A boy smiles as he picks corn in a cornfield.


We’re in a global food crisis made worse by conflict, climate change and economic challenges. Families are struggling, and child hunger is robbing girls and boys of their one chance to grow up healthy. Our work focuses on getting people the resources they need to survive today, while building toward a future where families are economically empowered with sustainable livelihoods. One where they can provide for their children and withstand the challenges that come. Whether they’re farmers or entrepreneurs, approaches like microfinance, savings groups and cash assistance help families break out of poverty.


$236.6 million

focused on Livelihoods

126 programs

people reached

$48 million

in economic benefits were generated through our Savings 4 Transformation programs over three years


In Sri Lanka, households where one or more adults are earning income increased from

57% to 83%Nawagaththegama | 2017-2023

2,336,488people benefited from cash transfers, allowing them to meet their immediate household needs.


2,023,514people benefited from the provision of in-kind food assistance.


97,876people were actively involved in savings groups, providing them with financial literacy training and access to small loans.

Connected Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goal 01 logo: No povertySustainable Development Goal 02 logo: Zero hungerSustainable Development Goal 05 logo: Gender EqualitySustainable Development Goal 13 logo: Climate action

Explore our investments and results

Explore our investments and results options

Real impact measured

World Vision’s Savings 4 Transformation (S4T) is a project that helps financially underserved communities enhance their financial literacy, provides access to emergency funds and more.


Every S4T is community-based and member-owned. They typically comprise 15-25 people who meet regularly to contribute to a mutual savings fund and a social fund for emergencies. Members can take out loans to help meet their own or their children’s educational, health/nutrition, and child protection needs.


A 2023 analysis of Savings 4 Transformation deployed in 78 projects across 21 countries indicates that the project has helped participants build resilient and sustainable livelihoods.


  • for every $1 invested, $5.78 is generated in benefits for those who participate
  • 97,876 people, including 46,935 women were active members in savings groups


Read the findings from our cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses to learn more.


A group of young boys smiling as they hold up cards with numbers and letters on them.

Global Challenges

Hunger at an all-time high as global food security continues to fall

Food security is increasingly challenging for people around the world. Rising food and energy prices, global conflicts, and the effects of climate change are all magnifying hunger and malnutrition worldwide. An estimated 238 million people in 48 countries are facing high levels of acute food insecurity—countries like Somalia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That’s an increase of 21.6 million more people since 2022.


Approximately nine million people die every year of hunger and hunger-related diseases—more than the deaths from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Over three million of those deaths are children under five.


Geopolitical conflicts also continue to impact food security. Even though food prices were increasing before the war in Ukraine, studies found that the conflict would lead to a 60 per cent trade drop, 50 per cent increase in wheat prices and severe food insecurity with decreased purchasing power for wheat, especially for countries that rely on wheat imports. Although inflation began to slow in September 2022, food inflation rates still remain higher in most countries compared to levels before the Ukraine conflict started. Women and girls continue to be most affected by food insecurity. Gender inequality is a major cause and effect of hunger and poverty, with six out of every 10 chronically hungry persons being female.


Between 2018 and 2021, the number of hungry women compared to hungry men grew 8.4 times. These disparities have long-term negative implications on young women’s growth, cognitive development and opportunities for the future.


Large-scale food and nutrition crises can and should be a thing of the past. To make this a reality, we need strong collective leadership, political will and the right financing, with short-term emergency responses and longer-term commitments that address the underlying issues driving hunger. These efforts must support human rights, peaceful resolutions to conflict, and the gender-responsive transformation of food systems to become inclusive, sustainable and more resilient.

Economic empowerment for increased financial resilience

Extreme poverty was recently on a global decline, dropping from 10.1 per cent to 8.6 per cent between 2015 and 2018. But the effects of conflict, climate change and the high cost of living have severely stunted the gains made. Between 2019 and 2020, global poverty increased from 8.3 per cent to 9.2 per cent. This was the first rise in extreme poverty since 1998.


