The Need

The Need

Village Enterprise has made a strategic decision to direct its poverty alleviation efforts on people living in extreme poverty in rural, sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Highest extreme poverty rate: In 2010 in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the proportion of people living on less than US$1.25 a day was just under 50 percent, the highest of any region in the world. Of these people, 70% live in rural, underserved communities. There are more than twice as many extremely poor people living in sub-Saharan Africa today (414 million) than there were three decades ago (205 million). As a result, while the ultra poor in SSA represented only 11 percent of the world’s total in 1981, they now account for more than a third of the world’s 1.2 billion ultra poor.
  • Enormous financial inclusion gap: In sub-Saharan Africa, only 1.8% of the two lowest income quintiles saved at a formal institution in the last 12 months. Lack of access to quality, secure, reliable, convenient, and cost-effective financial services is a key constraint to economic growth, private sector development, and poverty reduction in this area.
  • Lack of education and food insecurity: Three-quarters of the world’s poorest people get their food and income by farming small plots of land. Most of them barely get by—struggling with unproductive soil, plant diseases, pests, and drought, as well as a lack of knowledge and information about pricing, lack of access to markets, and lack of adequate inputs.
  • Lack of women’s empowerment: In East Africa women are more likely to be illiterate, do unpaid work, and eat less in times of crisis than men. Women are less likely to have clean water, own their own land, and control their own money. Women’s empowerment is essential to achieving sustainable development. Giving women access to equal opportunities allows them to become social and economic leaders in their communities. Improving women’s status also leads to more investment in their children’s education, health, and overall wellbeing.

Village Enterprise’s mission aligns perfectly with the United Nation’s first Millennium Development Goal (MDG), which is to end extreme poverty by 2015. Our program directly targets, or indirectly helps fulfill all eight MDGs. By creating sustainable businesses we help families increase nutrition, education, and access to healthcare. We also help communities empower women and create jobs and equitable growth. Additionally, learn more about how Village Enterprise helps manage natural resources assets sustainably and promotes partnerships for development.

The Need

Our mission is to equip people living in extreme poverty with the resources to create sustainable businesses.

Learn how we create sustainable businesses and transform lives:

Rural Eastern Africa

In Sub-Saharan Africa, more than 218 million people live in extreme poverty. Among them are rural poor people in Eastern Africa, an area that has one of the world’s highest concentrations of people living in extreme poverty.

Read more about poverty in East Africa.


1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2: Achieve universal primary education
3: Promote gender equality and empower women
4: Reduce child mortality
5: Improve maternal health
6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7: Ensure environmental sustainability
8: Develop a global partnership for development

© Village Enterprise 2013Designed by Studio Ampersand, built by Fisher Creative Services