A group of little children in Guatemala (Source: Jakob Studnar)

2019: The report of the Executive Board 

With the commitment and help of all sponsors, Kindernothilfe and its 300 partner organizations were able to protect and support more than 2 million disadvantaged children around the world. The child rights organisation was active with 595 projects in 32 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. 

Looking back on the past year, we also look ahead with concern: The consequences of COVID-19 hit children in the Global South particularly hard. In emerging and developing countries, hunger, violence, exploitation and lack of access to education are major threats to children. The intensive attention in the first months of 2020 has already been focused on many additional measures in the projects in the fight against corona.

Dealing with the corona pandemic

Online-school-workshop (Source: Martin Bondzio)
Kindernothilfe's 1st online-workshop for schools

The corona pandemic has challenged us both in our work in our head office in Duisburg and in the 595 projects in 32 partner countries. In the first quarter of 2020, much of our attention was focused on the essential switchover to almost complete reliance on digital communication and the many additional measures required to combat corona in our projects. Our endeavours were met with considerable interest and the wide-ranging solidarity of supporters for the children, young people and their families in the projects – despite the necessary social distancing restrictions in our face to face encounters.

Financial development

Even up to the start of December, it looked as if we would not receive the funds required to implement our budget. Yet, despite all our cost-saving measures, we managed to allocate 2.2 million euros more (+5 %) for project funding than in the previous year. We were, therefore, able to support more than 2 million children and make an effective contribution to realising children's rights.

We then benefited from a surprising turnaround in December: we received 15.1 million euros in donations, grants and legacies, the most we have ever received in any December. This ultimately enabled us to close the year with a positive annual result of just under 1.7 million euros. Funds we will urgently require, since the corona crisis is presenting special challenges to our partner organisations and the people involved in the projects. We will do all we possibly can to make an effective contribution to mitigating the diverse impacts.


Child care center in the refugee camp in Cox's Bazar (Source: Jakob Studnar)
Bangladesh: Over 300,000 euros in donations raised for Rohingya refugee families through a joint initiative with the German newpaper, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

Our global commitment to children's rights

The unfolding crisis in the social, political and economic situation in many countries, highlighted again and again by Kindernothilfe, further intensified in several regions in 2019. We all still recall the scenes of so many people in flight, seeking refuge. While the number of asylum seekers in Germany has fallen significantly, more than 70 million people were displaced in the past year. We are too well aware of the extremely difficult, violent and unbearable conditions on the ground. And, for children and young people especially, the global corona crisis poses an additional existential threat in these places.

In a worldwide survey, we asked our partners to identify their needs with respect to improved advocacy work. One topic we will continue to address as part of our national and international campaigning is the increase in violence perpetrated against children in many of our partner countries.

Nevertheless, there are also encouraging developments and examples – for instance in Ethiopia: we are confident that the extensive reforms, including the plan to “End forced child marriage and female genital mutilation” will improve the situation of children. Together with our partners, we campaigned for these developments and, in many places, specifically promoted the participation of children and young people in social transformation processes.

"Development works!" campaign

In the attempt to raise awareness for the significance and impact of development co-operation, we joined forces with four other NGOs to develop an online campaign to put more focus on the success of our work in project countries. Between September and December, the Development works! campaign was extensively promoted, reaching a total of 220.9 million users.

new year's charity run for Kindernothilfe (Source: Ralf Krämer)
New year's charity run for Kindernothilfe in Duisburg

The 60th anniversary of Kindernothilfe

Two landmark anniversaries stood out as the overriding theme and common thread running throughout 2019: the 60th anniversary of Kindernothilfe and the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. With the motto, “Children’s rights must not remain a dream”, dozens of small and large-scale initiatives continued with the building of the living bridge, which, from 1959 to 2019, empowered and protected more than 7.1 million children in 5,300 projects and enabled their participation.

Dr Auma Obama attended a Kindernothilfe event in 2019 (Source: Ralf Krämer)
 Anniversary celebration in Duisburg with Dr Auma Obama 

From the New Year fun-run with over 1,000 participants, an anniversary celebration with Dr Auma Obama, numerous activities by volunteers, a worship service televised by ARD at the end of May, the central 60-kilometer hike through the sprawling Ruhr conurbation to the Kirchentag in Dortmund, up to the media awards in November, many people were busy throughout the year, mobilising others with a range of campaign-related activities.

German foreign minister Heiko Maas took part in the KNH media award ceremony (Source: Ralf Krämer)
German foreign minister Heiko Maas took part in the Kindernothilfe media award ceremony 
KNH booth on the Kirchentag in Dortmund (Source: Ralf Krämer)
The Kindernothilfe booth on the "Kirchentag" - modeled after a kiosk in the fifties

Children's rights in Germany

Our efforts to realise children's rights in Germany are another key aspect of our work. As part of our Action!Kidz campaign, we reached 74 schools and 20 communities in Germany and, through an international youth conference, reached thousands of young participants from Germany, South Africa and Colombia. We also successfully expanded our advisory services for setting up comprehensive protective concepts and structures in sport, irrespective of the size of the club concerned or its level of professionalism. To mark the 30th anniversary of the convention on the rights of the child, we formulated a number of demands with respect to increasing children's participation in social and political processes and presented them, on their behalf, to the Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ).

Participants of the international KNH-Youth-Conference sprayed this graffiti (Source: privat)
     Workshops during the international youth                                                              Graffiti ...
Art with bottlecaps (Source: Lennart Wallrich)
 conference 2019 in Duisburg:
 ... and art with bottle caps 


The digitalisation of operational procedures is currently enabling staff in Germany and in the co-ordination offices to tackle the huge challenges posed by the corona pandemic and to continue working – predominantly – from home. We have to adapt our activities, reschedule projects and initiate emergency aid programmes without losing sight of long-term, structure-building measures.

Distribution of food parcels during the Corona lockdown in India (Source: KNH-partner)
Distribution of food parcels during the Corona lockdown in India

Within the scope of communications with the general public, digitalisation is also opening up enormous opportunities for our promotion of children's rights and the prevention of child rights violations. We will be developing a digital communication strategy in 2020 that allows the voices of children and young people to be heard on the issue of social engagement not only online, but also in the real world. The aim is to encourage direct, personal dialogue between generations, cultures and social milieus and create a global platform for improved social cohesion.

Strategic planning for the period up to 2025 will also be largely carried out online this year. Based on the global trends analysis, our aim is to work in closer co-operation with international players as a means of improving our response to humanitarian crises and developing long-term prospects for the support and empowerment of children throughout the world.

Katrin Weidemann, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Carsten Montag, Chief Programme Officer (CPO)
Jürgen Borchardt, Chief Financial Officer (CFO)


May 2020