Identifying Best Practices for Our Work with Children

by Nicole Duciaume
ChildFund Regional Sponsorship Coordinator
Americas Regional Office

Nicole wraps up her visit to Guatemala’s Corazon de los Ninos project.

When you sponsor a child through ChildFund, not only are you changing one childhood, you’re also making a great impact on that child’s family, community and country. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Well, the proof comes in the annual Child Progress Report that every sponsor receives.

Updating sponsors on events of the past year.

Each ChildFund national office designs its own template, which generally includes information on how the child is developing, programs the child and family have participated in that year and additional information about community, area or national progress over the past year. The children can share some thoughts or a drawing as well.

Have you ever wondered how these reports are completed? ChildFund Guatemala alone will complete nearly 22,000 of them in the next three months. I happened to be visiting one community the day they were preparing reports. Rather than an overwhelming task, it was exciting, engaging and fun!

Corazon de los Ninos, a ChildFund partner organization located about an hour outside Guatemala City, is taking a unique approach to child reports this year. They are holding community events that celebrate children’s right to play—a fundamental tenant of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

On this particular day of report writing, children are

  • Laughing, giggling, singing, screeching, waving, jumping, running, whispering.
  • Climbing an inflatable castle, waving to their moms and friends atop their conquest, then cascading, tumbling and rolling down the slide.
  • Smiling from ear to ear, their mouths framed with ice cream smudges from nose to chin.
  • Porting colorful balloons just barely peeking over their heads as they skip from station to station (photo taken, information collected, drawing/note to sponsor).
  • Perfectly coloring their imperfect bumblebee, unidentifiable animal or house—whatever their imagination created to share with their sponsors.
  • With eyes wide open, not sure if they should believe that all of these people, games and events were created just for them.

    A fun day with ChildFund.

This mini-carnival atmosphere was exhilarating for the children, parents, organizers and spectators (I include myself in the latter category). The event wound down as the temperature began to cool and the sun began its elusive game of hide and seek behind the trees and surrounding volcanoes.

I returned, exhausted, to Guatemala City thinking that this creativity no doubt is a best practice worth documenting and sharing with other offices throughout the Americas region.

2 responses to “Identifying Best Practices for Our Work with Children

  1. Great that you share your experience with us!!

  2. Mike Kurtzman

    I had the opportunity to visit this project on a study tour in 2006. They provide great support for the children and their families. They made all of us sponsors very welcomed. It is a very nice and well run project.