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Racing towards new priorities in the year ahead

As we start our new fiscal year, see what’s top-of-mind for our CEO and country directors

By Brianne Binelli, online content manager, Canada

For many, January is when you set new goals for the year ahead. At Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, we do that in April at the start of our new fiscal year. So, we asked Patrick Canagasingham, our CEO, and our six country-office directors what they’re most excited about in 2018/2019. They were passionate about everything from more intentionally listening to the voice of the child, to healthcare initiatives and a strategy to promote the rights of youth and children. Find out what our leaders have on their minds.

Patrick Canagasingham
CEO

In the year since I joined CCFC, the team in Canada and around the world have been busy providing insights into our new four-year strategic plan, and I’m excited to see that work put into action. You’ll see us continue to address health, education and water issues, while more intentionally tackling deeply rooted attitudes and behaviours preventing children from realizing their needs, rights and dreams. We’re putting children at the centre of our plan — listening to their voices. We’re looking forward to sharing success stories with you.

Belinda Bennet
country director, India

Through empowered community action and enhanced participation of children, we will work through our partners to ensure the government’s social-protection measures reach children and communities where poverty is persistent through invisible structures such as caste systems (class systems) and gender. Strengthening accountability will amplify the existing gaps between policy and practice, and children will speak out through their experiences to unblock the system. This will positively impact children and communities inside and outside of our sponsorship program.

Feleke Tadele
country director, Ethiopia

This year we will strengthen our partnerships with local health-service providers to significantly improve the well-being of pregnant women and young mothers as well as reduce neo-natal mortality in hard-to-reach rural communities. We’ll train health professionals; construct health facilities, stocking them with equipment and medicine; provide nourishment to pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of five; as well as train communities on sanitation and hygiene to reduce the spread of communicable diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and malaria.

George Baiden
country director, Ghana

One initiative we’re excited about in Ghana is the Learning through Play project. The objective is to promote the cognitive development of children aged zero to six by encouraging play and interaction between family and friends. We’ll use this approach in early-childhood development centres in three districts in the Upper East and Northern Region. The project will target 42 communities in two of our program areas where early childhood care and development is limited.

Jeremie Ouangrawa
country director, Burkina Faso

The priority in the Burkina Faso office this year is to continue to increase the quality of our programs and pave the way for greater impact. Our passion and commitment to serve vulnerable children in Burkina is greater than ever. It’s about being part of an experience, which builds an environment enabling vulnerable children to unleash their potential.

Jorge Mendez
country director, Paraguay

We are so excited to be co-leading the Front of Childhood and Adolescence in Paraguay, a coalition of the most important children-focused non-governmental organizations in the country. The Front aims to encourage the next President of Paraguay to sign 20 commitments supporting an investment in child and adolescent rights to health, education and protection between now and 2023. Compliance of these commitments — such as reinforcing the national protection system and ensuring children with disabilities have equal rights — will benefit all children and adolescents of the country and the Front will monitor this compliance.

Maria Isabel Lopez
country director, Nicaragua

I am excited about the transition we are making in terms of a paradigm shift from working for children to working with children in terms of their rights and achieving their full potential. That implies children have to be empowered and involved in the decision-making process, where we’re listening to their dreams, concerns, needs and ideas. I am happy for the transition we are making, because it will create long-lasting changes that will positively impact their lives.

Photo by Juris Kornets

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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-centred international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For nearly 60 years, CCFC has worked with children, communities, donors and other partners — changing lives through improved health, education and clean water. CCFC works in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, to support more than 700,000 children, youth and community members.