The Girl Child Policy and Research Project

——- The Girl Child Policy and Research Project ——  
The Girl Child Policy and Research Project:
Mobilising Nurses for the Health of Urban Girls

The Girl Child Policy and Research Project seeks to mobilise nurses, the largest group of health care providers in most nations, for the healthy development of girls aged 10 to 14 who live in large cities.

The Project addresses a broad spectrum of issues faced by today’s city girls.  It follows a three step progression: a baseline assessment of the issues and policies affecting girls on an urban and national level; focus group research, which allows the girls to speak out on the issues that concern them most; and lastly, active policy engagement by nurses through their national nursing associations.

A key aim of the project is to encourage nurses, working with various partners, to develop strategies and guidelines for policies, programs and services that reduce health risks for young girls and promote healthy public policy.

Nurses have been involved with children’s issues for a long time.  This Policy and Research Project is a key pillar of FNIF’s Girl Child Initiative, which focuses the work of the global nursing community in this area.  As health professionals, we know that education and healthy development are inextricably linked.  Our focus group research has shown that young girls recognize and value the opportunities their education offers and that schools provide an important source of health information.

You can contribute to the funding of this important work by purchasing the white heart pin, representing nursing world-wide, or by donating directly to the Girl Child Education Fund.

The Girl Child Project owes much to the pioneering research of Freda Paltiel, Canadian educator and international consultant on health and social policy.  Paltiel’s Coming of Age in the Metropolis served as the original impetus for ICN’s continuing work with the girl child, setting the standard as a cross-cultural, action-oriented study for, and with, girls at puberty.  The Project remains greatly inspired by Paltiel’s research, dedication and activism.

For more information contact:
Françoise Meret
Coordinator, The Girl Child Policy and Research Project
Florence Nightingale International Foundation
3 Place Jean Marteau
1201 Geneva Switzerland
tel: (41) 022-908-0100
fax: (41) 022-908-0101

Why the Girl Child?

The health status of girls in developing countries is often compromised.  Girls are less likely than boys to be immunised.  The girl child has a higher rate of death from measles, diarrhoea and respiratory infections.  She is usually brought to the clinic or hospital in a worse condition than a boy.  She is often the last to be fed.  This neglected health and nutrition leaves girls short of stature and malnourished at the outset of reproduction — and reproduction may be initiated before she has completed her growth.

In developed countries, research has shown that girls exhibit a distressing loss of self-esteem and self-confidence at the time of puberty, contributing to the incidence of eating disorders, teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and girls who attempt suicide or run away from home.

Why Urban Girls?

Our urban areas are growing by approximately 60 million persons per year.  More than half of the industrialised world’s children live in urban areas, and UNICEF predicts that by the year 2025, some 60 percent of children in the developing world will live in cities. Half of them will be poor.

Urban children can be particularly at risk from their metropolitan environments: traffic, pollution, overcrowding and the shortage of open spaces in which to play all pose a challenge.  At the same time, the loss of homogeneous community values, traditional family structure, and private indoor space represent an increasing threat to traditional safety nets for our children.

Why Nurses?

Nurses are central in the provision of child and adolescent health care.  Because of their broad and versatile training in disease prevention, health promotion, counselling and caring roles, nurses work in all settings which have a direct bearing on the health of the girl child: schools, homes, workplaces and health facilities.

Nurses are also key members of multidisciplinary teams that go beyond the health sector to involve teachers, social workers, nutritionists, community development officers, and employment and social services.

The assessment and referral skills and wide networks of nurses provide opportunities for advocacy and lobbying for policy and services on behalf of the girl child.

Girl Child Partners

The Girl Child Project is open to all ICN member national nursing associations, who will be asked to commit to a two year project cycle.

Newest Partners:

FNIF is pleased to announce that the newest nursing associations to join are:


Ordem dos Enfermeiros

Av. Almirante Gago Coutinho, 75

1700-028 Lisboa


Email[email protected]

Web :



Swaziland Nursing Association

PO Box 2031



Email[email protected]

Past Partners and Reports:

The Project was launched by national nursing associations in Sweden and Botswana in 2002.  Reports from both countries were presented at to an international audience at ICN’s conference, Building Excellence Through Evidence, 27-29 June 2003 in Geneva.

To download the final report from Vardforbundet in Sweden, please see their website at:

The results of Vardforbundet’s research work are being used to inform a government sponsored national project called FLICKA, (Girl in Swedish), which focuses on the same target group as the GCP, with an aim to boost girls’ self confidence. The FLICKA project is managed by a member of the Swedish Intersectoral Committee that oversaw the Association's Project.

