on Child Well-being

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Fulfiling our promise

World Vision has nearly 70 years of history endeavouring to change the present and future for children worldwide. In this past year, and in line with the Our Promise 2030 Partnership strategy, we have gathered some of the strongest evidence ever to demonstrate impact in our commitment to increase the well-being of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Our Promise 2030 is a commitment to vulnerable children and a promise to work tirelessly until all children are healthy and protected from disease; are educated and have the skills they need to reach their God-given potential; are cared for, protected and involved in the decisions that affect them; and feel secure knowing they are loved by God and others.

Together we've impacted the lives of over 200 million vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty.

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Disaster Management

We responded to 170 emergencies and assisted approximately 11,400,000 people in 34 countries, helping to meet immediate needs and develop plans for recovery.

Transformational Development

Through the generosity of donors from around the world, 3,046,993 children were sponsored, effecting change within their families and communities, and improving their lives and futures.


In 2017, the global campaign, It takes a world to end violence against children , contributed to at least 50 policy changes in 16 countries.

“World Vision's Christian identity enables meaningful engagement and builds trust in communities when expressed through development focused activities that benefit children and demonstrate inclusiveness.”

— Independent research 2017

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Measuring our progress

In 2016 and 2017, World Vision gathered data in a variety of ways, from 64 countries where we work. We gather evidence from our programmes to determine whether or not we are adequately addressing needs and having the reach and impact we hope for.

We seek to measure real-world progress indicators against our Child Well-being Objectives, showing significant strides towards achieving our goals, as well as acknowledging gaps and areas in need of improvement. It is the most significant exercise we undertake at a global level.

World Vision is making a global impact on child well-being, particularly among the most vulnerable; the evidence lies not only in stories but in the statistics which point to how the lives of children and their families are being improved. Together with our donors, partners and beneficiaries, World Vision is creating opportunities for children to experience well-being and fullness of life.

Over the last five years, 89% of the severely malnourished children we treated made a full recovery.

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We advocate and act for child well-being

Achieving well-being for vulnerable children can be a daunting process, as there are often great challenges: communities subject to violent upheaval and family dysfunction, marginalised by their poverty and the inability to access healthcare, nutritious food, education, and clean water. The solutions to such complex challenges must be holistic and fine tuned to the needs of the situation and cultural context. Partnering with communities, governments and a variety of donors to take specific action is the basis for positive change. World Vision’s unique transformational development approach seeks to address the root causes of child vulnerability – poverty and injustice.

The intent of our work is for girls and boys to live abundant lives within transformed families, communities, and societies that are characterised by dignity, justice, peace and hope. Our approach is to work with communities to assess their assets, needs, and priorities and then develop plans that will lead to greater child well-being. In 2016 and 2017, World Vision had 2,844 programmes in 67 countries. We maintain a long-term local presence in children’s communities because we know it is through trusted relationships that we are able to effect the greatest impact and change for children.

Every 60 seconds...
a family gets water...
a hungry child is fed...
a family receives the tools
to overcome poverty.

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Child sponsorship is an essential enabler of achieving child well-being, and it affords us credibility and influence. Grants and other private funding are also integral to expand our reach for greater impact. When it is time to leave a community, we want to ensure that the community's accomplishments can be sustained and that child well-being will still be valued and addressed.

Our global strategy seeks to strengthen our commitment to the most vulnerable children by focusing our ministry for greater impact through a set of objectives, sectors, and approaches that deliver time-tested and proven interventions to help children thrive. As we increase our focus on more fragile contexts where children are the most vulnerable, we are increasing our efforts to collaborate with others, advocate for children and further leverage the asset of being a faith-based organisation. World Vision seeks to ensure that the systems and structures supporting children and families deliver the services they deserve and provide the protections they require.

Child well-being objectives

These eight objectives look at the physical and spiritual dimensions of child well-being. They reflect the holistic nature of what World Vision is measuring, and all World Vision core sectors contribute to the objectives.

We measure the numbers of:

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World Vision is reaching one new person with clean water every 10 seconds and reaches 3 more schools everyday with clean water.

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Ways we work to achieve child well-being

World Vision is unique among its peer organisations due to its Christian identity and integrated focus: We are Christian, child focused and community empowering.

As a faith-based organisation, we are motivated by our Christian faith in all we do. In a sometimes divided world, World Vision builds bridges between people of different faiths and worldviews. While our faith allows us to connect with other Christians, we also share common values with Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and others. In 2016 and 2017, approximately US$19 million was invested to support 1,268 faith-related programmes in 58 countries. Faith-based developed programmes benefited a total of 3.3 million children – including at least 9,400 of the most vulnerable children.

Child sponsorship strengthens our projects by creating one-to-one relationships between caring sponsors and children in need. It gives us credibility and influence within a community to effectively engage, strengthen, care for, protect and improve children’s lives to reach their God-given potential. Furthermore, child sponsorship holds us accountable to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.

In 2016 and 2017, World Vision invested US$3.5 billion that benefited more than 48 million children, including approximately 5.9 million of the most vulnerable. Almost one-third of these funds (US$1.28 billion) were invested through child sponsorship programmes benefiting not just children registered through child sponsorship but more than 16 million other children in the same communities.

Because of our community-based solutions, for every child you help,
4 more children benefit, too.