In June 2021, the World Bank noted that growth in 90 per cent of advanced economies was expected to regain pre-pandemic per capita income levels by 2022—yet only a third of emerging markets and developing economies would make the same recovery. Slow economic recovery, the high cost of living and inflation have widened the inequality gap between the poor and rich. The poorest people bore the steepest pandemic costs. Income loss averaged 4 per cent among the poorest 40 per cent, double the losses of the wealthiest 20 per cent. Global inequality rose, as a result, for the first time in decades.


Formal and informal financial services are tools that can help people rise out of poverty by providing access to credit and savings, the ability to invest in education or businesses, and safety nets to weather financial emergencies. However, many living in poverty lack access to formal financial services like bank accounts. As of 2021, 1.4 billion adults were “unbanked” around the world, most of them from developing economies.


Education is an important factor in future economic success, yet 267 million young people are not involved in employment, education or training, with young women three times more likely than their male counterparts to be unemployed or out of school. In 2020, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimated that 24 million children and youth were at risk of dropping out of school for financial reasons because of the pandemic.

Preparing for uncertainty in the face of climate change

Approximately one billion children live in one of the 33 countries classified as “extremely high-risk” for climate change impacts. Between climate change, urbanization and an overall lack of disaster preparedness worldwide, natural hazards like droughts, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis are becoming increasingly catastrophic, causing death and economic losses. Women and girls are often disproportionately affected by these events—more vulnerable to threats and less able to access information or assistance—and the risk of disasters caused by natural hazards is rising.


June, July and August was the hottest three-month period in recorded history. The global average temperature in July was 1.1 degrees Celsius hotter compared to the average of the last 100 years. Countries like Chile, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan are facing the worst droughts in decades. In 2022, there were 387 natural hazards and disasters recorded around the world, affecting 185 million people and costing an estimated US$223.8 billion in economic losses.


Driven in part by climate shocks, the largest global food crisis in modern history is unfolding. Acute food insecurity is escalating, and by the end of 2022 at least 222 million people across 53 countries were expected to face acute food insecurity and need urgent assistance. Starvation is a very real risk for 45 million people in 37 countries.


The practice of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) reduces vulnerability to disasters by identifying risks and making community-based and systemic changes that mitigate them. This work is vital to prevent needless deaths and to ensure that development work is sustainable.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development affirms the need to reduce the risks and effects of disasters. By doing so, there are opportunities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through reducing vulnerability among the poor and building resilient infrastructure.


Although World Vision provides relief after a disaster occurs, our approach is to prevent losses and alleviate the impact of disasters by managing or reducing the conditions of hazard, exposure and vulnerability whenever possible. This requires identifying and decreasing the underlying drivers of risk, including poor economic development, environmental degradation, poverty, inequality and climate change. In turn, this approach mitigates disaster risks, lessens the impacts of climate change and, ultimately, makes development more sustainable.

Please see our Annual Results Report for a full list of references

Two young girls smile at each other as they stand in a grass field with a bicycle.

Approach and Strategy

Our Goal

Families become economically self-reliant with the ability to provide for their children—both now and in the future

Equip families and individuals with resources and training, focusing on the economic empowerment of women and youth
Join forces at the community level to build sustainability and resilience
Strengthen gender-responsive food and market systems to support the most vulnerable

Using holistic, evidence-based approaches, we help families in dire need to affirm their dignity and become economically self-reliant, with the means to provide for their own children—both now and in the future.


At the household level, we equip parents to provide for their children, with a specific focus on women’s economic empowerment. With training in small business skills, savings groups and adapted practices for livestock and agriculture, families can both increase and diversify their incomes. By strengthening their resilience to disasters their lives and livelihoods are less disrupted by future shocks and stresses.


At the community level, we work with local groups and organizations to become more economically productive, with climate-smart agricultural approaches and technologies, access to markets and financial services like savings, credit and cash where appropriate and needed. We support communities in becoming more resilient to shocks, stewarding their environments in ways that increase agricultural sustainability and reduce the risks of disaster.


