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VisionFund/World Vision
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Christian lenders to help 2 million female entrepreneurs in poorer nations

With its launch coinciding with International Women's Day, the Women's Empowerment Fund (WEF) hopes to raise £20 million to tackle barriers facing entrepreneurial women.

Speaking with Premier Johanna Ryan, director of social performance at VisionFund, said the issues included access to a bank account and insurance.

She explained: "Insurance, very often, does not cover some of the things that happen to women... such as complications arising from child birth."

VisionFund, which is part of the international Christian children's charity World Vision, estimates 1.1 billion women are missing out on opportunities to flourish in business.

Johanna Ryan went on to say: "Women have so much capability of running businesses, yet don't have the same opportunities as men in the rural and in the terribly impoverished areas where we do our work."

With the support of busiesses and donors the WEF aims to support women through training and micro-loans, and highlight the needs of businesswomen who are also mothers.

Speaking about what she hopes the programme will achieve, Johanna Ryan added: "The children are more likely to stay in education, they are more likely to have better nutrition, better clothes and indeed to be able to spend more time and play."

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