regardless, on we went, and the conversation with my colleagues was lively and motivational as we discussed the prospects of working in a new area that had experienced extreme levels of marginalization for as long as anyone could remember. It certainly coincided with our ideas of populations entrenched in an unending generational cycle of poverty.

Cesar, an experienced field manager, was quick to emphasize, however, that in spite of the scant support these populations had received through the years, “their sense of caring for the future had brought them progress in education and health.” That certainly made me think that a sense of independence and empowerment are always good for spurring determination and achievements.

The excitement level was quite high as we reached our destination and looked for the community leaders, who usually only believed outsiders were serious about a visit when you actually arrived. As usual, we sat patiently and waited for the community members to work their way to the small community center that they had built many years ago with their own labor and financial resources.

While waiting, a couple of us decided to walk around a little and greet the villagers. Outside one small house made of quincha, a mixture of mud and wood, there was a mother and daughter. The girl must have been about 4 or 5 years old and reminded me very much of my daughter, who was about the same age. She was rosy-cheeked, as is common in those windswept areas of the Andean region, and her hair was light colored. Whether the color of her hair was the product of malnutrition or just her natural color, we could not tell. In any case, she definitely caught our eye and took center stage during our visit.

As we stopped to talk to the mother, the little girl turned our attention her way with a song and by telling us her name, favorite games and family. She whispered to us about her older sister “who was always helping her mother around the home, while keeping her away from doing mischief.” She then spontaneously broke into a lively chorus of El pollito dice pio pio pio… .

The vibrancy of her movements and the spirit of her voice told us that we were in the presence of an extremely resilient human being whose potential was boundless. She captivated us in all sense of the word. It was a brief moment in physical time, but it left a lingering memory to contemplate for the rest of my life.

That little girl, whose name I don’t remember and to whose place I have not returned, awakened a dilemma in me with regard to life’s journey and the circumstances we experience along the way. Was she going to be able to build on her great joy for life, strength of character and intelligence, or would life in a rural, impoverished community slowly dampen the brilliance that we witnessed in her?

Since then my constant companion has been a vision in which all children are provided with equal opportunities on their walk through life, thus giving them the chance to help remake a world into one in which all girls and boys can thrive.

50 Days Campaign Comes to a Close, But Work Continues

 By Danielle Roth, ChildFund Youth Program Officer

The 50 Days of Action for Women and Girls is coming to a close. On ChildFund’s blog, we’ve shared stories about our work with women and girls in several of the countries where ChildFund works.

Kenyan girls

These 12-year-old girls attend school in Kenya. Our aim is to help more girls and young women receive an education. Photo by Jake Lyell.

We’re reminded that women and girls, who make up more than half of the world’s population, are resilient in the face of tough challenges like forced marriages, lack of access to lifesaving health services and medicine, lack of political freedom and limited access to education, among many additional obstacles.

ChildFund is part of a larger effort to support women and girls in the United States and abroad. Networks like the Coalition for Adolescent Girls and Girls Not Brides work tirelessly to assure that women’s and girls’ concerns are elevated to the attention of decision-makers like President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. In addition, many organizations are engaging with the United Nations to ensure that women and girls are recognized in the Post-2015 development agenda.

We encourage ChildFund’s supporters to continue to add their voices to advocacy efforts for girls and women.  For example, if you have a blog, share stories and important data on the well-being of women and girls around the world. On your Facebook and Twitter accounts, share relevant news stories with your friends and followers.

At ChildFund, we know that women and girls’ challenges are global issues and invite you to support us going forward. For now, we reflect on the 50 Days campaign with an apt quotation by poet Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

Why Words Matter

Speechwriter Jeff Porro has helped Fortune 250 CEOS and the heads of some of the nation’s most influential nonprofits.

Words That Mean Success book coverChildFund is fortunate to have been one of his clients. One of the toughest types of speeches to write is a commencement speech so when ChildFund’s President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard was asked to give the commencement speech for Assumption College, her own alma mater, Jeff agreed to write it based on input from her.

In a recent interview Jeff was asked about his favorite speech and he cited that commencement speech. “[Anne] is a terrific woman with a great sense of humor, and she was very willing to share wonderful stories,” Jeff recalled. “I’m very proud of that speech, but Anne made my job pretty easy.”

The commencement address can be viewed online.

If you want to know more about speechwriting, check out Jeff’s new book, Words That Mean Success.

Payroll Tax Increase Expected to Suppress Charitable Giving

By Cynthia Price, Director of Communications

infographic on charitable giving

Click to view the full graphic.

I’ve noticed my paycheck is a bit smaller with the return of the 6.2 percent payroll tax, a 2 percent increase over the 4.2 percent rate we’ve experienced for the past two years. I’d already identified and committed to my charities this year, so it’s not going to change my giving levels, although I may have to see fewer movies or cut back on my coffee shop visits.

At ChildFund, we were curious as to what Americans might say when asked whether the tax increase would impact their giving. Today, we release a survey conducted for ChildFund by Ipsos Public Affairs.

Here’s what we found:

  • 20 percent will reduce their charitable giving by an average of 29 percent.
  • 21 percent will not give at all to charity in the coming year.
  • 54 percent will continue to make charitable donations at the same level.
  • 6 percent anticipate giving more.

“While there is some good news in these findings, the survey results suggest a challenging year ahead, in what already has been a demanding fundraising climate,” says Tereza Byrne, ChildFund’s chief development officer.

