Nuru International is a social venture committed to ending extreme poverty in remote, rural areas by offering locally-led training in agriculture, household savings, healthcare, and education. Nuru International currently works in Kenya and Ethiopia. In September of 2008, Nuru International was invited to test its new approach in an impoverished, rural community in Kenya.
Nuru focuses on cultivating service-minded leaders and equipping people with tools and knowledge to lead their communities out of extreme poverty. Using local income-generating activities, Nuru sustains its work and funds program scaling into neighboring districts – thereby multiplying impact.
Nuru’s vision is to create a world where people living in extreme poverty can make meaningful choices to improve their lives in a sustainable way.
After years of on-the-ground innovation, Nuru’s programs are separated into two groups:
Impact Programs - Agriculture, Community Economic Development (CED), Education, Healthcare
Sustainability Programs - Nuru Social Enterprises, Leadership
Support Programs - Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E), Social Marketing
In Kenya, tens of thousands of people are now equipped with the tools and the knowledge to lift themselves out of extreme poverty forever, and and we launched Nuru Ethiopia in early 2013. Once we achieve proof of concept (projected in late 2015), Nuru will not only continue to expand, but will make our model open source, giving it away to other organizations and governments to scale globally.
Where They Work
Kuria West District, Kenya
Launched in the fall of 2008, Nuru works in 18 sub-locations in the Kuria West district impacting more than 30,000 lives. Before Nuru arrived, local farmers had very low maize (corn) yields resulting in a hunger season between harvests. There were very few clean water sources and waterborne disease was rampant. The health facilities were desperately lacking resources, and malaria, diarrhea and upper-respiratory tract infections plagued the local population. School drop out rates were high, especially for girls, and few parents could afford to send their children to secondary school. There was no bank in the community, no business training, and no access to capital for investment.
When Nuru arrived we met with local officials and village elders, listened to their needs and ideas for solutions. Next we hit the streets (or dirt roads) visiting farmers in their fields, mud-walled homes, and at water collection points to gather vital information needed to establish a baseline for our measurement and evaluation system. When we held our group formation meeting 450 farmers showed up to join Nuru (we had expected 150). These farmers were put into groups, trained in effective farming techniques, and provided a loan of maize seed and fertilizer. Nuru Groups planted, weeded, and harvested their crops together, and the average maize yield increased by 123%. Farmers repaid their loans, kept enough maize to feed their families, and sold the rest at a profit. Nuru trained the community in financial planning, taught life saving sanitation and healthcare techniques, and provided teacher training for area teachers.
Nuru's project started here in February 2013. The Nuru Ethiopia project site, Boreda, was chosen for its similarities to our project in Kuria, Kenya. Boreda has a similar climate with similar rainy seasons. Maize is also one of the staple food and cash crops. Also, because Boreda has need in all four areas that we address (listed above), we can test our model in a new location using lessons learned from Kuria while addressing the challenges of a new environment with an increased poverty level.
We have already built a solid core group of local staff who have started building Nuru Ethiopia. They will be partnering with Nuru International’s Scout Team to co-create the Nuru programs in Boreda so that the success we've seen in Nuru Kenya can be replicated in Nuru Ethiopia.
Where is Nuru International