Helping refugees cover image.

Refugees & Fragile States

Over 60 million children and families have been forcibly displaced from their homes by conflict and strife. These are the largest numbers of refugees and displaced people since World War II. Extreme poverty (less than $1.90 a day) is on the rise in places with weak governance and disrupted public services, like education, health, and clean water.  These places are the world’s “fragile states,” where families and communities are affected by disasters, economic crises, conflict, and social upheaval. World Vision has worked in fragile states for over three decades to provide life-saving support and durable solutions for the world’s most vulnerable children.

Medicine and nutrition training saves lives in South Sudan

In South Sudan this year, nearly a quarter-million children under age 5 will suffer from severe acute malnutrition. World Vision is there helping.

7 reasons why the Syrian refugee crisis still matters after 7 years

Today marks seven years since the Syrian refugee crisis began. With reports of the war in Syria almost over and after seven years of hearing about and caring about this crisis, does it still matter? Compassionate voices come together with a resounding yes.

Fragile states: Helping children in the worst of all worlds

Our executive advisor on fragile states breaks down this difficult context for humanitarian work and explains how we’re uniquely equipped to respond.

People in 38 of the 58 most fragile areas

receive support through our long- and short-term programming.

5,000 World Vision advocates

contacted Congress to oppose proposed 30% cuts to the foreign affairs budget, which funds lifesaving programs in the most difficult places, with success.

2 million refugees and displaced people

have been assisted by our staff in the midst of conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Our Approach

What is a refugee?

Refugees are people who had to flee their home country due to war, violence, or persecution, according to the UN Refugee Agency. Refugees are different from immigrants because refugees cannot go home, or are afraid that it is not safe to return. Displaced people have had to leave their homes for the same reason as a refugee, but they are still living within their home country. World Vision works with both refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the most fragile places, including Syria, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Why does World Vision work in fragile places?

We go where humanitarian and development needs are high. If estimates hold true, by 2030, around eighty percent of the world’s extreme poor will live in fragile states. What’s more alarming is that extreme poverty has a child’s face: the majority of people in fragile contexts are young. As a child-focused organization, we have a clear call to help the most vulnerable children — those who live in fragile states and who are increasingly forced to flee instability within and across borders as refugees.

What programs are most effective in helping families in these situations?

Programs that provide basic necessities while boosting a community’s resilience and self-reliance in the face of disasters and destitution are most effective.  Direct assistance for children, households, and communities make a big impact in fragile states, since their governments are often unable to provide basic services. To be most effective, programs need to empower communities and work through local organizations, including churches, mothers’ groups, and farmers’ associations, so that they build local capacity while providing assistance. Programs should also help governments assume responsibility, over time, for service delivery and social protection.

How does World Vision’s work help?

We have worked in the majority of the world’s fragile states for more than 30 years. We know what types of programs work in these contexts, and more importantly, we have longstanding relationships and trust with the communities we serve. Our big focus in fragile states is on developing new approaches to enable transition out of fragility, especially in program areas where we are strong: water, sanitation, and hygiene; health; livelihoods and food assistance; and child protection, and education. By integrating all these programs, we help to provide communities with what they need most. But no single group or organization can tackle fragility alone, so we partner with churches, donor governments, corporations, and individual supporters across the globe, in addition to local communities, faith bodies, civil society, and public institutions where we work.

Ultimately, our successful programs empower refugees and displaced people and cultivate ingenuity and resilience, so that communities have the know-how, the confidence, and the ability to help themselves and care for their children.

How quickly can a fragile nation move toward resilience?

The journey can take decades, but we don’t have to wait that long to help change children’s lives. We are seeing communities achieve better health, education, livelihoods, nutrition, and gender equality. And while the road is long, sustained donor support is making a difference in the most fragile places.

Refugees and Fragile State Resources

SomRep Positive Deviance Study (pdf)

This study of our emergency response in Somalia found belonging to a savings group and participating in preparedness and early warning activities were consistently related to both community identification of successful coping as well as food security status.

3 ways you can help refugees and displaced children and families

Ways to Give

Become a Refugee Responder: $30+

As a Refugee Responder, your monthly gift will provide life-saving essentials like food, water, healthcare, child protection, and education to refugees and internally displaced people, helping to fill the gap of everything they’ve left behind.

Feed a refugee child for a month: $38

With the help of people like you, World Vision is at work in the most broken places—like Syria, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Your gift of a Refugee Food Kit can help provide families with desperately needed emergency food.

Ways to Give

Become a Refugee Responder: $30+

As a Refugee Responder, your monthly gift will provide life-saving essentials like food, water, healthcare, child protection, and education to refugees and internally displaced people, helping to fill the gap of everything they’ve left behind.

Feed a refugee child for a month: $38

With the help of people like you, World Vision is at work in the most broken places—like Syria, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Your gift of a Refugee Food Kit can help provide families with desperately needed emergency food.

Together, we work to help communities develop the perfect recipe for sustainable success.

Choose one and see how our work gets done.

Health

Poverty in America

Economic Empowerment

Clean Water

Education

Christian Faith

Disaster Relief

Child Protection

Gender Equality

Disability Inclusion

Refugees & Fragile States

Child Protection