The Salvation Army is a church and a global movement. This is a real strength when it comes to international development.

As a church, we are deeply rooted in many communities around the world, participating in everyday life with those around us. This enables The Salvation Army to work alongside and support some of the world’s most vulnerable people living in areas that are often difficult to access. Our Christian faith strengthens our desire, inspiration and courage to take a stand for those living in poverty and experiencing injustice.

International development projects and programmes are an important part of The Salvation Army’s mission and ministry in many countries. As International Development Services, our work is locally rooted, but our team has a global reach and remit. We partner with Salvation Army territories across the world to help tackle poverty and challenge injustice through a range of different projects and initiatives.

Find out more about our approach at this exhibition, first shown at Gallery 101 in May 2024. 

Community Development

Our diverse faith-based community development programmes build on the strengths of community members globally, as they are the key actors in bringing transformative change and fostering resilience in their localities.

Our desire is to use our presence in the community as our entry points to supporting locally led and sustainable community development projects, focusing on the most marginalised and vulnerable groups of people across the world. This is accomplished through a wide range of programmes across all major development themes, including water and sanitation, agriculture and food security, economic empowerment, modern slavery and human trafficking response, gender justice, community health and social work with families.

Currently, there are 136 community development projects implemented by The Salvation Army across a wide variety of sectors, which are reaching approximately 2.5 million people.

Neighbourhood visit in Sinyolo, Zambia
Neighbourhood visit in Sinyolo, Zambia, which formed part of The Salvation Army’s community response to HIV/Aids

The Salvation Army promotes a holistic approach to meet the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of the people we serve in all our work. We support partnerships across the international Salvation Army and local corps and communities around the world, whom we believe are the experts and implementers in our development process. 

At least 70% of our community development projects target one or more of the first six of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.



Mission Support

The Mission Support scheme is a vital funding source that advances the Kingdom of God through the global work of The Salvation Army, as well as supporting and strengthening the Army’s organisational capacity and spiritual mission.

Through our Partners in Mission scheme, internal funding from financially independent territories is channelled to other territories around the world as an act of solidarity and kindness. There are typically 700 Mission Support projects each year amounting to around US$25 million. The Newman Feeding Scheme is also implemented through Mission Support projects, enabling The Salvation Army to feed thousands of people living in poverty.

Officers' quarters in Bangladesh
The corps officer with one of the corps members outside the newly built Shankarpur officers’ quarters in rural Bangladesh. The building was funded through the Mission Support programme

International Development Services liaises closely with each of the five zonal offices at International Headquarters, with work spanning across Africa, the Americas and Caribbean, Europe, South Asia, and the South Pacific and East Asia. This ensures that Mission Support funding is supporting and advancing each territory’s strategic priorities.

Residential Children's Care Services

The Salvation Army places a strong focus on children and young people in all our activities. We are committed to supporting our education programmes through the provision of boarding schools in some countries where day schooling is difficult or dangerous and education facilities are unreachable. Boarding can make education more accessible, safe and equitable in many parts of the world. The Army’s focus on providing specialist education and living support means that pupils can achieve independence and go on to play a fulfilling role in their community when they leave school.

However, we also recognise that sometimes there are situations and issues that cause some children to be extremely vulnerable or at risk of harm. In such circumstances, The Salvation Army takes children into our residential homes when necessary, and provides them with a safe haven. This is a tremendous responsibility and one which we take very seriously. As well as providing food, shelter and space for play and leisure in a caring environment, our residential homes also act as a place where children can grow and develop.

Many children who come into our care may have known rejection, abuse and pain, all with experienced trauma and loss. We want to be part of their healing as we provide residential and support service in a safe and caring environment.

Residents at Kwetu Mbagala Girls’ Home, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Residents at Kwetu Mbagala Girls’ Home, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Most of our International Development Services work involves developing a global strategy for our residential care for children, which includes advice and ensuring smooth coordination of residential services around the world. This is to ensure that our children get the best care and our existing services meet the standards set by the local governments. We work with territories to find alternative care options when necessary and help to strengthen local capacity to continually improve the quality of care for the children we look after.

International Development Services is also committed to facilitating learning and training for staff, advocating for best practice and providing funding to develop the children in our care across the world. Our overall aim within all our residential settings is to create brighter futures for children and young people, and help them to achieve their full potential.

Older People Services

At the heart of many religious traditions lies a profound reverence for the elderly. The Bible holds older people in high esteem and places significance on caring for the vulnerable. Across many cultures and faiths, the notion of respect for parents and compassionate care for the elderly resonates as a universal principle, deeply rooted in the spiritual fabric of human society.

The Salvation Army has a long history of and extensive experience in providing care for older people. Around the world, many territories offer residential care to older people as a direct service provision, usually when individuals are no longer able to look after themselves. In some countries, The Salvation Army is one of only a handful of organisations offering residential care services to an often vulnerable group of people. For instance, in Zimbabwe, The Salvation Army provides round-the-clock care to older people in three residential homes, and aims to adapt the care given depending on each resident’s individual needs.

Elders’ Home in Dehiwala, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Bumhudzo Home, Zimbabwe

There are currently at least 196 residential care facilities for older adults, ranging from sheltered or independent living complexes to nursing homes. Due to the increasingly ageing global population, International Development Services has recently placed a much stronger focus on this important ministry with older people.

Child Sponsorship

Facilitated through International Development Services, The Salvation Army’s Child Sponsorship Programme aims to ensure holistic development of children, in terms of their physical, spiritual, emotional, economic, intellectual, cultural and social well-being.

At present, we support two forms of sponsorship programmes: Child Support for our Residential and Day Centres, and Community/Corps-Based Support. The funds from our Child Sponsorship Programme are usually used for shelter, safe spaces, education, care and health, which helps children living in vulnerable settings to build a better life for themselves.

Health Services

International Development Services supports and encourages the development of Christian health services throughout the world. We operate 24 hospitals and around 132 other health-care facilities, as well as a number of mobile clinics stretching from the Toronto Grace Health Centre in Canada to the Koki Clinic in rural Papua New Guinea.

Salvation Army health facilities are often situated in hard-to-reach, rural areas where others are unable or unwilling to deliver health care. They are usually the focal point of the community and offer a safe space and care to people of all faiths or none, always serving patients without discrimination.

Each health institution focuses on areas related to the local needs, offering a wide range of services. 

A community health worker holds an under-fives clinic, Zambia
A community health worker holds an under-fives clinic, Zambia

Catherine Booth Hospital, Nagercoil

Hear from some of the team at The Salvation Army Catherine Booth Hospital in Nagercoil, India: