Nuru International and Strategic Partnerships
Nuru International’s goal is to end extreme poverty in remote rural areas across the globe. The challenge of ending extreme poverty is colossal in scope, complexity and scale. To achieve this goal, we cannot and should not work alone. We form strategic partnerships – relationships of cooperation and collaboration oriented to a common goal. With these partnerships in place, and in spite of incredible difficulties in our daily work, we have established a track record of mounting successes and a positively hopeful outlook. Nuru International credits our triumphs and our future to the hard work, brilliance and dedication of our strategic partners in the fight against extreme poverty. To illustrate the point, I highlight Nuru International’s approach to partnerships using examples from the Agriculture Program in Kenya and Ethiopia.
- At the most foundational level, Nuru International’s partners are people living in conditions of extreme poverty themselves. Where systematic barriers have prevented people from making decisions and taking action to improve their lives, the restoration of agency is an essential step for local people to lift themselves out of poverty. For example, Nuru International partnered with local people in identifying needs and creating the Agriculture Program in Ethiopia throughout 2013. In fact, the program activities themselves rely on the active participation of local people. For instance, the Agriculture Program empowers farmers with the tools and knowledge to increase agriculture production, but it is through the dedication and hard work of farmers that we together eliminate food insecurity in their households and communities.
Local Organizations, Groups, Cooperatives and Community-Based Organizations
- While direct interaction with local people is the foundation, Nuru International often operates with organizations of people for efficiency and practicality. These take the form of small farmer groups, entrepreneurs, community-based organizations and other forms of civil society. For instance, in Ethiopia the Agriculture Program formally partners with cooperative societies which are fledgling independent entities comprised of local farmers. Within the cooperatives there are smaller groups of six to eight farmers. This hierarchy means money spent on impact stretches further and achieves more, while simultaneously building social capital at the grassroots level.
Nuru Kenya, Nuru Ethiopia & Beyond
- To the end of local ownership, leadership and sustainability, Nuru International launches non-governmental organizations as independent implementing entities. Nuru Kenya, launched initially in 2008, is now transitioning to complete local leadership for the implementation of programs in Kenya. Nuru Ethiopia is a rather new project starting to implement its first impact program in agriculture in 2014. These locally-based Nuru country projects are self-sustaining entities comprised of local leaders that will carry on the work of ending extreme poverty for years to come. The partnership with Nuru International is dynamic pending the stage and work of each project.
- Government and affiliated organizations in countries of operation are essential partners at local, regional and national levels. For example, local government leaders help inform the context during program design and implementation. National level agricultural organizations, along with their own network of partners, drive the research and development of the improved seeds, inputs and techniques that Nuru then makes accessible to Nuru farmers through input loans, training and extension.
- Another sector partner is academia, where our work internationally is informed by a network of advisors, consultants and experts. Nuru International staff themselves bring years of academic experience and contacts. This makes for an applied approach based in sound research.
International Governmental and Nongovernmental Organizations
- Nuru International also has strong relationships with international organizations and NGOs to exchange information and to share the work and model of Nuru International. For example, Nuru International’s Agriculture Program recognizes its initial beginnings in part founded in the work Nuru founder Jake Harriman did at One Acre Fund prior to joining Nuru. And while One Acre Fund and Nuru International are different organizations, a healthy dialogue and relationship keeps the information exchange active. Ultimately, Nuru seeks to make its work open source so partners can learn and adapt the Nuru Model.
Investors & Donors
- Last, I make a special mention of the investors that make Nuru International’s work possible. Whether it’s a small recurring donor, a group of high school students, a charitable trust, a foundation, an individual, or otherwise, the provision of financial resources is paired with a healthy information exchange. Nuru International has something to learn from investors, and something to share with them in exchange. This exchange is what makes for a meaningful partnership with our investors.
To all those allied with us in the fight against extreme poverty, from the thousands of Nuru farmers, to our counterparts in Nuru Kenya and Nuru Ethiopia, to government organizations and agencies, researchers in academia, workers at other NGOs and agencies, and especially to the investors that make this work possible, we recognize your collaboration and cooperation as essential to ending extreme poverty. We extend a warm thank you from Nuru International.
About Matt Lineal
Chief Program Officer — Matt received his BA in Government and Spanish from Lawrence University and a MS in Forest Sciences from Colorado State University, and began his international service career in rural Honduras, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer and later with The Nature Conservancy. Over several years punctuated by severe challenges for Hondurans, his experiences were eye opening as to how people navigate the complexities of rural life. Matt was drawn to Nuru International in 2011 with the resolve to take on tough challenges and has been humbled and amazed to be part of the transformational impact of local leaders. As Nuru’s Chief Program Officer, Matt continues to promote the agency of rural communities as the foundation of meaningful positive change.Read More Stories of Hope