FAQs about World Vision Australia

The following is a list of the most commonly asked questions about World Vision and the work we do.

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  • What is World Vision?

    World Vision is a worldwide community development organisation that provides short-term and long-term assistance to 100 million people worldwide (including 2.4 million children). World Vision works in more than 90 countries, employs 22,500 staff and has an annual budget in excess of US$1.5 billion.

    For six decades, World Vision has been engaging people to work towards eliminating poverty and its causes. World Vision is committed to helping the poor and works with people of all cultures, faiths and genders to achieve transformation. We do this through emergency relief, long-term development projects, advocacy, collaboration and education.

    World Vision Australia is the nation’s  largest charitable group. More Australians entrust more money to World Vision than any other charity in the country. With the support of more than 400,000 Australians, World Vision helps more than 20 million people every year.

    We depend on the support of the Australian public for funding, with the majority of income coming from Child Sponsorship. Other funding avenues include emergency relief appeals, Federal Government grants, cash donations and the 40 Hour Famine Appeal.

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  • What does World Vision do?

    More than a billion people around the world live in poverty and struggle every day simply to survive. World Vision works with these poor communities at the grassroots level empowering them with the right knowledge, skills and resources to work their way out of poverty.

    World Vision brings globally proven approaches together with each community's own strengths to address their specific challenges. Our work includes long term development programs, emergency relief projects, advocacy and education.

    The aim of many of our projects is to help communities become self-reliant through a range of initiatives such as health improvements, education and skills training, agricultural development, access to finance, small business workshops and leadership development.

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  • Where does the money go?

    World Vision Australia aims to ensure the highest proportion of its funds gets to those in need. If you want a breakdown of where World Vision Australia’s money goes, read Where the funds go and our Annual Report.

    Our financial statements are externally audited (in the same way and to the same standards which apply to Australian companies) and our annual reports are prepared to internationally acknowledged standards of transparency for not-for-profits.

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  • What countries does World Vision work in?

    World Vision works in some of the poorest countries in the world where the need for help is greatest.

    The four regions in which we work are Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East, Eastern Europe & Central Asia.

    World Vision also works with indigenous communities in Australia.

    See a full list of countries where World Vision operates here.

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  • Does World Vision work in Australia?

    With respect and understanding, World Vision works with indigenous communities in Australia to achieve positive and lasting change.

    World Vision partners with Indigenous communities in the design and implementation of successful projects that tackle the causes of disadvantage and transform the lives of children and communities. World Vision's strategic contribution is not as a provider of funds or services. It is technical assistance provided in long-term projects delivered through effective partnering.

    Our partnerships with Indigenous communities are located in inner suburban Sydney, as far north as Cape York and through the heart of the Northern Territory.

    A snapshot of our current projects can be found here.

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  • Does charity begin at home?

    Australians are part of a global community where basic human rights should be afforded to all, no matter where one is born. Yes, charity begins at home but it doesn’t have to end there. We are lucky in Australia that we can afford to respond to those in need at home as well as providing life-saving aid to those beyond our borders.

    Australia has the seventh highest income per person in the world according to International Monetary Fund figures and our level of government debt is by far the lowest of any major developed country. Although we are well placed to donate money to the poor, currently the Australia Government only gives around 35 cents in every hundred dollars of national income. In reality, our government’s spending on overseas aid is relatively low compared with other rich nations who give aid. Currently we rank 14th out of 23 rich countries in terms of our aid budget.

    Most importantly, overseas aid and development saves and transforms lives. For example, 20 years ago more than 12 million children died every year from preventable causes. In 2010, less than 8 million children died from preventable causes. This is a 36 percent reduction in child deaths and aid has played a big part in this progress. Unfortunately, thousands of children still die every day so more still needs to be done.   

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  • Can I make a difference?

    World Vision is all about making a difference. Whether it's helping through sponsorship to help meet the basic needs of a child, their family and community, helping rescue children from exploitation, funding vital development work, helping people in emergency situations or participating in advocacy campaigns, every person who supports our work is making a positive difference in someone's life.

    Around 400,000 Australians now contribute to World Vision's work around the world. As a part of a broader movement against global poverty, this is creating broad-ranging changes to the living standards of those living in desperate poverty. For example:

    • Twenty years ago more than 12 million children died every year from preventable causes. Last year, less than 8 million children died from preventable causes. This is a 36 percent reduction in child deaths and aid has played a big part in this progress.
    • Aid has been a major factor in improving children’s access to education. An extra 40 million children have received a basic education each year since 2000. 
    • Sending aid to Africa can save many lives. Based on Global Fund estimates $370 million in aid can prevent more than 160,000 HIV, malaria and TB-related deaths each year. 

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  • World Vision is a Christian organisation. Does that mean you only assist those with the same faith?

    While we are motivated by our Christian values and faith, we recognise that many in the world do not share our beliefs. Our primary focus is the immediate relief and long-term development needs of communities. To act otherwise would endanger our ability to be present within many of the countries in which we work. World Vision is given permission by governments to operate within their borders. This relationship can at times be delicate and is often affected by political upheaval and conflict. In the event that World Vision is seen to be proselytising, we would be putting at risk our ability to continue working in many regions in the world. This would mean that we would no longer be able to continue to be of support to the poor and oppressed, with potentially disastrous effects.

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  • How can I undertake a fundraising event?

    World Vision has fundraising guidelines in place to help groups, individuals and organisations who wish to undertake a fundraising event. If you're hosting an event to raise funds for World Vision, we ask that you familiarise yourself with our requirements to ensure accountability to donors.

    Please read the World Vision Fundraising Guidelines

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  • How much money does CEO Tim Costello earn?

