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Save the Children Australia

  • Project: Children’s Wellbeing Initiative
  • Amount: $546,491 over three grants
  • Year(s) Funded: 2017, 2021 and 2023

Changing the lives of children and young people in East Gippsland

Supported play group at East Gippsland Children’s Wellbeing Initiative’s Bairnsdale office. Photo: courtesy Save the Children.

“The impact of the 2020 Bushfires in East Gippsland followed by the COVID-19 pandemic mean that there is incredibly important work to be done to support children and families in recovery. The gaps and challenges in these communities have been magnified by the events of 2020”


First established in 2015, the CWI works to ensure services are more integrated and inclusive, so marginalised children and their families do not fall through the gaps. Save the Children Australia acts as the backbone organisation of the initiative, which brings together a collective of some 85 organisations supporting children and their families across the region. Together, the CWI strengthens and builds collaborative responses to the needs of children.

While trauma affects whole communities impacted by disaster, children are particularly vulnerable, and are identified as experiencing specific recovery issues, namely around mental health and potential long-term academic impacts. The CWI embeds child rights and participation principles across East Gippsland to ensure children have a voice and are heard, and that their fundamental health, safety and development rights met.

Save the Children played an important role in the immediate aftermath of the Black Summer bushfires, taking on a coordination role and implementing Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) with Evacuation and Relief/Recovery centres across Victoria, to ensure children’s wellbeing, coping mechanisms and resilience were strengthened through psycho-social support.

The Trust has provided funding to enable the continued operations of the CWI throughout the critical period of recovery from the compounding disasters of fire, COVID-19 and flood. By working with local partners, the CWI provides strategic and practical actions to ensure recovery in the area is community-led and evidence informed.

Save the Children uses a collective impact approach that measures the improvement in social problems through changed behaviours.