Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Austerity in another time: work and philanthropy in the International Union for Child Welfare,1946-1948

Professor Jenny Harrow's presentation to Voluntary Action History Society :Fifth International Conference, University of Huddersfield 10-12 July 2013

The activities of the International Union for Child Welfare from 1946-1948 is examined in the context of social conditions in Europe. Themes include models of relief, relations with national governments, and fundraising practices; and considers intra-country and cross country flows of aid. Conclusions are drawn concerning IUCW’s emphasis on its NGO (not ‘voluntary’) status, its lack of expectation that governments will (or should) be always leading provision, thinking and expertise in children’s welfare, and the extent to which inter-organisational networking and joint philanthropic working for children’s interests were blurring the boundaries of what constituted the IUCW from its very beginning.

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Austerity in another time: work and philanthropy in the International Union for Child Welfare,1946-1948

  1. 1. Voluntary Action History Society :Fifth International Conference, University of Huddersfield 10-12 July 2013 Austerity in another time: work and philanthropy in the International Union for Child Welfare,1946-1948 Professor Jenny Harrow ESRC Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy Cass Business School, City University London , United Kingdom
  2. 2. The 1948 ‘Special Number’ of the International Child Welfare Review provides a formal account of its work and that of 21 of its 40+ nationallybased members during 1946- to 1948, its first two years.  part annual report on achievements and challenges • part reflection on the mix of national member organisations’ priorities for and extent and nature of giving to children • part commentary on the strains as well as hopes for international NGO collaboration • part expression of the demands of working within its international principles, whilst accommodating members’ national autonomy.
  3. 3. The Context • the extent of privation facing children world wide, enforcing its focus on relief prompting the recurring theme of the existence (and presumption of world “solidarity” regarding children’s relief needs • chronic financial) insecurity of IUCW and its members as a fact of life; austerity features as a given, and an experience to be worked round, through local and global philanthropy • the development of inter-governmental agencies and shifting perceptions of governmental action , whilst supporting the importance of ‘NGO (“not voluntary”) status
  4. 4. The paper’s focus • the shared and contrasting models of relief being undertaken • the variety of models of relationships with governments being reported • the fundraising strategies and directions which underpin member organisations’ work for the development of child welfare in their “new conditions” A descriptive and interpretative analysis of the document is presented, using the “mute evidence of the written text” (Hodder, 2003, 151).
  5. 5. The International Union for Child Welfare Founded September 1946 from merger between the Save the Children Fund International Union (1913) and the International Association for the Promotion of Child Welfare (founding dates disputed, 1913 and 1926 ) “aiming to make known the principles of the declaration of the rights of the child, to relieve children in distress and to raise standards of child welfare and contribute to the physical, moral, and spiritual life of the child.” a federated organisation, member organisations grouped in ‘national sections’ ; a Geneva HQ, where research, relief and administrative departments were headed by a Secretary-General
  6. 6. As at July 1 1946”, IUCW reported “active members” in 18 European countries, 2 in North America, 1 in Central America, 6 in S. America and 3 in Asia. “disbanded in April 1986 allegedly for reasons of internal financial management” (Beigbeder, 1991, 93) Barooah (1989, 102) describes it as “unfortunately wound up”, asserting that “it has played a very important part in child welfare and deserves not to be forgotten”.
  7. 7. 1946-1948 -a period “(which)..saw the flowering of international humanitarianism, a s a somewhat chaotic “non-system”. (Beigbeder,1991,10) - 1947, economic reconstruction foundering, Europe divided, the Marshall Plan - Food the daily preoccupation across Europe ; calorific intakes too low to sustain a proper level of health for long in Italy, Austria ,Germany -Shields and Brian (2002, 88) find that “ in 1946, there were 147 000 orphans in Italy, 200 000 in Greece, an unknown number in Germany and countless more in other countries ;total number of orphans in Europe estimated at 13 000 000” -together with mass displacement, disability ,disfiguration and disease among children (TB, malaria, gastroenteritis , venereal disease) IUCW characterises its work as work as “difficult but necessary”…….
