Village Enterprise

2021 Annual Report

Dear Friends and Partners,

Thanks to your support, we lifted more Africans out of extreme poverty than at any other time in our history. Despite additional lockdowns throughout Africa due to the pandemic, our team equipped over 18,000 first-time entrepreneurs with the resources to start 6,002 sustainable businesses, transforming the lives of over 120,000 women, children and men. To achieve this new level of scale (57% more businesses than FY20), we expanded beyond Kenya and Uganda to Rwanda and Mozambique where we started 280 and 800 businesses respectively.

Our continued focus on increasing gender equity ensured that women in our program (83% of our first-time entrepreneurs) assumed leadership roles, developed greater agency in their households and communities, and benefited from shared control of their household resources. Women in our program experienced significant increases in income, nutrition, savings, and assets as well as improved status in the community, mental health, and an overall sense of well-being.

To continue operating throughout the lockdowns, we greatly expanded our use of digital solutions including mobile cash transfers, video training tools for both our entrepreneurs and our partners, and mentoring via mobile phones. Digital solutions not only allowed us to enhance our services to our entrepreneurs, but they also allowed us to provide training to our partners when travel was no longer possible.

Partnerships are the key driver in our efforts to scale our work throughout rural Africa. During FY21, we continued to build upon our work with existing partners as well as forged new partnerships to increase our impact in these areas:

  • Conservation: Wildlife Conservation Society, IIED, and Africa Wildlife Foundation
  • Gender Equity: Days for Girls and UN Women
  • Government Adoption: The government of Kenya, GDI, BOMA Project, and World Bank
  • Health and Nutrition: Lwala Community Alliance and Catholic Relief Services
  • Refugees: Award winning DREAMS partnership with Mercy Corps and IDInsight
  • Results Based Funding: Instiglio, IDInsight, GDI, USAID DIV, UKAID, and several investors including our lead investor, The Delta Fund.

None of this would have been possible without our passionate team of stunning colleagues. In the past year alone, we added close to 100 new team members, promoted several of our African staff into executive roles, and launched innovative professional development initiatives.

Your support is critical to our success. Thank you for believing in our vision of a world free of extreme poverty!

Dianne Calvi
Katie Boland
Village Enterprise Endorsements
Our team identifies households that are most in need by engaging local opinion leaders in a Participatory Community Mapping exercise and using Innovations for Poverty Action’s Poverty Probability Index (PPI). Participants in our programs are individuals who live on less than $1.90 a day.
Our mentors help participants form business savings groups (BSG) of approximately 10 businesses (30 entrepreneurs) each. BSG’s provide members with ongoing protection against financial shocks, serving as a mutual safety net and support system.
Running a business is hard. To support our first-time entrepreneurs our team provides them with extensive business skills and financial literacy training designed for participants who have limited to no formal education.
To light the fire of entrepreneurship, we provide seed capital via mobile cash transfer after the first-time entrepreneurs are trained and have developed a business plan with the help of their business mentor.
Equipped with mobile training and mentoring tools, our local business mentors provide invaluable coaching and mentoring throughout the program to our entrepreneurs to help them successfully graduate out of extreme poverty.
Backed by evidence from our randomized control trial conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action, the Village Enterprise comprehensive approach ensures that our first-time entrepreneurs' are enabled to provide adequate nutrition for their families, send their children to school, cover household expenditures, build savings and assets and improve their living standards. Village Enterprise has started over 58,000 businesses, trained over 214,000 first-time entrepreneurs, and helped to lift 1,240,000 people out of extreme poverty.

We believe a world free of extreme poverty is possible.

Using a community-based and locally-led approach, the Village Enterprise poverty graduation program helps first-time entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa move beyond extreme poverty by equipping them with the resources, knowledge, and leadership skills needed to start sustainable, long lasting businesses and savings groups. Our model empowers our entrepreneurs to build resilience and shape better futures for themselves, their families, and future generations to come.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

Backed by evidence from our randomized control trial conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action, the Village Enterprise comprehensive approach ensures that our first-time entrepreneurs are equipped with resources to provide adequate nutrition for their families, send their children to school, cover household expenditures, build savings, and assets and improve their living standards.

