Why we work with corporations
In nearly 100 countries worldwide (including Canada), World Vision Canada works alongside children, families and commu
nities to overcome poverty and injustice. Corporations are major players in many of these countries and communities. Often on a daily basis, corporations affect these communities, bringing change to their societies, their economies, and their natural environments. These changes can be positive or negative.
Because of this, there is a growing opportunity, and a growing need for World Vision to work effectively with corporations. Not to engage with them would mean ignoring a critical factor shaping the lives of many families and children whom we seek to serve.
Working with corporations also gives us first-hand experience that we can share, as we join important conversations happening today – conversations about how corporations can be responsible “citizens” and support development, wherever they operate.
In Canada and around the world, these conversations are generating a lot of attention. Corporations themselves are becoming increasingly aware of how they affect the social, environmental and economic conditions in countries where they work. Canadian citizens, including World Vision Canada supporters, are demanding more ethical practices from corporations; they are taking shareholder actions and joining ethical consumerism campaigns. Major initiatives for fighting poverty, like the Millennium Development Goals, are calling for corporations to play an active role in their efforts. Governments, including ours in Canada, want to work with the private sector to support sustainable development in poor countries, and are looking for good ideas on how to go about it.
Canada has the opportunity and responsibility to ensure that our corporations are making a positive contribution to communities inside and outside our borders. Canadian corporations, citizens, and politicians are in dialogue, today, about how this can be achieved most effectively.
World Vision Canada is part of these dialogues. And we will keep on playing our part, speaking up for the children and communities we serve. In order to do this, we believe that it is important for us to keep on working positively with corporations, learning with them, forging common goals, and bringing together our different strengths and resources to meet those goals.
How we work with corporations
World Vision Canada has engaged with companies for over 50 years.
Cash donations from corporations to World Vision Canada’s work have assisted millions of children and their families and communities with improved schools, access to clean water, better health facilities, and loans and business training for the entrepreneurial poor. Gifts in kind (such as donations of medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and educational supplies) have also been valuable resources to support our work. More recently, corporations have also helped to develop technology and innovations that enable World Vision Canada to work more effectively, like water-purification systems. As another example, a Canadian IT company, FieldWorker, helped World Vision Canada to develop and launch Last Mile Mobile Solutions [see: http://www.worldvision.ca/Programs-and-Projects/LMMS/Pages/last-mile-mobile-solutions.aspx], a mobile technology that makes distributions of humanitarian aid faster and fairer. World Vision Canada has begun recently to work with companies from additional sectors, such as mining companies.
World Vision can also be an important partner to corporations, inside developing countries. Where we have been working alongside communities with relief, development and advocacy programs, we have built up relationships of trust with these communities. Therefore, we can help facilitate consultation between them and the corporations operating where they live; we can support communities to speak up about their priorities and concerns. We also have skills in areas that corporations need to operate sustainably in developing countries – skills like understanding rights and policies, and monitoring and reporting. We can help corporations ensure that when they invest in local development, they are supporting the community’s own development plans and priorities. And we can help challenge or change corporate practices that may have a negative impact in the communities or countries where they operate. All of these contributions can assist corporations to be good “citizens” abroad.
Partnerships between corporations and humanitarian organizations like World Vision Canada can involve some risks. But we believe that these partnerships, when they take a thoughtful, responsible approach, can have big benefits for children, families and communities.
As part of our approach, World Vision Canada does our own internal screen on a corporation before we agree to engage with them. This screen helps us figure out whether the partnership would be a good match between our priorities, interests, and plans, and theirs. During this screen, we also do research to find out if the corporation has practices that could a problem for us and our partner communities, or if the corporation works in lines of business that are not compatible with World Vision’s values.
For further information on our processes and approach