  8. 8. Resources issues for IUCW HQ ,1946-1948 Core costs – “the task is complicated by the extremely inadequate resources and chronic insecurity of the administrative budget; and a degree of success has only been achieved by taking advantage of vacancies and modifying other posts” Imbalances in members’ resources at national level Expenses “…the perennial discussion about the ‘necessity’ of expenses, slightingly referred to a administrative expenses, whereas they are the very life-blood of an organisation. A great deal of misunderstanding and prejudice still persists on this subject, due in the main to ignorance…..” new inter –governmental organisations, able to make direct public appeals….
  9. 9. “The United Nations, concentrating solely and exclusively on the UNICEF, which is already supported by the Governments, has completely lost sight of the future of the international non-governmental organisations concerned with child welfare which have given yeoman service in this cause and have made campaigns such as theirs possible. They have been at work not only for decades prior to the war but during the war whereas the idea of the UNICEF, approved in 1946, only began to operate in 1947”. IUCW seeks a “readjustment on both sides and a delimitation of functions, if only in the interests of economy of effort and to ensure cohesion and maximum efficiency”….
  10. 10. Models of relief, 1946-1948 Responsiveness to highly immediate basic needs predominate : e.g. shipments from Argentina, of “ 2 cases of clothes to China, 9 and 19 cases of clothes and shoes to Latvia and Poland respectively, 4 cases of meat extract to Germany and 4 cases of toys to Great Britain” Greece: the “distribution of 88,500 toothbrushes and an equivalent number of tubes of toothpaste distributed to children attending Athens clinics and those in rural areas” Chilean provision for Austria where “the foodstuffs will cover the needs of a children’s home throughout the winter”. Feeding schemes most prominent: “ feeding schemes are considered to be one of the most rational ways to give speedy and efficient help” e.g. Swedish organisations in Germany “experimenting” in 1947 with canteens for 9,000 students
  11. 11. Temporary respite through children’s holidays widely reported Belgium - Belgian Red Cross , as a mark of thanks to its Swiss counterpart, invited 30 Swiss children on holiday, who were “in need of sea air”. Netherlands - “a certain number of German children to come temporarily to Holland” had had to be the subject of an appeal to the US Save the Children Federation for foodstuffs, since “the guarantee of food supplies (was) a prior condition for the (entry) consent of the Ministry of Social Affairs”
  12. 12. For the most part, work foregone or evidence of children refused service or support was rarely reported An exception is the Patriotic Foundation for Social Welfare and Assistance’s (PIPKA) report for Greece on child feeding conditions, where “after February 1947 , PIPKA was obliged to cut down the individual rations and to retain on the register only children up to two years’ of age and expectant mothers in cities of over 10,000 inhabitants. That is to say , all children over two years; of age everywhere and babies in the smaller towns and villages received no milk at all”.
  13. 13. Models of relationships with governments • Advocacy on ‘the child’s behalf’: e.g. child smugglers in Germany • State intransigence: e.g. refusal to sanction professional posts in Greece • State takeover? “at the beginning of 1948 the Bulgarian Union for Child Welfare was undergoing complete reorganisation (and ) were unable to send in a report or supply any precise information for plans for the current year” • State burdening the NGOs Poland, “..the Central Committee wishes to stress that their help is limited to those who do not qualify for state assistance, chiefly war victims, repatriates, refugees, orphans and halforphans.” • Disappointment and regret with state action : voluntary hospital closure • Smooth, facilitating relations with government: Swedish government gave
  14. 14. Fundraising strategies The nature of the reports Pre-date the era of the ‘annual report as fundraising tool’ ; or a contemporary tool in its own right? matter of fact ,retrospective accounts of what they had done and for whom few reports setting out to be emotionally charged (Greece, Poland the exceptions?) Retrospectively poignant e.g. describing the popularity across Europe of Swissproduced pamphlets on “”How I look after my Baby”, “How I dress my Baby” and “completing the series, a small handbook of recommendations in case of illness or accident, ‘My Baby is Ill”.