To date, Village Enterprise has:
Helped to Lift
People out of
Extreme Poverty.
Gender equity is key to ending poverty

Village Enterprise’s mission is to end extreme poverty in rural Africa—and we cannot do that without addressing gender inequity head-on. Women play a critical role in eradicating poverty as they are more likely to invest in their children and break the cycle of poverty. Our poverty graduation approach empowers women to run businesses, save for the future, and participate in financial decision-making and leadership positions for the first time. We are encouraged by the results of our randomized control trial which demonstrated that when women participated in our program, they not only experienced significant increases in income, savings, assets, and nutrition, but also improved standing in the community, improved mental health, and an overall sense of happiness. Not only were women and their families better off financially, they were also happier and had a greater sense of hope for their future and the future of their children.

of our program participants are female
Village Enterprise Impact
Businesses Started
First-time Entrepreneurs Trained
Business Savings Groups Established
Lives Transformed
Newly Reached Villages
Female Program Participants
Average Total Savings per Business Savings Group
Annual Increase in Household Savings
Annual Increase in Income (C&E)
Increase in Weekly Animal Protein Consumption
Village Enterprise entrepreneurs adapt & build resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic

Most of our entrepreneurs who graduated from our program during country lockdowns adapted to the challenging environment and still managed to keep their businesses operating (98% at exit). Our participants’ progress was evaluated in December 2020 once most in-country Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. Despite the adverse effects of the pandemic on markets in Uganda and Kenya, the outcomes were very encouraging as our participants were able to generate very healthy increases in savings both at the household and business savings group levels. Annual consumption and expenditure—a proxy for income—also saw a substantial increase (22%), although lower than the previous year (58%).

Adaptive management is the vehicle that steers our programming

Technology advances everyday and in turn changes how we operate on a global scale. To stay on the cusp of innovation, we always look to use cutting-edge solutions to drive our programming into the future. We track and evaluate the implementation and performances of our businesses, savings groups, and field staff via award-winning dashboards. We use adaptive management techniques to constantly improve our poverty graduation program and maximize the benefits and impact on our entrepreneurs’ lives.

Tracking the health of the businesses started by our entrepreneurs helps our business mentors identify which groups may need additional help and mentoring. This allows our staff to make data-driven, educated decisions about how to allocate resources.
Tackling the technology divide during Covid-19 through innovative digital solutions

Access to the internet is becoming an increasingly apparent human right globally and the pandemic has highlighted the importance of bridging the digital gap sooner than later. Prior to the pandemic, we had already begun addressing this issue by shifting to mobile cash transfers of start-up capital for our entrepreneurs and deploying our adaptive management dashboards and digital tools for our business mentors.
To build new digital solutions, we were awarded funding in fall 2020 by the Covid-19 Adaptation Fund, a fund managed by Instiglio and Global Development Incubator. The Fund is financing technological adaptations to increase the scalability and the impact of our training and mentoring.

Village Enterprise has:
  1. Designed a hybrid in-person/online learning and training platform through the production of training videos, distribution of portable projectors and smartphones, and creation of a toll-free number to answer questions in real-time for our first-time entrepreneurs and cohorts:
    • This formula allows our front-line field staff to conduct 50% more trainings than before.
    • 90% of the participants noted remembering what was taught after the digital training.
    • Established a toll-free number that first-time entrepreneurs can call with questions in real-time.
  2. Reduced the number of trainings to free up more time for our women entrepreneurs. This shift empowers female first-time entrepreneurs to stay in the program while also tending to their other personal obligations.
  3. Increased efficiency and impact of our first-time entrepreneurs—on average, 85% of participants note that they understand and are happily satisfied with our program.
A bold strategic plan to transform
20 million lives in rural Africa by 2030
To reach our 2030 goal, we will:

Work in partnership with NGOs to drive advocacy efforts and scale up evidence-based approaches for economic inclusion.

Play a leadership role in results-based funding for poverty alleviation.

Drive government adoption of poverty graduation and results-based funding in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our new FY21-FY23 strategy recognizes that the world is shifting fast, and is created to pivot and change as required. The future may be harder to see clearly, but at Village Enterprise we continue to envision a world free of extreme poverty.

