Village Enterprise Fund (VEF)
Operating for over 26 years in East Africa, Village Enterprise’s mission is to equip people living in extreme poverty with resources to create sustainable businesses. Village Enterprise plays a unique role in the microfinance industry, providing economic opportunities in areas that other organizations are not reaching and giving ultra poor enterprising poor men and women the opportunity to transform a small grant into a business and a better standard of living. Delivered by a network of local Business Mentors, Village Enterprise’s unique, successful and cost-effective approach involves:
- Comprehensive business and financial literacy TRAINING
- Seed capital GRANT (not loans) in the form of cash or business assets
- Extensive year-long MENTORING by local staff
- Development of SAVINGS groups for long‐term sustainability
And it provides the platform to expand the program to include conservation goals and training to address biodiversity/resource issues.
Pioneered in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute in 2007 around the Budongo Forest, one of Western Uganda’s critical chimpanzee habitats, Village Enterprise has developed an integrated poverty alleviation and conservation program and has since replicated it in the Kisere Rainforest of Western Kenya. We also have added resources sustainability principles and examples to our training curriculum.
Conservation outcomes include:
• Significant contribution to the social and economic wellbeing of the ultra-poor living around the forest
• Reduction in the numbers of the respondents using practices that are harmful to the environment
• Increased awareness of forestry conservation
Equipping and empowering the enterprising poor who live adjacent to the Forest to understand, plan and operate sustainable businesses - whether agriculture, livestock, or retail - is a key requirement in meeting conservation goals.