Since 1950, World Vision has contributed to the well-being of millions of children by adapting to meet the needs that we have encountered. Poverty is changing and being pushed into some of the world’s most fragile – and hardest to reach – unstable places.

Through our global strategy, Our Promise for Vulnerable Children, we are shifting how we respond and aligning our humanitarian, development, peacebuilding and advocacy efforts to expand our impact on the most vulnerable children living in fragile contexts.


 

If trends continue, more than 80% of the world’s poorest, including children – suffering extreme poverty, high mortality and malnutrition – will be concentrated in fragile contexts and other hard-to-reach areas by 2030.1 Vulnerable children suffer exposure to violence, exploitation and other serious human rights violations. 

As an organization dedicated to reaching the most vulnerable, World Vision has deep experience in humanitarian, advocacy and long-term development work. This model of development is child focused and empowers communities, families and children themselves to improve and sustain child well-being.

World Vision collaborates and advocates with governments, civil society, faith partners, peer organizations and the private sector to promote the sustained well-being of children and address the Sustainable Development Goals.

To address the causes of child vulnerability, World Vision combines up to five sectoral approaches within its child-focused, community-empowering development model:

  • child protection and participation
  • education and life skills  
  • health and nutrition  
  • sustainable livelihoods  
  • water and sanitation  

Programs also incorporate cross-cutting themes such as gender equality, social accountability, climate change, environment and peacebuilding. 

Child Protection (including Community Empowerment & Child Rights)
Each year, millions of girls and boys endure violence, including neglect, physical and sexual abuse, exploitation, and the devastating impacts of armed conflict and natural disasters.  More than one in four children (ages five to 17) are engaged in labour considered detrimental to their health and development.2 Girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual and gender-based forms of violence such as child/early forced marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting.
 
At least 70.8 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes due to conflicts and natural disasters. Among them are nearly 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. 2 The protection of girls and boys from all forms of violence is a fundamental right highlighted in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to end all forms of violence against children. 

World Vision protects children by ensuring that communities are actively working to

  • identify and support vulnerable children; 
  • advocate for children’s rights; and 
  • provide immediate needs, such as emergency shelter and essential care. 

Education & Life Skills
More than 175 million children – or half of the pre-primary aged children globally – do not have access to education and young women account for 59% of those who lack literacy skills.2

All children deserve to be educated for life in safe, nurturing environments and reach their full potential. World Vision supports children to gain the core cognitive, emotional, social and essential life skills that allow them to lead productive and fulfilling lives. We address gender inequality and empowerment of girls, and work with local, national and international actors to increase sustainability and impact. Our education programming follows a life-cycle approach from infancy to youth, supporting cognitive development at each stage and lifting the learning outcomes for girls and boys. Evidence-based models collect and monitor data to track the progress of education interventions, inform program approaches, address identified gaps and advocate with local and national governments for improved education policies.

Health and Nutrition
The health and nutrition of women, adolescents, and children is vital to creating strong and stable families and communities. Good health and nutrition are foundational to educational achievement, gender equality and sustainable economic growth.3

Currently, one in nine people – 820 million worldwide – are hungry or undernourished, with numbers rising since 2015, especially in Africa, West Asia and Latin America.4

Every year, approximately 15 million babies are born too soon. Preterm birth complications are now the leading cause of death in children under five years old, with an estimated one million premature babies dying each year.5 As well, approximately 810 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, 99% of them in developing countries.6

The first 1,000 days of a child’s life is a unique period when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established. The right food and nutrients, parenting and care practices, access to services, and early child development are critical in this period to positively influence the long-term health and well-being of children.

World Vision focuses on working with partners to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children under the age of two, adolescents, pregnant women and women of reproductive age. 

Sustainable Livelihoods (including Food Security & Agriculture and Economic Development)
Because of extreme poverty,

  • 10% of the world’s population (734 million people) live on less than $1.90 US a day.7
  • The number of people who die from hunger in a year is more than that of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.8
  • Each night, one in nine people go to bed hungry.9  
  • One in 10 children live in extreme poverty and 1.2 million children live in households that are unable to provide adequate food.10
  • Nearly 870 million men, women and children are chronically food insecure. 

