Linnet ​​Ayuma: Celebrating 20 years at Village Enterprise

As the longest-running employee at Village Enterprise, Linnet Ayuma recently celebrated a huge milestone—20 years of unwavering dedication and hard work to Village Enterprise’s mission of ending extreme poverty in rural Africa.

Over the past two decades, Linnet has brought passion to every role she has taken on at Village Enterprise, and she has witnessed the organization grow from a small nonprofit to an international NGO with a team of over 500 staff members.

To celebrate her anniversary, we asked Linnet to share some of her story, along with a few of her favorite memories from the past 20 years. Join us in celebrating our stunning colleague Linnet!

Linnet Ayuma, Finance and Administration Manager for Village Enterprise in Kenya

Q: You’ve worked at Village Enterprise for 20 years—how incredible! Can you tell us the story of how you first got involved with Village Enterprise?

A: Thank you, that’s a good question. I cannot believe it is now two decades since I joined Village Enterprise. When I started as an intern, I assisted the prior Country Director to organize her receipts for US reporting and assist with other office work like making errands, paying bills, and keeping the office clean. It has been a long journey, though very memorable.


Q: What’s your current position, and what do you enjoy most about it?

A: Currently, I am the Finance and Administration Manager for Kenya and I am very passionate about what Village Enterprise does as an organization. As the Finance and Administration Manager, I may not directly interact with the entrepreneurs we work with, but just ensuring these entrepreneurs are supported and receive the seed capital to start their businesses to change their lives is so fulfilling.


Q: How have you seen Village Enterprise change over the past 20 years?

A: I have witnessed Village Enterprise grow all along the way. This is by having different strategic plans that led to its growth. When I joined Village Enterprise we were only three staff in Kenya (Country Director, Assistant Country Director, and myself). During that time we used to have volunteer business mentors who were engaged when funds were available. Now we have over 300 employed staff just in Kenya, multiple departments, and digital technology that has made Village Enterprise stand out. Village Enterprise started operating in a small office, but now we have three offices across Kenya located in different regions to reach those who live in extreme poverty and make their lives better.

Linnet (first row, second from the right) and several staff members recently traveled to Mt. Elgon, Kenya to meet with entrepreneurs in Village Enterprise’s program

Q: You’ve experienced and accomplished so much over the past 20 years, but do you have a favorite memory from work that stands out? Or an experience that was particularly meaningful?

A: One day we went for grant disbursement, and we had a female entrepreneur who shared her story that really touched me. She was a widow and after her husband passed on, nobody in the community wanted to associate with her—they perceived her to be a beggar. But she was lonely, and she had lost hope in life. Village Enterprise went to work in that community and through Village Enterprise’s program, she made friends and they worked together to run their business so that they could earn a living. She was able to sustain herself and her children, no longer needing to beg. The community that had isolated her now embraced her. Her story really touched me and motivated me to continue working with Village Enterprise and ensure that if there is another woman out there experiencing the same, then we can give her hope again.

Another experience that has also been fulfilling was shifting from cash disbursement to mobile money disbursement when providing business grants to our entrepreneurs. Initially during disbursement, we had to go to the bank to withdraw cash and carry it to the field which was risky. But after embracing mobile technology, this has made our disbursement process to be much more efficient and secure, and we can disburse grants to different regions at the same time, even in very remote areas.


Q: How has working at Village Enterprise impacted your life?

A: Village Enterprise has really impacted my life. Professionally, I have grown and developed so many skills. I got the chance to pursue my degree while at Village Enterprise and I was able to pay for my university fees which my parents could not afford. Through Village Enterprise, I have been able to learn and interact with two accounting packages, QuickBooks and NetSuite, which has been so amazing. Also, managing Village Enterprise funds and supporting our team in achieving Village Enterprise’s mission and vision feels really rewarding. Interacting with stunning colleagues from different countries and learning from each other has also made me grow professionally.

Linnet’s 20th anniversary celebration honoring two decades of her work to end extreme poverty in Africa.

Congratulations, Linnet, and thank you for everything you’ve done for Village Enterprise and the entrepreneurs we serve!

Get Involved

Interested in making an impact? Join us in our mission to eradicate generational poverty in Africa by making a donation. $40 lifts one person out of extreme poverty.

Donate Today