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Gareth DAVIES HandS

For the first time since the launch of ECO in 2007, we are facing a difficult funding situation.  The world has changed a lot over the past few years, first impacted heavily by resourcing priorities demanded by Covid 19, followed by war in Europe and ever increasing international tensions.  Funders have had to rethink strategies and priorities with many international NGOs taking a hit and having to cut back on programmes.    ECO is no exception and we need to be creative in attracting new income streams during 2024.  We are all in this togethter and perhaps the best way forward is to look at opportunities for collaborative fundraising with other partner organisations, old and new.

In an effort to seek new funding, we are also widening our brief, both in terms of type of work undertaken and our geographical remit. We are focusing more on cleft support group development as this is an area that no one else is currently prioritising and we believe that support groups may be the key to ensuring cleft care is sustainable in low to middle income countries.  What we have learned from our work in Europe, may be of huge relevance globally and we are currently looking at some possible pilot projects with support groups in India and elsewhere.

We will continue to seek funding for our work in Europe and indeed we are building a collaboration with a cleft NGO in Ukraine, Ukrainian Smile.  It is thanks to them that a speech therapist from Kijv attended a training event we ran in Bucharest, in March (see News item). We are hoping to team up with Ukrainian Smile and put in a joint funding bid to help them develop a national cleft centre in Kiyv.  Again in Europe we have this year already joined forces with support groups in Slovenia and Spain to apply for an EU grant to develop tools which will enable support groups internationally to retain sustainability and widen their activites.

We are hopeful that these new initiatives will not only continue to improve cleft care in the areas where we work but also provide new funding opportunites for ECO.

Gareth Davies

Executive Director

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