There are usually more than one reason why fragile contexts form. To determine which countries and territories fall into the category of fragile context, World Vision maintains a Fragility Index based on the Maplecroft Composite, the Global Peace Index of The Institute for Economics and Peace, and the Fragile States Index of The Fund for Peace.
Of the fragile states where World Vision works, most are being affected by conflict, including Syria and South Sudan, resulting in political and social instability, as well as more difficult lives for the people. Due to conflict, many have been displaced, both internally and internationally, in search of opportunities to survive. This shows that conflict is a main culprit for the existence of fragile contexts, which, generally speaking, include the following four characteristics:
In fragile contexts, the trust in social contract has broken down and the people do not believe that the government can properly handle their demands.
Public institutions are unable to provide basic education and health services. Children and communities are unable to respond and recover from diseases, disasters or hunger.
Fragility is closely related to extreme poverty. People in fragile contexts are often influenced by environmental instability. Unable to develop livelihoods, they are often trapped deeper in poverty.
As infrastructure and governance fail, fragile contexts can easily become a hotbed for extremist or terrorist groups to grow.
While children and families living in fragility desperately need help, different concerns, such as politics, local powers, low financial integrity, complex merchandising flow and the safety of rescuers, often pose challenges for international humanitarian agencies that operate in fragile contexts. Knowing that change does not happen overnight, World Vision plans short-, middle- and long- term project models according to the needs of different regions. They can be classified into three phases, namely survival, recovery and development. For example, in areas where there is a shortage of food, World Vision responds to the immediate need for food by distributing food and cash vouchers, and provides food security or livelihood development training while ensuring children receive protection and education. In areas affected by conflict, World Vision not only cares for the basic needs of those affected, but also addresses the trauma children have gone through by conducting counselling or peace advocacy courses. When conflict or tensions subside, long-term development work, ranging from education, health to livelihood, begins to assist affected children and families to rebuild their lives and recover from fragility.
Children living in fragility have long been ignored by the international community. Every day, they struggle to meet their basic needs and are deprived of the rights they are entitled to. Therefore, at a time when natural and man-made disasters have become increasingly complex, World Vision will focus on deepening our services to fragile children around the world, ensuring that not even one fragile child will be forgotten, but instead receive help and care, and be strengthened through overcoming fragility.