A time of change

Posted on
11th Jun 2020
by Thomas Muirhead

Covid-19 has had a profund impact on Child.org, and we've been forced to make some changes. However, we're still dedicated to improving child health.


Times are tough for so many across the world right now and as many of you will have read on Monday, times are tough for Child.org. In the context of a worldwide health crisis the work that Child.org does is essential, and it’s with real sadness that I outline today some of the reductions to Child.org’s capacity that are a regrettable necessity due to the financial impact of the pandemic. 

Our team in Nairobi are continuing to work - though at a reduced capacity and on fewer projects than previously planned. Only a small team in the UK remains active, with most of our UK team now on furlough until August when they will return, initially on a part time basis. So do please bear with us through this period.

Focused on global child health

Our purpose as an organisation is to spark progress in global child health by discovering and designing better ways to keep children alive and healthy. That’s what we’ve kept front of mind through this tough period and has guided our priorities:

  • Ensuring we can continue to support those children we’re already working with in Kenya through a health crisis 
  • Ensuring we have the team we need to design better ways of helping children, because that’s what we’re good at
  • Ensure we have the capacity to generate income as an organisation - as without it we’ll continue to struggle

Losing great people

Unfortunately, the reality of the situation means we’ve had to take some really tough decisions as a team and as a board of trustees. 

We’ll be losing around 50% of our team, including team members both in Nairobi and in the UK. These are incredibly capable members of the team who have committed themselves without reserve to what they do. The unfairness of this situation is real. It includes many of the team that you all know. 

Lucy, who has shown such an instinct for telling the stories of the wonderful women and children we work with in Kenya.

Rosie, who has helped take our themed quizzes online, entertaining tens of thousands of people through lockdown.

Faith, who delivered some of our most exciting new projects, such as baby boxes and played such an important part in gathering the crucial research we need to make decisions.

Amy, who built us an events company, running immersive events, concierges at festivals, stages at arts festivals, and the largest non profit partner working with Airbnb Experiences, bringing memorable moments to so many.

And last of all Ellie who has been with Child.org through its most transformational five years and such a fundamental part of our brand, tone, comms and personality that it’s not possible to capture in a few lines. Suffice it to say that anyone who has interacted with Child.org in the last five years has - knowingly or otherwise - been under Ellie’s expert spell.

In fact, I can’t do any of their contributions justice in a few lines. You all know how integral to Child.org’s success our people are, and their loss will have a deep effect on what we can achieve. 

A change in leadership 

The changes will also include me stepping down as Chief Executive of Child.org. 

We’ve evolved dramatically over the last six years: becoming Child.org; identifying that our value as an organisation lies in innovation in child health; building a team of experts on the ground in Nairobi who push what we do to levels of quality we’d never achieved before; winning government funding because of that capability; running large campaigns like Team Mum; launching exciting income generation products...and so much more.

None of that would have been possible without the contributions of those leaving Child.org, nor the team that are staying in place. And crucially it wouldn’t have been possible without one person in particular. She’s been an integral part of this organisation for over 10 years and her drive to give the work that we do real rigour, real credibility, is what has made that a reality. 

I’m really proud to let you all know that Martina Gant will be taking on the role of leading Child.org. As I said, her single minded determination to push our work forward in terms of robust evaluation and use of data and evidence, has made it happen. She’ll be leading Child.org from Nairobi.

I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve been able to work on here at Child.org over the last six years, but one thing I’m sure of is - even amongst the difficult changes that are happening - is that with Marti at the helm, supported by Holly leading the UK team, Child.org is on the right path to delivering real impact on children’s lives. 

Where we’re going

It’s a path that we’ve made steady progress on over the years. We’ve been busy readying of the organisation for its next phase, and while the Covid-19 outbreak has knocked us back, we know that the foundations are there for Child.org to continue to have an impact.

  • We’ve refocused our vision and mission - we’re an organisation that is good at discovering and designing better ways to keep children alive and healthy, so that is what we will focus on. 
  • For the first time we’ll be led from Nairobi with the expertise on Child Health and innovative approaches based in the context that we work. 
  • We’re more determined than ever to sit right at the line of new innovative solutions, becoming an incubator of new child health discoveries and designs.

I’m really committed to this vision and will be joining the board of Child.org once I officially step down as Chief Executive in August. I’ll be there to support Marti and the team in bringing that vision to reality and spark progress in child health.

We can’t do it alone

To do this, we need the Child.org family more than ever. None of what we’ve achieved would have been possible without you all believing in our goals and contributing financially and otherwise towards making it happen. This crisis makes that support all the more crucial. 

If you can support us by donating now, please do. But what would really help us is if you could pledge to support us when we come back from furlough and run our Team Mum campaign this autumn. So let us know you’ll support - by email, by tweet, by text or fill in this form, please let us know that you’ll help Marti, the team and all of us come back stronger. 

Oh, and I’ll see some of you in Kenya for the Ride Africa cycle ride in 2021. 

A message from our Board of Trustees

Read a statement from our board about the current changes.