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World Vision International
World vision logo.jpg
Founders Robert Pierce
Type Non-governmental organization
Founded 1950
Headquarters London, UK (Partnership Office/Global Centre); Federal Way, Washington, U.S.A. (U.S. Headquarters); Geneva, Switzerland (International Liaison); Nairobi, Kenya (Africa Region); Nicosia, Cyprus (Middle East and Eastern Europe Region); Bangkok, Thailand (Asia Pacific Region); San José, Costa Rica (Latin America and Caribbean Region)
Staff Kevin Jenkins (International President)
Denis St. Armour (Chairperson Int'l Board)
Area served 97 countries
Focus Well being of all people, especially children.
Method Transformational Development through emergency relief, community development and policy and advocacy
Revenue US$2.6 billion (2008)
Employees 40,000 (2010)[1]
Motto Our vision for every child, life in all its fullness; our prayer for every heart, the will to make it so.

World Vision, founded in the United States in 1950, is an international Christian relief and development organization whose stated goal is "to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God."[2] Working on six continents, World Vision is one of the largest Christian relief and development organizations in the world with a 1.6 billion dollar budget (2007). The group’s total revenue, including grants, product and foreign donations is $2.6 billion (2008). [3]



World Vision was founded in 1950 by Dr. Robert Pierce ("Bob"), a young pastor and evangelical missionary, who had first been sent to China and South Korea in 1947 by the Youth for Christ missionary organization. Pierce remained at the head of World Vision for nearly two decades, but resigned from the organization in 1967. Pierce also founded the evangelical organization Samaritan's Purse.

Bob Pierce was motivated to found World Vision after speaking at a school in China. He told all the children about Jesus and asked them to tell their parents. The next day, Pierce came back to wish the children farewell before returning home. While he was there, he noticed one little girl was badly beaten. Upon asking the school master, she said her father beat her when she told him about Jesus. The schoolmaster had no way to care for the girl. Many other children were already sharing the school master's food. So Bob Pierce began sending five dollars per month to sponsor the little girl whose parents kicked her out.[citation needed]

The first area that World Vision focused on was orphans and other children in need, beginning in South Korea, then expanding throughout Asia. Today, they operate in more than 90 countries,such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Afghanistan, India, Romania, Austria, Bolivia, El Salvador, Mexico, Jerusalem, and Papua New Guinea. <ref. World Vision> They are now focusing on larger issues of community development and advocacy for the poor towards the end of helping poor children and their families build a sustainable future.[2]

Later, Richard Stearns became president of World Vision. He used to be CEO of Linex China. His full story can be found in his book, THE HOLE IN OUR GOSPEL

Organizational structure

main office in the World Vision US Headquarters office complex in Federal Way, Washington

World Vision International operates as a federation of interdependent national offices, each overseen by their own boards or advisory councils. Each office and its members have created a common mission statement. Through an ongoing system of peer review, each national partner is held accountable and abides by common policies and standards.

The partnership offices – located in Geneva, Bangkok, Nairobi, Cyprus, Los Angeles, and San José, Costa Rica – coordinate operations of the organization and represent World Vision in the international arena. For making large scale decisions, the international organization considers opinions from each national office, whether in the developed or developing world.

An international board of directors oversees the World Vision partnership. The full board meets twice a year to appoint senior officers, approve strategic plans and budgets, and determine international policy. The current chairperson of the international board is Denis St. Armour of Canada. The international president as of October 1st will be Kevin J. Jenkins.[4] [5]


WV transports goods with air cargo to reach the beneficiaries immediately

According to World Vision's 2006 Consolidated Financial Statements, around 40% of their revenue comes from private sources, including individuals, World Vision clubs in schools, corporations and foundations. 27% comes from governments and multilateral aid agencies such as USAID and the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK. 30% comes from other World Vision programs and nonprofit organizations as Gift in Kind. Aside from cash contributions, World Vision accepts gifts in kind, typically food commodities, medicine, and clothing donated through corporations and government agencies.[4]

Approximately half of World Vision's programs are funded through child sponsorship. Individuals, families, churches, schools, and other groups sponsor specific children or specific community projects in their own country or abroad. Sponsors send funds each month to provide support for the sponsored children or projects.

