3rd Creek Foundation and Village Enterprise

3rd Creek Foundation logo3rd Creek Foundation (3CF) has partnered with Village Enterprise for the past 3 years through supporting programming in western Kenya. We initially chose to work with Village Enterprise because its approach to poverty alleviation aligned so closely with our own organization’s mission, vision, and principles. We have also been thoroughly impressed with Village Enterprise’s commitment to robust monitoring and evaluation. This commitment means we feel reasonably assured that our funds indeed contribute to meaningful impact. Furthermore, we value the systems that Village Enterprise employs to identify when poverty alleviation models are not working, and adjust accordingly. The outstanding reporting that we receive from Village Enterprise is something that we deeply appreciate.

Poverty alleviation is key to 3rd Creek Foundation’s reason for being, and our mission is to help individuals achieve economic independence. I’ve further explained our mission below to give a better sense of what it is we do, and how it is that we do it.

What do we mean by economic independence?

In its most elementary form, we refer to economic independence as the ability of an individual to access and mobilize enough economic resources (land, labor, and capital) to meet his or her basic needs and those of his or her dependents. But what we strive for through our mission is to support individuals to access economic mobility. In other words, 3CF aims to support economically disadvantaged individuals to become capable of generating and earning enough disposable income to reshape their lives and the opportunities available to themselves and future generations. We also believe that economic independence generated across households translates to increasingly vibrant communities and society at large.

 How do we promote economic independence?

plantsWe know that increased access to economic resources is key to alleviating poverty, but how to achieve that can be a contentious issue in the development sector.

At 3CF, we apply the following principles:

  • Disposable income is key to promote and protect basic needs such as health, education, and shelter.
  • Entrepreneurship and employment are the primary drivers of disposable income.
  • Small enterprise is a key driver of employment.
  • Education prepares people with the skills and capacity to advocate for themselves and navigate their access to economic resources, as well as to secure their property and protect themselves from violence.
  • Everything we do should consider the sustainability of our natural environment.

Based on the above understanding, we chose to promote economic independence through funding programs that support social entrepreneurship, micro-small enterprise development, and access to education in regions suffering from high rates of poverty.  Within the scope of each program area, we look for opportunities to integrate environmental sustainability, to promote better health outcomes, and to improve living standards.

We have been impressed with Village Enterprise’s programs, results, and impact at promoting economic independence among the rural poor in East Africa and hope to continue working together for many years to come!


Gwen Straley, 3rd Creek Foundation

Gwen Straley
Executive Director
3rd Creek Foundation

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