TechnoServe works with enterprising men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries.
Support TechnoServe's mission by becoming a Partner in Prosperity
A nonprofit organization operating in 29 countries, TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty. By linking people to information, capital and markets, we have helped millions to create lasting prosperity for their families and communities.
TechnoServe has earned a 4-star rating from independent evaluator Charity Navigator for the last 10 years, placing us in the top 1 percent of all its rated nonprofits. With nearly 50 years of proven results, TechnoServe believes in the power of private enterprise to transform lives.
Our origin traces back to the village of Adidome, Ghana. In 1963, our founder Ed Bullard traveled there with his family for a year of volunteer service. Ed was captivated by the spirit and character of the Ghanaian people. But he was appalled by the depth of poverty that surrounded him.
Our success in creating business solutions to poverty is due in large part to our talented and highly committed team. Our staff combine business expertise with local knowledge, relationships and context to help hardworking men and women generate income, jobs and wealth for their families and communities.
Our project in Nigeria
Empowering Women with Cashew Products
Over 60 percent of Nigeria’s population lives in poverty, while women suffer the greatest effects: they consistently earn less, are less educated, and less likely to participate in the labor force. Agriculture is recognized as a significant source of employment and area for growth in Nigeria, and currently accounts for 20.2 percent of the country’s GDP. Processing cashew by-products poses a unique opportunity for women’s inclusive economic diversification. The Cashew Byproducts Project seeks to increase and diversify women's income by training women to process the cashew into products including honey, juice and dried snacks. The project has successfully guided over 60 women to produce cashew by-products, bring the products to market and to re-invest profits in off-season businesses. Because cashew apples have for generations been tossed aside as waste, the ability to transform them into marketable products constitutes an innovation in the cashew value chain and in the country’s culture and human capital. The project began in the states of Kogi and Kwara in January 2015 and will end in September 2016.
Partners: Citi Foundation
Accessing Clean Water and Economic Opportunity for Women
TechnoServe and Unilever are working in partnership to develop a new concept for sustainable water provision. Access to clean water is a major problem in Nigeria, with 36 percent of the population lacking access to improved water sources. Women bear a disproportionate cost of this, in time spent collecting water and in dealing with the consequences of ill-health in the family. To address this problem, we are piloting the concept of Sunlight Water Centers in eight peri-urban areas near Abuja. A Sunlight Water Center combines a borehole and a retail kiosk selling clean water and household products (including Unilever products), and is managed by a female entrepreneur from the locality. The vision is to facilitate access to clean water under a sustainable business model that covers the cost of building boreholes and maintaining them in years to come. The project hopes to expand to 1,000 franchised water centers across Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
Expanding Opportunities Through Small Retailers in Nigeria
Substantial research highlights a critical need for business skills training among owners of "mom and pop" shops in urban areas. Launched in July 2015, the Digitizing Mom and Pop Shops program is a two-year partnership between Citi Foundation and TechnoServe to increase the financial return and growth of small retail shops in Abuja, Nigeria. TechnoServe’s extensive experience and success in delivering training to entrepreneurs and integrating technology solutions has allowed us to deliver a unique and tailored approach, where we are improving the performance of the shops through better financial and operations management, advanced marketing, and adoption of digital solutions for payments and inventory management. TechnoServe is also facilitating improved relationships with lenders, suppliers, customers and supporting service providers, while enhancing coordination and collaboration among mom and pop shops across the city. Additionally in Nigeria, we are testing different training models through three different training cohorts to be able to evaluate and identify the most effective model for the highest likelihood of sustainable impact. Working with small retailers allows TechnoServe to create a double impact: increasing employment and livelihoods by improving the shops' efficiency, while also creating market opportunities for products from local small-scale farmers and processors. The Nigeria program is working with 50 shops and we anticipate that 75 percent will adopt digital business enhancing solutions and at least half will increase their revenues by a minimum of 30 percent. TechnoServe is implementing a similar program in Nairobi, Kenya.
Helping Nigeria’s Cashew Farmers Reach Their Potential
Through a $1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, TechnoServe is helping raise the incomes of 6,000 Nigerian cashew farmers through training on good agronomic practices, farming as a business, and improved methods for harvest and post-harvest handling. Farmers also learn how to consolidate their stocks and engage in other business practices to enable them to sell directly to processors and maximize their incomes. The program aims to boost participating farmers’ yields by up to 20 percent by 2015. One of the program’s greatest successes has been the unprecedented level of women's participation. Though female cashew farmers make up less than 15 percent of Nigeria’s cashew farming population, 47 percent of farmers currently enrolled in TechnoServe’s training program are women.
Raising Rural Incomes
TechnoServe is an implementing partner in PrOpCom Mai-Karfi, a new six-year program working to increase the incomes of 500,000 northern Nigerians by 50 percent. Since the program kicked off in 2012, TechnoServe has led the evaluation of existing and potential PrOpCom markets, identifying soy and grain storage as promising opportunities for new interventions. TechnoServe consultants helped two leading fertilizer companies develop smaller product sizes and creative distribution and pricing strategies to reach smallholder farmers. TechnoServe is also taking the lead on implementing the Tractor Support Program, engaging financial institutions to provide loans to purchase tractors, strengthening the Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria and working with tractor manufacturers and suppliers to meet farmers’ needs for equipment and maintenance.
Improving Cocoa Productivity and Food Security
In parallel to the Cocoa Livelihoods Program (CLP), TechnoServe was a key implementer in the African Cocoa Initiative (ACI), which sought to institutionalize effective public and private sector models for sustainable productivity growth and improve food security on cocoa farms in Westand Central Africa.