It seems like just yesterday we had begun the Program Planning Process (PPP) with our Community Economic Development (CED) program. However, here we stand months down the line and we are just wrapping up the final details with the CED team for program implementation in the final quarter of the year. And so far, we have managed to plan a great program that will align with Nuru’s Quality Solutions Criteria (QSC) and be impactful, scalable and sustainable within the country context of Ethiopia.

After an extensive period of research and analysis, both from field visits and interviews with other NGO managers and also on more conceptual topics from best practices using internet research, CED decided on four activity groups that would guide us to achieve our goal of ensuring that Nuru farmer households are able to cope with economic shocks. After we decided on these four activity groups, both the CED and the Leadership team were entirely aligned on which specific activities we needed to accomplish to achieve our goal. In fact, the simplicity of this process among our large group goes to demonstrate how exhaustively the team investigated, researched and analyzed our data according to Nuru’s specific criteria. It shows that the program teams throughout Nuru are on the same page.

One of the greatest takeaways, after all the analysis and discussion, was that our CED program should focus on the women in our Nuru households. After all, our target population is Nuru farmers and their households. And the overwhelming majority of research on savings habits among poor rural populations in developing countries shows that women of the household have savings habits that are more beneficial for the entire family unit. Thus, there was a unanimous agreement among the team to focus our savings program on the women of our Nuru households. Moreover, one fortunate result of this plan is that we will also be able to work on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the area. This was not the initial goal, but it is certainly valuable for the family unit and corresponds to one of the key development goals of our time. Likewise, we are able to engage the other 50% of the population that is sometimes neglected in other development areas.

Another exciting key decision made during the activity creation, was that Nuru will help to set up a rural savings and credit co-ops (RUSACCOs) in the local community. This will ensure that the community it set for success, even after Nuru exits the area and that these co-ops can continue to save and financially serve their community in the long term. Sustainability is, of course, one of the three focal points of all Nuru programs and this will ensure that the program is sustainable, both financially and in leadership, far into the future.

And through all this hard work, we are excited to see how the next and final month of the PPP will finalize our CED program. In just that short amount of time, we will be ready to start implementation with a solid plan and program ahead of us to ensure our households will be able to cope with economic shocks. Stay tuned for the upcoming announcement of Nuru Ethiopia’s CED Program Proposal – it’s just around the corner.