We have five strategic priorities in our strategy. Supporting entrepreneurs onto a pathway out of extreme poverty will remain at the heart of what we do. Between 2021 and 2023, we will equip 90,000 entrepreneurs to start 30,000 businesses transforming the lives of 630,000 Africans.

To achieve this, we will collaborate with partners; design, adopt, and scale digital solutions; invest in our people; and promote and facilitate results-based funding for poverty alleviation.

For FY21 in Kenya, we achieved:
Businesses Started in Kenya
Newly Reached Villages
Savings Groups Established
First-time Entrepreneurs Trained
Lives Transformed
Percent of Female Participants
Percent of Youth Participants (18-25)
(Let Us All Pull Together)*
*Kenyan national motto
Collaboration is the key: our strategic partnerships in Kenya
Working with the Government of Kenya to scale our model: Kenya Social and Economic Inclusion Project (KSEIP)

Village Enterprise is working to scale our model alongside our long-time partner and peer, the Boma Project, and with the Global Development Incubator, a nonprofit with vast experience working with governments across the globe. The project supports the government of Kenya in testing economic inclusion interventions for 7,500 Kenyan households in five counties: Kisumu, Makueni, Marsabit, Murang’a, and Taita Taveta. Together with our partners, we are working to build the government’s capacity to implement economic inclusion activities and integrate the model with existing social protection programs. KSEIP is a strategic project for our organization, and we believe that the most sustainable, scalable pathway to ending extreme poverty is by having full government support.

Our partners on KSEIP
Our Partners on Nawiri
Program 2
Nawiri: Tackling malnutrition through an adapted poverty graduation model

Northern Kenya has experienced decades of persistent acute malnutrition. Extreme poverty has been cited as one of the leading causes of malnutrition among children under the age of five. USAID Nawiri is a Development Food Security Activity funded by the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. The first of its kind in Kenya, Nawiri is designed to sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition through a multi-sectoral approach in four counties in Northern Kenya. Village Enterprise has adapted its poverty graduation program for nutrition by layering it with additional components of cash transfers for consumption, health and nutrition education and counselling, and social behavior change.

Over the past year, Village Enterprise focused on piloting, and assessing the effectiveness of, the adapted poverty graduation program to combat malnutrition in Isiolo County. The county is very remote and suffers from floods, drought, animal diseases, resource based conflicts among communities, and gender discrimination.

The success of the pilot has led to additional funding to scale up the program.

Despite the challenges, our pilot programing successfully launched:
New Businesses
Savings within 5 months across all BSG’s
New Business Savings Groups
Children receiving better nutrition & access to healthcare
Our Partners on Nawiri
Program 3
Creating a poverty graduation policy with the West Pokot County government
With Open Society Foundations’ Economic Justice program funding, we worked to develop a coherent approach to scale up poverty graduation and integrate it into existing government poverty alleviation interventions. During the duration of the project over FY21, Village Enterprise engaged the government of West Pokot County to build a platform for future policy change as well as potential resource contributions from government and development partners. We hope to use this model as a learning experience as we look to the future to collaborate more closely with governments in all areas of our programming. Our successful implementation of this poverty graduation policy provided:
The formulation of the West Pokot County Poverty Graduation policy, which was signed and adopted by the country government.
A strengthened relationship with the local government.
Documented learnings and best practices that we hope to implement in the future, both local and national, across East Africa.

While the Economic Justice Program successfully concluded in May 2021, Village Enterprise has received additional funding from Open Society Foundations for further collaboration and advocacy work with the government of West Pokot.

In West Pokot we worked in partnership with:
For FY21 in Uganda, we achieved:
Businesses Started in Uganda
Newly Reached Villages
Savings Groups Established
First-time Entrepreneurs Trained
Lives Transformed
Percent of Female Participants
Percent of Youth Participants (18-25)
Kwa mungu na nchi yangu
(For God and my country)*
*Ugandan national motto
Collaboration is power: our strategic partnerships in Uganda
Investing in entrepreneurial solutions to alleviate extreme poverty with the Whole Planet Foundation

Village Enterprise is currently carrying out a three-year partnership with the Whole Planet Foundation in Northern Uganda. Whole Planet Foundation is committed to investing in entrepreneurial solutions to alleviate extreme poverty. This current partnership reflects Whole Planet Foundation’s first foray into the poverty graduation approach and the distribution of micro-grants (rather than loans), and reflects our dual commitment to market-based solutions and strategy for furthering collaboration with the private sector.

