A girls' soccer team smiles to the camera.

Child Protection & Participation

Millions of children around the world are trapped by violence—from child labour, to civil conflict, to forced marriage. We teach communities about children's rights, galvanizing families to keep children safe. And we speak out for children in the halls of global power, pressing for decisions that shield and empower them.


$59.2 million

focused on Child Protection & Participation

179 programs

people reached


In Bangladesh, child marriage decreased from

58% to 24%Bhandaria | 2018-2023

The number of children under 18 who received birth certificates increased from

2,766 to 6,1822021-2022

514,705people are participating in activities that give children spiritual nurture and encouragement


314children and adults participated in trainings on child protection


3,137service-providers and institutions have increased their capability with additional equipment

Connected Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goal 05 logo: Gender EqualitySustainable Development Goal 10 logo: Reduced inequalitiesSustainable Development Goal 09 logo: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Explore our investments and results

Explore our investments and results options

Real impact measured

Child protection is a critical component of World Vision’s work in communities, and is foundationally built into our programs. All girls and boys deserve to grow in secure and nurturing environments, free from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence.


Positive parenting (PP) is one effective way to achieve these goals.


World Vision's data analysis indicates PP improves community well-being. This approach uses three types of intervention: Celebrating Families, Families Make the Difference and Parent Support Groups.


Through a series of workshops and meetings facilitated by community volunteers, parents: learn positive parenting skills; develop a supportive peer network; and strengthen their relationships with their children.


A 2023 analysis of Positive Parenting deployed in 67 projects across 24 countries indicates that the project has helped participants improve their mental health and even save lives.


  • for every $1 invested, $4.36 is generated in social benefits 
  • these investments have saved an estimated 16 lives and averted 2,842 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)*
  • these projects have reached an estimated 149,024 children


Read the findings from our cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis to learn more.


A group of young boys smiling as they hold up cards with numbers and letters on them.

Global Challenges

Child protection threatened by conflict, climate change and rising costs

One year into the global hunger crisis response, we see conflict, climate change and the indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to force millions of children to go without food daily. It is estimated that 10,000 children are dying of hunger each day. The soaring costs of food, fuel and fertilizer only exacerbate the problems families face.


Marginalized families and communities are forced to make difficult and dangerous choices that have far-reaching consequences for children’s well-being, now and in the future. These include engaging in begging, child labour, dropping out of school, sexual exploitation and child marriage as coping mechanisms for avoiding hunger. Fewer than 35 per cent of children are reported to have access to social protection systems, and because of this, families fall victim to these negative coping mechanisms to survive severe material deprivation.


While some progress has been made to prevent specific forms of violence against children, such as corporal punishment and trafficking, overall progress has stalled. Certain forms of violence against children—including domestic violence, child marriage, female genital mutilation and child labour—are likely to rise post-pandemic. In the face of the hunger crisis, four million girls were forced into early marriage to help their families in 2022—already an increase of almost 50 per cent in less than a year.


Data on violence against children remains poor, with many cases unreported or underreported. It is estimated that approximately one billion children between the ages of 2 and 17—half of all children in the world—experience physical, emotional or sexual violence every year.

Participation and empowerment are critical for children's protection and well-being

For a third year, World Vision has surveyed forcibly displaced children and families about their experiences. In the 18 countries where we spoke to children and families this year, data showed that rising costs are causing households to not only skip meals but also take children out of school to work in order to make ends meet. This negatively affects children and their families in the long run, since global studies show that more years of schooling are likely to translate into additional income earned in the future.


Despite children’s desires to be active participants in their own lives and social spheres, they are often deprived of agency and influence over decisions that affect them, especially for girls. Across the board, girls are excluded from decision-making around food and nutrition, access to resources, and issues relating to their health, including sexual health. Enhancing women and girls’ participation and empowerment increases their protection, as they gain access to critical information on their risks, rights and needs. This allows them to support themselves and their community in tackling harmful social norms that perpetuate gender-based violence.


Children want their voices to be heard. Active engagement of children and young people in advocacy and campaigning is essential to promote policy reform, implementation, and monitoring. And we know that youth participation ensures better results for children, young people, and the entire population.

Please see our Annual Results Report for a full list of references

Two young girls smile at each other as they stand in a grass field with a bicycle.

