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Save the Children International


Since 1921, Save the Children Canada has been a member of Save the Children International, a network of 29 member organizations raising funds and operating programs domestically and/or internationally that focus on the issues of health and nutrition, education, HIV and AIDS, child protection, livelihoods and food security, emergency relief and child rights governance. The members of Save the Children International work together as a federation by pooling resources, establishing common positions on issues and carrying out joint projects.



History of Save the Children International

The first Save the Children organization was launched in London, England on May 19, 1919 in response to the aftermath of WWI and the Russian Revolution. Sister organizations were quickly established in a number of other countries, with Canada and Australia being the first two (the Canadian organization was established in 1921).

Eglantyne Jebb and her sister, Dorothy Buxton, were the founders of Save the Children in the UK. Eglantyne Jebb's goals (explained further below) were international in scope and in late 1919 she went to Geneva determined to create 'a powerful international organization, which would extend its ramifications to the remotest corner of the globe'.

The International Save the Children Union was officially founded in January 1920, under the patronage of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Union quickly grew to be more than a coordinating body. It became a platform from which Eglantyne Jebb could launch some of her more imaginative initiatives.

Eglantyne Jebb was the first to press for worldwide safeguards for children and the development of the concept of children's rights was, perhaps, her most important legacy. She drafted the first version of the Rights of the Child and on 23 February 1923, the Rights of the Child were adopted by the International Save the Children Union and given the title, 'The Declaration of Geneva.' On 27 September 1924, the Declaration was adopted by the League of Nations.

The most recent expression of the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (or UNCRC) was ratified in November 1989, and has its roots in the pioneering work of Eglantyne Jebb.

After Eglantyne Jebb's death in 1928, the International Union lost momentum. In 1976 a number of Save the Children organizations began to meet, gave themselves the name the "Save the Children Alliance", and established a small Secretariat office in Denmark.

Until 1988, the Save the Children Alliance continued to function as a loose association, with one of its members elected as Coordinator. Members met from time to time to discuss possibilities for program cooperation and coordination, but with very limited practical effect.

At a General Assembly meeting held in the United States in June 1988, the Alliance was re-launched under the title "The International Save the Children Alliance", with revised byelaws, a stronger Executive Committee and a decision to appoint a full-time Executive Officer to run a Secretariat office in Geneva.

In June 1994, a Strategy Group was formed with the purpose to establish a basis for the future development of a more dynamic, united and targeted organization. From June 1994 onwards, the Alliance Secretariat has focused on the rebuilding and expansion of the organization.

In June 1995, a General Assembly meeting in Mauritius approved a set of broad proposals for the future direction of the International Save the Children Alliance.

In March 1996, Alliance Members agreed a major revision of their bylaws. The intention was to enable the creation of an organization that was democratic and inclusive in its membership but had sufficient controls to ensure maximum program impact, and effective organizational positioning and fundraising.

In April 1998, the International Save the Children Alliance's first Chief Executive Officer was hired. Since then, the Alliance Secretariat has moved to London, England. The vision, mission, values, goals and objectives of the International Save the Children Alliance have been clarified, there has been a steady increase in program cooperation and joint efforts have been undertaken to intensify international fundraising.

In 2010 the International Save the Children Alliance became, Save the Children International under the leadership of Jasmine Whitbread, our first international Chief Executive.

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