  15. 15. Financial sponsorship of individual children central In Bolivia, sponsorship by Bolivian families of European children were a central feature, supplemented by funds gained through “a bridge tea at the French Legation, donations by local firms and a Play by the English Colony’s Dramatic Society in La Paz” Italy, the child sponsorship scheme for children placed in institutions) begun by the Italian Red Cross in 1945, The Swedish report discusses the complexities of sponsorship development in Europe “until conditions became more or less stabilised” and then a rapid growth in Swedish sponsorship for Austrian, Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Hungarian and Italian and Polish children by 1946, with “preparations underway to start sponsorship for German children” In the US, US schools as well as children were sponsored, mostly “rural schools with one or two rooms”
  16. 16. IUCW at HQ, long experience: with the sponsorship scheme “created in 1921 by the late W.A. Mackenzie (this was) a practical form of assistance”. The Secretary-General’s concerns that after 1945, with some improvement in conditions, sponsorship numbers had fallen, with consequent breaking of bonds between sponsor and child (however “unimpeachable the decision” i.e to support those in even greater need) that could not be done without “serious consequences”.(ibid. 20). Although failures at national member level had occurred in some instances e.g. leaving the sponsors without news, so that they lost interest), “the real solution was not to stop the sponsorship but to find new sponsors”.
  17. 17. Keeping track of funds In Rumania for example, since March 1948 , the budget of Save the Children Section had been included in that of the Rumanian Red Cross, prompting an independent effort to raise new funds for foodstuffs and clothing by “organising teas, exhibitions and bring and buy sales” ; useful when combined with impact reporting following gifts of Vitamin D oil, “the results of the Vitamin D distribution are now being collated.” (ibid, 108), Celebrity-linked fundraising was not widely reported , closest was that of Belgian citizens’ funding of a Belgian children’s holiday in Great Britain, as “ a gift to celebrate HRH Princess Elizabeth’s twenty first birthday”
  18. 18. Increasing public awareness through mild shock tactics Direct ’demonstration’ action or mild shock tactics ,to increase public awareness, is little reported: The example from Sweden stands out, of a major public exhibition showing “ a typical bombed home from present-day Europe … also the ordinary food ration in Austria and the ragged food clothing and miserable foot wear worn by people in war-stricken countries”. However, specific reference to the public response is omitted ,other than a reference to their interest in sampling the ‘Swedish soup’ dispensed by relief workers abroad.
  19. 19. Financial turmoil or health in national economies reported variously, mostly not as a lever for increased private giving but as an explanation of declining contribution. In Peru, for example, collections from business firms was reported, partly to cover the difference in the official exchange rate and that required to be used for the associated spending, since “the Peruvian government declined to grant the dollars and Swiss francs at the official rate”. positive economic responses in receiving nations were also a basis for ending particularly targeted support; for example the US IUCW member, its Save the Children Federation, reported that “it has been decided to terminate gradually the work of the Federation in Belgium, since Belgium has made a gratifying economic recovery”
  20. 20. The lack of the direct voice of the child is marked perhaps in its place , a minority of member reports provide the names of the crucial field as well as headquarters staff, projecting some sense of personalisation, if not reality, in the otherwise highly formal narratives. The report from Great Britain provides particular instances of implicit authority, as in its work in Italy , where “ relief work had earlier been carried out in Displaced Persons’ camps, and in the autumn of 1946, Miss Harley was sent out”, subsequently surveying the need for localised nursery school work, and requiring further schools’ experts and administrators.
  21. 21. Reflections on IUCW 1946-1948 Blurring of the boundaries of IUCW: in some countries, the IUCW was replicated at national level (e.g. Argentina, Bulgaria, Finland) ; in others the Save the Children organisation was the only reporting representative, ; in others the sole reporting agency was the national Red Cross organisation, (e.g. Italy , China) Most confusing in Hungary and Rumania where the IUCW member was the national ‘Red Cross–Save the Children Section’ Moreover a number of members were closely co-operating with UNICEF….. Hard to assess its importance when it appears simultaneously vital and nebulous. the pressures on IUCW in respect of children’s urgent needs appears to have been such that this report either glosses over such challenges, or accepts them for what they are, a organisational hindrance to be overcome for child welfare’s gains.
  22. 22. IUCW’s prevailing view that neither governments nor new intergovernmental organisations should be the only arbiters of children’s welfare, already an ‘embattled’ sense for NGOs… for NGOs, the “struggle for existence, even penury of means may give birth to qualities but also failings”, the freedom of expression, ability to embark on new ventures and offer independent judgment which NGO status brings “may offer the greatest service”
  23. 23. Given the generally calm, downplayed, descriptive ,matter of fact content of this “Special Review”, one contemporary feature stands out The advertising message – or report sponsor – on the Review’s back cover, emulating current fundraising thinking on encouraging giving through signs of happiness, and not despair. ……
  24. 24.