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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)