Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Microfinance?

What is Microfinance?

It is the lending of small loans and provision of financial services, including business training and support, to entrepreneurs who lack access to traditional banking institutions. Created as a sustainable solution for poverty alleviation, microfinance helps men and women with an entrepreneurial spirit move toward economic self-sufficiency as they are given access to capital. In the past, World Vision's microfinance initiatives have:

  • Lent small loans to the impoverished since 1993
  • Provided microfinance services in over 40 countries
  • Impacted over 1 million jobs in the last year

Your tax-deductible donation is an investment in the community. You are not only helping someone become an entrepreneur, you are helping to create a sustainable community. For example, a single mother of two in Mexico can purchase all of her supplies to bake bread to sell. Not only does she earn enough money to support her family, she is also able to repay the loan which can now be used to help someone else.

How does Microfinance reduce poverty?

It empowers people. By increasing household incomes, building assets, and reducing vulnerability to humanitarian disasters, microfinance clients can overcome the cycle of poverty. As entrepreneurs, they are able to plan for their family's future, manage cash flow, and apply funds to household priorities. Microfinance helps equip people to make their own choices and work their way out of poverty.

It breaks the dependency on local moneylenders. Because the formal financial sector does not extend credit to impoverished entrepreneurs due to the small loan amounts required, the absence of any credit history, and the lack of collateral assets, a moneylender (i.e., "loan shark") will step in to make loans at high rates of interest. While this enables entrepreneurs to buy the supplies needed to produce a product, once they begin selling their wares, nearly all of their profits are applied to the payment of interest to the "loan shark," leaving them in a position of poverty.

What is a Microfinance Institution (MFI)?

A Microfinance Institution (MFI) is a local lending office within a community that is managed by local professionals. These offices ensure that funds are protected and widely invested.

Currently, World Vision has a network of 42 MFIs located in every region where we work. Forbes recognized two World Vision MFIs among their Top 50 List of MFIs, out of more than 12,000 currently in operation worldwide.

Is the group leader the only one who can invite others to join the group?

Anyone who is a member of a group can invite others to join. If the group is a closed group, approval from the group leader will be required when the invitee decides to join.

What is World Vision Micro?

Which countries are featured on Micro?

Micro currently features entrepreneurs from Cambodia, Kenya, Philippines.

Where else does World Vision engage in microfinance initiatives?

World Vision currently offers microfinance loans to entrepreneurs in 36 countries through its network of microfinance partners.

Do World Vision entrepreneurs pay interest?

Yes, all entrepreneurs pay interest to the MFIs; however, it is at a much lower interest rate than other lending programs offered by commercial banks, rural banks, etc. Rates are in line with non-profit industry standards, and in many cases, are much lower! Our average global rate is 25%, a full 10 percent lower than the average rate for other MFIs.

Moreover, providing loans to impoverished individuals in remote rural areas is expensive. A $300 loan requires the same manpower and resources as a $2,500 loan, which is why the formal financial sector does not traditionally provide microfinance loans.

Lastly, our interest rates do vary by country because of differing inflation rates and operating environments. Rates are affected by many factors, including varying labor costs, credit-risk, local market conditions, and more.

Are World Vision entrepreneurs prefunded?

World Vision believes that, at this time, a pre-disbursal of funds is necessary for the success of the model from both the donor and the MFI perspective. Donors expect World Vision to be efficient and effective with funding and we continually work to minimize costs that can create time delays. Transactions across the world are costly so World Vision bundles transactions and sends them to its MFIs on a monthly or bimonthly basis. This practice allows MFIs to be more efficient and better serve their clients. World Vision's MFIs work extremely hard to provide world-class service to borrowers. To ask an entrepreneur to develop a business plan, go through training, prepare for the startup of a business, and then wait unnecessarily for a loan would be bad customer service.

Why are the majority of Micro's loans for women?

Providing micro loans to women enables them to access health care, buy nutritious food for their children, send their children to school, improve their living conditions, gain confidence, and promote gender equality.

Supplying capital empowers women to help financially support their families. Children can attend school when not forced to help support the family, thereby promoting education. Women can keep their families healthy with regular check-ups and the financial ability to purchase medicines. And they are able to purchase food to vary their diet and not rely strictly on what they grow.

Investing in women can lift an entire community out of poverty. Not only do they show a higher loan repayment rate, they also work two-thirds of the world's waking hours. Women are innovative, dedicated, and given the proper tools, industrious.

Statistics show that women, as the primary caregivers of children, consistently spend more of their income on their children and families. And they only earn 10% of the world's income and only 1% of the world's property.

What makes World Vision Micro different from other micro loan lending programs?

A real connection between you and someone in need. With a single donation, a donor connects with an entrepreneur and learns their story – from their struggles to successes. Donors choose whether to support women entrepreneurs, invest in a country they love, or reach out to an individual whose story touches their heart. Moreover, after the donation is made, donors can share in the borrower's success throughout the repayment process. Our one-to-one approach allows donors to hear updates from their entrepreneur via mid-term loan updates and final reports, learn about their community, watch their business grow, and see how a single loan can touch several lives.