In Botswana, results from the Project were disseminated at a day-long workshop in Gabarone in December 2004.  The event was attended by nurses, health professionals, government ministries and NGOs, along with a delegation of Botswanan girls who were invited to ensure that their voices were heard by national health policy makers.  The workshop elicited national media attention and a call for a national conference on the Girl Child.

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale International Foundation

——- Florence Nightingale ——

The Florence Nightingale Legacy

Florence Nightingale recognised that only with knowledge and skill could she help improve public health. Showing great courage and determination, she followed her calling.

When the Crimean War broke out in 1854, she oversaw the introduction of female nurses into the military hospitals in Turkey. Initially greeted with hostility, she took quick action to improve the deplorable conditions of the wounded, dramatically reducing mortality rates among soldiers from 40% to 2%.

While Nightingale is best known for her work during the war, some of her most valuable contributions came afterwards. She returned to England as a national heroine. However, she deliberately hid from public life and lived in seclusion where she worked non-stop. Her first major works were two books published in 1859, Notes on Hospital and Notes on Nursing, detailing her views on health care reform gained from her experience during the war.

She founded the Nightingale School and Home for Nurses at St. Thomas's Hospital , London in 1860, the first of its kind. The objective of the school was to produce nurses who could train others. The following year she established a training school for midwives in King's College Hospital.

Despite poor health which left her an invalid, Florence Nightingale worked tirelessly until her death at 90. As a passionate statistician, she conducted extensive research and analysis. She published over 200 reports and pamphlets on a wide range of issues including hygiene, hospital administration and design, midwifery and health care for the poor.

Florence Nightingale's influence on nursing continues. She personified many of the important ideas that are crucial to nursing today – values, vision and voice.

Her strong values influenced her work throughout her life. She saw nursing as helping people to live and promoted the importance of the nurse's integrity. She fought for health care for people regardless of faith or economic background.

Her vision completely changed society's approach to nursing. She understood the valuable contribution nurses could make in health care. She was committed to personalised care and saw that sensitivity to patient needs was key to recovery. She believed that it was important to look after an individual's health, mental and physical, as well as sickness, an idea well ahead of its time.

Her voice was strong and she served as an effective advocate on a number of important health issues, particularly for trained nursing and preventive health care through proper hygiene. She could be extremely persuasive and through her contacts in the government, she influenced public policy and achieved positive health care reforms.

Florence Nightingale still serves as a model for nurses today. With vision, values and voice, nurses care for all people, leading societies around the world toward better health.

Contact Us

——- Contact Us ——

If you have any questions regarding FNIF or our programmes, please send us an email at : [email protected],
or contact us by mail at :

The Florence Nightingale International Foundation
International Council of Nurses
3, place Jean Marteau
CH 1201 Geneva, Switzerland

Tel : +41 22 908 01 00

Fax: +41 22 908 01 01

For web site inquiries contact: [email protected]

About FNIF

—— About FNIF ——

The Florence Nightingale International Foundation
FNIF Board of Directors
The FNIF Logo – A Symbol of Caring
The Work of FNIF
Friends of FNIF Programme

The Florence Nightingale International Foundation

FNIF is the International Council of Nurses (ICN) premier foundation, it supports and complements the work and objectives of  ICN.

Its history dates back to 1912 when a memorial to Florence Nightingale was first proposed by Mrs Ethel Bedford Fenwick at an ICN Congress in Cologne. The vision was of an educational foundation for nurses. As the First World War intervened, it was not until 1929 that the memorial was finally activated by the ICN Grand Council in Montreal. Mrs Bedford Fenwick, the first president of ICN was elected the first chair of the Florence Nightingale Memorial Committee.

From 1931, national Florence Nightingale committees were established in countries where ICN had member associations. In 1932 discussions were held between ICN and the League of Red Cross Societies to use their Red Cross international post-graduate courses as an international memorial to Florence Nightingale.

The ICN Grand Council agreed to take over the international courses, and in 1934,  established the Florence Nightingale International Foundation (FNIF) as a living memorial to Florence Nightingale. FNIF became an autonomous organisation under British law with its own governing body and a mandate to develop and promote nursing education world wide.

FNIF is a registered Charity in the United Kingdom and maintains its original purpose; to support the advancement of nursing education, research and services for the public good. Though UK registered, the day-to-day administration is carried out in Geneva through the International Council of Nurses, a federation of 133 national nurses' associations working to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally

FNIF is a new foundation for a new day!  We have a new board, a new programme and a new look.  Our focus is global — the needs of nurses everywhere are similar but the resources to meet those needs differ around the world.