    Tim's salary including super is $255,805. This is less than the CEO salaries of many similar sized charitable organisations in Australia. Tim has also overseen $112m growth in World Vision Australia’s income since becoming CEO, and each year he donates to World Vision all the gifts and fees (up to $150,000 in value) paid to him for speaking engagements. 

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  • Does World Vision support the use of contraceptives?

    World Vision programs support modern contraceptive methods as part of an integrated approach to effective family planning. World Vision’s family planning guidelines encourage both men and women to take equal responsibility for their children’s birth and development. With both maternal and child mortality rates at alarming levels in many developing countries, individuals and couples are provided with the knowledge and the means to determine the number and spacing of their children to ensure the survival and wellbeing of both mother and child. These objectives are consistent with the UN Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, which are to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health respectively.

    All contraceptive methods promoted by World Vision are reviewed with respect to ethical, medical and development standards. World Vision programs are also designed and implemented in partnership with communities, and in collaboration with national health policy, the local health system, local faith-based organisations and other non-government organisations undertaking similar programs.

    Contraceptive needs and preferences may vary depending on the cultural context. That's why our programs providing integrated voluntary family planning services offer a range of natural and artificial methods. Given the high risk for sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), dual protection methods are encouraged. Examples of protection methods include abstinence, consistent and correct use of condoms, use of a contraception method, and mutual monogamy.

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  • Is reducing the population the answer to solving poverty?

    World Vision’s primary aim is to help poor people work their way out of poverty – we do not tell communities how many children they should have.

    However, improvements in the lives of the poor do have an impact on reducing family size.  For example, the UN Population Fund says when a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.

    Depending on the laws, policies and community attitudes in the countries where World Vision operates, our work might include things like the educating girls, improving childbirth facilities and support for women in remote communities, fostering economic opportunities, and providing information about family planning and birth spacing – including contraception, where it is appropriate.

    Population growth rates in most countries are falling and the global average for the number of children born to each woman has dropped from 3.7 in 1980 to 2.5 in 2009.

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  • How does World Vision handle fraud and corruption?

    World Vision Australia does not tolerate fraud or corruption in its operations and programs and is committed to the highest standards of legal, ethical and moral behaviour in all we do.

    To make sure that corruption and fraud is prevented or detected in a timely manner, World Vision has implemented a number of measures including:

    • World Vision staff – here in Australia and overseas – monitor and visit projects and organise audits of project finance to make certain that all funds are properly used
    • A management systems has been set up that avoids any individual having exclusive rights to spend large amounts of money
    • Thorough background checks on staff are conducted
    • Local employees are trained to detect and deter fraud 
    • A whistle-blower system has been established so staff can report any suspicious behaviour
    • Each project and national office is accountable through a range of internal and external audit and program quality review procedures  
    • Reports are sent to the donors who give us money and to the governments and authorities in the places where we operate, and to our industry peers
    • World Vision Australia’s accounts and operations are externally audited.

    Additionally, World Vision complies with the requirements of funders such as AusAID.

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  • What are World Vision’s views on climate change?

    The enormous body of work done by the IPCC - an international body of highly regarded scientists - and World Vision’s own field experience is sufficient evidence for us that climate change could undermine every aspect of our work.

    While a single disaster cannot be attributed entirely to climate change, it has been predicted that global warming will increase the severity and frequency of cyclones, flooding and drought. In fact, it has been reported that the number of extreme natural catastrophes has tripled since 1980. These occurrences hurt the poor the most, and first. The impacts of climate change have the potential to reverse the significant gains already made on reducing global poverty. For that reason we will continue to push for domestic and international action on climate change, while working in and with developing countries on adaptation, providing measures which minimise the impacts of climate change, and supporting low-carbon and sustainable practices.

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  • Does aid work?

    From our work in the field World Vision knows that international aid and development saves and transforms lives. For example, 20 years ago more than 12 million children died every year from preventable causes. In 2010, less than 8 million children died from preventable causes. This is a 36 percent reduction in child deaths and aid has played a big part in this progress.  

    From a World Vision Australia perspective, in 2010 the organisation supported almost 900 projects in 61 countries around the world.  In one community in India where World Vision works, the immunisation rate of infants has increased from 28.7 percent in 2002 to 76.2 percent in 2010; 75 percent of households have toilets; and diarrhoea in children under five has virtually quartered.

    In 2010 World Vision Australia also assisted approximately 3.2 million people through our responses to humanitarian emergences including the Haiti earthquake, the Pakistan floods and the food crisis in Niger.

    It is also in Australia's best interests to promote growth and stability in our region. By supporting long-term sustainable programs in developing countries Australians are supporting people to become self-reliant citizens contributing to the growth of their own communities and the overall stability of the global economy.

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  • Why does World Vision get involved with politics?

    One of the less-understood components of our work is advocacy. If you keep rescuing people from the river, eventually you’ve got to go upstream and see who is throwing them in. That’s what advocacy means for World Vision: tackling problems and roadblocks that lead to inequality and poverty while partnering with communities to run long-term sustainable development programs. Together this leads to change.

    World Vision unapologetically works with all sides of politics on issues such as overseas aid levels, climate change policy and maternal and child health spending so that national and global policies are established that lift people out of extreme poverty.

    This work is vital for the world’s poor, and may have an impact every bit as dramatic as anything we can do on the ground in developing countries. For example, the bi-partisan commitment to lift Australia’s aid budget to .5% by 2015 will equate to a further $3.4 billion delivered to international programs. Estimates from extensive work in fighting some of the main contributors of deaths in developing counties - AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria – indicate that the increase should equate to the prevention of approximately 1.5 million deaths.

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  • What does World Vision do with my personal information?

    Information that you provide to us will enable us to process your request (eg. gift, payment, registration, subscription, change of details) as the law permits or for other purposes explained in our Privacy and Security statement. We don't rent, sell or exchange information we hold.

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