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Does Child Sponsorship Work?

We love what we do here at Compassion. Everyday we have the privilege of seeing lives transformed in Jesus’ name and we firmly believe sponsorship is one of the best long-term ways to fight poverty.

But you don’t need to take our word for it.

In 2008 a group of professors and doctors from some of the world’s leading universities carried out research into the impact of Compassion’s child sponsorship. Their findings supported what we have known for a long time: sponsorship works.

The background

Dr Bruce Wydick, Professor of Economics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, Dr Paul Glew, from the University of Minnesota and Dr Laine Rutledge from the University of Washington carried out their study over three years between 2008 and 2011. It was independently funded by BASIS and USAID and the results were published in the prestigious Journal of Political Economy in April 2013.

You can download the research or take a look at a few of the highlights below.

Project overview

  • Research focused on six countries, Bolivia, Guatemala, India, Kenya, the Philippines and Uganda.
  • 1,860 formerly sponsored children who were part of the Compassion programme between 1980 and 1992 were interviewed.
  • More than 8,000 non-sponsored children and siblings of sponsored children were also interviewed.

The results


Former sponsored children were

  • 13% more likely to finish primary school
  • 41.6% more likely to finish secondary school
  • 82.6% more likely to finish university


Former sponsored children were

  • 17.6% more likely to have a salaried job
  • 35.9% more likely to have a white-collar job


Former sponsored children were:

  • 75% more likely to be community leaders
  • 70% more likely to be church leaders.

We’re really proud of the findings, as Compassion is now the only child sponsorship organisation with independent research to prove its projects really work.

“I think the Compassion programme almost uniquely works on issues of aspiration development for individual people and building self esteem and their spiritual relationship with God. Things that are likely to be very important in shaping their life outcome maybe even more than external constraints.” 

Dr Bruce Wydick, Professor of Economics and International Studies, University of San Francisco.

Give the next child in poverty the opportunity to finish school, access employment and become a community leader.


Sponsor a child today