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:
September 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. To make matters worse, the economic effects of COVID-19 have pushed an estimated 97 million more people into extreme poverty. 

Economic Empowerment the need image
Economic Empowerment our response

Our response

We work directly with farmers and small entrepreneurs through our unique livelihoods model—Transforming Household Resilience in Vulnerable Environments (THRIVE)—and Recovery Lending for Resilience (RLR).

THRIVE starts with empowerment through a powerful training based on a biblical 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.

Then, 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

A recent external study of our THRIVE model revealed game-changing results for participating farmers. And Recovery Lending helped more than 400 thousand entrepreneurs —7 of 10 female—keep their businesses open and families afloat through the pandemic.


Farmer households in Tanzania who participated in THRIVE were 40% more food secure than the control group


95% of THRIVE households are avoiding negative coping strategies such as taking children out of school; sending children to work for money; reducing food intake; or selling off land, equipment, or livestock


$2.7 million USD was saved by 3,433 active savings groups as of December 2021 Learn how savings groups work


$231 million in recovery loans were made to VisionFund clients from the start of RLR (July 2020) through the end of FY 2021 - 7 of 10 female


Every $1 you donate for recovery lending becomes $2.66 in loans

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