TJIPKE BERGSMA AND PETER BAKKER
All of us at War Child have a shared ambition to significantly increase the scale and impact of our work. There are some 250 million children around the world whose lives are affected by violent conflict - and we are all working to adapt and strengthen our efforts to meet the needs of those children.
By 2020 we intend to reach one million conflict-affected children every year through our direct efforts - and millions more through building networks and sharing our expertise. In 2016 we are both delighted to report that we made several significant steps towards realising those ambitions.
In our fourteen programme countries our teams delivered high quality programmes to increasing numbers of children more effectively than ever before. This expansion of our programmes was achieved in spite of the many challenges faced by our staff in the field. In many cases security conditions were significantly challenging and the administrative burden on our staff was often immense.
In our travels over the course of the year we saw first-hand the impact War Child has on the lives of children and young people. One very striking example of our impact involves a teenager we met in Choco, a city on the west coast of Colombia. This area of the country is extremely poor and also heavily affected by the 60-year conflict between armed groups and government forces. War Child’s interventions in this region focus on engaging young people in positive action and personal development through creative activities including theatre, music and breakdance.
One young person participating in breakdance activities told us that the previous week he was approached by one of the armed groups to join them. He was offered a weapon and $1,000 - a sum of money he might not see in his entire working life. Even so, he declined the offer because participation and membership of the breakdance group gave him the opportunity to be positively engaged in his community. This encounter was very moving.
Much was also accomplished at our head office in Amsterdam over the course of the year. We restructured our ways of working with the aim of improving our processes while reducing our costs. We succeeded in increasing our income and the sums we release to our programme countries. Several new and innovative fundraising initiatives were launched, not least our annual TV special ‘Jij&Ik’.
On a strategic level we further developed the nine Core Interventions that will form the core of our programme activities and approved a new Research and Development agenda for the coming years. Our innovative Can’t Wait to Learn project gained momentum, recognition and funding while the launch of War Child Sweden promises to further strengthen our global impact.
There were frankly too many achievements in 2016 to list here - but they are all covered in detail in this Annual Report. None of these accomplishments would have been possible if it wasn’t for the drive and motivation of every single member of staff in our organisation and the generous contributions of our many individual friends, volunteers, sponsors and donors in the Netherlands.
We both want to take this opportunity to offer our sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to our growth over the course of the year. We are well on our way towards becoming the Networked Expert Organisation in our field.
Tjipke Bergsma (Manager Director) and Peter Bakker (Chair, Supervisory Board)