World Vision Australia

World Vision Australia (WVA) is an ecumenical Christian non-governmental organisation based in Melbourne, Australia. It is a part of the World Vision International Partnership led by World Vision International. WVA is Australia's largest overseas aid and development organisation, operating primarily to assist overseas communities living in poverty. It also carries out development work in Australia with Indigenous communities.

World Vision Australia
MottoOur vision for every child, life in all its fullness; Our prayer for every heart, the will to make it so.
FounderWorld Vision (USA)
TypeNon-Government Organisation
FocusWell being of all people, especially children.
Area served
38 countries
MethodTransformational Development through emergency relief, community development and policy and advocacy
Key people
Claire Rogers (CEO)
A$404.1 million (2017)
440 (2017)

WVA is registered as a charity by the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission as a public benevolent institution, and is endorsed as a deductible gift recipient.[1]


World Vision was founded in 1950 in the United States by Rev. Robert Pierce, a Baptist missionary who had worked in China, focusing on aiding children in need. World Vision offices were subsequently established in other countries. The first child sponsorship scheme commenced in 1953 to aid children in Korea following the Korean war.

WVA was founded in 1966 after a proposal to start a new office in Australia by Bernard Barron, the head of World Vision Canada, and after startup funds were provided by the headquarters of World Vision in the United States. Graeme Irvine, an evangelical Christian, was at the head of the Australian branch of World Vision. The first project of WVA related to Vietnam.[2]

World Vision International was founded in 1977 to restructure the World Vision organisation world-wide, and the head of WVA, Graeme Irvine, was 1978 among the signers of the Declaration of Internationalization, which declared a set of objectives for World Vision in its operations throughout the world. In 1988, Graeme Irvine became the first non-American president of World Vision International.

After its establishment, WVA first focused on meeting the needs of refugees in Indochina and of people recovering from disasters in Bangladesh and in several African countries. In the 1970s, its focus broadened from assisting the individual child to include community development. Since the 1980s, a "welfare" approach has gradually changed to a more collaborative relationship where communities work alongside World Vision to improve their lives and take control of their futures.[3]

Christian foundation

World Vision Australia, like all branches of World Vision, is a Christian organisation that bases its beliefs and its activities on the Christian faith and draws on a biblical framework to inform its work.[4] The Declaration of Internationalization referred to above included a Statement of Faith that set the theological framework within which World Vision International and its national offices (including WVA) operate.[5] The Statement of Faith corresponds to the Statement of Faith[6] put forward by the US National Association of Evangelicals as standard for their evangelical convictions. Like other members of the World Vision Partnership, WVA does not make Christian belief or observance a condition of providing assistance to a person or community, but provides aid regardless of the recipients religion or beliefs.[7] WVA is a signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct, that requires that development activities be separately delivered and reported from non-development (including religious) activities.[8] WVA's development activities seek to improve the well-being of those in need without favouritism or discrimination by race, religion, culture, or political persuasion. The benefits and disadvantages affecting faith-based agencies in delivering positive development outcomes are considered in the 2011 ACFID Research Report: Religion and Development: Australian Faith-Based Development Organisations[9]


In the 2017 financial year, World Vision Australia reported[10] total income of $404.1 million, derived from child sponsorship (38%), Australian Government (DFAT) grants (12%), appeals, donations and gifts (9%), overseas grants (11%) and other cash revenue (6%). Non-monetary donations and gifts were received to the value of $98.7 million or 24% of total revenue.

Overseas grants are received from philanthropic organisations, other government aid programs and United Nations agencies such as the World Food Programme, UNICEF and UNHCR (responsible for children and refugees).

Child sponsorship

World Vision's main focus is the well-being of children, and child sponsorship programs provide its greatest source of funds. Sponsorship links the donor to a specific child or children overseas and the sponsor makes a long-term commitment to contribute regular amounts (usually monthly). Money donated by the sponsor does not go directly to the child or the child's family; instead it goes to an Area Development Plan (ADP) that benefits the entire community in which the child lives. Not every child in an area benefitted by an ADP may be sponsored; children are selected for sponsorship who are considered to be in positions of particular vulnerability.[11]

40 Hour Famine

The "40 Hour Famine" is a fund-raising scheme in which Australians, especially the young, find out what it is like to go without food for 40 hours. Schools and churches support of the famine and participants ask others to sponsor them. In 2017 and 2018, a "Backpack Challenge"[12] was held in place of the 40 Hour Famine with participants to only make use of what they can carry in a backpack for 40 hours. The campaign is intended to draw attention to the plight of refugees around the world.


