Every family deserves to thrive.

Together, we will empower 4.4 million people by supporting improved and resilient livelihoods and providing recovery loans to those negatively impacted by shocks like COVID-19 and natural disasters.

People reached so far:
March 2021
Give to the Economic Empowerment Fund

The need

You can’t end extreme poverty without prioritizing the smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs who make up the vast majority of the poor.

Of the 689 million people who live in extreme poverty, most are smallholder farmers whose livelihoods are vulnerable to economic uncertainties, weather, and shocks like natural disasters. Millions of small business owners also face shocks that can destroy their way of life.

Because there are no jobs to be had, most of the extreme poor run their own small farm or business. Two thirds are subsistence farmers with very small plots of land. Their farms barely meet the family’s minimum food needs. At least half of those farmers are women.

Far too many have a dependency mindset that is cultural, social, and spiritual — which prevents them from proactively solving their own problems. What’s more, COVID-19 is pushing an estimated 120 million people back into extreme poverty — the first increase since 1998.

Economic Empowerment the need image
Economic Empowerment our response

Our response

We focus on building improved and resilient livelihoods for farmers living in extreme poverty and providing recovery loans to help small businesses rapidly recover from shocks.

Through a powerful curriculum, we teach, discuss, and practice a biblically based view of identity and accountability —that all people are created in the image of a loving and redeeming God who has made each of us accountable for ourselves, for others and for God’s creation.

We help farmers embrace savings groups, new agricultural techniques, and improve their access to markets and finance; enable communities to steward natural resources like soil, water, and forests; and prepare families on how to cope with shocks, disasters, and changes.

Our microfinance subsidiary, VisionFund International (VFI), is an expert in responding through recovery lending. By giving loan access to people whose economic well-being has been severely affected, VisionFund equips families to rebuild farms and businesses and get back to work.

Our impact

We’re equipping hardworking families to climb the ladder from poverty to prosperity. Our livelihoods model, Transforming Household Resilience in Vulnerable Environments (THRIVE), comprehensively tackles the underlying causes of vulnerability in farming and how to overcome them in sustainable ways. And with our recovery lending, we expect women to receive 78% of all loans and for 2.7 million children to benefit.


We’ve empowered over 73,500 smallholder farmers in five countries through our THRIVE program


Over 70,000 people have been trained in the Empowered Worldview curriculum


Over 62,000 people have become members of savings groups


Over 49,000 people now have savings available for emergencies


Every $1 you donate for recovery lending becomes $2.66 in loans, primarily to women

Our partners

We are blessed to partner with hundreds of Christian philanthropists and couldn’t do this work without them. And we’re able to reach more people because of our highly collaborative local and global partnerships within private and public sectors.

Robin Phillips

“We met a Rwandan woman farmer...she said, 'I thank God, World Vision, and this project because with what I have been taught, and what I know now, I am not in poverty anymore, … and I will never go back!”

Sandy Hoover, donor partner, Oregon (with her husband, Bob)

“I think one of the things that really touched us was these people. They don't want a handout. They want to be able to work for what they have. We believe in a hand up not a handout.”

Our team of experts

Christopher Shore Christopher Shore
Chief Development Officer, Economic Empowerment
Adrian Merryman Adrian Merryman
Chief Development & Impact Investment Officer, VFI
Mona Davies Mona Davies
Senior Program Manager, Food Security and Livelihoods