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Justin Forsyth

I am the Chief Executive of Save the Children. I started my career with Oxfam as a policy adviser on southern Africa, a cause which has been close to my heart. I spent 15 years at Oxfam, rising through the ranks. In 1995 I went to Washington DC to set up Oxfam International, before returning in 1999 as Policy Director. In the early 2000s, I added campaigning and communications to my responsibilities and worked to build Oxfam as a global force. In 2004, I was recruited to No.10 by Tony Blair where I led efforts on poverty and climate change and was one of the driving forces behind the Make Poverty History campaign. I became Gordon Brown's strategic communications and campaigns director, helping to use new communications strategies to reach the British public on a range of issues from knife crime to climate change. I joined Save the Children to help save and transform the lives of millions of children through our life-saving work and to ensure that every child has a chance to fulfill their potential.


Rwanda: After the genocide 20 years ago, we said ‘never again’. Did we mean it?

Monday 7 April 2014 by Justin Forsyth

Two decades ago, the world watched in horror as Rwanda was pulled apart by a brutal genocide. The international community, burned by a failed intervention in Somalia and distracted by events elsewhere, failed to intervene to stop the killing.

Led by the US and supported by Britain, the UN Security Council refused to deploy a stronger peacekeeping force. By the time it was galvanised into action, an estimated 800,000 people were dead.

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Central African Republic: The world must act decisively to avert a catastrophe

Tuesday 17 December 2013 by Justin Forsyth

I have just returned from a week in the Central African Republic (CAR). I was shocked by what I witnessed. Dead bodies littering the streets. Children shot and injured in the fighting. Hundreds of thousands of families driven into the bush by fear, living out in the open with no food or shelter. In the capital, thousands huddled around a monastery frightened for their lives. I will never forget the fear in the eyes of the children I met.

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Italy: The boats are unsafe – but frightened refugees still get on

Thursday 24 October 2013 by Justin Forsyth

The sinking of a migrant boat off Lampedusa earlier this month may have shocked the world, but it won’t have surprised the refugees who have already made the dangerous sea-voyage between north Africa and Europe. Those who survive the journey tell stories of fearing the worst when they see the state of the boats; some speak of bailing out water before they’ve even got moving.

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Major announcements boost the last stretch of the health Millennium Development Goals

Tuesday 24 September 2013 by Justin Forsyth

We often question whether big international meetings achieve enough to justify the expense and trouble. But the news yesterday from New York suggests that, at the very least, global meetings create peer pressure on donors and a real sense of urgency.

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Syria: children targeted because ‘they are the future’

Friday 13 September 2013 by Justin Forsyth

It is not until you speak to the children that the true horror is brought home. Youngsters who have borne witness to atrocities no one should ever see tell of the suffering and brutal reality of the war in Syria. Stories like that of 13 year-old Majed who talked about how a machine gun mounted on a tank shot 15 people on the street where he stood. He explained to me how he saw his best friend die on the way to a funeral after he was shot in the back, describing how the bullet came through his tummy and how the hole it left couldn’t be covered with both his hands.

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Eglantyne Jebb: a true children’s champion

Sunday 25 August 2013 by Justin Forsyth

Today marks the birthday of the founder of Save the Children, Eglantyne Jebb.

You might not recognise her name. But this remarkable Edwardian woman’s vision of a better world for children still resonates powerfully today.

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Ask the children if foreign aid works

Thursday 8 August 2013 by Justin Forsyth

If you based your judgment of British aid on this week’s headlines, you’d be forgiven for thinking things were a bit of a mess. You’d imagine well-heeled charity executives pocketing large salaries while, in the racist words of the MEP Godfrey Bloom, billions of pounds are sent to “Bongo-Bongo Land”, where they pay for expensive sunglasses and sports cars. You’d probably wonder whether our charities are worth supporting, or if the Government is spending your money sensibly. And you’d have good reason to, if it were true. It isn’t.

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Baby Umi: a heartbreaking reminder of why we must win the fight against hunger

Tuesday 25 June 2013 by Justin Forsyth

Two years ago, in the midst of the worst drought to hit Kenya in decades, I met a little girl called Umi. She was very ill: malnourished, dehydrated, and close to death. She had been spotted by one of our mobile health clinics and rushed to hospital. The struggle of this tiny, frail baby, just three months old and clinging to life by a thread, moved me to tears. In the most dramatic humanitarian crises, sometimes a single story tells us everything we need to know. Umi’s was one of those stories. Pictures of her as she fought to survive were beamed around the world and prompted an outpouring of generosity that raised millions of pounds and saved thousands of lives.

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Somalia: a tale of two cities

Wednesday 28 November 2012 by Justin Forsyth

With the world turning its attention away from the violence in Gaza, back to the turmoil in Syria and the rising floodwater here in the UK, there’s not much room left for the beleaguered country I’ve just returned from.

Hunger, war, and drought have turned this nation in the Horn of Africa into possibly the hardest place in the world to be a child.

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The hunger summit could be the real legacy of the Games

Tuesday 14 August 2012 by Justin Forsyth

I am glad that, amid all the wonderful celebration of sporting achievement, world leaders have been able to use the London games as an opportunity to think about helping children who are without the most basic means of building a productive life: adequate, nutritious food.

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