Michelle Elcoat Poulton - A remarkable life of service to children

THIS WEBSITE is our birthday present to Michelle, who is not only a dear friend and (for one of us) wife of 33 years, but also a beautiful and extraordinary woman. This website will be her surprise and we think she will love it. It also gives the outside world a chance to discover this gem of a person, this international leader of civil society and one of the world's greatest supporters of children's rights and development.

baby picture Here is a really stunning woman who has made a difference to the state of the world's children. Michelle took her first steps in northern Afghan villages in 1970, working for UNICEF with mothers and children living behind the veil. It is this pioneering field work that now - 30 years later - is providing the models for rural reconstruction and women's development in post-war Afghanistan.

After her French PhD - Docteur en Sciences Sociales du Développement awarded with acclaim and the congratulations of the Jury at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris - Michelle moved with her husband and two children to Africa. Her work in the rural West African villages of five countries brought her the perceptions and development skills that have raised her to her present position as a leader of civil society worldwide, and world expert in children's development and child protection. Read more >>

Michelle's academic achievements were exceptional, culminating in a development anthropology PhD on Afghanistan, written in French for the University of Paris, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, under the direction of the famous Professors Henri Desroche and Maxime Haubert. This thesis was defended at a public hearing shortly before the Soviet Union invaded Kabul, making Michelle's thesis the last presented by a Western women on peacetime Afghanistan. The thesis and Michelle's previous work for UNICEF in Balkh Province, provide the blueprint for much of the development work that is being carried out in Afghanistan today. Read more >>

Africa is where Michelle has given the longest service to children overseas - first with Save the Children, and later with Christian Children's Fund and Child Fund International (of which she is the Vice-President for International Programs). Working with children is not a limitation in terms of world development, especially when you realize that most first-time mothers in Africa are themselves children. Neonatal and postnatal deaths are responsible for high child mortality, for sure. Underage marriage and unplanned teenage pregnancy are equally dangerous for young mothers whose bones are still supple, whose physical strength and pelvic structures have not yet matured enough for a safe birth. The risk of death in childbirth in poor countries is very high for mothers and infants alike, while in the wealthy North both are rare. That one simple fact explains the importance of Michelle's work. Read more >>

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Website design and implementation by Michael Newton

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