How We Work

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how we work

Every Stage of a Child's Life Provides the Key to the Next

Children need loving caregivers, health care, nutrition, clean water and sanitation, education, opportunity and safety.

If any one of these is missing in a child’s life, his or her potential may remain out of reach. ChildFund improves children’s well-being by working to ensure all these elements are in place, using proven practices tailored to local needs and culture for the greatest benefit to children.

Children’s Changing Needs As They Grow

For children to live at potential as they grow up, they need stability across these defining stages of their lives:


For infants and young children, ChildFund’s programs focus on ensuring improved nutrition, health, safety and early learning experiences.


Programs for children and young teens focus on increased learning, health, positive relationships with peers and adults, and skills for active participation in family, school and community life.


For youth, our programs focus on improved employment, sexual and reproductive health, and civic engagement and leadership.

ChildFund believes improving children’s well-being also depends on protection from harm. Learn more about how children’s protection needs shift as they age.

Worldwide, 570 million children need help to live at their potential. Parents too often lack the resources to give their children what they need. For too many families, access to health care is a luxury. Opportunities for education and livelihood are severely limited. ChildFund’s programs address these issues so that girls and boys around the world can thrive at every stage of their lives.

How do we help children be safe, healthy, learning and hopeful?

our approach

ChildFund uses a holistic approach that focuses on the developmental and protection needs of children at each stage of life, from birth to early adulthood. We also pay special attention to the transitions between one stage of childhood and the next.

All aspects of a child’s life are interconnected. ChildFund’s approach mirrors this interconnectedness, providing integrated programs and services that have a proven positive impact in addressing what children need for their long-term well-being.

Working through community-based partner organizations, we engage children and youth, their parents and families, and the people and systems that support them.  We put the child at the center, protected and supported at each stage of life with programs that the communities themselves own in order to improve children’s lives and create positive social change worldwide. 

The Value of Local Partnership

Together, ChildFund and its local partners must be able to navigate the changing development landscape, building on existing strengths while also anticipating and positioning around shared insights about the future.

  1. Population Access and Influence
    Through local partner organizations, we have a more direct relationship with children and communities that are experiencing poverty, as well as the governments that serve them.
  2. Program Relevancy/Adaptation/Leverage
    When well selected, local partners understand their communities and work with them to identify priority issues to address through programs.
  3. Community Ownership
    Given their roots in the community, local partners can promote stronger local decision-making and have a more powerful effect on the local power base. They are also best able to check up on the children on a regular basis – every six months, local partners make sure each enrolled child is still living in the community and participating in our programs, and check on his or her health and education status.
  4. Sustainability
    Local partners can more ably sustain efforts to support the well-being of children over successive generations, long after ChildFund's financial commitments to them end.
  5. Efficiency
    Working through local partners leverages other resources.

Learn More

Get the details in our Local Partner Strategy Report.


Children need different strengths and abilities at each stage of their lives to achieve their potential in infancy, childhood and youth.

Nutrition, Health and Safety

Infants and young children need a healthy beginning. But they also need to be secure enough to explore and learn all they can throughout those early, foundational years when their most rapid development takes place and they form their first relationships.


If a baby is undernourished, she can’t learn as well as she should — she can’t fully interact with her peers, and she can’t explore.


Children and young adolescents need access to education. They also need the confidence to explore new concepts, say what they feel, ask for what they need and create healthy relationships.


ChildFund’s programs let school-age children to build and strengthen the foundations they need to complete their educations and become productive citizens.


Youth need to be prepared to enter the work force. They also need to build healthy relationships with their peers, families and romantic partners — and to be involved in the larger world so that they contribute their unique vision and abilities toward improving their communities — and their own lives.


Learning marketable skills helps youth start their own businesses or find careers that offer good compensation and brighter futures.