Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Small Voice, Big Dreams - Global Survey of Children in Developing Nations Finds Them Hungry to Learn - and Just Plain Hungry

Children from 30 developing countries tell Canadians how they can help this year

MARKHAM, Ontario November 17, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - As the end of the 2010 tax season approaches, many Canadians are thinking about how they will spend this year's donation dollars. Canada is the second most charitable country in the world, according to the World Giving Index. But Canadians don't want to give blindly. In a new, global survey - released in conjunction with Universal Children's Day on November 20 - children tell us in their own words how they would like Canadians to help.

When asked, the majority of 10-12 year olds living in poverty throughout the developing world revealed that if they had the opportunity to be leader of their country, they would improve or build more schools. And if they had a dollar, they would spend it on food; one in three children report going to bed hungry at least one night a week.

The findings are part of the Small Voices, Big Dreams survey - an ambitious, multinational survey of nearly 3,000 children ages 10 to 12 in 30 developing countries. [A summary of survey results can be found at]

The survey was sponsored and conducted in the field by ChildFund Alliance, a global alliance of child development organizations, and compiled and tabulated by Ipsos Observer, an international research company. Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC), the Canadian affiliate of ChildFund Alliance, was committee co-chair for this global survey. The survey is the first of its kind for the Alliance, whose roots extend back more than 70 years. The Alliance currently reaches 55 countries, with a combined global revenue of over $500 million (CAD).

"This survey amplifies what we hear in the thousands of villages where we work - that children living in poverty want to be educated, and hunger is a sad fact of life," said Mark Lukowski, Chief Executive Officer, CCFC. "It's essential to share the voice of the children with Canadian donors."

The survey found an overwhelming sentiment among the world's poorest children toward improving their lives through education. More than half of those surveyed (57%) said that, were they given the opportunity to be the leader of their country, they would educate all children, improve the quality of schools and/or construct more of them. When asked what they need most in their lives, one in three (34%) said more or better education.

While most children are hungry to learn, the survey also found that a great many of them are just plain hungry. When asked what they need most, one in three (33%) said food. To the question, "What would you spend a dollar on?" almost half (45%) said food and/or water. If they were leader of their country, one in five (19%) said they would help people get food.

The emphasis on food is understandable given this finding: one in three children (32%) say they go to bed hungry at least once a week.

The survey also sought to quantify the amount of time these children work outside of school. Twenty-six percent of the boys and girls surveyed said that they spend at least half a day each day working on household chores or other work.

"One of our guiding principles is to listen to those living in poverty, focus on how we can help, and empower communities so they can lead their own development," said Lukowski. "We are especially attentive to the voices of children so we can identify their concerns and develop solutions through our global programs."

About the Small Voices, Big Dreams Survey

The Small Voices, Big Dreams Survey was undertaken by the ChildFund Alliance from July through September 2010. Identical six-question surveys were administered to approximately 100 children ages 10 to 12 in 30 developing nations. A total of 2,970 children were surveyed. ChildFund translated and submitted the results to Ipsos Observer, a global research firm, which tabulated and compiled the results. The margins of error, at 95 percent confidence, is: total survey (+/- 1.7%).

About Christian Children's Fund of Canada and the ChildFund Alliance

For more than 50 years, Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC) has helped children and families of all faiths break the cycle of extreme poverty around the world. CCFC is a member of ChildFund Alliance, a network of 12 child development organizations whose work encompasses more than 15 million children and their families in 55 countries with a total revenue of more than $500 million (CAD). Visit

About Universal Children's Day - November 20

First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, Universal Children's Day was established to encourage all countries to institute a day to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children as well as to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children.