As we gear up for another year filled with exciting projects and partnerships across Africa, we want to pause and celebrate all that we accomplished together in 2022. Each of our highlights listed below are crucial to our goal of ending extreme poverty for 20 million people by 2030, and we’re incredibly grateful to all of our partners, funders, and dedicated staff for your continued support to make our mission a reality. Thank you for helping to make 2022 Village Enterprise’s most impactful year to date!
If you would like to learn more about all that was accomplished, as well as a look at the past five years, check out our recently published Five-Year Report.
Village Enterprise’s Top 10 Highlights from 2022
Transformed Over 205,000 Lives
We’re proud to report that 2022 saw our biggest impact to date—we trained 34,300 first-time entrepreneurs and launched 11,430 businesses, helping to transform the lives of over 205,000 women, men, and children and putting them on a sustainable pathway out of extreme poverty.
Built Resilience and Created Long-Term Impact
Our Five-Year Longitudinal Study found that both household consumption and savings continued to increase for our entrepreneurs after the end of our program. In fact, we saw an 83% increase in consumption and a 933% increase in savings over five years, and 88% of the entrepreneurs reported the skills they learned helped them cope with the economic shocks of Covid-19. These results point to our entrepreneurs’ increased ability to adapt to crises and global shocks upon graduating from our program.
Demonstrated the Power of Results-Based Funding
The Village Enterprise Development Impact Bond (DIB) exceeded its targets, sustainably improving the livelihoods of 95,000 women, men, and children and generating $5 of new income for every dollar invested. The very first-of-its-kind for poverty alleviation in Africa, the DIB was studied in an randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted by IDinsight that showcased cost-effective, sustained impact in income and asset increases for over 14,000 households, and IDinsight projected an increase in lifetime household income of over $21 million.
Drove Climate Resilience and Empowered Female Farmers
Funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency, and in partnership with UN Women and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Village Enterprise continued working on the Women Economic Empowerment through Climate-Smart Agriculture Project in West Pokot, Kenya. This project—which layers our program with additional education around climate-smart agriculture—equips entrepreneurs (80% female) with the tools and resources to launch climate-smart agribusinesses. By learning techniques to improve agricultural outputs in a changing farming environment, our entrepreneurs, such as Selina, are becoming more resilient to the effects of climate change.
Protected the Environment and Endangered Species
In the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in Congo-Brazzaville and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Village Enterprise and the Wildlife Conservation Society teamed up to end extreme poverty and protect our planet. By equipping those living in extreme poverty near protected areas with the tools and resources to start sustainable businesses, our program reduced poaching and protected endangered wildlife—such as gorillas and okapis—by creating alternative ways to generate income which don’t rely on harming protected species or areas.
Combatted Acute Child Malnutrition
In partnership with Catholic Relief Services and funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, Nawiri aimed to reduce the chronic rates of acute child malnutrition in northern Kenya in 2022. By layering our poverty graduation model with education on health, nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as providing mobile cash transfers for participants to purchase immediate medical care and nutrient-dense food, Nawiri is addressing the underlying issues driving acute child malnutrition and providing sustainable pathways out of extreme poverty. In early 2022, after seeing positive results in the early stages of implementation, USAID committed to significantly scaling up the program. By September 30, 2023, Nawiri will have reached 14,310 households, impacting 85,860 women, children, and men in northern Kenya.
Partnered with African Governments to Scale Our Impact
In Kenya, we worked alongside the national government to enhance their social protection program and build the capacity of government officials to create a stronger social safety net for the future as part of the Kenya Social and Economic Inclusion Project (KSEIP). Additionally, in Rwanda, we began co-designing a poverty graduation and climate resilience outcomes project with the government which will transform at least 360,000 lives in the first three years. The project will then be iterated, replicated, and scaled by the government with the goal of ending extreme poverty in Rwanda by 2030.
Launched DREAMS for Refugees
In partnership with Mercy Corps, we officially launched DREAMS (Delivering Resilient Enterprises and Market Systems) in Uganda. A winner of the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award for Refugees and funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the IKEA Foundation, this first-of-its-kind model merges Village Enterprise’s poverty graduation program with Mercy Corps’ expertise in market systems development to equip refugees with the skills, resources, and markets to start sustainable businesses and graduate from extreme poverty. As DREAMS launched in Uganda in 2022, design workshops were held in Ethiopia as the program is preparing to launch there soon. DREAMS will collectively reach more than 33,000 households and impact more than 200,000 lives across the two countries.
Integrated Innovative Digital Technologies to Increase Impact
As we continue to grow our program, it is crucial that we invest in digital solutions to ensure our entrepreneurs accelerate their business success, while at the same time increasing scale and impact. That’s why we partnered with DreamStart Labs in 2022 to pilot the DreamSave app, which allows our entrepreneurs to digitally track their savings group records using their mobile phones. In addition, we expanded our use of battery-powered projectors during business training sessions in Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda, using videos to compliment in-person instruction and improve retention and engagement within our training content. We’ve also continued to expand our use of phone mentoring to better serve our entrepreneurs. Village Enterprise Business Mentors are using a blended approach of in-person meetings and phone mentoring sessions to allow for more personalized touch points with entrepreneurs and reducing the amount of time our mentors spend traveling between villages.
Invested in and Grew Our World-Class African Team
We saw many programmatic achievements in 2022, but our team was at the core of everything we did. By putting our values of ubuntu, passion, integrity, innovation, and sustainability at the forefront of all that we do, we have continued to invest in and expand our world-class team which has now grown to 440 global team members. As we’ve tripled in size over the past five years, we continue to ensure our programs are locally-led—97% of our team is African.
Thank you for making all of this and more possible in 2022! For a deeper dive into all that we accomplished, as well as a look at the past five years, check out our recently published Five-Year Report. We’re grateful for your continued support, and we look forward to going even further together in 2023.