We Empower Communities
ChildFund makes a 12- to 15-year commitment to the hundreds of communities we serve in 31 countries around the world. Vulnerable children need consistent support from birth to young adulthood so that they can participate to their fullest as valuable contributors to their communities.
How We Engage
By partnering with community-based organizations and operating within existing social structures, we forge lasting relationships.
Area Strategic Plans
ChildFund typically begins work in a new region by developing an Area Strategic Plan. Experience tells us that children and youth identify critical issues that adults often overlook, which is why it is important to involve them throughout the process: planning, implementation and evaluation.
To ensure that the plan truly reflects the needs and desires of the communities, we use participatory action research methods like risk mapping to involve children, youth, adults and other community stakeholders. After six months of community-wide participatory planning, we arrive at a three-year plan of action that integrates all perspectives.
Skill Building Through Participation
We also assist children and youth in forming committees and associations to develop leadership skills that will serve them well in their community. Sometimes children’s and youth associations direct their focus onto a particular issue in their community. For example, in India, a children’s club helped save young girls from too-early marriage and highlighted the importance of education in their community.
Children are the primary beneficiaries of ChildFund’s services, but once we begin our work we find that families, communities and government agencies often spontaneously engage in collaborative action. Schools get a fresh coat of paint, new latrines are constructed, safety hazards are removed. A natural ecological support system emerges for children as the entire community increases its awareness of child protection issues.