A study in the Journal of Political Economy evaluated the effectiveness of child sponsorship programs in the developing world in terms of “adult life outcomes”. The only child sponsorship organization that was willing to participate was Compassion International, a Christian organization, and the results were outstanding. Our family has sponsored Compassion children for years, and it was wonderful to read the report of this study in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Jessica Ruvinsky writes:
A young couple in Uganda, when asked if they would like to enter their newborn into a child sponsorship program—a program similar to the one that helped both of them get through school and into good jobs—said no. “Poverty ended with us,” they explained.
International child sponsorship programs collectively raise more than $3 billion per year. Those photos of developing world kids that get pasted to so many refrigerator doors in the developed world clearly help large aid organizations to raise funds. But do the kids benefit from the money donated on their behalf? Researchers have now tracked many of these children into adulthood, and the answer—at least for one child sponsorship organization—is yes. “The impacts that we find on secondary school completion and on employment are fairly remarkable,” says Bruce Wydick, a professor of economics economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco. “We did the study in six countries, and in all six countries we find positive impacts from sponsorship.”
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