World Vision Australia slashes staff to save humanitarian programs
5 August 2020 at 5:44 pm
The organisation said staff cuts were needed to maintain essential humanitarian work
World Vision Australia will slash staff numbers by up to 14 per cent, following a review into how the organisation is operating under strained economic conditions amid the coronavirus crisis.
Graham Strong, World Vision Australia (VWA) acting CEO, announced on Tuesday that the charity faced having to curtail or cut some of its essential humanitarian programs if it did not address operating costs.
Strong said it came at a time when the work of the organisation was needed more than ever, and that cutting programs was simply not an option.
“Any reduction in our programs would come at a time when the world needs the work of World Vision more than ever – a time when we risk seeing so much of our progress in development eroded by the COVID-19 pandemic and when the world is seeing the unprecedented upheaval of people due to conflict,” he said.
“As an organisation with such a strong humanitarian purpose, and as a long-standing market-leader in the development sector with employees who are deeply committed to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children, we take these decisions with a very heavy heart.”
A WVA spokesperson told Pro Bono News that COVID-19 was not the immediate reason for the cuts, but it had sped up the need for changes following years of declining private donations and government cuts to the foreign aid budget.
“The decisions are a result of a longer-trend decline in the funds we can raise through child sponsorship – our flagship offering – which began shortly before the global financial crisis,” the spokesperson said.
“We are not alone in this. Across the sector, international development charities have experienced a decline in private donations.”
World Vision is not the first charity to cut staff during COVID. Back in May, Oxfam Australia announced plans to slash the number of full-time staff from 185 to 94 by October.
And there could be more organisations to follow, with new financial modeling by Social Ventures Australia and the Centre for Social Impact revealing that even with JobKeeper, 110,000 charity workers are at risk of becoming unemployed by September, with a further 70,000 potentially losing their jobs by next year.
Strong said he acknowledged that losing work at any stage was tough, but it was especially tough at the moment.
“These are decisions that are difficult enough for an organisation to make in the best of times. But having to make them amid the current challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, is particularly tough,” he said.
“We know that working for World Vision is more than just a job, and we are all connected to the values and purpose that we deliver each day.
“As such, World Vision is committed to discussing these changes with our employees as quickly as possible, and to assisting them as much as we can through the transition.”