The gift that keeps on giving. It begins with a simple loan donation. A donor funds a loan to help an entrepreneur's business grow. Microfinance Institutions (MFI's) in the borrower's community help facilitate this transaction. Once the loan is repaid, the capital continues to recycle back into the community as other local entrepreneurs have the opportunity to use the loan. It sustains an entire community by providing a long-term impact.

Additionally, Micro's distinctive holistic model truly exhibits a commitment to long-term holistic investment in areas of development. Beyond microfinance loans, World Vision Micro provides business training, clean water, nutritious food, education, and basic health care to impoverished communities. Thus, not only do the businesses of entrepreneurs benefit from World Vision Micro, but all aspects of their lives benefit from the donation of a loan.

You are giving to a trusted organization. World Vision's six decades of humanitarian aid demonstrate the organization's commitment and devotion to the provision of a better quality of life for children in developing nations. Everything we do is motivated by a desire to reflect God's unconditional love for all people. Since 1993, World Vision has provided small business loans to entrepreneurs throughout the world. We believe that when parents are provided more opportunities, children are provided more opportunities.

Is a gift to Micro a tax deductible donation?

Yes. In fact, our donation model is what makes us unique from other microfinance programs. You donate a loan to an entrepreneur. Once repaid to the local MFI, your gift recycles over and over again to help an ever-growing amount of entrepreneurs in the same country. Your donation of one loan could literally help dozens of people to begin supporting themselves and their families.

Why does Micro use a donation model instead of a loan model?

A donation model is sustainable. By providing a tax deductible donation to fund a loan for a borrower overseas, donors provide capital for funding not only the initial loan, but also for loans in the microfinance institution (MFI) in an ongoing way. Donor gifts keep revolving in the future helping even more borrowers in the community – we talk of the ripple effect of that loan in that community. Thus, our donation model allows capital to stay in the community for others to benefit.

What happens to my donation after the loan is repaid?

Once repaid, the loan is recycled through the MFI. Your donated loan will remain in the country of your original entrepreneur. The next entrepreneur will be carefully selected – one who demonstrates an enterprising spirit, trustworthiness, a solid work ethic, and a sound business idea.

When World Vision has helped the community to become self-sufficient with access to clean water, nutritious food, education, basic healthcare, and microfinance opportunities, we can move on to another community in need and begin the transformation process all over again.

Can I redistribute my loan?

We currently are not able to provide you with the tools to choose the next entrepreneur. We guarantee that your funds will be reinvested into the community of your initial choosing. In order for your donation to have the maximum impact with the lowest overhead, your donated loan will remain in the community of your original entrepreneur. Microfinance credit officers in a World Vision community in that country will carefully select the next entrepreneur – one who demonstrates an enterprising spirit, trustworthiness, a solid work ethic, and a sound business idea. Furthermore, we hope to soon provide quarterly community updates that show the impact of the recycled funds into the ADP community.

Your donation of a loan ultimately helps foster World Vision's greater goal of community development – enabling impoverished people to discover their own abilities and unite to change the direction of their lives and their communities. We work to help impoverished communities gain access to clean water, nutritious food, education, basic healthcare, and microfinance opportunities. Once the community has become self-sufficient and taken ownership of these interventions, we are free to move on to another community in need, beginning the transformation process all over again.

Does my donation go to the entrepreneur I fund?

The entrepreneur you choose on Micro is guaranteed to receive the loan you fund. The cash is advanced by the MFI on the belief that the loan will be funded by a donor. The MFI expects to recoup that money from the donors who want to fund that loan. The donor receives updates on their entrepreneur's progress and a final report after the loan is repaid.

What is the relationship between Micro & World Vision?

Micro is a lending platform through which World Vision conducts microfinance transactions, thereby allowing a donor to connect with an entrepreneur in another part of the world.

What is World Vision?

What is 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 provides hope and assistance to approximately 100 million people in nearly 100 countries. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God's unconditional love for all people. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

For more information, visit World Vision's home page

What is VisionFund?

VisionFund is the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision. In 1993, World Vision International (WVI) began to implement microfinance programming to benefit the economically active poor. In 2003, WVI recognized the importance and complexity of this ministry through its MFIs, and created VisionFund International (VFI) as a wholly-owned subsidiary of WVI. VFI is mandated by WVI to:

  • Provide governance, risk management control, and specialty advice/support to all of its MFIs whether owned or controlled by VisionFund or WVI.
  • Manage the funding of all MFIs, including donations and debt financing from VFI and third parties directly to the MFIs.

For more information, visit VisionFund's website.

Does my entrepreneur have a child that I can sponsor?

