Traditional approaches are failing refugees, but DREAMS offers a new approach to equip refugees to break the cycle of extreme poverty themselves.
Dear Friends & Partners,
Thanks to your tremendous support this past fiscal year, we transformed more lives in one year than ever before—over 250,000. It’s hard to overstate what this means to the women, refugees, and youth we serve in rural Africa. From reducing hunger in their homes to sending their children back to school, our entrepreneurs now have the means to better provide for their households and invest in the things that really matter—housing, education, nutrition, healthcare, and their family’s future.
On top of this life-changing impact, the past fiscal year was full of major achievements at Village Enterprise. In March, we received a transformational $7 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Less than two months later, in early May, our DREAMS for Refugees model won Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Award for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. We also welcomed four African leaders to our Board of Directors in May: Ermias Eshetu, Michael Mithika, Evelyn Namara, and Alexis Rwabizambuga. All four members, along with Serah Kimani, who joined our board during the summer of 2022, live in our countries of operation and will be crucial in helping guide our organization in the coming years.
As we continued to grow our impact in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda this year, our operations also expanded to Ethiopia to better serve refugees through DREAMS. In addition to this growth, we recently announced a $6.5 million results-based grant from USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) to scale our poverty graduation model in Rwanda. As USAID DIV’s largest grant in over a decade, this project will transform over 206,000 lives in the next three years, with the goal of supporting the Government of Rwanda in adopting our model to help end extreme poverty.
Even though this fiscal year was our most impactful to date, we need to go even further in the years ahead. With this in mind, we updated our mission, vision, and theory of change—ensuring we have the right direction, alignment, and interventions that will lead to even greater impact.
In many ways, the need to end extreme poverty has never been more urgent than it is now. The number of people living in extreme poverty in Africa is increasing as climate change and other shocks are reversing decades of progress. That’s why we’ve dedicated much of this report to two areas that will be critical to our success: scaling our work across Africa and driving climate resilience and conservation.
Despite the challenges, we at Village Enterprise remain relentlessly hopeful. After all, we know that we can accomplish great things because of the commitment of our partners and supporters, the passion of our team, and the determination of our entrepreneurs. Thank you for your continued support. We’re excited to go even further together in the years to come.
CEO & President
Total Lives Impacted
Long-Term Impact in an Era of Global Instability
In November and December of 2021, Village Enterprise set out to interview over 400 entrepreneurs who had graduated from our program in 2017 and 2018 as part of a five-year longitudinal study. We wanted to know: Does our one-year model have a long-term impact?
The answer was a resounding "Yes!" In fact, the study revealed that both household consumption and savings continued to rise after entrepreneurs graduated from Village Enterprise. On average, our entrepreneurs experienced an 83% increase in consumption and a 933% increase in savings over five years. All of this was achieved despite the shutdowns and economic turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting how our model builds resilience to global shocks.
These findings are complemented by our recent external randomized controlled trial results, which found no evidence of declining program impact over time. Results from both studies are especially remarkable given that final data collection for both took place in 2021 when millions of households in Africa were being pushed back into poverty due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The data builds a compelling case that Village Enterprise graduates first-time entrepreneurs into a state of resilience.”
Recognition for Impact
Village Enterprise is the only nonprofit in the world to be recognized at the highest level by all 10 of these respected organizations.
Our Mission & Vision
As we continue to grow and innovate, we’ve updated our mission and vision to better represent who we are and where we’re going. We’ve revised our vision statement to be more Africa-focused and added the word ‘forever’ to highlight the importance of sustainability in our work. To capture how we’re scaling our impact through partnerships with other nonprofits, agencies, funders, and governments, our updated mission includes the words ‘collective action.’
Dianne Calvi, Village Enterprise CEO and President, explains more about our updated mission and vision.
To end extreme poverty in rural Africa through entrepreneurship, innovation, and collective action.
An African continent forever free of extreme poverty.
Our Year in Review
USAID DIV Awards $6.5 Million to Scale Poverty Graduation in Rwanda
USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures awarded $6.5 million—their largest grant in the past decade—to Village Enterprise. With this funding, we will support the Government of Rwanda to adopt and scale our model to help end extreme poverty.