Gaining energy for change

I spent last week in South Africa, at a meeting bringing Save the Children colleagues from around the world together to brainstorm how best we can affect the changes the world’s most vulnerable children need.

The warm weather of Johannesburg in March offered a great many distractions to those of us from countries in the Northern hemisphere that have endured a long, cold and snowy winter.

Apartheid – consigned to history

But the location had much more to offer our discussions than warm sunshine. It enabled us to include an event inside the Apartheid museum on the future of campaigning.

There can be few places in the world that could inspire those seeking to affect dramatic social change better than this museum, whose flier carries the brilliant tagline “Apartheid is exactly where it belongs – in a museum”.

So energising was the meeting that even the wonderful South African sunshine  could not distract us from work – with the meetings continuing throughout the day and into the evening over the entire week.

New breakthrough needed

So what results emerged from these discussions?

The most important was agreement that while progress has been made, a new major breakthrough is needed to ensure that no child dies of a preventable cause.

Such a change in what the world views unacceptable, with a complete rejection of any preventable child deaths, would assist the completion of South Africa’s own journey.

For while the country still faces a great number of challenges with many facing economic hardship, and lower life chances, one pillar of the constitution is Equality. There could be no greater exemplar of enacting this principle than if all children had an equal chance of reaching adulthood.

Change is possible

But the backdrop of South Africa’s Rainbow Nation gave the meeting participants demonstrable proof that such large social change had been possible in the past.

It also gave us the energy and inspiration to work for radical change to benefit all children in the future.

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