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World Vision’s child sponsorship programmes are community based and community empowering, focused on changing the environment in which children live and grow. As such, much of the work we invest in is through community development, such as child protection, health and nutrition, education, water, sanitation, hygiene, livelihoods, and disaster management.

Building from our strong, integrated presence in communities established through these child sponsorship programmes, World Vision invested an additional US$2.2 billion through grants and other private funding sources to expand and amplify our work for even greater impact. When our work is multiplied in this way, we see the breadth and depth of World Vision’s impact across all its programmes.

Because of our global presence, we are well positioned in disaster management to respond quickly when natural disasters or human-caused crises occur. Oftentimes, responding to a disaster opens the door for World Vision to work further with communities as they seek to achieve long-term change.

“World Vision's child sponsorship helped me set a clear vision; you know, when I wrote my letter to my sponsor, I [told] about my future goals, what I want to be, and now my dreams have come true.”

— a former sponsored child, Cambodia

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Currently, we work in nine of the world’s 10 most fragile states. From 2016 to 2017, World Vision's investment in humanitarian aid grew from US$575.8 million to US$693.6 million. These combined investments assisted over 9 million children each year. In addition, more than 490,000 children and adults received training in disaster risk reduction, and disaster plans were updated in more than 2,300 communities and 1,736 schools.

CHILD PROTECTION is a core component of all World Vision programming. Every boy and girl deserves to live in an environment that is safe, without the threat of abuse and exploitation in any form. Child protection is a core component of all World Vision’s programming and is the focus of our current global campaign, It takes a world to end violence against children . In 2016 and 2017, approximately US$107.4 million was invested in 1,991 child protection programmes in 63 country offices. World Vision’s approach to child protection and advocacy empowers and equips children, community members, and local partners to address the root causes of violence against children. Through its implementation, 10.2 million children, including 1.3 million of the most vulnerable, benefited by participating in activities such as community awareness training.

In 2017, the global campaign, It takes a world to end violence against children , contributed to at least 50 policy changes in 16 countries. To date, US$108 million in new or repurposed funds have been secured for projects related to ending violence against children. In addition, World Vision advocates for change regarding reduction in child marriage, child neglect, domestic violence, and harmful traditional beliefs and practices such as preventing girls from accessing education. Children and youth are active partners in positive change in their homes and communities. They are equipped by World Vision to voice their concerns, to speak up for children’s rights and protection, and to participate in decision-making.

HEALTH AND NUTRITION are key areas of focus in World Vision’s programmes to improve child well-being. To help reduce child mortality, members of the community are trained to help families understand proper nutrition and how to identify and treat or seek treatment for illness. In addition, World Vision establishes and equips local health centres that have appreciably improved maternal and child mortality and health. In 2016 and 2017, World Vision invested US$111.6 million towards 1,491 nutrition programmes in 59 countries. Combined with a US$390.3 million investment in 2,044 health programmes in 61 countries, 18.2 million children, including approximately 2.3 million of the most vulnerable, benefited from this work.

A QUALITY EDUCATION is foundational for child well-being – providing knowledge, building important life-long skills and confidence, and preparing children for futures filled with opportunity. Accessibility to and attendance at school are critical to gaining an education, but we have learned that these are not the best ways to measure success in this area. True indicators are literacy and numeracy. In 2016 and 2017, US$326.8 million was invested in 2,234 education programmes in 63 countries, benefiting 10.5 million children, including over 281,000 of the most vulnerable. World Vision uses the Unlock Literacy approach to promote quality education. During the reporting period, 129,318 teachers were trained, 325,589 caregivers participated in children’s literacy activities, and 923,101 copies of 166 titles of locally relevant reading materials (books written in children’s first languages and featuring stories they can relate to) were developed and distributed.

“I can say the pieces of advice [World Vision Staff] gave concerning my education, and now since I completed school, have had a positive impact on my family. If I get a better job, my family will benefit since it was World Vision that motivated me to take my education seriously.”

— former sponsored child, Ghana

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In many areas of the world, children and families struggle to have access to CLEAN, SAFE WATER . They also may not be aware of the importance of good hygiene or have access to adequate sanitation. This may have wide-ranging negative implications for children, including illness and poor nutrition. In 2016 and 2017, World Vision invested US$226.7 million in 1,534 water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programmes across 57 countries. In 2016 and 2017, our WASH work reached more than 7.8 million people with improved water sources, 4.8 million with sanitation, and 7.2 million with hygiene-behaviour-change programming.

A crucial element to improved child well-being is a parent's or caregiver’s ability to provide the basic necessities and safe home environment for a child to thrive. LIVELIHOODS programmes equip families with the tools they need to overcome poverty. In 2016 and 2017, World Vision invested over US$231.2 million to support 1,431 programmes in 60 country offices. These programmes benefited 5.8 million children, including approximately 1.2 million of the most vulnerable. More than 383,256 people increased their knowledge in improved agriculture and natural resource management. As a result, food security improved and household hunger decreased.

World Vision is continuing to learn how to measure child well-being, and we constantly strive to know what works best to address these challenges. We are dedicated to learning, delivering, measuring and communicating impact. We will also continue to use strategic research and our regular monitoring of progress to make changes so that more children can experience fullness of life in even more impactful ways.


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