While many entrepreneurs have sponsored children, it is not currently possible to request to sponsor a child of an entrepreneur. We hope to offer this in the future.

May I give a loan to the parent of my sponsored child?

No, not at this time. Not every sponsored child has a parent who is an entrepreneur. It is our desire to provide this feature in the future.

What can I do to help?

Can I give a Micro loan to someone in the US?

No, unfortunately, Micro does not offer microfinance loans in the United States. World Vision, however, operates several US Programs that can be found on their Poverty in the United States page.

Can I buy things from my Micro entrepreneur?

No, not at this time. Our field offices are currently not equipped to handle transactions of this type. If you'd like to support World Vision, please check out our Gift Catalog.


Can I send things to my Micro entrepreneur?

No, not at this time. Our field offices are not equipped to handle this. We hope that in the future we will be able to accommodate these requests.

Can I get updates on the entrepreneurs I support?

Yes! World Vision Micro provides donors with Mid-term Updates and Final Reports on their entrepreneurs. Moreover, Micro will provide donors with updates and periodical reports on the ADP in which their entrepreneurs live.

How do I get involved?

  • Fund a loan yourself. It's easy. Choose an entrepreneur to support.
  • Give a gift card and let someone else choose an entrepreneur to support.
  • Share Micro with others. Tell your friends and colleagues.
  • Join or start a group. Check out our new Group Giving feature.

How can I volunteer or intern for Micro?

For more internship information, please visit World Vision's Intern page  

Where can I find more detailed information?

For more information, or to contact us, please use our Contact Page.

What is Group Giving?

What is Group Giving?

Group giving allows you to maximize your lending efforts by combining your loans with the loans of friends, family members, or coworkers. Whenever you fund a loan, you will have the option to count the amount donated toward the overall impact of your group. For more Group Giving information, visit the Group Giving page.

How do I create a group?

  • First, log on to My Account. If you do not yet have an account with Micro, you can create an account here.
  • Once you are logged on, go to the "Get Involved" section at the top of the screen and click on "Group Giving".
  • On the left of the group giving page you will see the opportunity to start a new group. Begin by giving your group a name. Your page is now set up and you can upload an image and write a brief description of your group. You may also choose if you would like your group to be open to anyone, or #{link_to 'only to those you approve', :anchor=>'closed_vs_open'}. Be sure to save your changes.
  • Next, you can invite others to join your group by clicking on the button in the upper right-hand corner.

How do I invite others to join my group?

Log on to My Account and click on the "Groups" tab. Navigate to your group's page. On the right hand corner, select the "Invite Others" button and you will be prompted to enter email addresses of the friends you would like to invite. Your friends will be sent an email informing them that you would like them to join your group on Micro.

How do I join an existing group?

  • First, log on to My Account. If you do not yet have an account with Micro, you can create an account here.
  • Once you are logged on, go to the "Get Involved" section at the top of the screen and click on "Group Giving."
  • A list of existing groups will be displayed. You can search by group name or by the name of the group leader. Once you find the group you would like to join, simply click "Join Group" on the right hand side. If the group is an open group, you will automatically become a member. If a group is a closed group, your request will be sent to the group leader for review. You will receive an email notification when your request has been accepted.

What is the difference between an open group and a closed group?

An open group allows anyone to join without waiting for approval from the group leader. A closed group requires approval from the group leader when a new member wants to join. When someone requests to join a closed group, an email is sent to the group leader for review. When you start a new group, you will be prompted to choose whether you would like your group to be open or closed.

What are the responsibilities of the group leader?

As the group's initiator, the group leader is the one who creates the group title and description and decides if the group will be open or closed. If the group is a closed group, the leader is responsible for reviewing requests from those who wish to join the group. The leader is also the one who can start a group fundraiser.

What is a group fundraiser and how do I start one?

Group fundraising gives you and a team of others the opportunity to come together to fund a loan of your choice. You choose an entrepreneur, and for 30 days, your group has exclusive access to fund his or her loan. To start a fundraiser, log on to My Account. If you are already a group leader, you can start a fundraiser with your existing group by clicking on the "Fundraising" tab under your group's profile. If you are not a group leader, you will first need to create a group by clicking on "Group Giving" under the "Get Involved" section.

What happens if my group starts a fundraiser but is unable to fund the full amount of our entrepreneur's loan by the end of 30 days?

If your group does not fully fund the loan within 30 days, it will return to the pool of loans so that other Micro users can fund the balance.

I'm a member of more than one group. How do I pick which group my loan amount goes toward?

Any time you make a loan, you have the option of applying that loan amount toward one of your groups. Log on to My Account and click "Fund a Loan" in the upper left-hand corner. Once you have selected the entrepreneur whose loan you would like to fund, enter the amount and click the donate button. You will be taken to your checkout basket. Here, you can select whether or not you would like to apply that loan toward a group. The dropdown menu will allow you to select which of your groups the loan will go toward.

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