As a child-focused development agency, every ChildFund Australia program is designed to improve the lives of children, within the environment of their family and community. We seek to help children develop by tackling the root causes of poverty and focusing on areas that directly affect the health and wellbeing of children. These priorities include the following areas:
Literacy and education are paramount in escaping poverty, but in many developing countries, children often don't have the opportunity or money to attend school. Even when they are able to go, many don't have access to basic educational tools, such as books, paper and pens. ChildFund Australia's education programs strive to create an environment conducive to the increased participation of children in school and improved classroom performance. Programs facilitate education by providing direct support, including school supplies, mid-day meals and the payment of school fees.
An estimated 150 million children worldwide are malnourished - a major cause of childhood illness and mortality. ChildFund Australia and the ChildFund Alliance implement nutrition and food security programs which aim to ensure the physical, emotional and social development of children from birth. This is achieved through the provision of food for malnourished children, promoting the best feeding practices, such as exclusive breast-feeding, addressing food security needs on a community level, and empowering communities to increase their level of food security through better farming techniques and tools, improved seeds and irrigation methods and safe food storage.
Deadly diseases, many preventable by simple childhood immunisations, continue to cause millions of unnecessary deaths each year. ChildFund Australia supports community-based health interventions through immunisation and malaria and tuberculosis prevention programs. In many developing countries, malaria, malnutrition, diarrhoea, respiratory infections and measles are the most common diseases to affect children under five years. Children and pregnant women are at most risk from malaria, so to help reduce further infections, ChildFund Australia and our ChildFund Alliance affiliate organisations provide insecticide mosquito nets, antimalarial drugs and health education on prevention.
Water is essential for life - but access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation in the developing world is often scarce. A child born in a country such as Australia consumes 30 to 50 times as much water as a child living in the African continent. Worldwide, one billion people lack access to an improved water supply and over two billion lack access to improved sanitation. ChildFund Australia, as part of the ChildFund Alliance network, is working towards providing communities with safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, thus reducing water-borne disease and under-five mortality. By drilling boreholes and finding new water sources, we can also remove the burden suffered by children and women who are often forced to walk long distances to access water.
In developing countries, HIV and AIDS affects everyone. To date, over 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. ChildFund Australia, in partnership with ChildFund Alliance affiliate organisations, is addressing HIV and AIDS prevention and care with a seven-step strategy that covers prevention measures, home-based care, income-generation activities, nutrition and child health, educational assistance and psychosocial support. Our programs also promote positive living for people living with AIDS through support groups, sustainable livelihood efforts and the early medical treatment of opportunistic infections.