The Save the Children Fund,[2] commonly known as Save the Children, is an international, non-government operated organization. It was founded in the UK in 1919, with the goal of helping improve the lives of children worldwide.

Save the Children
Founded15 April 1919; 104 years ago (1919-04-15)
FoundersEglantyne Jebb
Dorothy Buxton
TypeInternational NGO
Registration no.England & Wales 213890
EIN: 06-0726487
Legal statusRegistered company limited by guarantee[1]
OriginsLondon, England, U.K.
Area served
Worldwide Edit this at Wikidata

The organization helps to raise money to improve children's lives by creating better educational opportunities, better health care, and improved economic opportunities.

The organization has general consultative status in the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Origins edit

The Save the Children Fund was founded in London, England, on 15 April 1919 by Eglantyne Jebb and her sister Dorothy Buxton as an effort to alleviate starvation of children in Germany and Austria-Hungary during the Allied blockade of Germany of World War I which continued after the Armistice.[3]

At the end of World War I, images of malnourished and sick children ran throughout Europe. The Fight the Famine Council was initially started earlier in 1919 to put political pressure on the British government to end the blockade, the first meeting having been held at the home of Catherine Courtney, at 15 Cheyne Walk. On 15 April 1919, the sisters separated from the council and created the "Save the Children Fund".[3]

In May 1919, the Fund was publicly established at a meeting in London's Royal Albert Hall to "provide relief to children suffering the effects of war" and raise money for emergency aid to children suffering from wartime shortages of food and supplies.[4][5]

Jebb and her sister, Buxton, worked to gain exposure to elicit aid.[6] In December 1919, Pope Benedict XV publicly announced his support for Save the Children and declared 28 December 'Innocents Day' to collect donations.[7]

The first branch was opened in Fife, Scotland in 1919.[when?] A counterpart, Rädda Barnen (which means "Save the Children"), was founded later that year (on 19 November 1919) in Sweden with Anna Kleman on the board.[8] Along with a number of other organizations, they founded the International Save the Children Union in Geneva on 6 January 1920. Jebb built relationships with other Geneva-based organizations, including the Red Cross, who supported Save's International Foundation.[3]

Jebb used fund-raising techniques to gain exposure, for example, making Save the Children the first charity in the United Kingdom to use page-length advertisements in newspapers. Jebb contracted doctors, lawyers, and other professionals to devise mass advertisement campaigns. In 1920, Save the Children started individual child sponsorship as a way to engage more donors. By the end of the year, Save the Children raised the equivalent of about £8,000,000 in today's money.[7]

Russian famine edit

By August 1921, the UK Save the Children had raised over £1,000,000, and conditions for children in Central Europe were improving due to their efforts. However, the Russian famine of 1921 made Jebb realize that Save the Children must be a permanent organization and that children's rights constantly need to be protected.[9] Their mission was thus changed to "an international effort to preserve child life wherever it is menaced by conditions of economic hardship and distress".[7]

From 1921 to 1923, Save the Children created press campaigns, propaganda movies, and feeding centers in Russia and in Turkey to accommodate and educate thousands of refugees. They began to work with several other organizations such as the Russian Famine Relief Fund and Nansen which resulted in recognition by the League of Nations. Although Russia was largely closed off to international relief and aid, Save the Children persuaded Soviet authorities to let them have a ground presence.[3]

At home, the Daily Express criticized the Fund's work, denying the severity of the situation and arguing they should be helping their own people before helping Russia. The charity responded with increased publicity about the famine, showing images of starving children and mass graves. The campaign gained national appeal, eventually allowing the organization to charter the SS Torcello to Russia with 600 tons of relief supplies. Over 157 million rations were given out, saving nearly 300,000 children. Improved conditions meant Save the Children's Russian feeding program was able to be closed in the summer of 1923, after having won international acclaim.[3][10]

Second World War edit

Save the Children staff were among the first into the liberated areas after World War II, working with refugee children and displaced persons in former occupied Europe, including Nazi concentration camps survivors. During this same time, work in the United Kingdom focused on improving conditions for children growing up in cities devastated by bombing and facing huge disruptions in family life.[7]

Continuing crises edit

The 1950s saw a continuation of this type of crisis-driven work, with additional demands for help following the Korean War and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and the opening of new work in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East in response to the decline of the British empire.[7]

Like other aid agencies, Save the Children was active in the major disasters of the era—especially the Vietnam War and the Biafra secession in Nigeria. The latter brought shocking images of child starvation onto the television screens of the West for the first time in a major way. The sort of mass-marketing campaigns first used by Save the Children in the 1920s was repeated, with great success in fundraising.

