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Our 2019-21 strategy

What we believe, what we'll do

In our centenary year of 2019 we launched a strategy to make lasting change for – and with – the children who need it most.

Save the Children was founded on the belief that every child has the potential to change the world. This belief remains at the heart of the organisation today. It underpins everything we say and do - as reflected in our strategy ‘What we believe, what we’ll do’

We’ll work with children to create a world where they don’t just survive, but thrive.

So they can realise their full potential and go on to change the world.


We’ve aligned with the whole Save the Children movement to ensure our collective resources and capabilities work to make the world a safer, better place for children.

Over these three years, we’ll sharpen our focus on children who are left behind – whether they’re poor, from a minority, disabled or because they’re a girl.

Our fundamental belief in the rights of children means both delivering food, medicine and protection, and holding governments to account for providing for these basic needs themselves. We’ll involve children in what we do, listening to them, and amplifying their voices for the world to hear.

Our strategy – summarised below – requires us to listen, be resilient, and strive to be better. We’ll strengthen our use of insight and evidence, and build strong and lasting relationships. And we’ll hold our responsibility to safeguard children and their communities above all else.

Chart outlining the Save the Children UK 2019-2021 strategy.

Akokote was diagnosed with pneumonia

Akokote was diagnosed with pneumonia. Thankfully, with support from a community health worker we trained, she made a successful recovery.

In 2017, more than 5 million children died under the age of five. 

The children at greatest risk are those who are hardest to reach, so if we are to reach the Sustainable Development Goal of zero preventable deaths by 2030 we must sharpen our focus on the health and nutrition of the poorest and most disadvantaged children.

Over the 2019–21 strategy period, we’ll prioritise tackling malnutrition and pneumonia, while maintaining our leadership on humanitarian public health: delivering healthcare to people in conflict situations, environmental disasters and during outbreaks of deadly disease. 

We’ll build powerful coalitions and partnerships in countries and at the global level. We’ll work closely with governments and communities to create real and sustainable change for children.

Munguiko, 14, at a child-friendly space we run in a refugee camp in Uganda.

Munguiko, 14, at a child-friendly space we run in a refugee camp in Uganda.

Education is the birthright of every child. 

Learning empowers children to realise their potential, escape poverty and secure opportunities for a better life. It enables societies to accelerate the pace of development. 

Yet millions of children are denied the chance to learn.

We’ll focus on those living in conflicts and emergencies – including refugee children – making sure they get the education they and their parents invariably tell us is children’s number one priority.

Here in the UK, where early inequalities blight so many young lives, we’ll focus on early years learning. We’ll make sure that young children, particularly those growing up in poor families, get a great start in life.

Razan, from Yemen, was injured when shrapnel from a bomb pierced her eye.

Razan, from Yemen, was injured when shrapnel from a bomb pierced her eye. We helped her through two specialist surgeries and she’s now recovered.

Children are more at risk from war and conflict than at any time in the last 20 years. 

This is the crisis of our time. And it’s what we were born to respond to.

To help protect the most vulnerable children, we are launching a global campaign to Stop the War on Children.

We’ll mobilise the public, politicians and our own programmes to generate attention, accountability and action. And we’ll increase the scale, quality and impact of our protection work in conflict-affected countries.

Save the Children volunteers in Myanmar

Being part of a global movement enables us to achieve more change for children. 

That’s why we’ll work with colleagues across the world to strengthen our movement, extending its reach and strengthening its impact.

Over the next three years we’ll invest in country offices, so that power, resources and accountability move to where they’re needed most – closer to children.

We’ll build more resources that can be shared collectively across all members of Save the Children. And we’ll help build a clearer and more effective governance structure for our movement.

Supporters at the Royal Parks half marathon

100 years ago our founder understood that achieving lasting change for children required not just effective programmes, but advocacy and campaigning for children’s rights. Building on her legacy, we will create a platform for our supporters in the UK to make their voices heard – in order to make a difference for children around the world.

We’ll nurture and grow active, long-term relationships with our supporters, deepening relationships with a range of specialist audiences such as major funders, public influencers, political decision-makers and companies. 

We’ll expand our campaigning work with children to create substantial and sustainable change. To inspire the public to act for our cause, the power and potential of children will be at the heart of all of our communications.

Share the Love supporter week, 2019

Save the Children’s mission is rooted in a commitment to dignity, respect and basic human decency. 

Over three years we’ll build the workplace culture our mission demands and our staff deserve.

Through building strong capacity and capability we will enable and inspire everyone who works for us to achieve their best for children.

We will deliver a diversity and inclusion strategy and hold ourselves accountable for progress by measuring staff engagement annually.


The threats faced by millions of children – poverty, conflict, hunger – are daunting. But in a world of unprecedented wealth and potential, we have both a remarkable opportunity and a responsibility to transform children’s chances – and the future we all share.

The prize is extraordinary. Together we can ensure that every child survives, learns and is protected. So that they can have the chance to fulfil their potential and to go on to build a better world.

Our strategy shows how, together, we can help make that promise a reality.

Teenage mother Joy and her daughter Annette outside their home in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement

Teenage mother Joy and her daughter Annette outside their home in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement

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