To date, we have empowered over 5,200 new entrepreneurs in Northern Uganda, creating a pathway out of poverty for over 33,000 people.

Reducing illegal wildlife trade with wildlife-friendly microbusinesses
In Uganda, animal poaching is prevalent due to a lack of alternative livelihoods and conflict between animals and humans. For the last four years, Village Enterprise has addressed issues of illegal wildlife trade and human wildlife conflict by implementing the Park Actions project, funded by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Alongside the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Uganda Conservation Foundation, and other local nonprofits, we are working to mitigate human-wildlife conflict and eliminate illegal wildlife trade around hot spots in Murchison Falls National Park in Kiryandongo District. Village Enterprise has established 180 wildlife-friendly businesses to generate alternative sources of income.

Our entrepreneurs now generate non-poaching related income by running sustainable businesses such as sun flower and chilli farming and trading. (Fun Fact: Elephants hate chilis!) Beyond that, entrepreneurs are trained about the benefits of conserving protected areas and their role in providing actionable information on wildlife crime. They were supported in protecting their crops and livestock from wild animals by the community scouts, according to a research study by IIED.
For FY21 in Rwanda we achieved:
Businesses Started in Rwanda
Newly Reached Villages
Savings Groups Established
First-time Entrepreneurs Trained
Lives Transformed
Percent of Female Participants
Percent of Youth Participants (18-25)
Ubumwe, Umurimo, Gukunda
Igihugu (Unity, Work, Patriotism)*
*Rwanda national motto
Our boots are on the ground: Launching Rwanda in 2021

We are stepping into Rwanda in sync with the government, who has pledged to end extreme poverty in the country by 2024 in the country. Village Enterprise aims to help work towards this very goal by integrating our poverty graduation into the government’s social protection program. To start, we are working in Goma and Sironji of the Rulindo District with the intention of expanding into other districts in the future. Rulindo ranks as the third poorest district in the country.

Not only did we open a new office of operation, but we also hired Sylvere Mwizerwa as our inaugural country manager. In addition, we brought on board a group of talented finance, monitoring and evaluation, and field staff to expand our program. With the support of these new team members, we were able to launch our-first ever Rwandan cohorts, empowering 840 individuals and starting 280 new businesses. In the next year, we plan to fund 1,000 small businesses and train 3,000 new first-time entrepreneurs.

"To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big."

Sylvere Mwizerwa

Rwanda Country Manager

Expanding our reach and scale

With a focus on our mission of ending extreme poverty in rural Africa, we partner with large international nonprofits and governments to adapt, adopt, and implement our cost-effective, evidence-based poverty graduation program. Working together, we can achieve greater impact and scale.


Supporting cyclone-devastated families in Mozambique

In response to the devastation left by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique in March 2019, Village Enterprise has provided technical support to World Vision Mozambique, adapting and implementing our poverty graduation model to support families that were most impacted by the disaster. Funded by USAID and implemented during the pandemic, we adapted our approach so that we could work remotely with World Vision staff to facilitate Zoom recruitment and training sessions and select 20 business mentors to implement the project. World Vision then targeted the participants for the program (60% Internally Displaced Persons, and 40% from host communities).

Since the onset of this project, we have joined World Vision in:





80 BSGs


800 New Micro-Enterprises


Providing alternative livelihoods to reduce illegal hunting and fishing

In partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo-Brazzaville, Village Enterprise helped implement an adapted version of our poverty graduation program to provide alternative sources of income for those directly involved in illegal hunting and fishing. Under the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing and Sustainable Wildlife Management Project guidelines, the Village Enterprise team trained Wildlife Conservation Society’s staff on collecting data for household-level analysis with a poverty graduation perspective.