Disasters in Ethiopia, Sudan, and many other world hotspots led to appeals that brought public donations on a huge scale, and a consequent expansion of the organization's work. However, the children's rights-based approach to development originated by Jebb continues to be an important factor. It was used in a major campaign in the late 1990s against the use of child soldiers in Africa.[7]

During the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, new cases outnumbered the available hospital beds in the country. Save the Children worked with the UK government's Department for International Development and Ministry of Defence to build and run a 100-bed treatment center in Sierra Leone, as well as support an Interim Care Center in Kailahun for children who had lost their families to Ebola.[11]

Contribution to UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child edit

In 1923, Save the Children founder Jebb voiced her support for an international declaration that establishes universal rights for children by remarking that "I believe we should claim certain rights for the children and labor for their universal recognition, so that everybody—not merely the small number of people who are in a position to contribute to relief funds, but everybody who in any way comes into contact with children, that is to say, the vast majority of mankind—may be in a position to help forward the movement."[12]

Jebb created an initial draft for what would become the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1923. It contained the following five criteria:

  1. The child must be given the means requisite for its normal, materially and spiritually development.
  2. The child that is hungry must be fed, the child that is sick must be nursed, the child that is backward must be helped, the delinquent child must be reclaimed, and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succored.
  3. The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.
  4. The child must not be put in a position to earn a livelihood and must be protected against every form of exploitation.
  5. The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow men.[3]

The League of Nations adopted these five points as Declaration of Geneva in 1924. This was the first important assertion of children's rights as separate from adults and began the process that would lead to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations in 1989.[3]

Convention on the Rights of the Child edit

Following the atrocities of World War II, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. However, many individuals felt the rights of children needed to be addressed in further detail with a separate document.

The Convention consists of 54 articles that address the basic human rights to which all children are entitled: the right to survival; development to the fullest; protection from harmful influences, abuse, and exploitation; and full participation in family, cultural, and social life.[13] The four core principles of the convention are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival, and development; and respect for the views of the child.

Today, the Convention serves as the basis for all of Save the Children's work. It has been ratified in every country and around the world, with the exception of the United States.[14]

Structure and accountability edit

Save the Children is an international umbrella organization, with 30 national member organizations serving over 120 countries.[15] Members lead on activities within their home territory and work with donors to develop programs abroad, which are coordinated and delivered by a central body – Save the Children International – via teams on the ground in each country. Save the Children International also oversees humanitarian responses.

All members of the association are bound by the International to Save the Children Alliance Bylaws which include The Child Protection Protocol and Code of Conduct. These set a standard for common values, principles, and beliefs.[16]

The Save the Children International website states that the member organizations work towards achieving four key initiatives:

  1. Secure quality education for 8 million children affected by armed conflict.
  2. Expand and improve their presence in countries of strategic importance.
  3. Create a stronger voice for children where more than one member has programs by integrating country operations.
  4. Become the emergency response agency for children worldwide by improving disaster preparedness and response capacity so that they can best deliver immediate and lasting improvements to children.

Connections with other organizations edit

Save the Children helps to fund, and is aided with funds raised by, the British will-making scheme Will Aid, in which participating solicitors waive their usual fee to write a basic will and in exchange invite the client to donate to charity.[17] Save the Children collaborates with other NGOs in Family Tracing and Reunification.[18]

Collaboration with banks edit

Save the Children teamed up with Barclays and Standard Chartered in 2021 to create Fintech for International Development (F4ID), a social enterprise that "uses digital solutions to help deliver rising amounts of humanitarian assistance to hard-to-reach communities, ensuring it reaches those most in need".[19][20][21][22]

Controversies edit

The Save the Children Fund film edit

In 1969, Save the Children UK commissioned film director Ken Loach and producer Tony Garnett to make The Save the Children Fund Film. The resulting film was unacceptable to the organization because they felt it presented their work in an unfavorable light.[23] Eventually a legal agreement was arrived at which involved the material being deposited in the National Film Archive.[23][24] In 2011, roughly 42 years later, it was shown to the public for the first time.[23][25]

Expulsion from Pakistan edit

In July 2011, the Guardian uncovered a fake vaccination program by the CIA.[26] It then emerged that Dr. Shakil Afridi, the person organizing the CIA's "vaccinations", had claimed that he was a Save the Children employee. In May 2012, Save the Children's country director for Pakistan, David Wright, revealed that the organization's work had been badly disrupted ever since Afridi had made his claim, with medicines held up for long periods at airports, staff unable to get visas, and so forth. Wright also charged that the CIA had breached international humanitarian law and risked the safety of aid groups worldwide.[27] "It was a setback, no doubt," said Dr. Elias Durry, the World Health Organization's polio coordinator for Pakistan, a few months later.[28] Later that year, in September, it was reported that the Pakistani government had requested Save the Children's foreign staff to leave the country,[29] In January 2013, the Deans of twelve top US schools of public health sent a letter to President Obama protesting against the entanglement of intelligence operations in public health campaigns. The letter describes the negative and lasting impacts of the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) use of a fake vaccination campaign in Pakistan during the hunt for Osama bin Laden in 2011, which exacerbated the already persistent public mistrust of vaccines in the country.[30]

