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14 January, 2022 / Analysis

Lombard Odier and UNICEF publish guide on philanthropy for children

By Christine Dawson

Focuses on meeting children’s educational needs and fundamental rights

Lombard Odier and UNICEF publish guide on philanthropy for children

Lombard Odier and UNICEF have published a Donor’s Guide to Children and Youth to help individuals and private foundations understand the challenges facing children globally and how to direct finances to support them.

For each of the three areas for philanthropists – health, education and child protection – the guide provides some context for the main issues around the world and case studies of showing past successes and future possibilities for donations. 

Each of the projects detailed is open to donations and each focuses on the two priorities of meeting children’s needs and fundamental rights and imagining a better future where each child can flourish.

Focused funding

According to Lombard Odier and UNICEF, donors can maximise the impact of their funding by working in a focused way to support the activities of public authorities.

“In concrete terms, there are four distinct ways to maximise the impact of philanthropy: financing innovation, co-financing an initiative, supporting underfunded areas and providing organisations with flexible funding that can be used with a minimum of conditions,” the groups said in a statement.

Previously, Lombard Odier published the Donor’s Guide to Cancer in 2018 and the Donor’s Guide to the Environment in 2020.

Patrick Odier, senior managing partner of the Lombard Odier Group and chairman of the Foundation Lombard Odier said: “This guide is all the more important now the global pandemic has generated further need for child support. Fundraising tends to have a shifting focus, driven by emergencies as they arise. Sadly, education and children’s rights are too often relegated to the background.”

Health

One case study provided by Lombard Odier and UNICEF is a project in which CARE Bangladesh is working to reduce maternal and newborn mortality in Bangladesh. The project trains community health volunteers who then provide support to pregnant women in the community including referrals to specialised services where needed.

Since 2018, CARE Bangladesh has trained over 1,400 community health volunteers. Their work has led to an increase in the number of women giving birth in health centres instead of at home. Home births have been identified as one of the biggest challenges for maternal and newborn health in the country.

Further, over a three-month period the volunteers visited 568,000 homes, conducted 7,698 birth-planning sessions and 14,134 sessions promoting good nutrition among mothers and infants. 

The guide pointed out increased poverty due to the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to undo the gains that have been made thanks to the project. 

In terms of donor opportunities, $125,000 could improve the child and maternal counselling skills of 2,500 volunteers. With $75,000 CARE Bangladesh can encourage some 600,000 women to get antenatal care, delivery and postnatal care.

Other case studies covered in health are a project to increase access to oxygen access for thousands of children in Bangladesh and one to improve access to mental health support for school students in Argentina.

Education

For improving child educated Lombard Odier and UNICEF noted the Insaka initiative, an early education project in Zambia. The project builds early education centres and trains community volunteers to run activities at centres and to make door-to door visits to families with young children.

The guide stated this project works closely with government partners and community leaders and has a long-term vision of breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty and poor education.

Early education, the authors write, bring the highest social returns of all education sectors – as high as $7.3 for every $1 spent on early child development. In this case, a donation of $225,000 helps construct two flagship Insaka centres.

Two more case studies on education are mentioned in the guide – one providing accessible education to children with learning difficulties in Cambodia and another improving digital education in South Africa.

Child protection

Child protection is acknowledged as being a different sort of challenge to health and education because it requires more in the way of systemic change than the other areas.

The guide stated it is particularly urgent now due to an increasing number of protracted conflicts – which put children at a higher risk of a number of related risks like being exploited by armed groups – and digital technology with its connected risks such as bullying and exploitation.

A case study on this area is a project in Nigeria to increase birth registration rates. Without an official identity, children are far more likely to miss out on key services like health care and education.

The aims of the project are to move from paper-based to digital birth registration and incentivise behaviour change to parents are more likely to register their child’s birth.

Donors providing $1m could fund the testing of a partnership to test a block chain system for tracking birth registration and child vaccinations.

Other examples of projects in the area of child protection are one providing social support to children separated from their families in Switzerland and a project to protect child rights in urban Brazil. 

Part of the Bonhill Group.