World Vision Famine events like the 30-Hour Famine and 40-Hour Famine also help to raise money for impoverished countries. Typically, a group signs up to organize such an event, and then spends the next 30 or 40 hours abstaining from food, technology or other things that are taken for granted, and increasing awareness about world hunger.[6] Many schools and individuals are annually successful with this fundraising activity. In the beginning there was only the No Food Famine,[7] but as an example of the flexibility of the program, some do a Techno Famine, without technology (i.e. cellphones, computers, TV or digital audio players). Another one is the 24 hour wake, an event that involves a group signing up for lack of any form of rest or energy drink supplements to show the overworked conditions the third world has to deal with.

According to World Vision's annual report, in 2008, 87% of its funding was spent on programs, 8% on fundraising and 5% on management and general overhead.[4][8]


WV distributes removable toilets to schools during emergency response
Key dates of World Vision
1950 Reverend Robert Pierce forms World Vision.
1953 Pierce begins the World Vision sponsorship program with photographs of needy children.
1967 Pierce resigns from World Vision.
1970s World Vision's decentralized structure is established.
1979 World Vision operates offices in 40 countries.
1989 World Vision operates offices in 55 countries.
1996 Dean Hirsch is appointed president.
1998 Richard Sterns is appointed US group president.
2004 After tripling during the previous eight years, World Vision's budget reaches $1.5 billion.
2007 World Vision ends its 57th year with 26,000 employees and a budget of $2.6 billion.

The focus of the World Vision (WV) organization is divided into five major areas: emergency relief, education, health care, economic development, and promotion of justice. World Vision activities include transformational development, emergency relief, strategic initiatives, public awareness campaigns and promoting Christianity. Though World Vision has consultative status with UNESCO and partnerships with UN agencies like UNICEF, WHO, UNHCR and ILO, its financial records reveal that it has funded evangelical activities all over the world.[9]

World Vision's approach to aid is to first help people and their communities recognize the resources that lie within them. With support from World Vision, it claims communities transform themselves by carrying out their own development projects in health care, agriculture production, water projects, education, micro-enterprise development, advocacy and other community programs.

World Vision provides emergency relief to people whose lives are endangered by disasters or conflict and who need immediate assistance. It attempts to respond to all major emergencies around the world themselves or in cooperation with their partner agencies. For example, World Vision responded to famine[10] in Ethiopia and North Korea, hurricanes in Central America, the tsunami in the Indian Ocean nations, earthquakes in El Salvador, India, Taiwan, Turkey and the Sichuan earthquake in China, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and war refugees in Kosovo, Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Angola, and East Timor.

World Vision also addresses factors that perpetuate poverty by what it describes as promoting justice. It supports community awareness of the collective ability to address unjust practices and begin working for change. It claims to speak out on issues such as child labor, debt relief for poor nations,[11] and the use of children as combatants in armed conflict. World Vision International has endorsed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It claims to foster opportunities to help reduce conflict levels and to contribute to the peaceful resolution of hostilities and reconciliation of disputes.[12]

WV relief effort in disaster affected areas

World Vision encourages public awareness about the needs of others, the causes of poverty, and the nature of compassionate response.[13] These efforts include collaboration with media and community participation in fundraising.[14] In all its communications, World Vision claims it upholds the dignity of children and families in presenting explanations of the causes and consequences of poverty, war, neglect, and abuse.[15]

As a Christian organization, World Vision participates in what it labels strategic initiatives with people it identifies as Christian leaders and lay people of all denominations through conferences, consultations, training programs and various educational opportunities. World Vision claims to be an ecumenical organization willing to partner with all Christian churches while claiming to be respectful of other faiths.

World Vision believes missionary work is a fundamental part of its relief work. The organization believes in the Christian God, claiming the "person of Jesus offers hope of renewal, restoration, and reconciliation." It says it seeks to express this message through "life, deed, word, and sign". It claims its programs and services are provided without regard to race, ethnic origin, gender, or religion.

World Vision is a member of the Global Coalition Against Pneumonia and supports World Pneumonia Day on November 2, 2009.


In a report on famine in Ethiopia, reporter Andrew Geoghegan visited his 14 year old sponsor child. The girl has "been part of a World Vision program all her life" yet says (in translated subtitle) "Until recently, I didn't know I had a sponsor." and when asked about her knowledge of World Vision sponsorship says "Last time they gave me this jacket and a pen." Geoghegan was disconcerted to find that despite being "told by World Vision that [the girl] was learning English at school, and was improving...she speaks no English at all."[16]

In their response, World Vision states "World Vision unapologetically takes a community-based approach to development – a fact we publicly promote at every opportunity. Providing money directly to the families of sponsored children simply does not work, no matter how dire the circumstances. A ‘direct benefit' approach creates jealousy among community members that do not have sponsored children and fosters an ethos of dependency. So while sponsored children may receive some direct benefits – like school materials or a jacket for warmth – this in no way represents the entirety of our work in a community, and it was disingenuous for the Foreign Correspondent story to imply this."

