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Engaging Youth, Policymakers Can Help Bring Sustainable Improvements For Child Well-Being Worldwide

Devex: Opinion: Sustainable change begins with listening
Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International, and Leslie Gamero, country director for ChildFund International Honduras

“For 80 years, ChildFund International has worked to improve the well-being of children worldwide, evolving its approach according to children’s needs and the context they live in. … [I]t takes much more than the proverbial ‘village’ to create safe environments for children. Here are three things we’ve learned. 1. Participant voices have great power to guide, inspire, and affirm development work. … 2. Participation, both local and governmental, inspires ownership that then leads to scalability. … 3. Involving duty bearers promotes sustainability. Complementing talk with action multiplies the power of advocacy; with hands-on experience, policymakers can become believers. … It’s about behavior change, and it all begins with listening. We as adults have a significant role in influencing the behavior of children — when we change, they change. When we don’t change, it’s really difficult to expect a different type of society at the end of the day” (4/16).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.