We identify the extreme poor in Kenya and Uganda and deliver a four part program to build businesses that increase household income: entrepreneurship training, a cash grant, business mentoring and a savings group. Businesses are started in groups of 3 participants which are later organized into Business Savings groups of 10 businesses each.
Since our founding in 1987, we have trained over 154,000 owners who have opened over 39,000 businesses. There is strong evidence that the Village Enterprise program leads to a significant and persistent increase in income.
How Village Enterprise is different from other charities
We address the fact that poverty is multi-faceted by providing a multi-faceted program. Our group-based approach builds stronger and longer-lasting change by bringing together diverse skillsets, spreading risk, building social capital and producing cost efficiencies.
Entrepreneurship can be risky and take time to pay off, so the program offers grants, not loans, to allow vulnerable people to immediately improve their standard of living. The goal of the Graduation model is to empower the ultra-poor to sustainably improve their lives, and results so far bear this out.
We have a strong commitment to testing and improving its approach through rigorous research such as its randomized controlled trial(RCT), independently run in collaboration with Innovations for Poverty Action. The RCT results demonstrated that our microenterprise graduation program led to increased consumption, assets, and income, as well as improvements in nutrition and subjective well-being, and that its cost-effectiveness is high.
We were chosen for the the first-ever outcome-based Development Impact Bond (DIB) for poverty alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa by a consortium of highly respected funders and international development experts including USAID Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) and UKAID (DFID).
At our annual Innovation Summit, ideas submitted by staff are researched and tested, with the most successful integrated into the existing program.
For more information visit: https://www.thelifeyoucansave.org/where-to-donate/village-enterprise