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Monthly Newsletter: April 2019

SPECIAL EDITION:  THRIVE: Building Secure Livelihoods Forum

Malawi, the warm heart of Africa, welcomed World Vision’s THRIVE: Building Secure Livelihoods community to the capital city of Lilongwe and to the THRIVE communities for our Forum early in April.

EE Shore   

The Forum was created as a learning event for those who are implementing THRIVE, for World Vision offices that would like to implement THRIVE, for our technical partners like Farm Concern International and TANGO, for our microfinance partner VisionFund, and for World Vision donors and leaders.  The Forum was a success, with learning and community building occurring because of the formal sessions, but also at coffee breaks, meals, evenings with a cool drink, and on our field visits. 

Enjoy this special “taste” of the 2019 Forum!

Christopher Shore


The 2019 Malawi THRIVE: Building Secure Livelihoods Forum

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The World Vision THRIVE: Building Secure Livelihoods Forum was held in Lilongwe, Malawi from the evening of the 31st of March through the 5th of April, 2019. The meetings reflect World Vision’s commitment to continuously improve the quality and impact of our ministry to the poor. In addition to our national and global technical program leaders, we gathered National Directors, program partners, VisionFund national and global experts, National Offices that are interested in starting THRIVE, donors, and various Support Office staff (World Vision USA, Australia, and Canada). The Forum was a learning event, and sought to help participants grow from one another’s experience and expertise, encourage continuous learning and program innovation, create a network and community of like-minded professionals, and stimulate ever deeper commitment to our models and approach.

EE Schuler   

The Forum used plenary sessions, as well as a “technical” track and a “strategic and donor” track. As there was far more content to share than time to do it, there were also optional breakout sessions where participants could choose topics of their interest.

The Forum featured a most interesting and innovative 4 session devotional analysis of the Empowered Worldview by Dr. Bayron Morales. His Latin American perspective was supported by his review of the theological, Biblical, social, psychological, and development aspects of this foundational part of our work. 

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Following the second Empowered Worldview session, the Forum switched to a lively marketplace of exhibits and “speed pitches” from the THRIVE countries before moving into business sessions by breaking into two tracks for reviews of the THRIVE/BSL Handbook and the WVI Economic Empowerment strategy.

The Forum covered important ground, including not only updates from each THRIVE country dealing with the full scope of the work there, but also notably:

  • World Vision International’s global strategy where the THRIVE model (known in WVI as Building Secure Livelihoods) is a central and fully accepted part of our way forward;
  • World Vision and TANGO’s work on Evidence and Learning;
  • Partnerships and approaches on supporting smallholder farmer access to markets and local value chain development;
  • Gender equity and social inclusion;
  • VisionFund’s continued partnership in the heart of THRIVE, plus recent innovations in lending to Savings Groups, exploring water issues including both irrigation and human consumption and hygiene.
EE Rumsey   

A highlight of the discussion by TANGO was the admonition for World Vision to do more to study, document, and promote the Empowered Worldview within the development industry. Said Bruce Ravesloot of TANGO, “In my opinion, the Empowered Worldview may be the most important development in the domain of economic development in the last 10 years.”

There were two fascinating days exploring THRIVE in Malawi, where we saw some very integrated programming between World Vision, VisionFund, and Farm Concern International. With a strong focus on working first on very staple and usual crops (maize/corn, soybeans, peanuts), there were plenty of smallholder farmers making the move out of extreme poverty even with these commodity crops. Perhaps equally impressive was the clear teamwork between the organizations – down to co-branded shirts and vests.

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The Forum ended with a most interesting panel discussion which highlighted not only that THRIVE was clearly working better and much more consistently in all 5 countries, but also the need to advance our building evidence of impact, our focus on women’s issues, and work to promote the Empowered Worldview.

Welcoming Jen James!

To see people move out of extreme poverty, they need to grow their small businesses or farms. To do that, access to financial services is a critical step up the economic ladder. We are delighted to welcome Jennifer James as the new VisionFund Fundraising Director for North America.

EE Jen   

Jen brings a depth and breadth of experience within and outside World Vision. She started her career serving six years in the US Army, including three years at the White House Communications Agency where she worked in the White House’s Situation Room as the Communications Officer supporting the President, Vice President and National Security Council.

After 15 years working in the information technology field for the private and public sectors, Jen consulted on a Microsoft marketing project at World Vision in 2011 and immediately fell in love with the mission. Less than a year later she became a full time employee of WVUS overseeing the Workplace Giving program, before joining the Corporate Engagement team where she worked with companies such as Ford, PayPal, Royal Caribbean and Delta Airlines. 

Jen is an entrepreneur at heart and is excited to continue pursuing her passion for helping women achieve a brighter future for themselves, their families and their communities.

Jen is married to Mark, and they have three boys: Alex, a senior at Penn State; Mason, Airman First Class, US Air Force stationed at Lakenheath Royal AFB, London; Chase, a high school sophomore. They live in Surprise, Arizona, and attend Christ Church of the Valley.

Jen can be reached via email at

Upcoming Calendar Events

  • Vision Trips (please contact your World Vision representative about participating):
    • Honduras (July 8-15, 2019) On this trip you will travel with Chief Development Office Christopher Shore to see all of the great THRIVE work in Honduras!
    • Rwanda (August 4-8, 2019) On this trip you will see the great work in Rwanda with Vinh & Leisle Chung
  • Chris Shore Regional Tour (June 3-8, 2019) Denver, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minneapolis
  • Chris Shore Regional Tour (July 22-27, 2019) - Texas

Prayer Requests


  • For the success of the THRIVE Forum in Malawi.
  • For the safety of the THRIVE Forum participants getting to, attending, and departing from the Forum.
  • For a successful emergency appendectomy for WVI colleague Richard Rumsey’s son Lewis.
  • For a large gift to our One Vision Technology Fund that has just been received.


  • For a funding breakthrough for THRIVE Honduras.
  • For colleagues in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe who are not only helping people recover from the devastating Cyclone Idai, but in Mozambique are dealing with another powerful cyclone - Kenneth.
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