Worldwide Focus

In Financial Year 2017, cash disbursements provided by WVA to international programs totalled $A229.3 million.[13] Expenditure by region (including non-cash expenditure) comprised $A115.1 million for programs in Africa, $A73.5 million in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, $A69.2 million in the Asia Pacific area (not including Australia), and $A15.1 million in Latin America.[14]

Disaster Management

WVA funds are used in part for responses to humanitarian disasters throughout the world. The emergencies may be rapid and slow onset natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and droughts, or man-made disasters such as conflicts and war and humanitarian emergencies caused by political, social, economic and other factors across a single country or a group of countries, in urban or non-urban settings.

As at June 2018, WVA funds were being used to respond to emergencies in East Africa (including South Sudan), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Myanmar and Bangladesh (Rohingya crisis) and Afghanistan (drought).[15] World Vision International coordinates responses to disasters in accordance with its Disaster Management 2020 (DM 2020) approach. This is focussed on the needs of children, who usually comprise 50–60% of the victims of a disaster.[16] DM 2020 is directed to a number of different but related aspects of disaster management, including –[17]

  • Early Warning
  • Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Preparedness (including maintenance of stocks of emergency equipment and supplies)
  • Recovery (following a disaster)
  • Transition (return to normal life)

Transformational Development

“Transformational Development” is the expression used by WVA to describe “a holistic approach to improving the lives of the poor by recognising people's physical, social, spiritual, economic and political needs.”[18]

Money raised by WVA is used to fund development projects aimed primarily at improving the lives of children. As the problems experienced by children most often arise out of the circumstances in which they live, development projects are designed to improve those circumstances, benefitting not only the children but all those who live in the area being assisted.

Development assistance is directed to the matters that are most significant in the community concerned, and includes projects to –

  • Provide access to clean water and sanitation
  • Provide access to health services and education about health and nutrition
  • Assist in improving agricultural techniques and increasing agricultural output
  • Provide education for all children
  • Support increased income generation.[19]

World Vision does not provide development assistance to a community unless it has previously obtained the consent of that community.[19] World Vision development assistance programs are delivered over the long-term, i.e., up to ten years or longer, and members of the local community are involved throughout. The aim is for the programs and practices introduced by World Vision to continue under the control of the local community after World Vision itself has departed.

The above principles are set out and explained in the World Vision International Handbook for Development Programs.


World Vision Australia provides a range of educational resources on its website, including general topic sheets and classroom materials for primary and secondary levels.

WVA advocates on a range of local and international issues relevant to Australia (for example by making submissions to Parliament).[20][21] It also encourages supporters to lobby the Australian government on issues such as campaigns against landmines, child labour, child soldiers and debt.[22]

Australian Indigenous Programs

World Vision Australia partners with Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities and people to progress three strategic priorities as part of its Australia Program:[23]

  1. Education for Life: Education focused projects supporting particularly children and young adults.
  2. Systemic change: Collaborating with Indigenous communities, government and others to influence positive systemic change, and.
  3. Reconciliation: Mobilising Australians to actively support the reconciliation movement.

World Vision Australia draws on its international development experience to implement long term, place-based community development initiatives. Its programming includes:

  • Early Childhood Care and Development programs in the Pilbara and Kimberley region of Western Australia
  • The Martu Leadership Program being delivered in partnership with Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa in the Pilbara;
  • Young Mob Leadership Programs supporting Aboriginal students in selected New South Wales and Victorian schools; and
  • The Channels of Hope program, which is addressing the root causes of domestic violence, through programs in faith-based communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

New projects commencing in 2018 will support the development of literacy and work-ready skills among young people in remote communities.


First of all World Vision Australia is member of the World Vision Partnership.