As you know, Florence Nightingale is considered to be the founder of modern nursing.  She was devoted to health, education and research, and worked tirelessly to raise health care standards.  We are honoured to continue her legacy.

FNIF Board of Directors 2009 – 2013

The Foundation is governed by an international Board of Directors and administered through the Chief Executive Officer of ICN. Board members include:

  • Rosemary Bryant, FNIF President and President of ICN
  • Hiroko Minami, immediate past President of ICN and FNIF
  • Rudolph Cini, First Vice-President of ICN
  • James Bissell, professional health administrator in Switzerland.
  • Richard Bruce Flavell, specialist in bank risk management.
  • Patrizia Carlevaro, Head of the International Aid Unit at Eli Lilly.
  • Victor West, formerly Director and Council member of the Royal National Pension Fund for Nurses.

The FNIF Logo – A Symbol of Caring


The design brings together four elements — the flame, hand, heart and globe.  The flame represents the light of nursing knowledge and caring.  It also harks back to the lamp Florence Nightingale carried while caring for the wounded during the Crimean War.

The hand illustrates nurses reaching out to help and comfort others.  The white heart characterises the knowledge and humanity that infuse the work and spirit of nursing, and is an important global nursing symbol.  The globe shape illustrates the universality of the Foundation and the world in which nurses provide care.

The Work of FNIF

FNIF works independently while at the same time complements and supports the objectives and work of ICN, including:

Expanding Knowledge and Practise

FNIF awards scholarships and fellowships designed to enable nurses to undertake projects in several areas including advocacy, leadership, new models of patient care and new roles for nurses.

Advancing Care Through Research

FNIF research projects aim to advance health issues internationally and increase nursing knowledge.

The Girl Child Project: Mobilising Nurses for the Health of Urban Girls addresses the health needs of young girls living in urban areas. The study will serve as a foundation for effective policies and programmes to promote the healthy development of this vulnerable and overlooked group.


Friends of FNIF Programme

To finance our new programme of work, we are engaged in an active fundraising drive, seeking donations from individuals, corporations and philanthropic organisations.  An important component of this initiative is our new Friends of FNIF programme.  It is designed to recognise the support which allows us to fund an increasing number of projects aimed at improving public health.  


——- Awards ——

The International Achievement Award

Liisa Hallila (2011)
Anneli Eriksson (2007)
Carol Etherington (2003)
Susie Kim (2001)
Margaret Hilson

Rewarding Excellence

FNIF recognises the contributions of nurses who make a difference.

The International Achievement Award

The International Achievement Award is given every two years to a mid-career practising nurse who is currently influencing nursing internationally in two of nursing’s four domains: direct care, education, research and management. The award accords worldwide recognition of the recipient’s achievements and contribution to nursing internationally.  To find out more about the award including eligibility and the nomination process click here.

International Achievement Award

Award description

The International Achievement Award is given every two years to a practising mid-career nurse who is currently influencing nursing at the international level in two of nursing’s four domains: direct care, education, research and management.  The award accords worldwide recognition of the recipient’s achievements and contribution to nursing internationally.  A commemorative gift and a certificate detailing the award will be presented and the award recipient will deliver a public address to an audience of nurses from around the world.  Related travel and subsistence costs will be included in the award.  An official register of recipients and citations will be maintained.


  • Nominees must be practising nurses, currently using their nursing qualifications and experience in any of the four domains of nursing: direct care, education, management and research.
  • Nominees must be members of a National Nurses’ Association (NNA) in current membership (dues fully paid) of the International Council of Nurses (ICN).
  • Nominees must agree to be nominated, to deliver a public address on the occasion of the presentation of the award at an international nursing event, and to partake in award publicity.
  • The award will not be made posthumously.

Note: Members of the FNIF, ICNF and ICN Boards of Directors and any employees of these organisations may not make or support nominations, nor be nominated themselves.

Liisa Hallila (2011)

A dedicated pioneer in her field, Dr Liisa Hallila’s interests extend across evidence-based nursing education and service development, organisational ethics, project planning, management and evaluation, teaching and training, and culturally sensitive practice. She has worked closely with a number of countries developing health care systems, including Albania, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kosovo, Papua New Guinea and Russia and has addressed international audiences on a range of topics.

FNIF Luncheon – May 6, 2011
Speech for Florence Nightingale International Achievement Award.
Liisa Hallila

Anneli Eriksson (2007)

Yokohoma, May 31 2007.
Speech for Florence Nightingale International Achievement Award.
Anneli Eriksson [PDF file]

Anneli Eriksson is a registered nurse and President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)* in Sweden. Her outstanding career includes working in India, Chechnya, Burundi, Sierra Leone, East Timor and Niger.

