Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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This COVID-19 crisis is not going to end for anyone, until it ends for everyone.

That’s why ChildFund Australia has joined the campaign to #EndCOVIDForAll.

While Australia has been able to ‘flatten the curve’, and has a strong health system in place to manage new outbreaks, many of our neighbours are ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warns that the impacts of COVID-19 are falling “disproportionately on the most vulnerable: people living in poverty, the working poor, women and children, persons with disabilities, and other marginalised groups”.

The pandemic, and the response to it, is having a profound effect on children’s physical health, mental wellbeing, education, social development, protection, and participation.

Margaret Sheehan, CEO of ChildFund Australia, says: “The collateral damage of COVID-19 on vulnerable children is as big a risk as the virus itself.”

All children in all countries are affected; the virus knows no borders. ChildFund Australia is deeply concerned about the short and long-term repercussions the pandemic will have on the children and families with whom we work:

Disruptions to education: In many developing communities, schools have closed and there is a real risk that thousands of children may never return. This means they lose the chance to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and the generations that follow.

Food insecurity: Food is scarce because of disrupted supply chains and lockdown laws. The economic impact on already low-income families has been enormous, and parents are struggling to pay for basic needs such as food and shelter.

Overburdened health systems: Health clinics are struggling to cope, and many immunisation campaigns have been suspended. Around the world, hundreds of doctors and nurses have died from COVID-19 because of shortages in personal protective equipment and overworking.

Child protection risks: The psychological stress on families is enormous. Many parents have lost work and face an uncertain future. Sadly, this has resulted in an increase in domestic violence, with children both experiencing or witnessing abuse in their homes.

Impact on emotional wellbeing: Measures to contain the virus, such as the closure of public recreational spaces and schools, mean there are fewer opportunities for children and young people to play, socialise and connect to their peers. This is having a negative impact on both their physical and emotional wellbeing.

Without our help, COVID-19 could push more than 70 million people into extreme poverty.

It is time we offered a helping hand. Because as Australians, we take care of our neighbours.

Together, we can provide vital support to vulnerable children and families. It’s the only way we can end COVID for all.

Because it’s not over until it’s over for everyone.

Pledge your support for Australia to provide vital support to vulnerable children and families, and #EndCOVIDForAll.

Every person who donates to charity wants to feel confident that their contribution will be used effectively and ethically. We want to know that our support will be used to drive measurable and meaningful change, and have a long lasting impact. 

Recently, The Good Cause listed ChildFund Australia as one of Australia’s best international aid charities.

We’d like to tell you more about why we made their list, and what makes us one of Australia’s best charities in the international aid sector. 

We deliver on our mission statement and vision for change

Our mission statement informs our approach across the programs we manage. ChildFund uses a holistic and collaborative approach to reducing child poverty overseas. We work in partnership with children, families and communities to ensure children are protected, nurtured, and given access to opportunities that will help them to break the cycle of poverty. 

ChildFund Australia’s vision is a world without poverty where all children and young people can say: “I am safe. I am educated. I contribute. I have a future.”

To achieve this, we partner to create community and systems change which enables vulnerable children and young people, in all their diversity, to assert and realise their rights. 

At ChildFund, we know that childhood has a deadline. It is a critical time where experience and conditions determine a child’s present, and their future. We must do all in our power to ensure that every child can survive and thrive. Because every child needs a childhood.

We’re clear about how donations are spent across our programs

ChildFund Australia aspires to high standards of integrity. This is one of our organisational values and commits the organisation to being open, honest and transparent in all activities.  

Every year, ChildFund Australia publishes a financial summary as part of our annual reporting. Within the financial summary we outline:

  • the sources of our revenue; 
  • expenditure across our programs and administrative infrastructure; and
  • distribution of revenue across our programs by geographic region.

We also publish annual reports for each of our country offices, and provide regular updates on our child-focused programs to supporters. You can read our Transparency Statement here.

We’re transparent about who leads our charity

Every organisation is as strong as its leadership, and we are committed to transparency about individual appointments. 

Our current CEO is Margaret Sheehan, appointed by ChildFund Australia’s Board in December 2019. She was previously ChildFund Australia’s International Program Director, a role which she had filled for four years. 

Margaret has extensive experience in the international aid sector, which uniquely qualifies her to lead the strategic direction and operation of ChildFund Australia.

We have policies in place to avoid the misuse of funds

ChildFund Australia recognises that it is vital to have policies and processes in place to prevent misuse of funds. For us, the prevention of fraud, corruption or other misuse is the responsibility of all those who participate in the work we do. 

We are also committed to avoiding situations where the interests or personal circumstances of an employee or director could influence, or could be perceived to be influencing, the performance of their duties within the organisation.

ChildFund Australia’s policies apply to ChildFund Australia’s headquarter operations, and  to the offices in each of the countries where we work. They include:

  • Counter Terrorism Financing and Anti-Money Laundering Policy
  • Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Awareness Policy
  • Employee Code of Conduct

You can find all of our organisational policies on our publications and reports page.

We have systems in place to manage our emergency response strategies

ChildFund is committed to protecting children and communities impacted by conflict and disaster and aims to support communities to be better prepared to address these threats. 

We believe that risk reduction is the best strategy to manage disasters; however, when emergencies are unavoidable and do occur, our organisation provides support to children and their communities to quickly recover and re-establish their lives, dignity and livelihoods. In many cases, these responses will be initiated and build on local capacity and preparedness plans.

Our policy focuses on a set of key principles:

  • Localisation: ChildFund Australia recognises and respects strengthening leadership and decision-making by local and national actors in humanitarian action, in order to better address the needs of affected populations (DFAT 2018).
  • Humanitarian Imperative: The right to receive humanitarian assistance, and to offer it, is a fundamental humanitarian principle which should be enjoyed by all citizens of all countries. As members of the international community, we recognise our obligation to provide humanitarian assistance wherever it is needed (Red Cross Code of Conduct).
  • Link Emergency Response and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR): ChildFund Australia will build disaster response on local capacity. We aim to address better responses by reducing community vulnerability with development of disaster risk reduction (DRR) programming that builds local capacity, enables local response and reduces risk.
  • National Coordination: ChildFund Australia respects global principles of sovereignty in Emergency Response and the right of governments to coordinate and direct national responses. Wherever possible ChildFund Australia Country Offices will work in partnership with the national government to value-add to respond to those in need.

The most recent emergency response coordinated by ChildFund Australia is our COVID-19 crisis response.

We demonstrate the impact of our programs clearly

ChildFund Australia prides itself on measuring and reporting the outcomes of our programs to demonstrate clear and measurable impact. 

We’re focused on achieving the best possible outcomes for children, their families and their wider community. 

Our Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework is a vital tool to ensure we can evaluate the effectiveness of our work in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and other Asia-Pacific nations. 

This enables us to generate credible evidence about:

  • how ChildFund Australia’s projects contribute to change;
  • what we can learn about the quality and effectiveness of our programs; and
  • the reach and scale of ChildFund Australia’s programs.

You can find out more about ChildFund Australia’s Organisational Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework here.

You can donate or sponsor a child with confidence

We were named one of Australia’s best charities because we are a trusted, reliable and responsible not-for-profit organisation. 

ChildFund Australia is also a member of Accountable Now, a platform of international civil society organisations that strive to be transparent, responsive to stakeholders, and focused on delivering impact. 

As a member, ChildFund has signed 12 globally-agreed-upon Accountability Commitments and will report annually to an Independent Review Panel on our economic, environmental and social performance according to the Accountable Now reporting standards.

When you give to ChildFund Australia, you can donate or sponsor a child with confidence.