World Vision Australia is a full member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), and is a signatory to ACFID's Code of Conduct, which defines the minimum standards of governance, management and accountability for development NGOs. It works in cooperation with other government and non-government agencies in Australia and overseas. In addition to AusAID funding, World Vision Australia makes submissions regarding government policies relating to aid and development.[24]

The organisation works with local and overseas churches, and with organisations such as the World Health Organization, UNHCR and UNICEF.[25] World Vision Australia also collaborates with Oxfam.[26]

support and advocate for the work of World Vision.  The Ambassadors are drawn from Australia's elite athletes, actors, journalists and performers and include the international actor Hugh Jackman and former Australian Test Cricket captain Adam Gilchrist.[27]

Allegations and criticism regarding activities in Middle East

In July 2016, Mohammad El Halabi, manager of World Vision in Gaza, was arrested at the Erez border crossing and charged by Israeli prosecutors with channeling funds to Hamas, a listed terror organization.[28] A senior official with Shin Bet (Israel's internal security agency) stated that Halabi was recruited by the military wing of Hamas in 2004, and instructed to penetrate World Vision.[28][29] The allegations have been questioned by World Vision Australia, which states that the alleged misappropriated amount exceeds their total Gaza expenditure over the last decade.[30]

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade immediately suspended all funding of Palestinian programs by World Vision.[31] World Vision Australia's chief executive, Tim Costello, accepted this move as being the correct thing to do pending a proper investigation of the allegations.[32][33]

In 2013 WVA was criticised for funding a soccer field in Jenin in the West Bank that was named after a former militant PLO leader. WVA maintained that the field had a different (non-controversial) name, and that the naming of the area surrounding the soccer field after the PLO leader was done by Palestinian authorities after construction and naming of the field had been completed.[34]


  1. "ABN Lookup". 1 November 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  2. Graeme Irvine: "Best Things in the Worst Times: An Insiders View of World Vision" BookPartners, Inc. (1996) ISBN 1-885221-37-1 p. 27-37
  3. "About us | World Vision Australia". Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  4. "More about our Christian identity | WVA". Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  5. A Declaration of Internationalization (1978) Appendix D in J R Hamilton: "An Historical Study of Bob Pierce and World Vision's Development of the Evangelical Social Action Film" Dissertation, University of Southern California, 1980
  6. Statement of Faith of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) used as standard for their evangelical convictions
  7. "FAQs". World Vision International. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  9. Hoffstaedter, Gerhard (2011). Religion and development : Australian faith-based development organisations. ACFID research in development series; report no. 3. Australian Council for International Development.
  10. "Annual Reports | World Vision Australia". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  11. "About Child Sponsorship | World Vision Australia". Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  12. "40 Hour Famine | World Vision Australia". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  13. WVA Annual Report 2017,, p 35
  14. WVA Financial Statements 2017,, pp 32–33
  15. WVA website, Responding to Emergencies,
  16. World Vision International website, Disaster Management,
  17. World Vision International website, What is Disaster Management,
  18. WVA website, About Us,
  19. WVA website, Child Sponsorship FAQs,
  20. "World Vision Australia Submission to the House of Representatives Committee on Health and Ageing: Regional Health Issues Jointly Affecting Australia and the South Pacific". World Vision Australia. 5 October 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  21. "Commission Website: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention". 5 October 2010. Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  22. "Coalition trumps US with double the aid cuts". Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  23. "Supporting Indigenous Australians | World Vision Australia". Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  24. "Minimum Agency Standards for Incorporating Protection into Humanitarian Response". Published jointly by Caritas Australia, CARE Australia, Oxfam Australia, and World Vision Australia. 26 November 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  25. "UNICEF Situation Report Solomon Islands : External Tsunami-Earthquake Emergency Programme" (PDF). UNICEF. 13 April 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  26. "Frequently asked questions – Oxfam Australia". 17 February 2011. Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  27. "Goodwill Ambassadors | World Vision Australia". Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  28. Kershner, Isabel (4 August 2016). "Israel Charges Palestinian Employee of Aid Group With Funneling Funds to Hamas". New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  29. "Israel: World Vision Gaza boss diverted cash to Hamas". BBC. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  30. "Israel's claims about World Vision's Gaza manager 'don't stack up'". 8 August 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  31. Karp, Paul (4 August 2016). "Australia suspends World Vision's Palestine aid after allegations funds were diverted". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  32. "World Vision manager accused by Israel of diverting money to Hamas". 4 August 2016.
  33. "World Vision aid cut over Hamas rort".
  34. CAMERON STEWART (27 March 2010). "Red faces over Fatah field". The Australian. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
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