Vulnerable Children

FY2017 Funding Recommendation:  
$32 million

 

Funding History

       Enacted   

       President's FY2017 Request   

       InterAction's FY2017 Recommendation


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Justification

 Key Facts

The United States government works with other governments and partners to protect children from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect. Despite that:

In December of 2012, the U.S. government launched the Action Plan for Children in Adversity, the first-ever, whole-of-government, global strategy for vulnerable children. The plan has three goals: (1) create strong beginnings for children; (2) ensure a family for every child; and (3) protect children from abuse, exploitation, violence, and neglect. The plan also includes establishing an evidence base of effective program models; increasing U.S. government interagency coordination and efficiency on behalf of vulnerable children; and partnering with host countries to support strengthening child welfare systems.

The requested $32 million for FY2017 – an increase of $10 million over enacted FY2016 spending levels – would allow the U.S. government to make progress toward developing strategies for pilots in six focus countries. Funding will be allocated to support the following objectives:

  • Help children under five not only survive, but also thrive by supporting comprehensive programs that promote sound development of children through the integration of health, nutrition, and family support.
  • Support and enable families to care for their children; prevent unnecessary child-parent separation; and promote appropriate, protective, and permanent family care.
  • Facilitate efforts by national governments and partners to protect and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence against children.
  • Strengthen child welfare and protection systems. Promote evidence-based policies and programs.
  • Integrate this plan within U.S. government departments and agencies.

Success Story

Savings with Learning: Empowering Women, Protecting Children

In rural Angola, families face many health challenges, and children under the age of five are particularly vulnerable. Together, malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia account for more than half of child deaths; and although efforts in mosquito net distribution and water and sanitation have made an impact, the government has called for partners to expand programs in remote areas.

On the outskirts of Uige Town, in northern Angola, the members of the Bem Vindo Learning Group meet to discuss how they can improve the health of their children and their community. In places beyond the end of the road with low-resourced or inaccessible health facilities, mothers often bear the burden of care for their families, and the Mothers’ Union of the Anglican Church in Angola facilitates groups where women can share and receive support.

During their meetings, the women discuss the importance of good health and hygiene practices such as proper breastfeeding and nutrition, frequent hand washing, and how to prevent diseases such as malaria. However, as one member, Anabella, pointed out, knowledge is only half of the solution. “We have discussed the ways in which we can prevent malaria, including removing garbage, clearing away stagnant water, and sleeping under a mosquito net,” Anabella explained. “And we have worked hard to clean up our neighborhood, but not all of us have mosquito nets.”

Noting that the government’s net distributions had not yet reached their town and might not supply enough nets to cover everyone in their families, Anabella’s group decided to act. At 600 Kwanza (approximately $4.50), a net was too expensive for most household budgets, so they devised a solution: every woman would put 30 Kwanza per week into a collective fund at their Sunday meetings, so that each week one woman would be able to purchase a net for her home.

There are currently over 88 Savings with Learning groups in Angola like Anabella’s; and thanks to the Anglican Church in Angola and support from Episcopal Relief & Development and a new 3-year (2016-2018) grant from USAID, trained facilitators will be working to form new groups in Uige Province’s Songo Municipality, based on the successful Mothers’ Union training and mobilization strategy.

Building on community-led work to map, design and construct improved public water points and sanitation facilities in Songo, these new neighborhood groups will concentrate on boosting health and hygiene at the household level. Peer-to-peer education on how good sanitation prevents disease and protects the environment, combined with technical assistance on how to construct latrines and hand-washing stations at home, will lay the foundation for community change – but again, knowledge is only half the solution. In order to support continued investment in clean water and sanitation, the program will introduce groups to the same Mothers’ Union savings and lending activities that helped Anabella’s group take action in preventing malaria.

As Anabella and her sisters around the world know, empowering families with education and economic opportunities helps communities raise happy, healthy children.

Photo: Episcopal Relief and Development

 

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