Approach and Strategy

Our Goal

Girls and boys are protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation and all forms of violence

Strengthen the ability of all responsible parties to fulfill their child protection duties
Build ties between communities and their formal child protection systems
Address underlying causes of violence against children, especially those rooted in gender inequality
Empower children and youth to be active agents of change

World Vision is responding to the child protection challenges imposed by conflict and poverty—and further aggravated by conflict, climate change and rising cost of living—using a systems approach that addresses root causes of violence against girls and boys. Through this approach we empower key actors to work together to create a protective environment that cares for and supports all children, especially the most marginalized.


At the household level, we empower girls and boys with life skills, resilience, psychosocial well-being and support so they can become influential protection actors in their environment. We also work with children and their parents, with the support of faith and community leaders, to transform harmful gender norms, attitudes, and discriminatory behaviours into positive ones.


At the community level, we strengthen the people, structures, services and supports around girls and boys in order to prevent violence in all its forms, protect them from violence in all its forms and respond to incidents of violence in all its forms.


At the systemic level, we advocate with government and other stakeholders to improve child protection laws, ensure accountability by duty bearers when those laws are broken and address the root causes of children’s vulnerability.


In fragile contexts, we work across all sectors of development to ensure that children’s rights are protected in unstable or emergency situations, such as establishing child-friendly spaces for displaced populations to provide safe environments for children.

A white jeep driving through a muddy path, featuring a rainbow and trees in the background.

Investments and Results

In 2023, $59.2 million was invested in 179 programs that focused primarily on child protection and participation approaches, reaching 691,351 girls, 688,040 boys, 705,971 women and 694,252 men.

Investment in the Child Protection and Participation sector increased substantially. We attribute this in part to ongoing learning from last year’s limitations (as described in the 2022 Annual Report) to improve how we categorize projects and programs. Previously, we relied on manual categorization of individual projects, but now those categories are drawn from a more sophisticated automated system. The results so far mark an important milestone.


Case management has increased, led by the Livelihoods & Children Care project in the Philippines and by Childhood Rescue Honduras. Psychosocial support surged, led by programs supporting three emergency responses: in DRC, the response to the internally displaced in Kalehe; in Sudan through the WASH, Nutrition and Child Protection program in partnership with UNICEF; and in Vanuatu through the 2023 Cyclone Response for shelter, WASH and protection.


Another significant milestone comes in our improved understanding of the effectiveness of positive parenting in changing children’s lives for the better. Via a cost-benefit analysis, we estimated the real impact.™ of a group of interventions and the economic value they can bring when negative mental health outcomes are prevented. Learn more in our Resources Library.


By contrast, the closing down of projects across India substantially impacted children’s and youth groups. In 2022, over half of the participants in these groups were from India; this year that number fell to only a quarter. But as globally-funded programs close, World Vision India’s commitment to vulnerable children and their communities remains unchanged, and programs fully supported by supporters in India continue.

A wide-shot image of two people wearing backpacks, looking up at a massive green mountain area.



Efforts put in by families and communities over the past several years have contributed to measurable positive change. Here are some recent child protection and participation examples.


A woman in a nun’s uniform sits and smiles with a young, smiling boy at her side.

Sister Helene is giving girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a second chance at an education. The Catholic nun founded a small community-based organization called Association Dibaya Tuye Kumpola to support girls. World Vision’s Equality for Girls’ Access to Learning project, in partnership with Global Affairs Canada, is helping out.

Read more(link opens in new tab/window)
A young girl in a terraced, well-manicured garden smiles and shows off a document for the camera.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a major public health problem and one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. This issue knows no social, economic or national boundaries. Approximately 15 million adolescent girls worldwide have experienced forced sex, according to the World Health Organization. Of those who have been in a relationship, almost one in four teen girls (24 per cent) have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner or husband.

Read more(link opens in new tab/window)
A very young girl wearing a pink shirt looks into the camera.

The Ukraine Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) estimates that 3.4 million children in Ukraine need immediate child protection services. But amidst the turmoil, children are still finding recovery and hope. Seven-year-old Vika is one of those children, and she’s managed to find a new home and support at a child-friendly space in Romania called Happy Bubble.

Read more(link opens in new tab/window)
Unless otherwise stated, data presented on this page reflects the most up-to-date results of World Vision Canada programs reported between October 2022 and September 2023, and any previous fiscal years available. Previously reported data may not match the current presentation as we continuously receive and refine data from our programs. If you have any questions, kindly reach out to us.