With an office in central Dublin and nine full-time and part-time staff, ChildFund Ireland raises funds for programmes through child sponsorship and by applying for specific project grants from other donors.
Sponsorship funds allow continuous support for children through community structures. We work closely with teams in the national offices to ensure accountability and to make sure that the funds are used for the benefit of the children in their communities. These controls include on-site reviews, budget evaluations and comprehensive auditing of projects and national offices.
Grants allow us to further support these communities in a targeted and sustainable manner, based on needs identified locally and articulated by the community members themselves. In three countries, Ethiopia, Uganda and Mozambique, we are directly responsible for a 4-year Irish Aid-funded programme focussing on early childhood development in very disadvantaged and impoverished areas. This will continue until the end of 2015.
ChildFund supports vulnerable children throughout their journey from birth to young adulthood in areas where children are impacted by war, natural disasters, poverty and global health issues such as HIV and AIDS. We help families to provide nurturing and protective home environments, and assist community leaders to create lasting and meaningful change in their localities.
In addition to the widespread knowledge that the early years are critical for long term development, our experience continues to confirm that children are key to breaking the cycle of generational poverty — and that our efforts are most effective when children are active participants in creating their own well-being rather than passive recipients of aid. Our focus on three life-stages — infant, child, and youth — is informed by more than 70 years of identifying and implementing best practices in the field.
Following a process of community-based reflection, analysis and strategic-planning, each country programme is comprised of a consistent and holistic set of education, health, livelihood, nutrition and food security, water and sanitation, HIV and AIDS, psycho-social and child protection projects. Put together, these projects form programmes which build the assets (health, education, income) of poor children, youth and adults, capitalising on their resilience, reducing their experience of exclusion and invisibility, increasing their power and protecting their children.
Arming children with literacy creates choices and opportunities, and helps break the cycle of poverty. ChildFund members work with communities and local governments to ensure adequate classroom space, well-trained teachers, non-traditional education for children who must work, programmes for girls who are unschooled or at risk of dropping out, peace schools in countries plagued by war, and skills training for young adults.
ChildFund members save lives by increasing access to safe and clean water and providing education on preventing and living with major health threats including HIV and AIDS. We are actively involved in immunisation programmes along with malaria prevention, mother and child health initiatives, infant mortality prevention, HIV and AIDS awareness, emergency medical interventions, community care programmes and many others.
Seven million children die each year in the developing world. This can be reduced with access to early childhood development education, good nutrition, and medical treatment. Malnutrition often stems from a lack of knowledge, not a lack of food. Therefore, ChildFund implements nutrition education programmes and monitors the growth and development of children worldwide, while also supporting supplemental feeding programmes and addressing food security issues at the community level through animal farming and increased agricultural production.
Job training and income-generation skills create a dynamic, self-sufficient workforce with economic and social prosperity. ChildFund programmes help families become self-sufficient by supporting small business development with village savings and loan schemes, business training and vocational skills development.
Children are dramatically affected by war, famine, and natural disasters. ChildFund Alliance members mobilise child-focused education, health services and psychosocial interventions to heal the physical and psychological wounds of children in emergency situations, and give them the chance to laugh, learn, play and to grow into well-rounded adults.