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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, Employment, International, International Economic Development, International, Foreign Affairs & National Security, Job Training, Microfinance

Mission: To end extreme poverty in rural Africa through entrepreneurship and innovation.

Results: Since our inception in 1987 , we have started nearly 40,000 businesses, trained more than 157,000 entrepreneurs and lifted over 800,000 people out of extreme poverty. Village Enterprise has empowered thousands of rural poor by tapping into the local knowledge and inherent creativity of villagers in rural East Africa to start new businesses, using their skills to capitalize on market opportunities. The types of small businesses started are agricultural and small livestock businesses, service businesses (tailoring, carpentry, bicycle repair shops), and retail establishments (household goods kiosks, used clothing shops, restaurants/cafe). After 4 years, 75% are still in operation. Returns on investment in businesses are seen as businesses grow, value-added services are leveraged, and business owners are empowered to serve as leaders in their communities. The results of Village Enterprise’s most recent independent Impact Assessment demonstrated that our business owners experience the following improvements in their standard of living: • Food & Nutrition: 32% increase in food consumption, with meals consumed per day increasing from 1.9 (before) to 2.5 (after). • Education: 40% increase in number of children in school, with enrollment increasing from 68% of school-aged children in school to 95%. • Women’s Empowerment: 84% incidence of improvement in women’s sense of empowerment in at least one of the following qualitative factors: independence, spousal relationships, household equity, participation in activities, self-image.

Target demographics: people living in extreme poverty by creating sustainable businesses.

Direct beneficiaries per year: This year alone Village Enterprise will start 3,000 new microenterprises, train over 9,000 business owners and impact the lives of over 60,000 women, men and children in rural East Africa. Incomes from sustainable businesses enable families to send their children to school, improve their nutrition and healthcare, increase savings, and ultimately transform lives and communities.

Geographic areas served: Kenya and Uganda

Programs: • Business and Financial Education Training with Ongoing Mentoring • Seed Capital Grants of $150 • Savings Groups of up to 30 Entrepreneurs

Community Stories

39 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

6 Simona M.

Donor

Rating: 5

Village Enterprise is a superb NGO that successfully sustainably lifts the poorest of the poor East Africans up from poverty. They use a 2-year graduation approach that begins with education and business and training, includes two grants, and assists participating villages in creating savings groups. I had the privilege of visiting some of the projects in Uganda in April 2015, and wrote this article (http://villageenterprise.org/blog/hope-to-dignity-notes-from-a-village-enterprise-vision-trip/) about my experience and observations. Since that time, VE is 2/3 through a randomized control trial (RCT) that is set to prove the organizations success. Based on what I saw and heard while visiting those Ugandan villages, I am confident that a donation to Village Enterprise is the best investment one can make to raise human beings from extreme poverty.

5 Lynn96

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Village Enterprise does things right! The team of people from home office to field staff to board members to volunteers are all top notch. Their cultural sensitivity, methodology, and execution have yielded excellent results and attracted the attention of experts in the field. It will be exciting to see their deepening impact as they continue to help the rural poor create sustainable businesses.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent a month interning with Village Enterprise and could not have asked for a better experience. I got the opportunity to see the US operations in San Carlos for a week, and then followed that up with three weeks in the field in Uganda. Village Enterprise staff on both sides of the globe were welcoming, helpful, encouraging, and put forth a tireless effort to give me the most rewarding and well rounded experience possible. I can't say enough good things about the people that work with this organization.

In Uganda I trekked out into the field to gather qualitative data in the form of interviews for Village Enterprise's monitoring and evaluation department. I had the privilege of hearing firsthand the impact the trainings are having on people's lives. One man told me that he used to wait around for the government to offer some kind of assistance, and now he takes pride in the fact that he knows how to create a sustainable business himself in order to feed his family.

Village Enterprise is an organization that is making a real difference in real people's lives. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to intern with them in both the US and Uganda.

4 Katie127

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Village Enterprise has a tried and true process to help those living in extreme poverty to become self sufficient. They in turn enable others in their village and ultimately in surrounding villages to become educated on the basics of entrepreneurship, risk management and saving. They have watched whole communities become transformed through the process of risk assessment, business education and mentorship. Often times it is the women in these villages that accept the offer to take on this process and the children in these villages get to see first hand what an education can do for a woman in the developing world. An all-around charity tackling extreme poverty from multiple angles with a relatively simple solution.

4 Anna101

Former staff

Rating: 5

I was an intern with Village Enterprise both at their headquarters and in Uganda as part of my graduate program. I could not have asked for a better practicum, because my coursework came to life at Village Enterprise. I was anxious to get some experience with a development organization, and the staff I met were incredibly passionate, competent, and welcoming, and they really put me to work in the field, exposing me to many dimensions of the work they do.

Specifically, I had the opportunity to participate in qualitative monitoring and evaluation efforts, meeting business owners and interviewing them about the impact of the programs. The most moving impact I observed was that, on top of the valuable knowledge the villagers receive about sustaining a small business and saving as a group, they gain pride in their ability to take care of themselves and their families, and they gain community. They know their neighbors better, and they are able to help one another.

I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with an organization that is part of changing so many lives for the better.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

In 2013 I had the privilege of going to East Africa and had a life changing experience. When I returned I knew I wanted to give back but didn't know where to start. I was introduced to Village Enterprise and when I learned about their program and their dedication to lifting women out of poverty, I knew it would be the perfect fit. I am very blessed to be a woman business owner and knowing that my business can give back to other women who have not been as privileged, would be extremely rewarding.

I have been very impressed at the professionalism of the staff, their commitment to this organization, and the ease of working with them. I know through Village Enterprise, great strides will be made in the fight against poverty. I am proud to partner with such an amazing organization so that my business can be socially responsible in making positive change.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I got involved with Village Enterprise when a close childhood friend started working there and introduced me to her passionate group at co-workers. I have traveled to Africa and know that the work being done by Village Enterprise is so important to the development of a poverty-free East Africa and I am inspired by the dedicated, enthusiastic interns and staff. Their approach to training and supporting small business owners in Kenya and Uganda works. Village Enterprise may be a small non-profit, but their impact is huge. I will continue to be involved and support this amazing organization.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the board of Village Enterprise in the fall of 2014, partly because of my connection with their board chair; and partly to give back -- we are so so fortunate in this country, the conditions for these East African people are almost unimaginable.
I am so impressed with the entire team -- from the ED Dianne Calvi to her US staff to the field staff in Uganda and Kenya. They are passionate and systematic and wise -- an amazing array of skills, hard work, and knowledge in the fight against poverty.
Not only that -- their methods work!! They have helped over 660,000 people begin to move out of extreme poverty, increasing food consumption, building small businesses, and improving the living conditions in their families and communities.
Watch for our large scale study -- we are measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of our methods. Results coming soon!!

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Board of Village Enterprise about a year ago and have been consistently impressed ever since, by the quality of the programs as well as by the dedication, professionalism and warmth of the management, staff and other board members. Village Enterprise is making a meaningful, lasting change in the lives of thousands of desperately poor people in East Africa, and does so in a humble, collaborative and client-centered way.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Village Enterprise has surprisingly simple but effective model of helping those living in rural poverty in east Africa reach self-sufficiency. I was attracted to be on the board after hearing a colleague at GiveWell recommend that I learn more. I was impressed; Village boasts excellent metrics and is halfway through a rigorous evaluation with Innovations for Poverty Action to measure its impact (read: this is an exceptionally high bar). Plus, Village has strong financials, a fantastic and dedicated CEO, and a high-functioning, collegial board. I'm proud to be a board member, and I'm hoping others who care about poverty support Village.