Nuru International has announced the launch of its Leadership Program, a capacity building initiative based upon the principles of design thinking with the intent to equip the extreme poor in rural Kenya to become the solutions to their own problems. With the addition of the capacity building Leadership Program, Nuru further emphasizes a critical aspect of sustainability and scalability in international development: local ownership. The Leadership Program equips leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary to prototype, iterate, and scale Nuru International’s poverty-fighting interventions without the financial or operational support of Western assistance.

“Nonprofits have an obligation to seek new and even more effective ways of making tangible progress towards their missions, and this requires building organizational capacity. All too many nonprofits, however, focus on creating new programs and keeping administrative costs low instead of building the organizational capacity necessary to achieve their aspirations effectively and efficiently…This must change.” Effective Capacity Building in Nonprofit Organizations, Report for Venture Philanthropy Partners by McKinsey & Company

Non-profit organizations (NPOs) play an increasingly important role in our society and the extreme poor are often dependent upon their effectiveness and efficiency. International development organizations agree that capacity building, sustainability, and scalability are essential components for success, yet complex issues abound in authentically implementing these ideals. Nuru International wrestles with these challenges and has chosen a novel approach: equip the extreme poor to develop their own solutions to solve poverty eradication.

Nuru goes beyond training in any one given solution to end poverty. Instead, Nuru equips local people with the skills and perspective needed to analyze and adapt to the challenges of implementing impactful poverty solutions in the ever-evolving environment of extreme poverty. Nuru does this by investing in relationships with local leaders, providing them with the capacity building resources and training they need to strengthen their skills in areas such as strategic planning, organizational management and project development.

“The Leadership Program comprises a series of trainings that are designed to build on the knowledge and skills of local staff as they rise up in the organization,” says Chelsea Barabas, Leadership Program Manager. “Nuru has realized that by empowering local leaders to use design-based methods of thinking they are equipping entire communities to adapt to the challenges of developing lasting solutions to extreme poverty.”

The Leadership Program is the result of two-and-a-half years of research and experience working with the extreme poor. Built upon the foundation of Stanford University’s, Center for Social Innovation, and Extreme Affordability class taught by professor Jim Patell, the goal of the program is to cultivate peers to take ownership of the project.

“We help unlock the latent potential of service-minded local leaders and place these integrated proven solutions in their hands to empower communities to lift themselves out of extreme poverty permanently,” says Jake Harriman Nuru, International CEO

Nuru doesn’t enter a community with ready-made solutions. Instead it focuses on collaborating with local leaders, business people, farmers, and school children to design their own solutions to the problems of extreme poverty. The poor themselves are the key to unlocking their own potential. The Leadership Program simply shows them how.