The CIA's "vaccination program" sparked a series of deadly attacks in Pakistan against dozens of aid and health workers associated with various aid and health campaigns, with the UN-backed polio-vaccination drive repeatedly halted as a result.[31][32][33] Up to eight polio vaccination workers were assassinated in the country during this backlash.[34] In May 2014, the Obama administration announced that they would no longer use vaccination programs as a cover for CIA activities.[33]

Pakistani investigators said in a July 2012 report that Shakil Afridi met 25 times with "foreign secret agents, received instructions and provided sensitive information to them."[35] According to an early draft of a Pakistan Government report, which has not been publicly released, Afridi told investigators that the charity Save the Children helped facilitate his meeting with US intelligence agents although the charity denies the charge. The report alleges that Save the Children's Pakistan director at the time of the incident introduced Afridi to a Western woman in Islamabad and that Afridi and the woman met regularly afterward.[36][37]

On 11 June 2015, Pakistani authorities ordered all Save the Children workers to leave Pakistan within 15 days, and the organisation's office in Islamabad was closed and padlocked.[38] This saga has led to a high degree of distrust and scepticism against the validity of COVID-19 vaccines in Pakistan.[39]

Complaints of inappropriate behaviour edit

Chief strategist of Save the Children UK Brendan Cox resigned in September 2015 over allegations of "inappropriate behaviour". The charity, and Oxfam, temporarily suspended bids for government funds due to the scandal.[40] Cox had previously denied any wrongdoing but finally admitted to inappropriate behaviour on 18 February 2018 and quit working for his two other charities.[41][42]

On 5 March 2020, the Charity Commission published an investigation report that found there had been serious weaknesses in Save the Children's workplace culture, following a probe into the charity's response to allegations of misconduct and harassment against staff between 2012 and 2015. There were five complaints of sexual harassment and thirteen of bullying between 2016 and June 2018. Save the Children UK chief executive Justin Forsyth had three complaints of misconduct directed towards him by female staff, while Brendan Cox was publicly accused of sexual assault. The charity trustees had not been sent copies of an external report on corporate culture. Since then the charity has strengthened reporting and whistle-blowing policies that now permit anonymous staff complaints.[40][43]

On 22 February 2018 Forsyth resigned from UNICEF to avoid "damage" to the charities.[44]

On 11 September 2020, it was announced the charity could resume bids for government funding.[45]

Logo font by Eric Gill edit

Save the Children's logo prior to the 2022 change.

On 15 January 2022, it was announced that Save the Children would change the typeface in its logo, Gill Sans, due to its authorship in the 1920s by British artist Eric Gill, who was posthumously revealed to have documented the sexual abuse of his young daughters, an incestuous relationship with his sister and sexual experiments with his dog. An anonymous source told The Times that the organization had been previously warned of the typeface's origin before its adoption, and that the decision to change it was made one year prior. The organization effectively changed its logo that same year.[46][47][48]

Jalalabad terror attack edit

On 24 January 2018, militants affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province launched a bomb and gun attack on a Save the Children office in Jalalabad, a city in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, killing six people and injuring 27.[49][50]