World Vision is working hard to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by 2030. By using integrated, evidence-based approaches, we help the most vulnerable families regain their dignity, become economically self-reliant and have the means to provide for their own children. Our programs focus on

  • graduating the most vulnerable families out of extreme poverty – so that very poor families become economically self-reliant and have the dignity and means to provide for their own children,
  • strengthening food production, resilience, and access to markets and financial services to help farmers produce more sustainable, nutritious food for their families and livelihoods, and
  • promoting sustainable employment opportunities and market systems so that communities have access to goods, services and employment opportunities through private sector partnerships.

Water and Sanitation
In developing or fragile countries, people – often women and girls – may walk an average of six kilometres a day to fetch clean water. According to UNICEF, 85,700 children under 15 die each year from diarrhea linked to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities.2

World Vision reaches one new person with clean water every 10 seconds with our WASH programs. WASH brings clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene practices to communities around the world, freeing women, men and children from the arduous – and often dangerous – burden of water collection. World Vision prioritizes the accessibility of water and sanitation facilities for the most vulnerable, including people with disabilities and those on the socio-economic margins, often women and girls. These programs give women an opportunity to earn livelihoods and help both women and men increase livestock production, grow nutritious food and provide for their families in meaningful ways. 
1 OECD, 2016
2 UNICEF, 2019
3 UNICEF, 2018
4 Global Nutrition Report, 2020
5 WHO, 2018
6 WHO, 2017
7 WB, 2015
8 WFP, 2017
9 The Economic Times, 2015
10 UNICEF, 2016
 
We believe that transformational impact can be achieved by building national and international movements for change, and strengthening civil societies to respond to humanitarian, local and national peacebuilding and development challenges.

World Vision’s Global Impact Framework ensures that outcomes are aligned to Our Promise 2030 Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This framework is based on decades of experience as a Christian humanitarian, development and advocacy organization working in fragile contexts with vulnerable children, families and communities. The framework shows how World Vision programs contribute to our global child well-being and impact goals.

 
World-Vision-Global-Impact-Framework-May-2019-(1).jpg


Starting from a context analysis, the approach to address the context-specific causes of child vulnerability is chosen. This path can combine up to five sectoral approaches in one or more of our three fields of work (Humanitarian Response, Community Development, Advocacy). In synergy with participants and partners, our programs are implemented and measured against our impact targets. These targets are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and ultimately, they aim to contribute to our four child well-being aspirations.
A graphic showing 17 different icons that represent each goal of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

Our goal is that communities reached by World Vision and its partners progress towards the well-being of children at a rate that matches or surpasses country performance or national targets and ensure that the most vulnerable children benefit from this progress. Note: Specific targets will be determined according to Child Well-Being Objectives prioritized in each National Office strategy.
 

Our progress on the global targets is captured in a partnership-wide update that includes how we have impacted lives, how we're delivering on our global strategy, and our focus on impacting children's lives in the future.

Across the World Vision partnership:

A World Vision staff helps a young Mongolian boy with his face mask.

In the time it takes to read this sentence, World Vision will have reached 50 new people with needed knowledge, supplies or resources to help them protect themselves and their families from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

World Vision has a holistic vision for the well-being of children, in which all girls and boys:

 


  • enjoy good health
  • are educated for life
  • are cared for, protected, and participating in their community
  • experience the love of God and their neighbours

We seek to improve child well-being using evidence-based programs. To sustain and further improve results, we include drivers of sustainability, such as ensuring local ownership of the development process, and building the capacity of local organizations and people. We work to transform the environment in which children are growing up by tackling structural and economic injustice and addressing harmful beliefs and practices.

Every year, our Annual Impact Report tells stories of innovation and provides highlights of the impact of your support. World Vision is committed to remaining agile in our approach and responsive in our partnership with the children, families and communities we serve.

To address the causes of child vulnerability, programs may undertake work in one or more fields of work (Humanitarian Response, Community Development and Advocacy) and can combine up to five sectoral approaches within its child-focused, community-empowering development model:

  • child protection and participation
  • education and life skills
  • health and nutrition
  • sustainable livelihoods
  • water and sanitation

Programs also incorporate cross-cutting themes such as gender equality, social accountability, climate change, environment and peacebuilding.

Humanitarian Response
Fragile contexts are some of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child. Children in fragile contexts face extreme levels of abuse, exploitation, deprivation and violence, often for generations. Fragility can lead to conflict and violence, which in turn contribute to complex protracted crises. While the nature of such protracted crises is diverse in cause and effect, high levels of food insecurity, hunger and child malnutrition are common features.

