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Executive Briefing: October 2018


World Vision is delighted to send you our Executive Briefing for Economic Empowerment. You are an integral part of our work to end extreme poverty by 2030, so we want to keep you updated on our progress!


VisionFund International Celebrates It's 15th Anniversary - $8.2 Billion Lent

In October, VisionFund International celebrates its 15th anniversary. When VisionFund’s registration documents arrived by mail that October day in 2003, a new era for World Vision’s economic development ministry was born. World Vision’s microfinance ministry grew in quality, professionalism of its staff, sophistication of its financial products, and the number of people served. Over 15 years, VisionFund has lent $8.2 billion through 14.4 million loans to poor farmers and business owners.


World Vision undertook its first effort in providing financial services to the poor in 1977 in Sri Lanka with an agricultural credit cooperative. In the early 1990s World Vision’s leaders in Peru – Norm Tattersall and Jose Chaquin – advocated for a concerted effort in Latin America to systematically address the economic underpinnings of poverty through the provision of microfinance services – credit, savings, and insurance. Their assassination in 1991 by Maoist guerillas led to a region-wide tribute to their martyrdom – a regional effort in microfinance, which by 1993 saw every country in the region with microfinance operations. The microfinance revolution had caught on in World Vision. By 1998 microfinance institutions had started in all of World Vision’s regions, World Vision had held its first global meeting for microfinance, and the idea of a global entity to own all of World Vision’s microfinance institutions had been presented at the Triennial Meetings in Johannesburg. Five years later VisionFund was born.

Microfinance is important in the struggle to end extreme poverty, since the large majority of those living in extreme poverty run their own business or farm. They are forced to create their own jobs and incomes, but have limited opportunities to grow and improve their farms and businesses. Microfinance provides the financial services which are critical to growing the business.

In 2017, VisionFund continued to both grow and improve. Highlights include:

• 1,237,000 clients                                        • 72% female clients – 890,640
• 1,470,000 loans disbursed                         • $825,654,000 loans disbursed
• 97.4% repayment rate                                • 8,089 staff
• 2,607,000 jobs impacted                            • 4,438,000 children impacted
• 37% of clients are smallholder farmers      • 65% of all clients are rural


VisionFund is also closing in on a long-cherished goal – not only the operational sustainability of the individual microfinance institutions (meaning they cover their operational costs from their local revenues - currently averaging 108%), but also the sustainability of VisionFund’s global and regional technical, administrative, and leadership functions.

VisionFund regularly asks its clients how loans from VisionFund have affected the well-being of their children. This year its clients have reported that VisionFund’s loans have helped to provide:

• 52% with improved basic education   

• 44% with sufficient food

• 41% with additional clothing/shoes   

• 32% with funds for children’s health costs 

• 21% with sufficient clean drinking water

• 12% with improved sanitation

A good year to go with a great 15-year celebration! To find out more about VisionFund’s work, please use this link.

World Vision's 'forest-maker' wins prestigious international award

A humanitarian’s painstaking work to transform desert-like landscapes into thriving forests and farmland has been hailed a game-changer for combating famine and deforestation.

 Tony 1  

World Vision’s Tony Rinaudo has won the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’, after more than 35 years working across Asia and Africa.

“Most people don’t realize that protecting the environment can help reduce hunger. Having trees on your land or forests nearby helps improve soil fertility, reduces rain runoff and boosts crop yields,” Rinaudo said.

“They even help mitigate the effects of climate change for some of the world’s poorest, most vulnerable people.”

Rinaudo was travelling in Niger in 1983, when he encountered a dilemma with the tree-planting movement.

   Tony 2

“The international community was planting trees, but many of these trees kept dying. They wouldn’t survive the drought, while people were chopping them down because they desperately needed wood for fuel, shelter and to sell,” Rinaudo said.

Rinaudo was in the middle of barren landscape in Niger in 1983, when he made a surprise discovery that there was an existing underground network of tree roots struggling to grow. He realized he could train local farmers to help these trees to grow by educating them about the benefits of trees and teaching them a technique to prune them with a sharp knife.

The simple method is called Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, also known as FMNR. Since the 1980s, it has been credited with helping restore six million hectares of forest in Niger.

“In these areas, farmers say they’ve been able to double their crop yields and incomes. They’re now producing enough food to feed an extra 2.5 million people a year,” Rinaudo said.

 Before After  

In Humbo, Ethiopia, the green results can literally be seen from space, via satellite images.

Past recipients of the Right Livelihood Award include Syria’s ‘The White Helmets’ and human rights advocate Bianca Jagger.

The award, which is given to four Laureates worldwide each year, recognizes courageous people and organizations offering visionary solutions to the root causes of global problems.

“Tony Rinaudo presents practical solutions to counter desertification, famine and despair. His farmer-managed natural regeneration method has proven to be very successful,” Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, said.

“If policymakers are ready to support this approach, degraded drylands with an area the combined size of India could be restored.”

Rinaudo and World Vision are now promoting FMNR in 24 countries worldwide.

The Melbourne, Australia resident says he hopes more organizations and policymakers will promote and incorporate environmentally sustainable initiatives like FMNR into development work.

“It’s an honor and it’s also exciting to think what this could mean for FMNR,” he said.

“FMNR isn’t a silver bullet, but it definitely has the potential to play a major role in mitigating climate challenges and reducing world hunger.”

Christopher Shore, World Vision's Chief Development Officer for Economic Empowerment added, "FMNR is an integral part of our THRIVE program to build improved and resilient livelihoods for smallholder farmers. We are immensely proud of Tony, and so glad that FMNR is growing and spreading."  Find this article on the Philanthropy Website here



According to a Brookings Institution report, half the world is now middle class or wealthier.  Is this good news or bad news?  Read all about it here.

 Upcoming Calendar Events
  • Vision Trips (please contact your World Vision representative about participating)
    • Kilimanjaro Climb plus Tanzania THRIVE (February 2-15, 2019) with Vinh & Leisle Chung
    • Honduras (April 22-26, 2019) On this trip you will see the work in four different sectors over this four day trip, including EE!
  • Tom Allen Regional Tour (October 25-26) in Chicago, Illinois
  • Adrian Merryman Regional Tour (November 8-9) in Scottsdale, AZ and Albuquerque, NM
  • Strong Women Strong World (November 30, 2018) in New York, New York
  • Strong Women Strong World (December 7, 2018) in San Francisco, California
  • South Florida Economic Empowerment Summit (January 26, 2019) in Naples, Florida
  • Michael Mithika US Tour (January 25-February 9, 2019)
  • Every Last One Conference (March 8-9, 2019) in Carlsbad, CA
  • THRIVE / Building Secure Livelihoods Forum (April 1-5, 2019) in Lilongwe, MALAWI

Prayer Requests


  • For a recent $1 million gift for THRIVE Malawi.  WOW!
  • For EXCELLENT One Vision Technology Fund meetings in Texas last month.
  • For VisionFund's ability to lend $8.2 billion over the last 15 years.  "Give to him to asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you." Jesus, recorded in Matthew 5:42.


  • For God's leading and blessing on the Fork to Farm event follow-up from events in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Madison.
  • For the upcoming Vision Trips to Honduras.
  • For the planning process for 4 large events: Strong Women Strong World New York, Strong Women Strong World San Francisco, South Florida EE Summit, and the THRIVE Forum in Malawi
  • For the planning of the Every Last One Summit in Carlsbad.
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World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their
communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
In 2017, 85 percent of World Vision's total operating expenses were used for programs that benefit children,
families, and communities in need. Learn More.