Save the Children Australia

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Save the Children Australia
Save the Children logo
Founded 1919
Founder Eglantyne Jebb
Dorothy Buxton
Founded at London, England (UK)
Type NGO
Headquarters Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Area served
Australia and Worldwide
Slogan "We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfill their potential."
Mission To inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.

CEO: Paul Ronalds[when?]
Vision: "A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation."[citation needed]

Values: Accountability, ambition, collaboration, creativity, integrity.[citation needed]

Save the Children Australia is an aid and development agency dedicated to helping children in Australia and overseas. It is an independent, not-for-profit and secular organisation.

Save the Children Australia is a member of the Save the Children Association (registered in Geneva, Switzerland), a group of 30 organisations sharing a global vision and strategy for improving the lives of children worldwide.

Save the Children Australia, and the other members of the Save the Children Association, focus on responding to humanitarian emergencies, reducing infant and child mortality, protecting children from violence, and ensuring all children have access to a quality basic education.

In 2014, Save the Children Australia responded to 18 humanitarian emergencies, and ran 149 projects that reached 12 million people in 29 countries.[1]


Save the Children was founded in England by Eglantyne Jebb, a teacher and sociologist, in 1919.[2] Known then as the International Save the Children Fund, the organisation’s first goal was to supply food to starving children in Austria immediately after World War I.

Jebb had a strong vision and dedication to children’s rights and developed five directives that she believed were the fundamental rights of every child. She lobbied the League of Nations until they adopted these rights in 1924. They have since formed the basis of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959) and inspired the current Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990). These rights remain the foundation of Save the Children’s vision and values.

In the same year, Save the Children began in England, its first Australian branch was opened by Cecilia John in Melbourne, Australia, to assist refugees affected by war in Europe.[3] This was soon followed by branches opening in Queensland in 1920 and South Australia in 1922. Over the next 50 years, more branches were established in every state across Australia to assist children in Europe and the Middle East.

In 1951, the health and education of children in Australia became a priority for Save the Children branches across the country. Welfare centres and pre-schools for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Victoria were among the first of its Australian programs.

In 2004, the branches started a process of consolidation to create a single, national organisation called Save the Children Australia.

On 20 May 2015, Save the Children Australia and Good Beginnings Australia announced their plans to merge.[4] Good Beginnings Australia specialises in providing early intervention and practical parenting programs for children and their families in disadvantaged communities.[5] The merger came into force on 1 July 2015 and Good Beginning Australia’s programs are now part of Save the Children Australia.


Save the Children Australia’s national office is located in Melbourne, Victoria. It also has regional offices in Queensland, Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory, running programs and events that support communities at a local level.[6]

Save the Children Australia is a member of the Save the Children Association, a group of 30 child-focused organisations supporting children in more than 124 countries.[7] The members of the Save the Children Association work through a single operational structure, Save the Children International (registered in London, United Kingdom), when implementing projects internationally.

Save the Children Australia’s international projects, except for those in the Pacific, are implemented through Save the Children International and local Save the Children partners.[citation needed]

Humanitarian emergencies[edit]

A large part of Save the Children Australia’s work is responding to emergencies in Australia and overseas, providing humanitarian aid such as water, food, shelter, temporary learning spaces and emotional support for children.[citation needed]

In 2014, Save the Children Australia responded to 18 humanitarian crises and reached 808,000 people.[8]

In 2015, Save the Children Australia has responded to Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu (March)[9] and the Nepal earthquakes (April/May), as well as continuing its response to longer term emergencies such as the South Sudan Crisis and the Syria Crisis.


Save the Children Australia runs development programs across Australia and overseas, with a particular focus on Asia and the Pacific.[citation needed]

The agency partners with local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations, local and national governments, and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) to deliver projects in-country.[10]

International programs[edit]

In 2014, Save the Children Australia reached more than 12 million children and adults in 29 countries focusing on:

  • Fighting inequality
  • Helping children in emergencies
  • Protecting children from harm
  • Providing education
  • Providing healthcare
  • Tackling climate change
  • Standing up for child rights[11]

Australian programs[edit]

In 2014, Save the Children Australia reached more than 34,000 Australian children and adults in more than 150 sites across the country, focusing on:

  • Helping children in emergencies
  • Helping children learn
  • Protecting children from harm[12]

Advocacy and campaigns[edit]

In addition to its humanitarian and development programs, Save the Children Australia campaigns for long-term change to improve children’s lives.

Australian aid[edit]

Save the Children Australia supports the Campaign for Australian Aid, which is a joint initiative of the Make Poverty History and Micah Challenge coalitions.[13]

There have been successive cuts made to Australia’s foreign aid budget, reducing Australia’s national contribution to international development. The campaign aims to create a movement of people pushing for a stronger commitment to foreign aid from the Australian government.

