Economic Empowerment Extreme Poverty


Written by Caroline Mosey on Oct 9, 2023 10:00:00 AM

October 17 marks an important day for the international development community: It’s the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. On this day in 1987, more than 100,000 people came together in Paris to proclaim the indignity and injustice of poverty — to remember the poor and to stand in solidarity with them.

Thanks to our donors and supporters, World Vision works alongside vulnerable people every single day. And we’re committed to doing everything in our power to help them change their future.


In Zambia, a weary and hungry family stands in their dried-up field.

Our focus is on people living in the worst form of poverty: extreme poverty. As of 2022, people around the world who live on less than $2.15 a day are considered to be in extreme poverty. Most live in rural areas and work in agriculture, an industry especially vulnerable to weather-related shocks. And most of these people are subsistence farmers who have difficulty even growing enough to feed their own families, much less growing anything to sell. About half of them are women, and for the most part, they simply lack access to the information, training, and tools needed to change their circumstances.

So, ending extreme poverty is possible?

Ending extreme poverty isn’t just possible - it’s happening within communities around the world. Families are working hard to better their circumstances, leveraging every available resource. That’s where World Vision’s THRIVE (Transforming Household Resilience in Vulnerable Environments) model comes in, helping vulnerable families gain the knowledge, tools, and resilience they need to escape the cycle of poverty.


Friday, Georgina, and their children in Malawi after experiencing THRIVE:  “I’m very proud and happy,” says Georgina. “But we’re not yet there,” Friday finishes. “The burden we have is that all our children will get a college education. [The plan] is going to work.”

As part of the global effort to end extreme poverty by 2030, we have launched a massive scale-up for THRIVE. This plan seeks to reach 10 million people with access to the tools they need to lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

We’re focusing our efforts in 11 countries in the three regions of the world where extreme poverty persists:

  • In Southeast Asia: Vietnam
  • In Central America: Guatemala and Honduras
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia

So how does it work, exactly? The THRIVE approach includes four simple and powerful tools:

Biblical Empowered Worldview — This high-impact Scripture-based curriculum helps people shift their mindsets from dependency and despondency to confidence, responsibility, and accountability as children of God. 

Savings groups — To put this empowered mindset into practice, we help community members — primarily women — set up their own groups to save money together and expand their social networks and relations. They also learn financial basics and how to manage household finances, and they lend to one another to start or improve businesses.

Market knowledge and access — For those savings and producer groups ready for the next step, we provide business planning and access to vital market information which leads to income diversification, increased profits, and improved resilience.

Loans to savings groups — Through this innovative product, small loans are made to mature savings groups, providing more capital for the group to lend to its members. This enables them to take even bigger steps to grow or improve their farms or businesses.

Individually, each of these elements can significantly impact a family’s future. Combined, they can and have enabled families to truly lift themselves out of extreme poverty once and for all.

When the value of $150 is priceless

We have the chance to come alongside struggling families and offer the resources they need to reach their God-given potential — our task and privilege as people of faith. World Vision’s THRIVE economic empowerment approach has been proven most recently by independent evaluators as a catalyst for change that works in contexts all over the world. Through THRIVE, it costs an average of $150 to give one family access to the tools they need to lift themselves out of extreme poverty — for good.

Rather than a short-term fix, providing the tools and knowledge to carry change forward is the key to THRIVE’s sustainable, long-term approach. We can all play a role in helping end extreme poverty and be a part of the meaningful change we’ve prayed for. Let’s be faithful and make it so!

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Learn more about why we think ending extreme poverty is possible in this short video.