Vulnerable Children in Sub-Saharan Africa


Helmsley’s Vulnerable Children in Sub-Saharan Africa Program seeks to improve the health of vulnerable populations in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 50% of children suffer from severe multi-dimensional deprivation. Currently working in six countries, our goal is to strengthen and empower local communities by helping them develop the skills, resources, knowledge, and capacities to sustainably care for and protect their children.


The Program funds integrate strategic priorities in remote and rural areas with limited access to public and private services. Lack of sanitation, poor nutrition, contaminated water, and numerous health system challenges continue to be common deprivations of children in this region, and they are all closely linked to the health and well-being of these impoverished communities. Helmsley is focused on supporting effective organizations that tackle the following issues collectively:


Of the 20 countries with the highest maternal mortality ratios worldwide, 19 are in Africa. The region also has the highest neonatal death rate in the world and is challenged by a high burden of life-threatening communicable diseases and increasing rates of non-communicable diseases

Through school and community-based health initiatives, the Program supports improving healthcare infrastructure, increasing access to health professionals and health interventions, providing mass drug administration, and coordinating nutrition, sanitation and education initiatives, with the aim of raising awareness, controlling or eradicating disease, and reducing mortality.

Food Security and Nutrition

To improve access to nutritious foods among communities with chronic malnutrition, our grant making focuses on improved agricultural production, behavior change communication, and savings and lending groups.


We support community-led total sanitation and clean water initiatives in rural villages. Community ownership and maintenance of water and sanitation facilities, as well as adoption of hygiene practices are central to Helmsley's commitment to sustainability.


We seek to mitigate the major barriers that at-risk children face in school retention and learning.

By supporting parents to build economic resilience to keep kids in school. Improved water access through boreholes and wells reduces time burdens on school children and fosters protective hygiene, improved water storage, and other behavioral change practices that can bolster learning outcomes through improved health and cognitive functioning.


Infection from Neglected Tropical Diseases in children, especially those in poverty, leads to malnutrition, cognitive impairment, and inability to attend school. Treating and managing these diseases can lead to immediate improvements in children’s nutritional status, health, and well-being.