World Vision acts quickly to support children and families affected by disasters and fragile contexts by

  • providing food, shelter and other life-saving essentials;
  • contributing to the building of national capabilities and community self-help mechanisms; and
  • committing to long-term engagement to promote peace, stability and development.

Programs in this area include public and privately funded projects that Canadians can support through initiatives like Raw Hope, the Gift Catalogue, and specific emergency fundraising appeals.

Community Development
World Vision partners with multiple stakeholders to ensure long-term sustainable change in the lives of children, especially the most vulnerable. We equip them with the tools, relationships and resources they need to address and promote the material, physical, spiritual and emotional needs of all children. Our partners include:

  • children
  • parents
  • caregivers
  • community and faith leaders
  • local organizations
  • governments
  • private sector partners

These programs also include public and privately funded projects that Canadians can support through child sponsorship, the Gift Catalogue and campaigns targeting critical areas of need

Advocacy
World Vision promotes societal and policy changes that support the rights of vulnerable children by 

  • engaging the community to learn about their rights and responsibilities;
  • working to change or implement country-level policies; and
  • leading national and global campaigns to tackle the causes of poverty.

COVID-19 Aftershocks: A Perfect Storm
While the mortality rate for healthy children infected by the virus has been lower than for adults and those with pre-existing conditions, 30 million children are still at risk of illness and death. The indirect effects and impacts of this disease also pose a real danger to children, particularly the most vulnerable. Read our Aftershocks report to learn more about the secondary impacts of COVID-19 that threaten the lives of children.
 
World Vision is constantly striving to improve the way we work.  We regularly assess our approaches to make sure we are being as effective as we can. Below are two examples of research projects conducted to help assess and improve the work we do.

Child Health and Nutrition Impact Study
The Child Health and Nutrition Impact Study (CHNIS) evaluated the effectiveness of three community systems strengthening approaches at sites in Cambodia, Guatemala, Kenya and Zambia, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and an academic partner in each country. The three approaches – Timed and Targeted Counselling (ttC), Citizen Voice and Action (CVA), and Community Health Committees (COMM) – aim to raise awareness of preventive health and nutrition practices, support practice change and strengthen local health systems. They were chosen for bundled study based on evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of each and a hypothesis that providing support on multiple levels has the potential to deliver greater impact than a basic approach.

Study Design:
CHNIS was a five-year, multi-country quasi-experimental evaluation, studying a bundle of three approaches. A local academic team in each country was partnered with Johns Hopkins’ researchers to carry out the evaluation. A mixed-method approach was taken combining results from population-based surveys with qualitative interviews with implementing teams, community members, community health workers (CHWs) and health facility staff. The study used the difference-in-differences statistic to determine whether intervention sites outperformed comparison sites.

Three research briefs were published in 2019 on key findings related to Maternal and Child Health, Nutrition and Community Systems Strengthening.

The results have been used to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of World Vision’s maternal, neonatal and child health programs, as well as guide decisions about scale-up of these approaches globally. The process documented both success factors and challenges related to implementation, while assuring program quality. Importantly, the results were shared in the communities that participated in the research so they could benefit efforts to improve maternal and child health. Study findings contribute to the global evidence base of effective community-based approaches for preventing malnutrition and addressing preventable maternal and child deaths, with four articles published in peer-reviewed journals:
Child Sponsorship Research
Worldwide, an estimated 9.1 million children are sponsored through funding in excess of $3 billion US each year. World Vision’s child sponsorship makes up a large portion of this, maintaining the largest number of child sponsorship programs in the world. Since there is limited research on child sponsorship models that use a community development approach, World Vision began a systematic, comprehensive research on both activities specific to sponsorship per se, and those that are delivered through World Vision’s long-term, community development work, which are funded largely by child sponsorship.

The project was conducted in three phases, over four years, and covering programs in nine countries. The first two phases were done internally by World Vision, and phase three was conducted in partnership with RMIT University, Deakin University, SOAS University of London, and Stellenbosch University.

In 2019, a Child Sponsorship Impact Evidence Brief was published to shed light into the findings of the final phase. It includes learnings and changes that are being made thanks to the findings of the research.