The Village Enterprise Development Impact Bond
Transforming lives through results-based funding: The Village Enterprise Development Impact Bond

We are working to end extreme poverty in rural Africa. We cannot do that without disrupting the poverty alleviation and economic inclusion space for the better. Selected from over 80 organizations based on the strength of our randomized controlled trial (RCT) results, Village Enterprise launched the first Development Impact Bond (DIB) for poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa in fall 2017. This $5.32M DIB directs funding towards increasing consumption and assets of first-time entrepreneurs living in extreme poverty.

From 2017-2020, with impact investments for the DIB, Village Enterprise accomplished the following:

*Internal data from first two cohorts of businesses started i.e. 883 businesses

Due to operational challenges posed by the pandemic, we adjusted the program to successfully complete full delivery by December 2020 under the DIB contract. An independent randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted by IDinsight in 2021 measured the outcomes of the program changes. Investors will be paid back by the outcome funders based on the results of the RCT that will be published in February 2022. The DIB has transformed the Village Enterprise organization by:

​​Increasing our focus on impact with a strong performance management system.
Accelerating technology adoption through mobile cash transfers for entrepreneurs, tablets, and dashboards for frontline field staff.
Improving programming for greater efficiency and impact: a more interactive, digital training curriculum and mentoring.
Strengthening our organizational systems and processes via risk assessment, financial procedures, and safeguarding.
Increasing Village Enterprise’s visibility and positioning at the forefront of thought leadership in result-based financing and global poverty alleviation.
Delivering Resilient Enterprises and Market Systems for refugees (DREAMS)

A winner of the “Larsen Lam Iconic Impact Award for Refugees”, Delivering Resilient Enterprises and Market Systems for refugees (DREAMS) is an innovative program created by Village Enterprise in partnership with Mercy Corps and IDInsight. Together we will transform the lives of 150,000 of the most vulnerable refugees by integrating and layering two economic development models – poverty graduation and market systems development – to ensure the poorest refugee households can generate income, build assets, start to save, and significantly improve their well-being.

Our collaborative approach layers the two evidence-based models to achieve:

Increased household income, savings, and assets.
Improved food security.
Improved well-being for women, children, and men.

Poverty graduation will provide refugees with the capital and skills needed for support as they establish businesses. At the same time, market systems development will help build market access pathways to ensure those businesses can be successful. The project was recently awarded $8 million from an anonymous philanthropist, $2 million from the Sea Grape Foundation,and $2 million from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to implement DREAMS in Uganda and Ethiopia over the next five years

"Village Enterprise has been a key partner for Mercy Corps as we drive solutions to lift millions of people out of poverty across Africa. Their evidence-based approach to poverty graduation is applicable across a range of contexts. We think that by working together, we can change the lives of many more people. We see Village Enterprise as a trusted, flexible and innovative partner, and we look forward to scaling our work together in the future."
Allison Huggins
Deputy Regional Director - Africa, Mercy Corps
Voices of Tumaini (Hope)

In 2017, Village Enterprise partnered with the Whole Planet Foundation to grow our poverty graduation program in northern and western Uganda.

Wanican, from the Okiir Village in northern Uganda, is one of the 4,500 first-time entrepreneurs who received seed capital to start a microenterprise because of this partnership. When her husband died, Wanican found herself head of her household, a status shared by only one in four women in her community. After being introduced to Village Enterprise in 2017, Wanican transformed from a shy housewife to the confident leader of her business savings group.

This is her story in her own words.

Wanican’s Story

In our society, a woman’s place is in the kitchen. For many years, I filled the role of a typical housewife, and any issues beyond the household were handled by my late husband. I was afforded little opportunity to join any social or formal community group like a town council or a farmer’s union—most established groups were for men only.

The arrival of Village Enterprise in our community marked a turning point in my life—and for others. The program vowed to empower both men and women equally to work towards a poverty-free, sustainable, and bright future. I learned about hygiene and sanitation, family support, business planning, and management.

Towards the end of our training, we formed a business saving group of 30 members. I was nominated to take on the role of chairperson. At first, I was hesitant and refused to accept the role due to fear and lack of confidence in my abilities. Despite feeling like I would not be able to manage this position, I was convinced to accept the position.