Children in detention[edit]

Australia has a policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers, including children. Save the Children Australia’s Kids in Detention campaign calls for children and the families to be immediately released from immigration detention.[14]


Save the Children fund-raises from the public through regular giving propositions such as I Save the Children and Children in Crisis, as well as single appeal donations.[15][16]

It also has a number of community fundraising initiatives such as Run to Save and fundraising in celebration.[17][18]

In 2015, Save the Children Australia launched its inaugural Christmas in July fundraising campaign.

Op Shops[edit]

Save the Children Australia has Op Shops in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. It also has an online shop.[19]

Nauru Detention Centre[edit]

In October 2012, Save the Children began providing services to children at the Australian Government’s offshore asylum seeker detention centres, first on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and then on Nauru at the Nauru Detention Centre in August 2013.[citation needed] Services are no longer provided on Manus Island, following the removal of children from detention there.

In Nauru, Save the Children Australia provides welfare, education and recreation services to asylum seekers in the detention centre.[citation needed]

On 2 October 2014, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) issued Save the Children Australia with a notice of the removal of nine members of staff after claims the aid workers were coaching detainees to self-harm and fabricate abuse claims to achieve evacuations.[20] An independent review into the allegations was carried out by former Integrity Commissioner Philip Moss. The review was released on 20 March 2015 and found no evidence to support the allegations against the nine Save the Children staff members.[21]

The child rights agency reported that it was “deeply troubled” by the evidence provided in the report supporting claims of sexual and physical assaults against children and adults in mandatory immigration detention on Nauru. The agency’s CEO, Paul Ronalds, stated that “there was never any need for fabrication or exaggeration by Save the Children staff – the evidence is clear.”[22]

A week after the release of the Moss Review, the Australian Senate announced an inquiry into the review’s findings. Save the Children Australia’s submission to the inquiry calls on the Australian government to eliminate prolonged and mandatory detention of children and work towards a genuine regional framework that protects children fleeing conflict and persecution.[23]


The Board of Save the Children Australia delegates the responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the company to its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who, together with its Executive team, is accountable to the Board.[citation needed]

The role of Save the Children Australia's CEO and its Chairman are separate. With a maximum of 14 directors, Save the Children Australia must have at least one director resident in each State.[citation needed]

Each year, the Save the Children Australia publishes an Annual Report, detailing successes and challenges in its programs, governance, financial statements and an independent auditor’s report.[24]

In 2014, for every dollar donated to Save the Children Australia, 84 cents was invested in its development, campaigning and humanitarian response programs; 9 cents was spent on fundraising; 5 cents was spent on staff, infrastructure and systems; and 2 cents was invested in commercial activities such as its retail stores.[25]

Save the Children Australia is a member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and is a signatory to its Code of Conduct.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Save the Children Australia, 2015, p.1. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Our history". Save the Children Australia. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "John, Cecilia Annie (1877–1955)". Patricia Gowland, Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "Good Beginnings Australia joins Save the Children Australia to better help children in Australia’s most disadvantaged communities". Save the Children Australia. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "About us". Good Beginnings Australia. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "Where we work: Australia". Save the Children Australia. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "About us". Save the Children International. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  8. ^ "2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Save the Children Australia, 2015, p.21. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  9. ^ "Save the Children team off to Vanuatu". News Limited. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "‘Our partners’, 2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Save the Children Australia, 2015, p.43. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "‘Our work overseas’, 2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Save the Children Australia, 2015, p.19. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  12. ^ "‘Our work in Australia’, 2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Save the Children Australia, 2015, p.12. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  13. ^ "The Campaign for Australian Aid". Australian Aid. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "Kids in detention". Save the Children Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "I Save the Children". Save the Children Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  16. ^ "Children in Crisis". Save the Children Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "Run to Save". Save the Children Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  18. ^ "Fundraising in Celebration". Save the Children Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  19. ^ "Online Shop". Save the Children Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  20. ^ "Save the Children head denies Nauru abuse fabrication claims". The Australian. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  21. ^ "Save the Children staff say Moss review exposes negligence on Nauru". The Guardian Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  22. ^ "Moss Inquiry clears Save the Children staff". Save the Children Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  23. ^ "Submission to the Senate Select Committee inquiry into Recent Allegations Relating to Conditions and Circumstances at the Regional Processing Centre in Nauru" (PDF). Save the Children Australia, April 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  24. ^ "2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Save the Children Australia, 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  25. ^ "Accountability". Save the Children Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  26. ^ "ACFID Code of Conduct". ACFID, October 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Clare Mulley, "The Woman Who Saved the Children: A biography of Eglantyne Jebb, Founder of Save the Children" (Oneworld Publications, 2009) ISBN 9781851686575.

External links[edit]