Ms Eriksson is dedicated to getting nursing care to vulnerable populations worldwide and, in particular, has focused on helping endangered communities during catastrophes and the importance of nursing for populations living in precarious conditions.

As the spokesperson for MSF Sweden she speaks out on the humanitarian values of that organisation and the importance of access to health care worldwide.”

*Doctors without Borders

Carol Etherington (2003),  MSN, RN, FAAN

Carol Etherington's speech at FNIF Luncheon 2003 [PDF file]

Carol Etherington RN of Nashville, Tennessee, USA, has designed and implemented community based programmes for people living in the aftermath of war and natural disaster, working with Ministries of Health and national staff in Bosnia, Poland, Honduras, Tajikistan, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Angola.  In her own country, Etherington has received two distinguished awards from the American Red Cross for her work as a volunteer in U.S. disasters.

The health and human rights needs of the under-served worldwide have been the passion and focus of Carol Etherington’s career, and she has made an international impact with her advocacy for vulnerable and victimised populations, including her work in child abuse, ethics, human rights, and with victims of disasters.

In the city where she lives, Etherington forged the path for nursing into criminal justice and social services by initiating programs serving victims of crimes, citizens in crises, social and rescue personnel, and victims of disasters.  In 1975 she initiated the Victim Intervention Program in Nashville, one of the first police-based counselling programs in the United States, now in its 27th year. In national nursing associations, she has served at the local, state and national levels with a primary focus on ethics and human rights.

Carol Etherington is Assistant Professor of Nursing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.  She was the first nurse to serve on the U.S. Board of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF USA/Doctors without Borders), and was president of the US Board for two years.  She also is a volunteer with the Red Cross in time of disaster and participates in local and regional projects related to refugee and immigrant populations.

Susie Kim (2001), RN DNSc, FAAN

Dr Susie Kim's presentation at the FNIF Luncheon [PDF file]

Dr Kim has made major contributions to nursing education and practice which have earned her international recognition. She is Professor and former Dean of the College of Nursing Science at the Ewha Women's University in Seoul, Korea and is the Director of the Research Institute of Nursing Science and the Chair of the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Division.

In the field of mental health, Dr. Kim used qualitative research methodology to develop eight interpersonal caring techniques for improving self esteem. The techniques have been widely tested and proven effective for chronic psychiatric and hospice care patients in Korea.

In nursing practice, she designed and established the first community-based mental health nurse care centre in Korea. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recognised the effectiveness of the centre in rehabilitating long-term medical patients at an affordable cost in Korea and in other developing countries. UNDP supported her pilot project in 1996-98, which resulted in 15 additional community based centres.

She earned her BS in Nursing in 1963 and a Master in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing and Nursing Education in 1969 from the Ewha Women's University. She earned a Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc) in 1978 from Boston University in the United States. Dr. Kim was the first nurse with a doctorate degree in nursing in Korea.

Dr. Kim lectures around the world. She has published over 100 articles and 13 books on nursing.

Margaret Hilson (1999)

Margaret Hilson, Recipient International Achievement Award- Presentation

The inaugural recipient of the International Achievement Award, Margaret Hilson has played an active role in international health programmes for over thirty years. She began her career as a community health nurse educator in India and later was appointed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to a regional training team where she gained first hand experience in Nepal, Thailand and Indonesia. In Central America she worked with a women's peasant farmers' organisation to develop village health programs and with a gold miners' union to assess occupational health and safety issues and prevention strategies.

Ms Hilson is Associate CEO of the Canadian Public Health Association and Director of Global Health Programs where she oversees several programmes including the Southern Africa AIDS Training Programme, the Family Health Project in Malawi and Zambia, and the CAREC HIV/AIDS Programme in the Caribbean. She is also working with the WHO in its global partnership to create a generation of tobacco-free children and youth. Ms Hilson is a member of the Executive Board of the World Federation of Public Health Associations.

The Global Nursing Review Initiative: Policy Options and Solutions

The Global Nursing Review Initiative:
Policy Options and Solutions


Project Description

Press Releases


Related ICN Position Statements

Related ICN Fact Sheets


Project Description

The Global Nursing Review Initiative: Policy Options and Solutions was launched in March 2004 in response to the global nursing crisis. Led by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and its sister organisation the Florence Nightingale International Foundation, and supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, the project aims to clarify the extent of the global nursing shortage; provide an analysis of key nursing workforce issues globally; identify priorities for policy intervention; and develop recommendations to address issues.