The Village Enterprise business mentors trained me on leadership and group management skills, and I started to gain confidence in my role as chairperson. I realized that I did not need to tell people what to do but rather facilitate, support, and counsel when important matters arose. As chairperson, I motivate group members to develop a vision for their families to contribute to their savings every week. I monitor and document those visions for each member, noticing positive changes for each family. My group members have a lot of trust and hope in my leadership, and we are now one of the best performing business savings groups in the Nwoya district.

Through the program, I started a business with two other individuals growing rice, corn, and groundnuts. From my business’s profits and the savings from my business savings group, I bought three acres of land, five goats, a motorcycle for my son to earn money transporting people daily, and set up a mobile money shop town council. I built a latrine, rubbish pit, and bathing shelter, considerably reducing disease incidences among my family members.


The fiscal year ending in June 2021 showed continued revenue growth with a 9% increase over FY20, exceeding the prior year by $475,000. This escalation was driven by an increase in bi-lateral funding with two large partnerships, the Nawiri project in Kenya led by Catholic Relief Services and the Cyclone Idai project in Mozambique with World Vision, both funded by USAID, as well as an increase in government revenue (U.S. PPP and government of Kenya). Individual donations grew significantly by 58% due to increased commitments of our very loyal major donors and the recognition Village Enterprise receives from charity evaluation organizations such as The Life You Can Save, Charity Navigator, Guidestar, and Founders Pledge that continues to broaden our individual donor base.

Year over year expenses rose by 15% primarily as a result of adding back cycle 3 activities in FY21 which were suspended in FY20, our expansion into Rwanda where we started our first 280 businesses this year, and our work with World Vision in Mozambique. In addition, we continued to invest in digital technologies (portable projectors and tablets); we significantly increased salaries for our frontline staff; and we made further investment in expanding our monitoring and evaluation capabilities. Most importantly, we continued to invest in building a world class African team by hiring key new African staff, including our Director of Technology Solutions and expanding our professional development offering.

Net profit remained positive, but decreased by 12% relative to FY20, driven by the impact of Covid-19 on our field operations and the increased investment in personnel.

These strong financial results have allowed us to build a cash reserve that will ensure future financial sustainability, particularly critical during these uncertain times.

Income 2021* 2020
Individuals $2,740,987 $1,737,753
Foundations $1,836,377 $3,007,167
Other Institutions $639,856 $35,184
Development Impact Bond $487,832 $450,279
TOTAL $5,705,052 $5,230,383
Expenses 2021* 2020
Program Services $3,801,453 $3,243,663
Fundraising & Marketing $466,333 $379,287
Management & General Administration $398,619 $421,487
TOTAL $4,666,405 $4,044,437
CHANGE IN NET ASSETS $1,038,647 $1,185,946

*FY21 Financial Statement Audit to be finalized in January 2022
Fiscal Year (FY) = July 1st to June 30th

48% Individuals

32% Foundations

11% Other Institutions

9% Development Impact Bond

81% Program Services

10% Fundraising & Marketing

9% Management & General Administration

Trust, Transparency, & Diversity:
Building a World-Class African Led Team

For the Village Enterprise team, the year of 2021 was one of extraordinary growth. We hired Sylvere Mwizerwa, our first-ever country director in Rwanda, promoted our MEL Manager, John Ilima, to become our country director of Uganda, and promoted our Project Manager, Leah Bwari Okero to Director of Partnerships. To provide an atmosphere of professional growth and trust, we launched Lead@VE, a professional development training program in an interactive setting.

Trust, Transparency, & Diversity:
Building a World-Class African Led Team

For the Village Enterprise team, the year of 2021 was one of extraordinary growth. We hired Sylvere Mwizerwa, our first-ever country director in Rwanda, promoted our MEL Manager, John Ilima, to become our country director of Uganda, and promoted our Project Manager, Leah Bwari Okero to Director of Partnerships. To provide an atmosphere of professional growth and trust, we launched Lead@VE, a professional development training program in an interactive setting.

Village Enterprise’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is built upon our values and integrated in our strategic direction. In tackling inequity in the world, it is critical to our mission and our organization’s culture that we take diversity, equity and inclusion into consideration in serious and intentional ways. This is at the core of what we do, who we are and the intentional strategy that we employ to end extreme poverty.

