World Vision and VisionFund launch new fund to support economic empowerment for women in poverty and their families

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a Senegalese woman holding two soup blocks she makes
Kany…shares how before the loan from VisionFund she struggled to provide food for her children or pay their school fees …now all of her children are in school, their health has improved, and she is able to provide more nutritious and better-quality food.. © World Vision 2023

MIAMI (March 9, 2023) — Global Christian humanitarian organization World Vision and VisionFund International, a mission-driven microfinance institution, have launched the Strong Women Impact Fund today at the Concordia Americas Summit in Miami, Florida.

Women represent immense global potential, but persistent challenges — including a roughly $320 billion shortfall in access to credit — prevent them from reaching their full potential. Around the world,  nearly 1 billion women still have no access to financial services. Research shows that women could add an estimated $14 trillion to Global GDP by 2030 if the gender gap is bridged. When women earn a competitive income, they spend the majority of their earnings on their families — a reinvestment that contributes to stronger and more resilient communities.

“We know that the best way to strengthen communities is by empowering women,” said Edgar Martinez, CEO of VisionFund International. “VisionFund is supporting the most vulnerable communities through access to capital, credit, and financial services. Today, 80% of people living below the poverty line live in rural communities, and the majority of those people are women. VisionFund and World Vision know that to truly end extreme poverty, there must be an intentional focus on providing financial services for rural women, and the Strong Women Impact Fund is one of the key tools to bolster women’s economic opportunity.”

The Strong Women Impact Fund addresses the gender gap in financial services for the most vulnerable people in the world — rural women.  The Impact Fund supports innovative financial products designed to serve clients at the bottom of the economic ladder as they work to build economic resilience, improve household well-being, and break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

The Strong Women Impact Fund is a $100 million debt fund that offers investors the opportunity to catalyze significant change in the lives of women and their families. The fund prioritizes serving rural women in 10 countries across three regions. These countries have been strategically selected to align with World Vision’s 2030 economic empowerment and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) business plans, as well as VisionFund’s 2030 global strategy. World Vision’s WASH programming helps provide communities with infrastructure and technical support to improve health and well-being. World Vision’s economic empowerment programming equips people with the knowledge and skills necessary to maximize business growth when they receive a loan from VisionFund. And VisionFund’s 2030 strategy seeks to impact the lives of 10 million clients through access to financial services, ultimately reaching 30 million children.

The fund offers three major products to female borrowers: lone mother households loans, small business loans and WASH loans. Additionally, embedded into each loan is HospiCash, a health insurance policy that covers clients and their families for no additional charge.

Another distinctive aspect of the Strong Women Impact Fund is that, due to an intentional gender lens, it meets four of the five 2X Challenge criteria:

  • Leadership: The Fund is managed and led by women and women account for 38% of VisionFund’s board.
  • Employment: 41% of VisionFund’s staff are women.
  • Consumption: Fund products are designed to specifically benefit women.
  • Investments through Financial Intermediaries: VisionFund International owns and operates 28 microfinance institutions.

The fifth criteria (Entrepreneurship) is met by our borrowers — women entrepreneurs.

Investing in the Strong Women Impact Fund will enable more than 200,000 women to achieve their full potential, carry their families out of poverty, and transform their communities into thriving ecosystems of innovation and growth.

“We are excited about the new and bespoke Strong Women Impact Fund and are looking forward to partnering with investors who are eager to support this type of transformational impact in communities,” said VisionFund’s Edgar Martinez.

About World Vision:
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. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit or follow on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.

About VisionFund International:
VisionFund International, World Vision’s microfinance subsidiary, has been improving the lives of children in the developing world for over 19 years. Through small loans and other financial services, clients develop successful businesses, enabling their children to grow up healthy and educated. In fiscal year 2022, VisionFund International’s network of microfinance institutions provided loans to 1 million clients, with 69% of these going to women and over a third to clients actively involved in farming. 4.7 million children were positively impacted in fiscal year 2022 through its Microfinance Instituion network located across 28 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. For more information please visit