Theory of Change

People making baskets

How we’re creating a sustainable path out of extreme poverty

By addressing the root causes of extreme poverty in Africa, we’re empowering women, refugees, and youth to become entrepreneurs, create sustainable and dignified livelihoods, safeguard the environment, and build brighter futures for themselves and their families. Our theory of change represents our big thinking, ambition, and plans for forever ending extreme poverty in Africa.


The Problem

People living in rural African communities face significant barriers to overcoming extreme poverty. Because they lack access to business and financial literacy education, social capital, financial institutions, startup funding, and markets, they don’t have the same opportunities to earn sustainable incomes and become economically empowered. Additionally, gender discrimination, climate change, conflict, and other global shocks continue to exacerbate their financial vulnerability. As a result, they become trapped in intergenerational cycles of extreme poverty.

Our Solution

Village Enterprise provides a comprehensive poverty graduation program that addresses the complex drivers of poverty and equips individuals with the resources and skills to become entrepreneurs and lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Our program consists of access to a savings group, business education and financial literacy training, startup capital, business mentorship, and market linkages. Infused throughout our program are trainings on gender equity, family dynamics, leadership, climate-smart agriculture, and environmental conservation.



Program Outputs

As individuals gain knowledge, skills, and confidence through our poverty graduation program, and with guidance from Village Enterprise business mentors, they are able to launch and manage their own small businesses and savings groups, increase their incomes, and start saving for the future.

Program Outcomes

As savings, as well as business and household assets grow, individuals in our program have a greater ability to provide for their families’ basic needs and withstand shocks and emergencies. Through a strengthened social support system, women have increased equity and decision-making power, and all participants experience greater human agency and confidence. Additionally, by operating businesses which don’t harm the environment or its inhabitants, natural ecosystems are better protected and positioned to thrive.

Program Goals

Armed with sustainable businesses and reliable, long-term sources of income and savings, individuals in our program are able to put their families on a pathway to ultimately graduate out of extreme poverty. They have the means to mitigate the risk of future shocks and are investing in the things that really matter: housing, education, nutrition, healthcare, and their future, all of which contribute to building an African continent forever free of extreme poverty.

What We Do

Learn how we use our theory of change to guide our program.

What We Do