As a leader in gender equality work for decades, World Vision is committed to building a safer and more equitable world for women and girls. And we know that ending poverty isn't possible without addressing the barriers women face.
In, October of 2015, we made our largest commitment ever through the Every Last One® campaign — to equip and empower 30 million women and girls to overcome the obstacles that have held them back for generations.
Today we celebrate keeping that commitment!
Together with our donors and partners, World Vision has now reached more than 30,144,181 women and girls across the globe — with access to clean water, improved healthcare, economic opportunities, quality education, emergency support services, and protection from gender-based violence.
Three women who helped make it possible
To celebrate this milestone, we talked with three of our Strong Women Strong World™ Council members. Each one of them has traveled with World Vision to see the work firsthand. And like many of you, they’ve chosen to invest their time, talent, and treasure to make a difference in the lives of women and girls all over the world.
Passion: Clean Water
World Vision: Kendall, why are you drawn to make a difference in the global water crisis?
Kendall Dye: Never in a million years did I think water or Africa would have anything to do with my life. But everything begins with water. Without water, poverty really can’t be changed.
WV: What have you discovered firsthand about women and girls in poverty?
KD: The people of Zambia, in my experience, were born into it. They can’t help their situation and they’re willing to fight and claw out of it. Not with a handout, but with a little bit of help.
WV: What stands out to you about the people you’ve met in Zambia?
KD: They’re not victims. The people we meet in the villages, they love like no one’s ever loved. Their faith is as strong as anyone I’ve ever met. And their joy — you just can’t find that in this first world that we live in. It’s just so contagious to be around and you don’t want to leave them.
WV: What will it take to end the global water crisis?
KD: It takes a village, right? It just starts with one, and then goes to two, and then soon a whole area program is completed. It’s the mindset of “every last one.” Yes, it can seem overwhelming, but you have to start somewhere, with one.
Kendall is a former LPGA pro golfer and is now the president of Golf Fore Africa. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2009 with a degree in communications and turned professional in golf after graduation. She now combines her love of golf with her passion for philanthropy through Golf Fore Africa.
Passion: Economic Empowerment
World Vision: The character trait of resilience — how does someone in need begin to develop it?
Beth Weibling: It’s complex. Faith is probably the first piece of it. Then having tools. The area my husband and I have gotten more intensely involved with is economic empowerment. People in extreme poverty are given the support system they need and the ability to progress in their learning, to have the fortitude to handle obstacles. It’s all very complex, but it’s working.
WV: Why is economic empowerment critical?
BW: It’s important because lives are changing. Mindsets are changing. Entire cultures are changing. We want to see people pulled out of poverty, not just helped in the moment. Let’s help people out to the point that they can lift themselves out of poverty.
WV: A lot of people believe this is futile work. What would you say in response?
BW: I’d say it’s working! We’re seeing it done. We have the statistics. We have the metrics, we have the measurements. The women are leading the charge. They’re realizing they’re created for something. If we band together, this world is going to be a different place.
Beth and her husband, Dennis, have been married for more than 35 years and live in Seattle. Dennis is currently the managing director of a private equity company, and Beth’s nursing school background and bachelor’s degree in education led her into sales with SmithKline Pharmaceuticals and Xerox.
Passion: Helping girls and women reach their potential
World Vision: What really matters to you, Breegan?
Breegan Jane: Women’s equality and making sure that women have opportunities. I would like to see women’s abilities stop being underestimated. Women are capable, competent, powerful beings, and I believe it’s time for that to be respected and understood.
WV: What do you regard as the lowest depth of suffering?
BJ: Surviving something as traumatic as death without actually dying. That can involve physical or psychological trauma. Cancer. Suicidal thoughts. Physical harm to your body. These are some examples of the worst things any human can endure, especially when at the hands of another human being. When you experience trials and hardships like these, you either wither away or step into the power that helps you get through it.
WV: How does this affect your choice to advocate against FGM?
BJ: There is an undeniable strength and resilience that forms as a result of enduring the emotional and physical pain from this harmful practice. If you want to make someone feel “less than,” cut the very thing that is literally a defining piece of what and who they are. When you meet women [who were] cut, and they were sold by their brothers, you can see and feel the determination in their eyes. You can also see the unbelievable kindness that still remains in their smiles.
WV: Why are you concerned about empowering women and girls?
BJ: One of the things that’s misunderstood about empowering women is that it doesn’t mean disempowering men. If men are doing their job 100%, we need to bring our 100% to the table as well. I believe we’re all better off when our male leaders are just as strong as our female leaders. You can’t run a successful and healthy society with only half of its members, after all.
Breegan is an interior designer, influencer, author, and TV host. She lives in southern California with her two sons. Breegan is a lifelong partner of World Vision, and she funded a school in Kenya for girls escaping the harsh realities of FGM.
Help us continue this life-changing work
We know that when girls and women gain equal access and opportunity, everyone wins. Children are better cared for, families are stronger, and communities are more prosperous. Together, we’re equipping millions of women and girls to change the trajectory of their stories, empowering them to overcome the barriers that keep them from productive and fulfilled lives.
And we’ll continue, with your partnership. Please join us in this work by giving to the Strong Women Strong World™ Fund. Your gift will directly support World Vision’s work that equips and empowers women and girls, and every $1 given to the Strong Women Strong World Fund will be matched with a $1 donation* to programs that empower women and girls, thanks to our generous partner, Clean Water Here.
*Up to $12 million
Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day together and keep the progress going. Because when women’s and girls’ God-given potential is unleashed, extreme poverty doesn’t stand a chance.