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Justin Forsyth

I am Chief Executive of Save the Children. I started my career with Oxfam as a Policy Adviser on South Africa during the dying days of apartheid, a cause that was always close to my heart. At Oxfam, I rose through the ranks and helped build campaigns on debt cancellation, Africa, Make Trade Fair and access to medicines and helped build Oxfam as a global campaigning force. In 2004 I was recruited to Number 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 stayed on under Gordon Brown as his 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. Since joining Save the Children in 2010 we’ve recruited hundreds of thousands of new supporters, pioneered new innovative strategies for change from the Humanitarian Leadership Academy to the No Child Born to Die campaign - enabling us to increase the number of children it reaches from 8m to 15.4m in recent years.


Let’s make 2015 the year of action/2015

Monday 6 July 2015 by Justin Forsyth

The first rule of show business is never work with children or animals. The first rule of global G8 negotiations should be avoid naked flames.

It was 2005 and the Make Poverty History campaign was everywhere. Britain was the host of that year’s Gleneagles G8 summit of world leaders and Tony Blair had put Africa at the top of his agenda.

Now the Prime Minister had Bono, Bob Geldof, Richard Curtis and an unprecedented coalition of charities breathing down his neck. 20 years after Live Aid, Live 8 was about to host concerts in nine cities around the world, with a potential audience of 3 billion people.

The PM and Chancellor Gordon Brown both had high hopes for what could be achieved, but on this particular day Michael Jay, Blair’s sherpa – or, in layman’s terms, chief negotiator – had been trapped for hours with his international counterparts, and felt he was getting nowhere.

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Mediterranean crisis: harrowing stories show need to do more for children

Thursday 18 June 2015 by Justin Forsyth

I’m in Sicily where I’ve been hearing the harrowing stories of children and families who’ve survived the perilous trip from Libya across the Mediterranean Sea.

Every day, thousands are fleeing persecution in their homeland, in search of a better life in Europe.

A series of tragedies earlier this year highlighted the huge risks they’re taking, and put the spotlight on the EU’s heartless decision to stop search and rescue operations.

But even though search and rescue operations have resumed, I’ve been discovering that the ordeal doesn’t end when migrants reach dry land.

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Five Save the Children staff killed in Afghanistan

Tuesday 14 April 2015 by Justin Forsyth

Last Friday, news reached us of the death of five of our colleagues in Afghanistan. The five – Mansoor Ahmad Rahmanzai, 25, Rafiullah Salihzai, 27, Naqibullah Afkar, 29, Mohammad Haroon, 27 and Mohammad Naeem, 24 – had been abducted by an armed group five weeks ago in southern Uruzgan province. Despite desperate efforts to negotiate their release, they we’re murdered by their captors.

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A wake-up call: lessons from Ebola for the world’s health systems

Tuesday 3 March 2015 by Justin Forsyth

We all know the dreadful toll that Ebola has taken in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. It is not over. A conference today in Brussels is trying to maintain international support for the job of reaching zero cases and helping these countries to recover.

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The human cost of Ebola (part 2)

Wednesday 4 February 2015 by Justin Forsyth

Since the crisis began 221 health workers in Sierra Leone have lost their lives of a total of 1536 in a country with a huge shortage before Ebola struck. At the children’s hospital in Freetown you realise the impact of every health workers’ death. They lost one of their most impressive doctors last year. They now have only have three for a 200-bed hospital. This means they have to work 24 hours a day.

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The human cost of Ebola (part 1)

Tuesday 3 February 2015 by Justin Forsyth

I met 15-year-old Joshua, a survivor and his mother Gbassy in a small health clinic a few hours drive from the capital Freetown. Joshua had been discharged from Save the Children’s treatment centre on New Year’s Day with his 10-year-old brother. His mother had also survived at another treatment centre but his four-month sister, one-year and four-year old brothers all died. So did his father and 15 other members of his extended family. Like so many children here, Joshua is still in shock and traumatised by his experience.

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Ebola Crisis: emergency response in Sierra Leone

Thursday 1 January 2015 by Justin Forsyth

Save the Children is responding to the Ebola outbreak in four provinces in Sierra Leone, with a strong focus on raising awareness and breaking transmission at the source.

Our programmes also focus on strengthening or helping re-establish national healthcare services where these have been weakened by the outbreak. Our health, child protection, education and child rights work has so far reached around 100,000 people since the start of the response in March 2014.

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Pakistian school attack and every child’s right to education

Monday 22 December 2014 by Justin Forsyth

Every child in every country should feel safe and secure in school. No right-minded person would disagree with such a simple, fair and just idea.

That is why we are all shocked and appalled by the Taliban’s attack on innocent pupils in Peshawar, Pakistan on 16 December. But unfortunately the brutal attack in Pakistan is not a one off: schools are targeted in bloody conflicts across the world, from Syria to Nigeria. It must stop.

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Sierra Leone: a treatment centre for a country stricken by Ebola

Wednesday 5 November 2014 by Justin Forsyth

Our CEO Justin Forsyth writes about his visit to Kerry Town, Sierra Leone, where Save the Children today opens an 80-bed treatment centre to tackle Ebola.

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Gaza/Israel: children are never our enemy

Monday 1 September 2014 by Justin Forsyth

This article was written as a response to Tim Montgomerie’s article, You Don’t Save Children By Arming Terrorists, in The Times on 27 August but The Times chose not to run it so we are publishing it online ourselves to set the record straight. Instead, The Times have taken a shorter letter published today.

Eglantyne Jebb founded the Save the Children Fund nearly 100 years ago to help children starving in Germany and Austria as a result of the post-war blockade.

She did so not out of political posturing, propaganda or campaigning but to protect thousands of innocent children and to stand up for their rights: the foundations of everything Save the Children stands for and does today. She was, as we were last week on Gaza, criticised in The Times for supporting the children of our enemy.

She retorted that children are never our enemy.

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