The first charities bearing the War Child name were founded in the UK in 1993, and the Netherlands in 1995. Since then, both organisations - joined more recently by new War Childs in Germany, Sweden and the US (where it is known as Children in Conflict) - have worked closely together, but run their own child support programmes.
Over 30 years, millions of children have been helped through these programmes. However, the same period has seen the number of children living in conflict zones around the world more than double. Child rights continue to be violated at an alarming scale. New approaches and innovations are urgently required. Cue the War Child Alliance.
The War Child Alliance
The War Child Alliance brings together the five War Child fundraising members (in the Netherlands, UK, Germany and Sweden, plus Children in Conflict in the US), with 14 programme members, based in and around conflict-affected areas across the world and coordinated by a new international body: the War Child Alliance Foundation.
Through the Alliance we are integrating our programme activities under one umbrella - allowing us to combine strengths and pool resources - all with the aim to multiply our impact for conflict-affected children.
Commitment to localisation
The new structure will also see us embrace a modern de-centralised form of governance. As of 1 January, there has been a shift in authorization from central management to national and regionally-based directors. In this way, decisions are made closer to the services we deliver.
At the governance level, the board of the new Foundation will be made up of citizens of countries affected by conflict - including youth representatives. This is in line with our ambition to transform power relations within War Child structures.
Rob Williams, who joins the War Child Alliance Foundation as Chief Executive Officer, after 12 years as CEO of War Child UK, further elucidates on the benefits the new arrangement will bring:
“The War Child Alliance enables us to more effectively and efficiently combine resources, skills, experience and knowledge from across the global War Child family.
“It will enable us to collaborate more impactfully in international advocacy, scale up our programmes and evidence-based interventions and help other NGOs bolster their own impact by learning from our groundbreaking research.
“Most importantly, it will enable us – and all our donors, supporters and partners around the world – to help more children than ever before. Sadly, with more children affected by conflict than at any other time in War Child’s history, this will not come a moment too soon”.
Helen Pattinson, War Child UK CEO, said:
"Having a renewed and very specific purpose for War Child UK comes at a time when it is more important than ever to redouble our fundraising and awareness efforts about children whose lives are devastated by conflict every single day.
I am excited about leading the UK team so we can continue to inspire people about how children can change their own futures. By engaging with our psychological health and education interventions, children are able to recover from the trauma they have experienced and move forward. We hope that more people than ever before in the UK will join War Child on this exciting journey to change lives."