Project Components

Reference Group

The reference group is a key component of the project and its members play an important advisory and consultative role.  The group members are listed below:

Jonathan Asbridge
Nursing and Midwifery Council – United Kingdom

Gilles Dussault
World Bank Institute

Marilyn Elegado Lorenzo
National Institutes of Health –- Philippines

Thembeka Gwagwa
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa

Silvina Malvárez
Pan American Health Organization

Ken Sagoe
Ghana Health Service

Ragnhild Seip
Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation

Judith Shamian
Victorian Order of Nurses
(Formerly of Health Canada)

Sissel Hodne Steen
Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation

Duangvadee Sungkhobol
World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia

Piyasiri Wickramasekara
International Labour Office

Representatives of the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

The Global Shortage of Registered Nurses: An Overview of Issues and Actions

The overview represents the first output from ICN's programme of work on the global nursing workforce. The report highlights key trends, main challenges and provides a framework for policy interventions to address workforce challenges. The full report can be accessed here  .

[French and Spanish translations of the report available ]

Issue-based Papers

The Global Shortage of Registered Nurses: An Overview of Issues and Actions is complemented by a series of issue-based papers examining specific global and regional aspects of the nursing workforce in more detail. The papers are available in the Publication section of this page.

High-Level Consultation on the Global Nursing Workforce

Some fifty representatives of governments, employers, donors, trade unions, policy analysts, planners, researchers and professional nursing organisations, from all regions of the world met in Geneva, Switzerland 14-16 March 2005 at the invitation of the International Council of Nurses to identify priorities and actions to deal with the critical imbalance and shortage in the nursing workforce worldwide.

Participants called on global and national partners to take immediate action along the following lines:

Action at the global level

  • Increase resources to support the development of comprehensive human resource strategies;
  • Explore using global health funds to strengthen human resource delivery infrastructures, including education;
  • Form strategic alliances between governments, donors, agencies, educators, regulators, unions and associations;
  • Build capacity in the area of human resource planning and management;
  • Build national self-sufficiency to manage domestic issues of supply and demand;
  • Support international code for ethical recruitment; effective monitoring of international flows; regulation and independent monitoring of international recruitment agencies; and respect for international labour instruments; and
  • Improve access to high-quality technical assistance.

Action at the country level

  • Consider the range of nursing personnel required to meet national health needs;
  • Embrace new models of care, with an emphasis on primary care, and new technologies;
  • Address issues of skill mix and the delegation/devolution of some tasks to other workers; and
  • Improve workloads and working conditions.

International Summit on the Global Nursing Workforce

As follow-up to the March 2005 Consultation, ICN convened an International Summit on the Global Nursing Workforce, which was held on 24 May 2005 during ICN’s 23rd Quadrennial Congress in Taipei, Taiwan. Nurse leaders from research, management, practice and education joined representatives from health sector planning and human resources development to exchange ideas, opinions and solutions on priority workforce issues.

The Summit and findings from an on-site survey validate the five priority areas of intervention for ICN and nursing. The five areas are:

  • Macroeconomic and health sector funding policies;
  • Workforce policy and planning, including regulation;
  • Positive practice environments and organisational performance;
  • Recruitment and retention; addressing in country maldistribution, and out migration; and
  • Nursing leadership.


Press Releases *

Press Release 29 March 2006– Priorities to Address Global Nursing Shortages Announced

Press Release 3 March 2005– ICN Releases First Series of Issue Papers on the Global Shortage of Registered Nurses

Press Release 8 March 2004 – First Comprehensive Picture of the Global Nursing Workforce

Press Release 8 November 2004 – The inadequate supply of nurses is having a negative affect on care outcomes globally

*  Note: Documents above are in PDF format



Project Publications *

Project Communiqué N°3- July 2005
Project Communiqué N°2 – December 2004
Project Communiqué N° 1 – May/June 2004 [

The Global Nursing Shortage: Priority Areas for Intervention 

The Global Shortage of Registered Nurses: An Overview of Issues and Actions

Issue Paper 1

Regulation, roles and competency development

Issue Paper 2
Nursing Workforce Planning: Mapping the Policy Trail

Issue Paper 3
What Makes a Good Employer?

