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International Programming

We do development differently

Building a community for global change

Free The Children’s ground-breaking international development model is built on the belief that every community has the potential to lift itself out of poverty—forever.

Families and local governments in developing countries are our partners in advancing holistic solutions to address the root causes of poverty. Together, we’re working toward a world where all communities can fulfill their children’s right to education, clean water, health care, nutritious food and a thriving future.

We call it Adopt a Village. Here’s how this development model is changing lives the world over.

  • It’s holistic. We know that poverty is a complex problem, and no issue or solution stands alone. We work through five development pillars that provide “big picture” solutions that support and amplify each other.
  • It’s led by the community. Our partner communities take ownership of the programs and projects that create lasting change. Working in tandem with their local government, they devote time and resources to every new initiative.
  • It builds capacity. We help community members develop the skills, strategies and infrastructure to take charge of their future and maintain long-term change.
  • It connects communities. Your donation makes you part of a global family. We connect donating partners in North America and the UK with communities overseas to build relationships that inspire change worldwide. You can even take volunteer trips to meet and work with your partner community.
  • It’s transparent. We’ve invited third-party experts and the brightest analytical minds in the world of development to look at our model from every angle. They confirm that our solutions are effective and built to last.
  • It’s sustainable. Our goal is to reach a point within five years where our communities don’t need our help any more. Instead, they have the training and tools to thrive for generations. We’ve seen this work time and time again.

Adopt a Village is an adaptive, effective five-pillar model built on 19 years of experience
collaborating with dedicated community members and development experts to find solutions that work. And we’re so proud of what we’ve managed to accomplish with your help.


The Story of Adopt a Village

Learn how our model grew out of one school in one country into an international network of partner communities dedicated to sustainable development in Kenya, Ecuador, Haiti, India, Nicaragua, rural China, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

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Our Development Model

Learn why our development model needs a village—a whole community working together—to bring about sustainable, holistic change and break the cycle of poverty.

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Where We Work

Learn more about the opportunities and challenges in the countries and communities we partner with to create long-term change.

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The Impact of Adopt a VillageThe Impact of Adopt a Village

You’re our partner in Adopt a Village. Celebrate your contribution with stories and impact reports that show the difference we can make working hand-in-hand with communities around the world.

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Photo GalleryPhoto Gallery

Visit the photo gallery to see the impact of our international programming on the ground.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions or are interested in learning more about the innovative holistic Adopt a Village model of community development, click below.

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