Journeying with the Fragile



What are fragile contexts?

In short, fragile contexts are the most dangerous places in the world. These places generally experience persistent conflict, natural disasters and impacts of climate change, leading to chronic instability and stalled development. Due to the limited resources available to them, the locals are often unable to solve such issues and rebuild their communities on their own. They also have limited access to basic services like healthcare, nutrition, clean water and education, while being exposed to violence, exploitation, abuse, etc. To survive, many have been forced to become displaced in other parts of their country, or even become refugees in foreign land. Therefore, it is very difficult for World Vision to register children and run Child Sponsorship in fragile contexts. Instead, our priority is to have basic infrastructure such as schools and clinics in place, before implementing long-term development through Child Sponsorship.

Where are the fragile contexts?

World Vision is working in many countries defined as fragile, including Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan. We make good use of the donations of World Vision Partners to plan short-, middle-, and long- term project models according to each place’s specific needs, addressing not only their most urgent issues, but also helping them recover from their traumatic experiences and rebuild their communities.

The following countries each face very challenging circumstances and are in need of your support:

Afghanistan (Last Update: December 2021)

Due to persisting conflict, climate change and an ongoing economic crisis, over 18 million people in Afghanistan, which is about half of the country’s population, are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. This year, a severe drought has been wreaking havoc in over 70% of the country’s provinces, leaving many in a dire situation without any livelihoods and means to buy food which is already in short supply. The situation is particularly challenging in winter, as winter snows may cut off access to remote areas and hamper the efforts to provide food aid for vulnerable communities. It is estimated that, from this November to March 2022, more than half of Afghanistan’s population (over 22 million) will face acute food insecurity.

World Vision has been present in Afghanistan since 2001. Despite the current instability and risks, World Vision staff has remained committed to providing assistance for the most vulnerable children and families, including internally displaced persons. We are working in 4 provinces, focusing on providing primary health care and nutritional services including assessing nutritional status of children, pregnant and lactating women and providing support, as well as collaborating with World Food Programme to provide life-saving food assistance in areas most affected by hunger. We are also planning to build solar-powered bore wells to ensure communities can have access to clean drinking water.

The Choices Afghan Families Are Forced to Make Leave Us All With Questions (Excerpt)

By Asuntha Charles, National Director of World Vision Afghanistan

If you were starving and you knew the sale of one of your children would prevent the rest of your children from dying, would you do it?

For a moment let’s put aside the shocking reality that in Afghanistan you can even purchase a child, a practice which is now increasing in response to the dire hunger situation in the provinces where my emergency response staff work.

Maldara and her children had to flee from their home in Afghanistan due to conflict. She is very concerned about keeping her children warm and well-fed in the coming winter.

The situation in Afghanistan is so bad that my dedicated national emergency response staff - while running food aid programmes deep into remote areas - have now set up an in-office staff fund to support desperate families to stop them from selling their own daughters. They know those girls, often incredibly young, will end up married to older men or sold into servitude and vulnerability.

Although these practices took place before the Taliban came to power it has now worsened due to the hunger crisis. My staff recently even heard of one father who tried to leave his children at a mosque, such was his desperation. This is happening because the food assistance programmes like those we run which meet the needs of many thousands are being outpaced by the growing numbers of people facing starvation.

Afghanistan is now facing its worst hunger crisis in living memory. The latest stats show that more than half of the 40 million population are facing acute levels of malnutrition and that children are dying due to starvation. Amongst this terrible number almost nine million people are right on the edge of starvation. In this context untold numbers of children will be begging, married off into violent homes, forced into dangerous and exploitive work and pulled from school.

Winter is now what everyone fears, as things will get much worse, fast. Soon snow falls will prevent access to remote areas which could then be cut off for up to four months. We are very quickly running out of time to get food aid into villages that will soon become inaccessible.