Issue Paper 4
Nurse Retention and Recruitment: Developing a Motivated Workforce

Issue Paper 5
International Migration of Nurses: Trends and Policy Implications

Issue Paper 6 
Overview of the Nursing Workforce in Latin America

Issue Paper 7

The Nursing Workforce in Sub-Saharan Africa

*  Note: Documents above are in PDF format

Other ICN Publications

Workload Measurement in Determining Staffing Levels

GATS and Mutual Recognition Agreements


Related ICN Position Statements

Socio Economic Welfare of Nurses *

Abuse and violence against nursing personne (2006)

Career development in nursing (2007)

Ethical nurse recruitment (2007)

Reducing the impact of HIV infection and AIDS on nursing and midwifery personnel (2008)

International trade agreements (2010)

Nurse rentention and migration (2007)

Nurses and shift work (2007)

Occupational health and safety for nurses (2006)

Part-time employment (2007)

Socio-economic welfare of nurses (2010)

*  Note: Documents above are in PDF format

Health Care Systems *

Health human resources development (2007)

Nurses and primary health care (2007)

Nursing and development (2007)

Nurses participation in health services decision-making and policy development (2008)

Patient safety (2002)

Promoting the value and cost-effectiveness of nursing (2001)

Publicly funded accessible health services (2001)

*  Note: Documents above are in PDF format


Related ICN Fact Sheets*

An Ageing Nursing Workforce

International Nurse Migration and Remittances

ICN on International Trade Agreements

Nursing Self Sufficiency

Trade Related Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights

Health Human Resources Planning

Nurses and Overtime

Nurse: Patient Ratios

Positive Practice Environments

Positive Practice Environments: meeting the information needs of health professionals

*  Note: Documents above are in PDF format

The Florence Nightingale Teddy Bear

The Florence Nightingale Teddy Bear

in support of the Girl Child Education Fund

This beautiful fully jointed teddy bear has been hand made with care by the Great British Teddy Bear Company. Florence is 34cm tall and wears a miniature of the blue and white dress once worn by ‘Nightingale nurses’, and carries a replica of her famous lamp. Her khaki canvas bag holds three little bandages so that she can nurse any injured toys she meets as she travels the globe raising valuable funds for the Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF).

The ICN.FNIF Florence Nightingale Teddy Bear is being sold in support of the GCEF, which provides for the primary and secondary schooling of the orphaned daughters of nurses in developing countries, paying for school fees, uniforms, shoes and books. To order your Florence Nightingale Teddy Bear, please go to

How to help us promote the
ICN.FNIF Florence Nightingale Teddy Bear

Several national nursing associations have added a link to the teddy bear website: and a story about the bear has also appeared in several nursing journals.

The Royal College of Nursing UK held a raffle of one of the teddy bears and raised £118 for the Girl Child Education Fund.

The Danish Nurses Organization have placed the FNIF bear at reception for all to see.

At the 2011 Community Nursing Symposium in Canberra the ACT Chief Nurse, Veronica Croome, presented a Florence Nightingale teddy bear to Fran Morson who was named Community Nurse of the Year, and to the nurses who presented papers at the symposium including Alix Palmer and Lorraine Evans photographed above. Nurses attending the symposium also donated AU$100 to the GCE fund.

Karen Drenkard, ANCC Executive Director, purchased bears for all the ANCC staff who worked to make a success of the ANCC National Magnet Conference in October 2011.

Sanofi promoted the bear during the launch of the Care Challenge initiative.
In 2011, the Great British Teddy Bear Company donated over £5000 to the GCEF through sales of the Florence Nightingale teddy bear.

Dr Lindsay Smith of the University of Tasminia's School of Nursing and Midwifery teaches a course on project management for health professionals to postgraduate students from across Australia, 90% of whom are registered nurses. Every year, at their Annual Showcase of Project Proposals, students vote on the People’s Choice Award for the Most Fascinating Project Poster. This year the winner of the People's Choice Award is Meg Lane, pictured here, who was delighted to receive a Florence Nightingale Teddy bear.
If you would like to help us promote the bear, please contact Lindsey Williamson at [email protected]
Click on images above for larger size.

FNIF Girl Child Education Fund

Florence Nightingale International Foundation
A Nursing Initiative for Orphaned Girls

What is the Girl Child Education Fund? |
How Educating Girls Can Save Lives and Reduce Poverty |
The GCEF Fundraising Kit |
One Girl’s Story | What We Have Achieved | Approach |
Our Partners | Background | Frequently Asked Questions | How To Donate


The Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF), a signature initiative of FNIF, supports the primary and secondary schooling of girls under the age of 18 in developing countries whose nurse parent or parents have died. Your donation to the Girl Child Education Fund will go towards school fees, uniforms, shoes and books. Donations to the Girl Child Education Fund can be made by credit card, bank transfer or cheque.

school girls school girls FNIF school girls
Since the initiation of the programme 385 girls have been enrolled in the GCEF, and we have enabled 184 of these to complete secondary school. In 2015 we will be supporting a total of 178 girls, and ask for your kind donations to sponsor them. A contribution of just US$ 200 will help cover the costs of uniforms, school books, and fees for the primary education of a girl child for one year, and US$ 600 for secondary education. Approximately US$ 5,000 will secure the education of a girl throughout her primary and secondary schooling years.
What the nurse volunteers and teachers have to say:

The glamour and joy I see in the eyes of these girl children when I interact with them through this fund gives me the inner peace which gives me the impetus to carry on.

