The Save the Children Fund (SCF) is a United Kingdom-based NGO that has an annual income of almost $700 million and is active in more than 100 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. SCF’s mission is to “fight for children in the UK and around the world who suffer from poverty, disease, injustice and violence, working with them to find lifelong answers to the problems they face.”
SCF’s work focuses primarily on the following programs:
Emergencies: “Emergencies … include war, refugee crises, famine, drought and floods. … Children are particularly vulnerable in emergencies because they are physically weaker than adults and risk being separated from their families. … We began life as an emergency relief agency. Now we respond to people’s immediate needs in an emergency while prioritizing long-term recovery and development.”
HIV and AIDS: “Save The Children works to prevent HIV/AIDS and support children who are affected by it. We tackle poverty, educate children about HIV/AIDS, support community care for children orphaned by AIDS, challenge prejudice against young people affected by HIV/AIDS, protect orphaned children from exploitation and abuse, and involve children in HIV/AIDS prevention and support work.”
Health: “Save The Children tackles the main cause of ill-health — poverty — by campaigning for fairer international policies and resources, both nationally and internationally, for health services. We work with health providers, governments, other non-governmental organizations, communities and children to improve access to affordable, good quality health services.”
Education: “Save The Children works to ensure that all children get access to good quality education by tackling poverty, helping communities run schools, training teachers, developing education policies and curricula, supporting flexible learning schemes, developing educational opportunities for very young children, and providing education for children caught up in emergencies.”
Poverty and Economics: “The extent and severity of global poverty are directly linked to economic policies and activities that ignore children’s right to a happy, healthy and secure childhood. Save The Children is pushing for more investment in key services that benefit children …”
Exploitation and Protection: “We lobby to improve juvenile justice systems, to stop the abuse of children accused of crime. We help child workers, refugees, asylum-seekers and other excluded children get healthcare and education, and lobby internationally against child trafficking, the use of child soldiers and harmful child labor.”
Equality and Rights: “The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child” underpins all of Save The Children’s work. All children are equal, and have human rights such as the right to food, shelter, health care, education, and protection from violence, neglect and exploitation.”
Presenting a very biased, anti-Israel version of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, SCF has failed to condemn the Palestinian exploitation of children as suicide bombers; has ignored the use of textbooks that promote Jew-hatred among Palestinian schoolchildren; and has condemned Israel’s construction of an anti-terror security barrier in the West Bank.
The SCF campaign against the security barrier included a 2004 presentation at the United Nations Human Rights Commission session in Geneva. Moreover, in March 2004 the British and Swedish branches of SCF published a report, “Living Behind Barriers,” which claimed that as a result of the barrier, Palestinian children had suffered an “alarming rise in [their] sense of insecurity and risk of violence.” (By contrast, the document said nothing about the emotional fallout that Israeli children may have suffered as a result of Palestinian terror attacks.) The report also asserted that Israeli transgressions, and not hate-oriented Palestinian educational programs, were to blame for the fact that many Palestinian children equated Jews with “animals.” Finally, it made unsubstantiated allegations that Israeli police routinely “torture and abuse” Palestinian minors.
In April 2006, SCF criticized the United States, Canada, and the European Union for choosing to suspend aid payments to the Palestinian Authority after the newly elected Hamas government took office on March 29. SCF’s position on this matter was shared by such NGOs as Amnesty International (USA), Christian Aid, the International Federation for Human Rights, KAIROS, Medecins du Monde, Medecins Sans Frontiers, and Oxfam.
SCF has received funding from dozens of foundations, including the Ahmanson Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Turner Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.
This profile is adapted, with permission, from the NGO Monitor.