It is clearly stated on the World Vision website: "When you make a gift, your contributions are pooled with that of other sponsors of children in the community where your child lives. Your child receives health care, education, nutritious food, and the entire community benefits from access to clean water, agricultural assistance, medical care, and more."

The journalist and producer were offered the chance to view the full breadth of work World Vision is undertaking in the community, in health, education and food security, but this offer was not accepted."[17]

Foreign Correspondent replied to World Vision. In part, that response reads: "Foreign Correspondent sought answers from World Vision representatives on why the organisation's literature creates the impression that donated money goes directly to the sponsor child. The World Vision representative failed to adequately respond to the questions and instead outlined the community projects where sponsor money is spent. Foreign Correspondent does not dispute the integrity of World Vision projects but questions the way sponsorship is promoted to the public. In its response, World Vision has ignored the reporter's surprise at finding his sponsor child speaks no English, yet he has been receiving regular reports from the organisation that she's learning English at school and has a good command of the language..., Andrew Geoghegan has sponsored Tsehaynesh Delago for a decade and yet she claims she was unaware, until recently, that she had a sponsor and says the only benefit she has ever received directly from World Vision is a pen and the denim jacket she wore on the day of filming."[18]

In 2007, British animal rights group Animal Aid criticized World Vision, Oxfam, and other aid groups for sending farm animals to families in developing countries. Animal Aid argued that farm animals drink water and eat the food that could otherwise be used to feed families more efficiently.[19]



  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Our Mission, World Vision, Retrieved July 21st, 2009
  3. ^ Holtzman, Clay, World Vision donors dig deep, Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle), February 6, 2009
  4. ^ a b c "World Vision - Full 2008 Annual Financial Statement in PDF" (PDF).$file/PRES08832_OVB.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  5. ^ "International: World Vision names new international president". 2009-04-08. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  6. ^ "40 Hour Famine sets a record for participation". Scoop. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  7. ^ "40 Hour Famine will help starving in Haiti". Scoop. 2004-03-01. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  8. ^ P.O. Box 9716 (2008). "2008 Annual Review". World Vision. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  9. ^ The People's Paper
  10. ^ Costello, Tim, et al., Freedom from hunger: the most basic of human rights, Opinion Piece - World Vision Australia, posted: 10 Dec 2008, Authors: Tim Costello (World Vision), Julia Newton-Howes (CARE), Paul O’Callaghan (ACFID), Jack de Groot (Caritas), Andrew Hewett (Oxfam), and Robert Tickner (Red Cross).
  11. ^ - Amnesty International News - 02 Apr 2009, G20 leaders urged to protect the poor, 2 April 2009
  12. ^ Amnesty International News - 14 Oct 2005 - Uganda: Former child soldiers excluded in adulthood, 14 October 2005, independent journalist Euan Denholm
  13. ^ Advocacy action center, World Vision, Retrieved July 21st, 2009
  14. ^ - Amnesty International Press Center, Document of Public Statement Issued by CEOs of INGOs on the impact of the global economic downturn – October 2008, Authors: Irene Khan, Secretary General, Amnesty International, Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director, Oxfam International, Dr. Dean Hirsch, Chief Executive Officer, World Vision International, Tom Miller, Chief Executive Officer, PLAN International, Gerd Leipold, International Executive Director, Greenpeace, Dr Robert Glasser, Secretary General, CARE International
  15. ^ World Vision News - World Vision Houses 70,000 in Somalia In War Torn Area
  16. ^ Geoghegan, Andrew "Ethiopia - The Endless Famine", Foreign Correspondent, 25 November 2008, series 18, episode 22, © 2008 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  17. ^ ABC Material's Foreign Correspondent, [ World Vision response to Foreign Correspondent story from Ethiopia), broadcast on 25 November 2008, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  18. ^ ABC Material's Foreign Correspondent, Foreign Correspondent story from Ethiopia broadcast, broadcast on 25 November 2008, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  19. ^ Christian today, World Vision, Christian Aid Criticised for Sending Animals to Poor Countries

Further reading

External links



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