Before she was under your programme, she had some sort of inferiority complex, you could see that she was depressed and didn’t know what was next with her education but now she feels very secure. She mixes so easily with friends in sports, other clubs and academic work. She therefore participates fully.

Girl child education is very important in our society now because previously the girl child’s position was known to only be in the kitchen but those days are gone. The girl child must forge forward and attain the highest level of education. [One of the GCEF girls] is even earning to reach university which we know she will definitely do.

What the guardians and parents have to say

It has relieved me from the burden of thinking of what the future holds for her and how I was going to be able to scout for funds to cater for her financially.

Now that she has been in the programme for two years I can see a bright future for the child as she will manage to finish school/education. There are changes since she has joined the programme: her performance at school is promising, and she is a happy girl as she knows that the programme is meeting her needs.

When my husband died in 2004, my children were still very young.  I knew that no one was going to help me raise my children, let alone take them to school. I started looking for part time jobs and doing small businesses to raise funds for food and school requirements.  The funding that we get from [the GCEF] will help my children complete their education. Without this programme I do not know what I would have done.

What the girls have to say:

This program is my mother and my father it means everything to me.

The future is promising because the GCEF came into existence and my dreams will be accomplished.

This programme is the reason I am in school and why I am where I am because, trust me, when I lost my father in my primary everything seemed to have come to an end because he was the sole provider and I have other siblings so it was not easy for me to continue.  My paternal relatives wanted me to get married and someone was telling me to enroll in something else so if I am to tell any one about this I would say this is the reason I am in school.  It is the reason why I am where I am today via my academics and my school and my future at large because many other girls like me have their future in education.

What I love about this programme is that we as girls would continue our education and not drop out of school. I would like to see the programme help other girls like me who will need help. And I wanted to say thanks for everything you people have done for me and what you people are doing to encourage girl child education.


What is the Girl Child Education Fund?
Sending girls to school – Securing healthy futures

Poverty, natural and man-made disasters, the HIV pandemic and the re-emergence of TB and malaria in developing countries are causing premature death, leaving behind millions of orphaned children, including those of nurses. Many will not be able to go to school unless we can help. Through the Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF) the orphaned daughters of nurses in developing countries are getting back to school. The GCEF supports the primary and secondary schooling of girls under the age of 18 in developing countries whose nurse parent or parents have died, paying for fees, uniforms, shoes and books. We work in partnership with member National Nurses Associations to ensure that the money goes directly to education costs. Every girl in our program is paired with a nurse volunteer to monitor her progress at school and at home.


GCEF graduate speaker at the FNIF 75th Anniversary Luncheon at Congress
The FNIF 75th Anniversary Luncheon was held on 2 July 2009 at the ICN Congress in Durban, South Africa. The highlight of the Luncheon was the speech given by a graduate of the Girl Child Education Fund, Nondunduzo Dlamini, from Swaziland. A video of her presentation can be seen by following this link. Please note that you will need to install K-Lite codecs to access this presentation.
Nondunduzo Dlamini, from Swaziland


How Educating Girls Can Save Lives and Reduce Poverty

  • Educating girls saves children’s lives: Each extra year of a mother’s schooling reduces the probability of infant mortality by 5% to 10% (UNICEF 2011). In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 1.8 million children’s lives could have been saved in 2008 if their mothers had at least a secondary education (UNICEF 2011).
  • Educating girls raises lifetime incomes for them, their families and their countries. (Herz & Sperling 2004). Girls who have one more year of education than the national average earn 10 to 20 percent more, on average – even more than the increase for boys.  In particular, girls with secondary education have an 18% return in future wages, as compared to 14% for boys. (Levine et al 2009)
  • Educating girls lowers HIV/AIDS rates: Women with postprimary education are five times more likely than illiterate women to be educated on the topic of HIV and AIDS (Vandermoortele & Delamonica 2000).
  • Educating girls reduces violence: Educated women are more likely to resist abuses such as domestic violence, traditions like female genital cutting, and discrimination at home, in society or the workplace. (Women Deliver)
  • Educating girls educates the whole family: an educated mother is more likely to send her children to school. (UNICEF). An educated mother's greater influence in household negotiations may allow her to secure more resources for her children. (UNFPA)
  • Educating girls improves maternal health: Educating girls for six years or more drastically and consistently improves their prenatal care, postnatal care and childbirth survival rates. (UNICEF). Every year of education delays a girl's marriage and reduces the number of children she has. (UNICEF 2007)

If you would like to help raise money for the Girl Child Education Fund, please click here for the GCEF Fundraising kit. We thank you for your support.