At the systemic level, we influence structural changes to promote fair resource ownership and management practices, sustainable employment opportunities, inclusive market systems and positive social and gender norms, creating pathways for women’s economic empowerment.


In fragile contexts, comprehensive rapid assessments also help us to identify gaps within systems and structures, equipping us to work with local institutions to support the most vulnerable. In hazard-prone areas, we help develop early warning systems and action plans for times of crisis, so that authorities are equipped with knowledge, skills and resources for effective disaster management. We focus where the need is greatest, building resilience and adaptability through temporary provisions of food, cash and credit. This gives families a safety net and helps them manage without slipping further into extreme poverty.

A white jeep driving through a muddy path, featuring a rainbow and trees in the background.

Investments and Results

In 2023, $236.6 million was invested in 126 programs that focused primarily on livelihoods approaches, reaching 1,502,415 girls, 1,454,153 boys, 1,502,415 women and 1,224,391 men. These investments went largely toward projects in the most fragile countries (57 per cent), followed by very low developing countries (24 per cent).

Food programming saw a record high in cash transfers. The total amount provided directly to participants passed $100 million for the first time, which puts more decision-making power in the hands of the people we serve. Mali, Somalia and Lebanon saw the largest increases. For next year, we target to distribute $75 million in in-kind food and $90 million in cash transfers.


In-kind food distribution continued at levels similar to last year after a decline from 2021 to 2022. This food is primarily distributed to communities where market systems are not strong enough to allow for cash distributions. It is important to note that the Global Hunger Crisis continues, but at the same time the humanitarian sector is resource-constrained in its efforts to provide life-saving food to the most vulnerable. In this context our 2024 targets are to distribute another $90 million in cash/vouchers and $75 million in in-kind food around the world.


On the issue of economic empowerment the number of savings groups has been steadily increasing for the past several years after a substantial drop between 2019 and 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s increase was led by multiple long-term development programs in Rwanda and the FEED II grant (in partnership with Global Affairs Canada) in South Sudan.


For the provision of basic assistance, the number of non-food item kits distributed saw an increase, especially due to large distributions during the responses to the Global Hunger Crisis in South Sudan and Ethiopia, and the crisis in the Nord Kivu province in DRC.


Disaster resiliency strategies continued to be promoted, with Uganda, Rwanda and Honduras seeing a notable increase in training. These countries each doubled the number of people trained in disaster risk reduction compared to 2022.

A wide-shot image of two people wearing backpacks, looking up at a massive green mountain area.



Efforts put in by families and communities over the past several years have contributed to measurable positive change. Here are some recent livelihoods examples.


Two women smile as they stand in front of a colourful commercial sign. The woman on the left holds a tray of baked goods.

Esther, a 23-year-old baker and pharmacy student from Peru, used the support of World Vision’s Youth Ready program to help prepare her to launch and run her bakery. Now one enterprise supports the other with proceeds from her bakery helping to pay for her studies.

Read more(link opens in new tab/window)
A woman wearing a colourful read shirt smiles as she holds up a melon.

At a glance, food insecurity and hunger may sound like the same thing. Not quite. Food insecurity is about the economic and social circumstances that prevent access to the nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. Unfortunately, the trend is on the rise—around the world.

Read more(link opens in new tab/window)
A young girl carrying a bag walks along a raised platform above floodwaters.

Climate change is negatively affecting the livelihoods of communities around the world. The poorest communities bear the brunt of the impact. But with tactics such as disaster preparedness and climate-smart agricultural methods, these communities can build sustainable livelihoods.

Read more(link opens in new tab/window)
Unless otherwise stated, data presented on this page reflects the most up-to-date results of World Vision Canada programs reported between October 2022 and September 2023, and any previous fiscal years available. Previously reported data may not match the current presentation as we continuously receive and refine data from our programs. If you have any questions, kindly reach out to us.