War Child: Empowering Children Facing Conflict

Contributed by Martin Holliday, Programme Funding Coordinator, War Child UK

In any situation of conflict, it is the children who will always end up suffering most. Around the world, from Afghanistan to the Democratic Republic of Congo, boys and girls are being killed, maimed or orphaned on a daily basis.

In the Central African Republic, we at War Child UK are working with young people who have been affected by the ongoing conflict in CAR and involved with armed groups when they should be learning math in school.

In Iraq, we are supporting children who have been caught up in the ferocious battle between the government and so-called Islamic State – some who have seen executions in the streets of their hometown when they should be playing in the park.

And in Afghanistan, we are dealing with the fallout of more than a decade of ongoing conflict, working in Kabul with street children who are living precarious lives in the markets of the country’s capital.

In any conflict, children are the most vulnerable of victims. It is a little known fact that more than 50 per cent of those affected by any war are boys and girls.

We at War Child UK are striving to make sure that their voices are heard and they receive the assistance they badly need.

A "Back to School" session in Iraq. (photo by Richard Pohle)

Impact of NGOsource Equivalency Determination

Our organisation supports children in six countries – Afghanistan, Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jordan and Iraq. In total we worked with approximately 125,000 boys and girls in 2015.

The equivalency determination which War Child was awarded in February this year is a crucial mechanism for ensuring we are able to continue our programmes around the world.

Essentially it gives War Child UK an opportunity to explore a range of new funding opportunities. It reassures grant-makers that War Child UK is a legitimate and well-governed organisation that meets the same criteria that US-registered charities are expected to adhere to.

Our organisation is growing fast. As mentioned, we supported around 125,000 boys and girls in 2015. Only five years ago, that figure was a little over 13,000.

The expansion has been underpinned by a rapid growth in income, from £3.6 million ($4.9 million) in 2011 to a projected £12 million ($15.8 million) in 2016.

This entire process has been bolstered by our desire to engage with a broader range of donors. And the equivalency determination will go a long way to ensuring we are able to sustain the rate of growth.

For other NGOs who are looking to match War Child UK’s expansion, equivalency determination status represents a vital cog in the fundraising machinery.

A young woman poses with her sewing machine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (photo by David Bebber)

And of course, it is those we support who benefit the most from this. Over the past 12 months, War Child UK’s expansion has helped huge numbers of children whose lives had been torn apart by conflict – from Iraqi boys and girls on the outskirts of Fallujah, where we are working with a local NGO to provide psychosocial care for traumatised children, to Syrian refugees in Jordan, who stand to benefit from an innovative tablet learning education programme we are introducing.

For these children and their families and communities, the extra funding that can be sourced as a result of the equivalency determination will enable us to support more of the most vulnerable boys and girls in conflicts around the world.

______________________________________________________________________

This guest post is by Martin Holliday, Programme Funding Coordinator of War Child UK.

Top photo: A mother and her two children in the Central African Republic (picture by David Bebber).

All images used with permission of War Child UK ©2016