Why not Child Sponsorship?

To respond to the question of why not child sponsorship (CS), this drawer presents and responds to five key sub-questions. The Research Voices compartment opens with a question about the researcher’s previous article (Better Than Nothing?), published in 2020. The four questions following that article discussion address key issues associated with child sponsorship, such as colonialism, relationships between the Global North and South, the focus on children in CS marketing, and the lack of education in CS programs around issues of global injustice.

The analysis of research data from this study provides clear evidence for why not CS. The evidence is found in the Nolan (2020) article and also through the voices of the research participants as they speak about their own experiences and perspectives. 

Research Voices

A Resource Guide for Further Reading and Learning

“…if child sponsors were compelled to pursue deeper engagement with the complex issues of poverty, power imbalance, inequity, etc., they would soon realize that child sponsorship not only reflects an overly simplistic and uncomplicated solution to a complex problem, but they might begin to see themselves and their privileged positions reflected in the actual (re)production of the problem” (p. 27)

– kathleen Nolan

Nolan, K.T. (2020). Better than nothing? A review and critique of child sponsorship. Research, Society, and Development, 9(8), e26985574. DOI 10.33448/rsd-v9i8.5574

Access it here

Change a life, change your own - Book cover

“More than anything, this ridiculous ease with which we are invited to throw off history and injustice and to consume our individual portion of the liberal pie is what makes child sponsorship problematic.” (p. 145)

– Peter Ove

Ove, P. (2018). Change a life, change your own: Child sponsorship, the discourse of development, and the production of ethical subjects. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

Access it here

“Millions of well-intentioned individuals who sponsor children are unaware that child sponsorship feeds into asymmetrical power relations of development.”

– Carol Sherman

Sherman, C. (2021). It’s time to end aid agency child sponsorship schemes. The New Humanitarian, 20 April 2021.
Access it here

“Some sponsorship agencies would even claim that they are ‘non-political’, though in this context that would only mean that they have very little impact at all.”


Stalker, P. (1982). Please do not sponsor this child. New Internationalist, 01 May.

Access it here

“Child sponsorship is highly successful at escaping questioning and reproach because it is viewed as a ‘well-intentioned’ and benevolent act on the part of ‘good people’ who want to ‘help’.” (p. 62)

Nolan, K. (2022). Please continue to not sponsor this child. New Internationalist (NI 537), May-June.

Access it here