To deliver on our commitment, we have taken deliberate action to infuse these values throughout our internal culture, systems, and practices. We have taken concrete steps to strengthen our ability to recruit and retain exemplary diverse staff and leadership, particularly from the poorest areas of rural Africa where we work. And we have undertaken reviews and audits of pay, policies, practices, and procedures to ensure they are equitable, fair, and empowering. We choose to work with partners that reflect that commitment and we are actively pursuing strategies that ensure that our organization and our partners meet the highest standards of openness and accessibility.

African Staff
Senior Female
Senior African
Our Staff

Our staff of 230+ is the heartbeat of our organization and is comprised of the most passionate, innovative, and talented individuals who are all collectively working towards the common goal of eliminating extreme poverty.

Board of Directors

Aleksandra Peters

Barbara Bishop

Bruce Sewell, Vice Chair

Debbie Hall

Dianne Calvi

Emeka Ajoku, Treasurer

Jamie Austin

Jay Friedrichs

Joe Chernesky

Joe Dougherty

Katie Boland, Board Chair

Larry Wu

Lisa Guerra, Ph.D.

Mary Dosunmu, Ph.D.

Pat Bown

Timothy Geisse, Secretary


Advisory Council

Brian Boland
Co-founder, Delta Fund

Charlie Bresler
Executive Director, The Life You Can Save

Jessica Jackley
General Partner, SparkLabs Global Ventures; Co-founder of Kiva

Tralance Addy
Co-founder & President, Plebys International



Alissa Everett

“Working for Village Enterprise for at least 4 years has made me learn it’s one of the organizations that fosters both internal and external growth, has a fantastic, energetic team focused on building each other as well as genuinely adhere to the general benefits of the community we work with. Leadership is always looking to strengthen the team and build a strong organizational culture. Keeping our vision and values in front of our team—it is very motivating.”
Tobias Ouma,
Savings Coordinator, Kenya
“I thought I knew the art of managing people, but little did I know that I had just enrolled in a school where every day, a new topic or subject would be introduced to learn from and adapt to. This year I came to a realization that leadership and learning are indispensable to each other and if you decide to close your eyes on one aspect, the other would deal with you mercilessly. I am now more equipped and experienced to handle much more as a manager be it within Village Enterprise or out of Village Enterprise”
Zita Akwero,
Regional Manager, Uganda
We practice what we preach

As we grow and move into new regions and countries, we continue to hire diverse, dedicated, and passionate leaders to drive our unique, locally adapted program. Every day, as one team, we strive to increase our impact through living out our core values.

Lead Donors & Funders
Visionary Level $100,000+

Anonymous (2)

Arcus Foundation

Katie & Brian Boland

Ken & Cheryl Branson

Cartier Philanthropy

Catholic Relief Services

Bill Elmore

Greater Impact Foundation

Imago Dei Fund

Laidir Foundation

Lucille Foundation

Hampshire Foundation

Open Society Foundations

Ray & Tye Noorda Foundation

Linda & Ted Schlein

The Earl & Bettie Fields Charitable Foundation

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

World Bank / Government of Kenya

Bill & Brenda Younger

Catalyst Level $50,000 – $99,999

African Wildlife Foundation


Len & Mary Anne Baker

Boeing Corporation

Lewis & Kirsten Cirne


John F. & Mary A. Geisse Foundation

Lisa Guerra & Chuck Kung

Debbie & Russ Hall

Jasper Ridge Charitable Fund

Mark Lampert & Susan Byrd

Ruth Soukup Omnimedia Inc

Cynthia & Bruce Sewell

The Life You Can Save Australia

The Life You Can Save USA

Leadership Level $25,000 – $49,999

Anonymous (2)

David & Lucile Packard Foundation

Jay & Joyce Friedrichs

Hurlbut-Johnson Charitable Trusts

Love Meyer Family Foundation

DeeDee McMurtry

Menlo Church

Muglia Family Foundation

Mandy Lowell & Charles Munger

Robby Walker

Daniel Weaver & Katie Goetz

Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation

Joshua Wohle

Hagit & Oren Zeev

Champion Level $10,000 – $24,999

Jim Anderson


Jeff & Christina Bird

Barbara Bishop

Pat & Debby Brown

Terri Bullock

Charles Abbott Associates, Inc.

