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Statement in Response to Wrong Child Photos Sent to Hong Kong Sponsor


5 Feb 2021, Kuala Lumpur – On 30 January, a child sponsor of World Vision Hong Kong wrote on social media about receiving the same photo of her sponsored child from Ethiopia in 2018 and again in 2021. Additionally, in 2019, she received a photo which does not look like her sponsored child.

World Vision takes donor accountability very seriously and our transparency is evident in our financial and impact reports.

As soon as World Vision Hong Kong learned of the mistake, they have followed up with our staff in Ethiopia and have explained and apologised to the sponsor. They have also provided the sponsor with a fresh update (latest photo and a video) on her sponsored child.

To avoid rare manual errors like this one in the future, our Hong Kong office has since reviewed and strengthened their existing processes to ensure more accurate and timely progress reports in the future.

Admittedly, due to the large number of children supported in our different Area Programmes and child monitoring across a huge geographical region, there have been isolated instances where unfortunately technical or human error arises. However, we take all these cases seriously.

At World Vision, we make it part of our process to check the children’s photos to ensure these errors are minimised. But if they happen, we will investigate and rectify them as soon as possible. We hold on to our commitment to update our sponsors of any and all outcomes.

To further enhance timely and accurate progress reports and updates, we have been upgrading and digitizing our systems in the field. Even then, errors may happen and we urge all our sponsors to reach out to us immediately should they notice any irregularities in the letters or photos. Their feedback will help us bring the said discrepancies to the attention of our field teams immediately.

2020 has also been an extremely difficult year for many of our communities battling with COVID-19. Some of the photo-taking activities were not able to take place in time for the Annual Progress Reports and we seek the understanding of our sponsors.

World Vision’s work through child sponsorship is focused on improving the lives of the most vulnerable children. World Vision has a history of strong financial accountability and programme performance. For over 70 years, we have been helping the world’s most vulnerable in more than 100 countries without compromising our beliefs nor our commitment to integrity as we work with partners and sponsors throughout the world.

To find out more about our commitment to accountability and how it impacts our work, you can view our Annual Reports here: