In 2018 - as throughout our 23-year history - the work of War Child will, sadly, once again be of vital importance. Some two hundred and fifty million children and adolescents currently live in countries affected by armed conflict - and this massive number shows no sign of falling any time soon.
The civil war in Syria has claimed more than 250,000 victims - including thousands of children - with no lasting resolution in sight. Across the world the nature of armed conflict is evolving - and increasingly taking place within the heart of civilian populations. Children in major cities are forced to grow up in the shadow of urban violence - where violence between armed gangs and state actors exposes them to a variety of threats.
These are just some of the challenges we have to face. War Child aims to be present wherever children are in need of protection from violence and conflict. But our resources are limited and we have to adapt to ensure we use our resources to the greatest effect.
In 2018 we will roll out a number of initiatives to ensure our collective efforts are more effective than ever before. Our integrated Care System will be further developed and pilot tested over the course of 2018. This model allows for an integrated approach that ensures the various interventions are interconnected and mutually reinforce one another - ensuring maximum impact.
In Colombia we will launch a pilot project to address the effects of urban violence among children and youth. Can’t Wait to Learn - our global programme to provide conflict-affected children with quality education - will expand into new territories. We will strengthen our efforts in Africa through our membership of the Dutch Relief Alliance. And we’ll also look to enter coalitions in response to the needs of Rohingya children in Bangladesh and refugee children inside Libya.
2018 will also see TeamUp - the joint project from War Child, Save the Children and UNICEF Nederland to support refugee children living in the Netherlands - expand to 32 locations. In addition, the international roll-out of the project will begin in Uganda and South Sudan.
We will also take steps to ensure we become more effective and efficient. Work will continue to establish shared essential standards for both War Child Holland and War Child UK over the course of 2018. These standards will ensure the highest levels of quality in all areas of operation.
And - in order to realise these ambitions - we will also act to further expand our funding base. We will continue to look at expanding our efforts in three new markets currently under investigation - Norway, Belgium and Germany. We will refresh our brand to ensure we are more invisible in an increasingly competitive marketplace. We will continue our efforts to attract new donors through exclusive events, actions and campaigns.
We will continue to strengthen our networks with partners and donors. This process will see increased management focus given towards expanding our portfolio of multiple donors.
We are confident that all of these efforts will help us fulfil our mission and allow the millions of conflict-affected children across the world to realise their right to a better future - both for themselves and their communities.