Driving Climate Resilience & Conservation

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Photo credit: Jjumba Martin for Mercy Corps

Ending extreme poverty means taking on climate change.

In an era of severe droughts, floods, and natural disasters, households living in extreme poverty are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Without savings or consistent income, it’s impossible to adapt. The instability and insecurity is far too great for these individuals and families—they are just one failed rainy season or one bad storm away from losing everything and being pushed even further into poverty.

But Village Enterprise has a proven solution: equip the most vulnerable with the resources and skills to launch climate-smart businesses and savings groups. As a result, our entrepreneurs have higher incomes, increased savings and access to credit for emergencies, and the resources, education, and training to adapt to the threats posed by climate change. On top of this, we’re partnering with leading conservation groups to safeguard wildlife and crucial ecosystems, helping to create a brighter future for generations to come.

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Photo credit: The Life You Can Save

Building Resilience to Climate Change

Even though people living in Africa have contributed the least to carbon emissions, they are disproportionately impacted by climate change. That’s why we are working with some of the most vulnerable populations in Africa—pastoral communities and female farmers living in extreme poverty—to make sure they have resources and training to adapt and thrive.

Eva Kigo, Senior Director, Product and Services, discusses our climate strategy.

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Reducing Child Malnutrition through USAID Nawiri

For decades, the pastoral communities of northern Kenya have faced high rates of food insecurity, extreme poverty, and acute child malnutrition. As a result of climate change, prolonged droughts are becoming more common in this desert region—making resources even more scarce. To reduce the chronic rates of child malnutrition, Village Enterprise is working with Catholic Relief Services on Nawiri, a project funded by the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.

As part of Nawiri, we’ve adapted our poverty graduation program by layering it with nutrition education and counseling, as well as additional cash transfers for purchasing nutritious meals, medicine, and medical care. In response to the positive results we’ve achieved, USAID has nearly doubled Village Enterprise’s target to now reach a total of 14,310 households and impact nearly 100,000 lives.

Miriamu’s Story

When Miriamu lost her husband, she struggled to make ends meet for her family. But through Nawiri, everything changed. “Nawiri has given me and other women dignity,” Miriamu says.

Training Female Farmers in Climate-Smart Agribusiness

In partnership with UN Women and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Village Enterprise is helping women launch sustainable, climate-smart agribusinesses in West Pokot County, Kenya. This semi-arid region is being impacted by climate change in different and devastating ways: the highlands are receiving increased rainfall, causing dangerous mudslides, while the lowlands are experiencing prolonged droughts, causing crops and livestock to die. By training entrepreneurs in region-specific, climate-smart agricultural practices, the project has helped over 800 entrepreneurs launch sustainable agribusinesses, making their households more resilient to the effects of climate change.

Selina’s Story

In the highlands of West Pokot County, Selina struggled to provide for her ten children. But after she learned climate-smart farming techniques, her business is taking off.

Watch the Video
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Protecting the Environment

With limited opportunities to earn money, many living in extreme poverty in rural Africa have been forced to rely on illegal hunting and deforestation to provide for their families. But Village Enterprise is on a mission to change that. Through partnerships with leading conservation nonprofits, we’re providing a pathway out of poverty that also protects the environment.

Isaac Obongo, Technical Advisor, Conservation Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience, explains more about our conservation strategy.

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Photo credit: Annette Lanjouw, Arcus Foundation
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Saving East African Chimpanzees in Uganda

By helping rural communities near Kibale National Park in Uganda launch businesses as an alternative and sustainable way to earn an income, Village Enterprise and the Ngogo Chimpanzee Project are not just reducing extreme poverty—we’re also protecting one of the largest remaining populations of East African chimpanzees. With funding from the Arcus Foundation, the Poverty Alleviation and Removal of Kibale Snares (PARKS) Project has equipped over 1,900 people to become entrepreneurs in the past two years.

Reducing Poaching of Gorillas and Okapis in the DRC and Congo-Brazzaville

Village Enterprise and Wildlife Conservation Society have teamed up in Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in Congo-Brazzaville and Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By equipping households living in extreme poverty near protected areas with the tools and resources to start sustainable businesses, our partnership reduces poaching and protects endangered wildlife such as gorillas, okapis, and more. Village Enterprise’s technical assistance to WCS staff has helped launch nearly 400 businesses across the two countries.

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Photo credit: Scott Ramsay, Wildlife Conservation Society
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Courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation Global Okapi Conservation Project
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