My organisation, World Vision, has been on the ground for 20 years undertaking a range of humanitarian and development work, but the activities that are most critical at this moment are providing emergency nutrition via 15 mobile health clinics. Of the 3,600 children aged under five we treated in clinics in Herat and Ghor provinces in October, 808 had moderate acute or severe acute malnutrition while 2,694 received treatment for acute respiratory infections. It is heartbreaking to visit these clinics and meet young mothers who share stories of their struggles to survive on almost nothing. The medical staff in them serve the most vulnerable, including people displaced by conflict and who live in abject poverty. Medical staff measure the arms of children as an indicator of how malnourished they are. The weakest get sent to specialist nutrition wards in hospitals. Those wards are filling with children, sometimes several to a bed, and deaths are increasingly commonplace.

The other thing we do is provide food that World Food Programme gives us to distribute in the remote and mountainous provinces where we work in Western Afghanistan. All these are marked ‘emergency’ red on a map managed by global food security experts who have assessed the food situation. In fact, most of Afghanistan is now red - and just one step away from ‘famine’ black.


Somalia has been affected by decades of conflict, as well as frequent natural disasters severed by climate change, greatly hampering development. Living constantly at risk and in poverty, and facing the current COVID-19 pandemic, many people in Somalia are enduring suffering extreme hardships. About 6 million out of Somalia’s 15-million population are in need of humanitarian assistance. Apart from emergency responses, World Vision also runs projects in food security, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, health and nutrition and peace building to provide long-term assistance for the neediest groups.

South Sudan

In 2013, just two years after its independence, South Sudan was caught in a massive armed conflict which led to a serious humanitarian crisis. While the violence is yet to cease, recurring floods, droughts and other extreme weather events caused by climate change, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, have all further aggravated South Sudan’s economic and food crises. According to latest estimates, over 7.2 million people in South Sudan, or 60% of the population, are facing food insecurity.

Latest Activity: Live Chat with a Hong Kong Humanitarian

To present its long-term humanitarian work in fragile contexts, World Vision recently organised an online chat with Ms. Wan Suen So, World Vision Somalia’s Programme Development and Quality Assurance Director, and Mr. Mau Ho Cheong (lead vocalist of RubberBand who once visited World Vision’s projects). The recording has been uploaded and divided into chapters for viewers’ convenience.

The video is only available in Cantonese.

Monthly Donation


Provide 4 conflict-affected children with early childhood education per year, equipping them with the necessary knowledge to catch up on their studies when formal schooling is available.


Provide 5 poor families with seeds and gardening tools per year, offering livelihood opportunities and a stable supply of food.


Provide 3 refugee children with psychosocial support and activities, helping them alleviate the effects of conflict while learning social skills and protecting themselves.

Your support offers opportunities to Survive, Recover and Build a Future.

Since last century, World Vision has been responding to the world’s most urgent disasters and humanitarian crises, by delivering timely aids to conflicted and vulnerable areas. The goal of World Vision is to be “first in” and “last out”—seeing families and communities through hardship to restoration.


  • Distribute emergency aid, such as food, clean water and hygiene kits
  • Provide shelter and basic commodities to meet urgent needs

As soon as conflict erupts, the displaced lack basic necessities such as food, clean water and shelter, and live in constant hunger, illness and fear. You can help them survive.


  • Help construct infrastructure such as water systems and latrines as communities rebuild and develop
  • Provide support such as improved seeds and beekeeping training to improve livelihoods and expand income sources

In areas affected by conflict, infrastructure is often destroyed or inadequate. Families are unable to make ends meet, meaning that children live with limited assurance. You can help them recover.

Build a Future

  • Provide a safe living environment for children and families
  • Run Child Friendly Spaces to provide psychological assistance for children, and offer education or skills training for children and youths

During conflicts or crises, children are traumatised by the inevitable separation from, or the loss of, their loved ones, and left to live in despair. You can help them build a future.

World Vision Partners and you can provide various forms of aid in socio-politically unstable regions where Child Sponsorship cannot be implemented. Together we will help children and families see through hardship and develop their resilience to embrace a brighter future.