By Alexandra Newlands, Policy Officer; World Vision Brussels
Alexandra Newlands works as a policy officer to support discussions between World Vision and the EU Development Cooperation in Brussels. She explains how and why her office has chosen to mark the Global Week of Action.
"During the global hunger event held in London in August 2012, Development Commissioner Piebalgs stated that the EU would 'focus mainly on the MDGs related to hunger and child mortality'.
"A number of important steps and initiatives have been taken by the EU to achieve greater impact in this regard, particularly for the world’s most vulnerable. As the world’s largest donor on food security for instance, the EU has played a leading role in tackling hunger and malnutrition for many years and this issue remains at the top of EU development agenda.
"Yet more coordinated global efforts need to be achieved to improve the lives and prospects of millions of children around the world.
"The World Vision office in Brussels promotes the global Child Health Now campaign as part of this coordination, and it seemed relevant for our office, at the hub of EU decision-making processes, to participate in World Vision’s Global Week of Action on child health.
"It also gave us the opportunity to choose a “bottom up” approach, approaching schools and youth groups throughout Belgium. We plan to visit over 500 students, aged from 6 to 25 years old. We want to use their words and ideas to encourage the EU institutions to scale up interventions against preventable child deaths.
"We have already conducted quite a few of these school visits. We have been impressed by the pupils’ interest in and understanding of such serious global issues as child and maternal mortality. They were extremely receptive and sensitive to the stories of their counterparts in developing countries who do not benefit from the same access to education and quality health systems.
"After explaining the global campaign and playing some games together, we asked the children to draw or write down their wishes for children that suffer bad health and to take group pictures with their hands up for Child Health Now. They participated in both activities with great enthusiasm and empathy.
"Their messages will be displayed in front of the European Parliament on the occasion of the popular mobilisation we are organising on November 19th, a day before Universal Children's Day."
Some of the wishes sent from school children in Brussels to the EU Development Cooperation.