Origins of Child Sponsorship: Save the Children Fund in the 1920s

Author Faculty (Discipline)


Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Details

This book chapter was originally published as:

Watson, B. (2014). Origins of child sponsorship: Save the children fund in the 1920s. In B. Watson & M. Clarke (Eds.), Child sponsorship: Exploring pathways to a brighter future (pp. 18-40). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

ISBN: 9781137309594


169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified

Reportable Items



Brad Watson argues that the origins of individual child sponsorship are poorly understood to the point that that at least three large organizations have been incorrectly credited with founding the international sponsorship of children in the 1930s or 1940s. Those interested in early child sponsorship are invariably left with important questions. When and where did it begin? How did it function? What challenges and achievements are evident in early child sponsorship programs? Based on extensive archival research the author concludes that child sponsorship was pioneered in 1919 or the early 1920s by the Save the Children Fund in the UK, and the Society of Friends. In its early years the sponsorship of individuals provided for short-term food-aid to children in Post WWI Europe with subsequent adoption of Child Sponsorship as a fundraising model by other organizations through the 1940s.


Due to copyright restrictions this book chapter is unavailable for download.

This book may be accessed from the publisher here.

Staff and Students of Avondale College may access this book from Avondale College Library (362.77569 W29).