Cogan Family Foundation

Chris & Jessie Colburn

Mary Jane Elmore


Norman Godinho

Dr. Mike Goodloe & Dr. Lee Zwanziger

Dr. Satish Gupta

Kirk & Kathryn Hanson

Joanne Kagle

Angela & Nicholas Kalayjian

Rich & Gina Kelley

Larry & Sue Langdon

Jackie & Lee Mighdoll

Thomas & Christina

Neary Teri & John O’Neel

Susan Packard Orr & Lyn Orr

Aleks & Russell Peters

Andrew Rohr

Sidney E. Frank Foundation

Tyve Randy

Vagelos & Julie Wissink

Kim & John Whitcombe

Caleb & Johanna Wright

Major Level $5,000 – $9,999

Emeka Ajoku & Affi Ekerenduh

Jane & Robert Burgess

Saran Chari

Joe Chernesky & Mona Sabet

Rob & Stacey Chess

Timothy Culler

Loraine England

Lynn & Steve Freeman

Joe Greenstein

Donna Winslow

Mr Hennessy

Lata Krishnan & Ajay Shah

Geri & Scott Macomber

Jane & Michael Marmor

Pamela Smith-Mentz & David Mentz

John & Tashia Morgridge

Andy & Mary Naegeli

Leah Newman

Jill & Erik Olson


Carole & Larry Peiros

Marc Plonskier

Eeh Pyoung

Rhee Kunal

Sarkar & Kacey Ballard

Bill & Lee Schroeder

Trinity Presbyterian Church

Kristin & Paul Vais

Larry & Kristin Wu

Susan & David Young

Konstantin & Jessica Zvereff

Matching Gifts & In-Kind

3ie Leadership Consulting

Amazon Smile


Bank of America Charitable Foundation


Chan Zuckerberg  Initiative


Gap Inc

Global Impact/ Pitney Bowes Employee Involvement Fund


Jones Day

Legacy Venture Management

Media Math



Oracle Corporation


Social Good Fund

United Services Automobile Association

Development Impact Bond

Impact Investors

Anonymous (2)

Bridges Impact Foundation

Debbie & Russ Hall

Joyce & Jay Friedrichs

Laidir Foundation

Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2)

Skees Family Foundation

The Delta Fund


Outcome Funders


USAID Development Innovation Venture


UK Department for International Development


100% of our board gives to Village Enterprise
How can I support Village Enterprise?

Online or via check. Gift card options are available online.

Consider a gift of appreciated stock, crypto currency, or mutual funds.

Check out corporate matching.

Find out about Planned Giving opportunities.

Follow Us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For More Information, please contact Caroline Bernadi at, or visit us at

New Look, Same Village Enterprise

As we aim to transform the poverty alleviation sector, we believe our branding should also represent that same dedication to innovation and locally-driven transformation. After months of staff and community input, research, and design, we launched Village Enterprise’s new logo, brand, and website in April 2021.

New Look, Same Village Enterprise

As we aim to transform the poverty alleviation sector, we believe our branding should also represent that same dedication to innovation and locally-driven transformation. After months of staff and community input, research, and design, we launched Village Enterprise’s new logo, brand, and website in April 2021.

The new logo uses the acacia tree to symbolize the deep, innovative roots of Village Enterprise. The acacia tree can be found across the entire continent of Africa, representing a place of gathering, nourishment, and community. The acacia tree is often used as a place to conduct business, a refreshing setting for community meetings, or as an oasis for friendships to flourish.

The three lines converging at the tree base in our new logo represent the three entrepreneurs that make up each Village Enterprise business. The surrounding circle represents how each company is part of a larger business savings group grounded in the power of inclusivity. The logo’s focal point is Africa’s outline, representing the geographical context in which we work. These three elements come together to demonstrate the all-encompassing community that drives Village Enterprise’s proven impact. Check out our new website if you haven’t already—

And thank you for your role in supporting our mission to end extreme poverty in rural Africa!