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How We Work

When our work began in 1950, our approach was basic. We provided food and shelter for children in orphanages through child sponsorship. But we’ve learned a lot in 64 years. Now we offer a full solution to poverty and injustice issues — and make it sustainable so it lasts.

We work in the most difficult contexts in the poorest countries, because we believe in the power of transformation. Find out more about our mission and values.

Our community development approach empowers children and families to break the cycle of poverty and reach their God-given potential.

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How World Vision Works video

How is community development different? How does World Vision work in the field? Learn how we partner with children and families to help develop a full solution to poverty for a full life.

Our Work Is…

integrated and connected - photo of girl holding baby chicksWe love the way Jesus cared for the poor and oppressed, showing us how to listen to children and look out for widows and orphans.

  • Where possible, we partner with local churches, equipping them to meet community needs.
  • As a Christian organization, we serve ALL people, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or creed.
  • We are privileged to be welcomed into many communities where Christianity is a minority faith — or barely present at all.
  • In accordance with the Red Cross Code of Conduct, we never proselytize or require a profession of faith in exchange for services.
  • Our hope is to reflect the unconditional and transformational love of Jesus in culturally appropriate ways.

Learn more about how we put our faith in action.

child focused - smiling childChildren live in families, in communities, in countries. We work on every level to achieve our goal of child well-being — from international activism to checking in on children face-to-face.

  • Children are the focus of our work, and they are important participants.
  • We invite children to tell us about the problems they see in their communities.
  • We help improve systems and structures to make their world a better, safer place to live.

Child sponsorship is at the foundation of our work. It gives us a long-term:

  • Relationship with children and sponsors; and
  • Funding base that we leverage to secure grants, corporate gifts, resources from local governments, one-time donations, and more.

This variety of funding sources creates synergy and amazing transformation for the children and the communities where we work.

COMMUNITY BASED - group of children and parents wavingOur local staff members begin working in a community by asking a lot of questions, finding out what problems are seen by members of the community, especially the children.

We then address the root causes of poverty and injustice together, designing integrated, sustainable solutions such as access to clean water, a focus on child protection, and opportunities for economic development.

  • Together, we come up with a plan, decide on ways to evaluate and measure success, and get to work.
  • The community is involved, empowered, and trained, and its members take ownership in the programs and progress.
  • Every 3-5 years, we look at the original plan to assess and evaluate our success. If we’re not meeting our goals, we make adjustments and then keep working. We call this our LEAP framework (Learning through Evaluation and Planning).
  • Working together, we can draw on each other’s strengths and make our work more sustainable. We bring together local churches, businesses, community organizations, and other non-profits.
  • We hope this network will keep prioritizing child well-being even after we transition out of the community.

Effective Development - arrow going up over bar graphMeasuring progress is an essential part of our accountability to the communities we serve, our partners, and our donors.

  • We do a baseline survey before we begin work.
  • We design each program to measure progress toward specific child well-being indicators.
  • After 3-5 years, we re-measure those indicators to compare with the baseline.
  • This information helps the community make better decisions and change course if necessary.
  • Along the way, we measure and share results with members of the community so they can be aware and validate changes.
  • The community also provides feedback through qualitative interviews and focus group discussions.

Read more about World Vision development programs.

Examples

El Salvador

In this community in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador, parents were concerned that their children were struggling in school. Many were either repeating grades or dropping out.

So we trained parents and volunteers to run a community preschool that prepares kids for school. Now, the children start school strong — and stay strong.
 

Burundi

In this community in Rutegama, Burundi, children were malnourished. World Vision formed a nutrition club for moms to train them on nutrition, improved gardening techniques, and animal husbandry.

Now, moms know what foods provide balanced nutrition and have the knowledge and resources to grow them. Children are better nourished, and families even earn extra income from the animals!

 

Bangladesh

And in this community in Panchbibi, Bangladesh, moms were struggling to provide for their families. They had no way to earn an income.

So we provided sewing machines and taught the moms how to use them. Then, we provided training on how to start a business. Now, moms can earn enough income to provide for their children and send them to school!