Human Rights-Based Child Sponsorship: A Case Study of ActionAid

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Many NGOs which focus on development have operated child sponsorship programs due to their effectiveness in raising funds. Existing studies offer a critique of child sponsorship as a de-humanizing marketing strategy and as a targeted service provision. Some NGOs have revised their child sponsorship by integrating it with a rights-based approach (RBA), which emerged rejecting the individual focus and disempowering process of development intervention. The objection of other RBA NGOs to child sponsorship leaves questions about whether child sponsorship can fit an RBA. The aim of the present study is to explore how child sponsorship is perceived and practiced in relation to an RBA in an NGO. The findings from a case study of ActionAid present how an RBA guides ActionAid’s child sponsorship to promote empowerment, campaigning, solidarity and alternatives. This study identifies the potential of an RBA to address problematic marketing and operational practices of child sponsorship as well as remaining issues. The complexity of NGO practices when aligning organizational practices with an RBA war- rants further examination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1420-1432
JournalVoluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

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