Veronica Olazabal joins Nuru with a wealth of knowledge and experience from the M&E sector. Veronica earned an M.A. in Anthropology from Columbia University and a dual Masters in Applied Economics and Urban Policy and Planning and a B.A. in Communications from Rutgers University. She has 15 years of professional and academic international experience in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Her professional functional experience includes strategic planning, evaluation and monitoring, knowledge management, grant- making/management, research/policy analysis, project management, quantitative/qualitative data collection and GIS spatial analysis at firms such as Rockefeller Foundation, Mastercard Foundation, and UMCOR. She is a certified yoga teacher and happily spends her free time with her husband and young kids. Below, find some of her thoughts about Nuru and extreme poverty.

I have been reflecting a lot on why poverty continues to exist. The world seems to have enough resources to feed everyone and if not, why can’t technology solve the issue? What is at the core of our current day challenges?

Having recently joined Nuru, I continue to learn something new everyday, but what doesn’t change for me is the commitment I sense from my colleagues, to truly address this questions of why poverty continues to exist. For me, and likely you, it’s a paradox of our times where we have communities and cultures with increasing rates of diseases such as obesity and then we have the flip side of the coin, increasing rates of malnutrition and hunger.

Yet, that is the reality of what many, if not all, of the households whom Nuru works with face. Having spent some time studying and observing the issues of poverty and economic development, I am inspired that Nuru’s approach is a different one. It is not about developing a parallel non-governmental system in the rural communities where we work. Rather, it is about taking a different development approach, one that begins with working with a farmer to co-develop solutions to the challenges they face and then working in service to the farmer and their communities to enable them to operationalize these solutions.

At the same time, Nuru is working with micro-enterprises to catalyze the resources needed to support these communities. For those unfamiliar with the development sector, this is the greatest challenge that exists is the development of dependent projects and communities which are typically run by foreigners and subsidized by foreign aid. While responding to basic needs, they are not set up to spur economic growth and are not sustainable. Nuru is different and I am excited to join this effort to demonstrate a different path forward to ending poverty.