“Nonprofit organizations like ChildFund can take comfort in the fact that six in 10 Americans will either maintain or increase their charitable giving,” she adds. “What is alarming, however, is the anticipated decrease in contributions by as many as one in five givers. If that comes to pass, it will likely have broad-reaching consequences across the nonprofit landscape.”

ChildFund Distributes Emergency Food in The Gambia

Reporting by ChildFund The Gambia

woman being interviewed

A community member describes her family’s situation to a local reporter.

Last week, ChildFund responded to the ongoing food crisis in The Gambia, working with our local partners in the West Coast region to distribute rice and cooking oil to 1,768 affected families.

The distribution took place during three days in the 32 communities where ChildFund has operations. All families received 50 kg of rice and 3 liters of cooking oil. We expect to continue support for affected families through October, when we anticipate food security for the region will improve.

child and mother receiving food

Mai and her child.

“My family and I are indeed very thankful for ChildFund’s intervention because there is no longer a fear of food shortage,” says Mai, mother of a sponsored child in Siffoe. “We can now enjoy the pleasures of having three meals per day.”

ChildFund New Zealand, a member of the ChildFund Alliance, as well as corporate and individual donations are helping fund the emergency food supplies.

Family Struggled to Prepare a Daily Meal

By Saroj Kumar Pattnaik, ChildFund India

Being born into an extremely poor family tends to reduce a child’s chances for a promising future. Years aoo, that seemed to be the case for Kesavaiah, a 6-year-old boy living in a remote tribal village in the Annanthpur district of southern India’s state of Andhra Pradesh.

Kesavaiah’s father, an agricultural laborer, was the only breadwinner for his five-member family. Insufficient income and paucity of alternative livelihood options often forced the family to struggle to prepare a full meal for all. Going to school and truly enjoying childhood was just a distant dream for Kesavaiah and his two sisters.

But things changed gradually for Kesavaiah after he was enrolled in ChildFund India’s Early Childhood Development program in 1996. Praja Seva Samaj (PSS), ChildFund’s local partner, matched young Kesavaiah with a sponsor, who provided additional funds so Kesavaiah and his sisters could attend the village school.

youth from India

Kesavaiah

“I still remember the days when my father was struggling to arrange a square meal for each of our family. My mother was also working as a daily laborer just to satisfy our hunger. Many a time we went to sleep at night after just drinking water,” recalls Kesavaiah, who has now completed his technical degree and aspires to become a top mechanical engineer.

He notes that it was the timely support from ChildFund and its local partner PSS that helped transform him from a pessimist to a dreamer.

“I never thought that I would able to complete my primary education as the conditions were not allowing that to happen. It was the moral and material support by ChildFund India and PSS that helped me to come so far in life,” he says.

“Their assistance and advice have not only allowed me to become the first person in our community to see a college, but they also have proved to be a solid platform for my sisters to continue their studies,” he adds.

Kesavaiah, who has understood the value of money since childhood, took full advantage of the sponsorship assistance, never neglecting his studies. He was the top student throughout his primary and intermediate education, earning a full scholarship to technical college.

In addition to his academic achievements, Kesavaiah, now 23, has been an active member of the local Children’s Club supported by ChildFund. His perseverance and tenacity to achieve have become an inspiration for others in his village.

Kesavaiah’s mother, Venkataramamma wants her son to fulfill his dream of becoming an engineer. “I am so proud for my son. He has been a reason for hope for all of us, and I am very much thankful to ChildFund for making this happen.”

Village leader Pakker Naik concurs. “[ChildFund] has been focusing on many issues with interventions at the school level and village level. We are now seeing this positive impact among children today. I would say proudly that Kesavaiah is the first engineer in our village.”

‘When I Was Little, We Had Nothing’

By Patricia Toquica, Americas Region Communications Manager

Bolivian family

Karla with her family.

“Welcome. I’m Karla and this is my house,” says a 19-year-old girl from La Paz, Bolivia, as she ushers us into her home, a one-room rental house shared by seven family members. Karla’s house, located on a small lot, is surrounded by upscale homes, something quite common in Bolivia’s urban areas.

“When I was little, we had nothing,” says Karla, adding that she’s proud of what her family has been able to achieve in recent years. “My mother used to take me and my brothers and sisters to the ChildFund center, where they would feed us and play with us.” That’s how Karla and her siblings started participating in Early Childhood Development, after-school activities and youth leadership programs that ChildFund Bolivia offers in La Paz through its local partner Avance Comunitario.

“We would go there to study after school, and we would learn a lot that helped us improve our grades. We’d then write to our sponsors about this support, so that they could learn about our life and how their money was helping us,” explains Karla who is now a civil engineering student at a public university in La Paz.

She is the second of five children: the eldest sister is currently working on her thesis in computer science and soon will be graduating from the university. Karla’s younger brother also finished high school and is studying to become a sound technician; her younger sister, will graduate next year, and the youngest siblings are in junior high.

“We were able to go to university because through the center we built our self-esteem and leadership skills,” Karla explains. “I used to be very shy [when I was young], but when I saw the professionals and other youth leaders working at the project, I wanted to become a professional like them.”

Her father is an electrician and her mother, Albertina, works at home and on spare jobs cleaning houses or washing clothes. She volunteers at the Avance Comunitario Center, where she also has taken skills training classes.

“Their interest is to study and become professionals,” says Albertina, nodding at her children. “I could only make it until eighth grade, so we support them in every way we can. They are all good kids and know how it is to live in poverty. When they grow up, they will be professionals and entrepreneurs, and they’ll help others and give jobs for the ones in need.”

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