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Save The Children And MFAT Announce New Partnership For Impact

Chief Executive Heidi Coetzee says, "This is a win for children in the Pacific. Children have told us what is important to them." Photo credit: Robert McKechnie, Save the Children.

Today Save the Children New Zealand and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are celebrating the signing of a co-funded $14 million partnership deal for development aid across five countries in the Pacific and Asia.

Chief Executive Heidi Coetzee says, "This is ultimately a win for children. It’s about giving children hope. It’s our job to make sure their rights are protected and their voices are heard. We’ve been working with and listening to children as part of this partnership. It is their right to participate and be heard, and they have told us what is important to them, and what makes them feel safe. This is a truly integrated approach, with children at the centre of what we do."

For the last year, MFAT has been working alongside Save the Children, as one of three pilot agencies, to develop a new type of funding partnership. The new model, called ‘Partnering for Impact’, focuses on a long-term vision across a broader geographic area. Save the Children will launch programmes in Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Laos and Nepal, implementing similar initiatives in response to common issues and allowing field staff across countries to share learnings.

This new programme will address three key areas: child poverty, violence against children, and safe schools.

In communities where families do not have enough money to send their children to school, Save the Children will be supporting parents with training, small grants and better access to markets so they can invest in their own agricultural business. We know that when parents improve their livelihoods and earn more, they are able to spend more on their children.

The second area is working with parents, teachers and other carers on ways to positively discipline children without resorting to violence. Like New Zealand, many countries in the Pacific and Asia have laws against physically punishing children, but parents haven’t been supported to learn about and use appropriate alternatives to physical discipline.

Thirdly, Save the Children is incorporating a holistic approach to safe schools by addressing the different hazards that stop children from succeeding at school. This ranges from repairing roads and bridges on the way to school, to preventing bullying, and physical punishment and creating disaster management plans. These projects will be led by the community, with children helping to identify the problems they face and the places they feel unsafe.

Save the Children will also be working at the local level with in-country partners to improve capacity, for example on building their skills in project management, in order to deliver more effective projects for children. International Programmes Director Rosemary Fenton says, "We’ll be working at every level to foster positive relationships, because as so many of us know, working in the Pacific it’s all about having good relationships with the people you’re working with."

"We’ll also be working at different levels of national and local government, strengthening their data collection systems and infrastructure to build their capacity. We believe that if you improve the system itself, you can have a positive impact on the whole country," says Ms Coetzee.

Save the Children will be matching MFAT’s funds by roughly twenty percent. Ms Coetzee says, "This negotiated partnership agreement wouldn’t be possible without our amazing supporters whose ongoing donations allow us to plan long-term projects that will create lasting change for children."

Save the Children raises funds to support children and families to survive and thrive in countries that most need our help, to donate go to https://www.savethechildren.org.nz

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