A Community Owned by All

Community development – a common practice of our society, is actually a new concept in developing countries.

You may think that securing resources and funds is the answer to the development of impoverished communities; in fact, sustaining the outcomes of development is equally significant. Sustainability is at the core of World Vision’s ministry goal. To achieve this, we must include members of the community who understand what the community needs and the effective ways to change, as it is the community who must sustain changes.

Create Sustainable Changes in ADP

World Vision's development approach can be seen in the Area Development Programmes (ADPs) supported by Child Sponsorship. We work with community members to lay out an approximate 15-year plan which focuses on improving food and agriculture, water and sanitation, healthcare, education, livelihood and economic development.

Local ownership of the process and outcomes of development should rest with local stakeholders from the beginning. Therefore, World Vision encourages community members to play an active role and engage in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation so that they can continuely make positive changes last beyond the end of the programme.

Other than improving community facilities and infrastructures, building up the capacity of the community members on development progress is also important. World Vision facilitates members of the community to communicate and coordinate with local government. We facilitate sensitivity to and advocacy of gender equality, children’s rights, education and health to ensure the well-being of children is prioritised. At times, we partner with various leaders and religious institutes to bring positive influence and messages to the community. Hence, communities will embrace their rights and abilities, and understand how to make changes which impact and ultimately benefit their children.

Lifespan of an ADP:

Alto Changane ADP

Let's look at Alto Changane ADP in Mozambique as an example. The programme began in 2001 and closed in 2016. The lives of community members, particularly 9,736 sponsored children, have improved because of a better healthcare system, access to food and water, awareness of hygiene and sanitation, greater quality of education and improved livelihoods.


  • Improvement of school infrastructures and facilities encouraged student attendance and enhanced academic performance
  • School Management Councils, comprising teachers, students and community members, were set up to support and monitor school management and curricular plans, ensuring students learn in a favourable environment
  • Our advocacy promotes the importance of education, especially for girls
  • Teachers were trained on pedagogic methodologies and upskilled in teaching. A “top 10 teachers” award is organised every trimester to motivate teachers

37 classrooms are constructed with better equipment.


  • Only 1 health unit was available, which was not easily accessible to pregnant women for maternal check-up and delivery; today, 3 health units are in service
  • 10 health committees consisting of 300 members were set up by World Vision who also provides training in partnership with government. Health committees are responsible for raising awareness of various health issues, referring the sick to health units, monitoring malnourished children and providing cooking training for their caregivers, and offering psychosocial support to chronically ill people

Water & Sanitation

Community members repairing a borehole.
  • Coverage of clean water supply increased from 36% to 81% with 99 boreholes
  • 1,500 latrines and 30 handwashing facilities were built
  • 37 Water Committees and 15 youth clubs were formed and are responsible for security and repair of boreholes, sensitising community members to behavioural change and adopting good hygiene practices. They have become independent in planning and calling for community contribution of funds for maintenance; they are also connected to district services and suppliers

Economic Development

  • In the past, the livelihoods of farmers were challenged by low production, low commercialisation and limited access to loans; then World Vision encouraged farmers to work in groups
  • The Farmers Group has more land to grow a variety of crops. They now enjoy lower costs of purchasing seeds and agricultural equipment
  • Farmers received training and were introduced to new technologies in relation to planting drought-tolerant crops to adapt to climate change
  • 21 Savings Groups were set up; members pool their savings to make loans available within the group

Members of Farmers Group working in a sweet potato field.

Share Responsibility

The transformation of Alto Changane community was possible because of support from child sponsors, assistance from World Vision and other organisations, and more importantly, the consistent effort of all community members.

School facilities and teacher capacity have been enhanced. School Management Councils are trained to identify problems in schools and propose and carry our relevant measures. Children are happier and also attend school more often. Families enjoy greater financial stability and food security, so children are nourished and schooled. Farmers are now more resilient to combat climate change with new skills and knowledge. Mothers pay more attention to children's nutrition status due to the help of health committees. Children and women also save time on fetching water from new boreholes which are properly maintained.
Children washing hands and drinking clean water. 

The formation and capacity building of community groups, such as School Management Councils, Savings Groups, Water Committees and Farmers Groups, helps the sustainability of development. These groups share their knowledge with the community and ensure lessons learned are put into practice. They either are working on their own or have established local partnerships. World Vision recognises that our contribution to a community's journey will always be temporary, hence, when a community is owned by all, the end of a programme is the beginning of community self-reliance to create a healthy environment for themselves, for children and for their children's children.

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