Archives edit

Archives of Save the Children are held at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham.[51]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Save the Children website
  2. ^ "Register Home Page". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Yates, Mick. "Eglantyne Jebb". LeaderValues. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  4. ^ Nault, pg. 6 2003
  5. ^ "CalmView: Overview". Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  6. ^ Hyder, pg. 2 2005
  7. ^ a b c d e f History Archived 15 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine. Save the Children.
  8. ^ " Anna Kleman – med engagemang i kvinnofrågor och fredsarbete" Archived 7 August 2020 at the Wayback Machine. Läst 15 januari 2018.
  9. ^ Nault, pg. 7 2003
  10. ^ Breen, Rodney (1994). "Saving Enemy Children: Save the Children's Russian Relief Organisation, 1921–1923". Disasters 18 (3), 221–237.
  11. ^ Uenuma, Francine. "Desperate Demand for Ebola Treatment in Sierra Leone; Five People Infected Every Hour". Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  12. ^ Hyder, pg. 3 2005
  13. ^ UNICEF 2008
  14. ^ "There's Only One Country That Hasn't Ratified the Convention on Children's Rights: US". 20 November 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Where we work". Save the Children International. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  16. ^ Our Structure Archived 20 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Save the Children.
  17. ^ "Will Aid". Archived from the original on 20 April 2009.
  18. ^ "Inter-agency Guiding Principles on UNACCOMPANIED and SEPARATED CHILDREN" (PDF). International Committee of the Red Cross. January 2004.
  19. ^ "NEW FINTECH COMPANY CREATES TOOLS TO HELP COMMUNITIES THRIVE". Save the Children International. 22 November 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  20. ^ "The Fintech Times -Edition 45". issuu. 11 July 2022. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  21. ^ "Fintech | Fintech for International Development | London". F4ID. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  22. ^ Rose, Sarah; Michael Pisa (21 January 2022). "Aid Alone Will Not Solve the Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan: Exploring 'All Options Available'". Center for Global Development | Ideas to Action. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  23. ^ a b c "BFI launches Ken Loach Project with the world premiere of his Save The Children film...42 years after it was made" (PDF). FOCAL International. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  24. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (1 September 2011). "Ken Loach's Save the Children: the film that bit the hand that fed it". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  25. ^ Smith, Neil (23 August 2011). "Banned Ken Loach charity film gets rare airing". BBC News. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  26. ^ Shah, Saeed (11 July 2011). "CIA organized fake vaccination drive to get Osama bin Laden's family DNA". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  27. ^ Crilly, Rob (3 May 2012). "Save the Children Pakistan chief under pressure after 'fake CIA vaccination' campaign". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  28. ^ McNeil, Donald G. (9 July 2012). "C.I.A. Vaccine Ruse May Have Harmed the War on Polio". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  29. ^ "Save the Children foreign staff ordered out of Pakistan". BBC News. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  30. ^ "CIA Vaccination Cover in Pakistan". 8 January 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  31. ^ Khan, Jamal (19 December 2012). "UN suspends polio drive in Pakistan after killings". Associated Press. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  32. ^ Khan, Riaz; Toosi, Nahal (28 May 2013). "Pakistan polio vaccination suspended after killing". Associated Press. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  33. ^ a b "U.S. Cites End to C.I.A. Ruses Using Vaccines". The New York Times. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  34. ^ "CIA Vaccination Cover in Pakistan | Johns Hopkins | Bloomberg School of Public Health". 8 January 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  35. ^ Leiby, Richard (26 July 2012). "Pakistan recounts in a new report how doctor helped U.S. in bin Laden operation". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  36. ^ Boone, Jon (5 September 2012). "Pakistan orders Save the Children foreign workers to leave". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  37. ^ "Save the Children foreign staff ordered out of Pakistan". BBC News. 6 September 2012.
  38. ^ Boone, Jon (12 June 2015). "Pakistan shuts down Save the Children offices in Islamabad". The Guardian. Islamabad. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  39. ^ "Hoe de vaccinatiezwendel van de CIA Pakistan nog steeds traumatiseert: 'Covid bestaat niet'". Business AM (in Flemish). 5 February 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  40. ^ a b Dalton, Jane (5 March 2020). "Save The Children misled public while failing to deal with sexual harassment allegations against top bosses, report reveals". The Independent. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  41. ^ "Murdered MP's widower Brendan Cox quits charities". BBC News. 18 February 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  42. ^ Cooney, Rebecca (19 February 2018). "Brendan Cox resigns as trustee of the Jo Cox Foundation". Third Sector. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  43. ^ "Reporting #AidToo: how social media spaces empowered women in the 2018 charity scandals". The Conversation. 6 March 2020.
  44. ^ "Charity boss Justin Forsyth resigns from Unicef". BBC News. 22 February 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  45. ^ McVeigh, Karen (11 September 2020). "Save the Children can resume funding bids following sexual abuse scandal". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  46. ^ Kanter, Jake (15 January 2022). "Eric Gill: Save the Children chiefs stop using font designed by paedophile artist". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  47. ^ Kingsley, Thomas (15 January 2022). "Save the Children stops using font designed by paedophile artist". The Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  48. ^ Quadri, Sami (15 January 2022). "Save the Children to ditch font designed by paedophile artist Eric Gill". Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  49. ^ "Gunmen Storm Save the Children Aid Group Office in Afghanistan". The New York Times. Reuters. 24 January 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  50. ^ "Militants Attack Afghan Offices of Children's NGO, Killing 4". The New York Times. Associated Press. 24 January 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  51. ^ "UoB Calmview5: Search results".

Further reading edit

  • Lynda Mahood, Vic Satzewich, "The Save the Children Fund and the Russian Famine of 1921–23: Claims and Counter-Claims about Feeding 'Bolshevik' Children," Journal of Historical Sociology, 22,1 (2009), 55–83.
  • Clare Mulley, "The Woman Who Saved the Children: A biography of Eglantyne Jebb, Founder of Save the Children" (Oneworld Publications, 2009) ISBN 9781851686575
  • Rory O'Keeffe The Toss of a Coin: 'voices from a modern crisis'. Hygge Media. 22 September 2015. ISBN 9780993272905.

External links edit