One Girl’s Story

Sarah is the youngest of five children. Her mother was a nurse at the district hospital and her father operated a carpentry shop.  In 1998, Sarah’s mother became ill and was often in and out of hospital.  Sarah did not know what was wrong with her mother.    In 2003, her father also became ill.  Her parents’ illness meant that most of their income went to hospital fees so Sarah’s older brothers were forced to drop out of school.  In June 2004, Sarah overheard her brothers talking and discovered that her mother had AIDS.

Six months later, her mother died on 25th December 2004, Christmas Day.  Three days later, Sarah received her school results: she had passed all her exams and could go to secondary school.  Although her father was very ill, he continued to work so that Sarah could go to school.  However, he could only pay the first term fees and in the second term, Sarah was also forced to drop out of school.  Her elder brothers were now doing casual jobs to take care of the family and the medical expenses. Sarah also began to look for a job as a house maid.

In November 2005, Sarah’s father died. But two days later, some good news finally came her way. A former colleague of her mother came to tell her that she would be sponsored by the Girl Child Education Fund to continue her education.

When the school term began, the same woman came to escort her to school. Her fees, uniform and school meals were all paid for.  Sarah was able to go back to school without interruption.  Her performance in school has improved dramatically.

Sarah says: “The GCEF is a project that has made a significant difference in my life.  It has transformed me from being a house maid to a student who will be a professional and contribute to the lives of many others as nurses have contributed to my life. Thank you very much for this noble project.”


What We Have Achieved

The GCEF was launched in 2005 with just 10 girls in four sub-Saharan countries. We are currently supporting 182 girls: 24 in Kenya, 27 in Swaziland, 20 in Zambia and, thanks to a grant from the Symphasis Foundation,111 in Uganda. All these are the orphaned daughters of nurses who would otherwise not have been able to attend school.

In addition, the GCEF has enabled over 180 girls to graduate from secondary school. In order to continue to support these girls so that each and every one of them can graduate, we depend on your kindness and generosity. Please help us keep these girls in school and give them the chance of a brighter future by making a donation today.


FNIF’s approach is one of working in partnership with National Nurses Associations to ensure that the funding goes directly to support the education needs of girl orphans.  We believe this is in the best interests of the child and is the most effective use of donor money. Protecting the dignity and privacy of the Fund beneficiaries is of paramount importance to us. This means that there is no personal or direct relation, obligation, or contact between the donor and any beneficiary.  We will however provide general information about the initiative to our donors at regular intervals.

Our Partners

National Nurses Associations in sub-Saharan African countries – Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia – are working in partnership with us to implement and administer the Fund on the ground.  The associations receive applications from many prospective students and identify the neediest girls.  Each beneficiary of the ICN/FNIF fund has lost a nurse parent and would otherwise be unable to continue their education.  Each of these four countries has a GCEF coordinator, whose duties include screening, recruitment and follow-up of the girls.


Nurses have been involved with children’s issues for a long time.  In 2000 FNIF launched the Girl Child Policy and Research Project to address health policy issues affecting girls aged 10 to 14.  In the course of this work, ICN and FNIF have been increasingly drawn to the issue of orphaned children, particularly those of our nurse colleagues.

We know that nurses are dying daily.  We also know that, amazingly, most children whose parent or parents have died have been cared for within the extended family.  Families, at great cost, continue to take responsibility for around 90 per cent of orphans in the region.  However, without support many of these children will not be able to go to school.

This led us to think about developing a broader initiative to address the overwhelming needs and numbers of orphaned children in Africa: thus the Girl Child Education Fund was born.  Launched at ICN’s 23rd Quadrennial Congress in May 2005, the response from the world’s nursing community has been spontaneous and generous. However, much remains to be done and ongoing support is vital.

Your Donation Will Make a Difference

The Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF), a signature initiative of FNIF, supports the primary and secondary schooling of girls under the age of 18 in developing countries whose nurse parent or parents have died. Your donation to the Girl Child Education Fund will go towards school fees, uniforms, shoes and books. Donations to the Girl Child Education Fund can be made by credit card, bank transfer or cheque.

We would like to thank all our donors for their generous gifts and hope that you will continue to support this important project.