Village Enterprise Earns Four-Star Rating From Charity Navigator And Names New E. African Leader - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Village Enterprise Earns Four-Star Rating From Charity Navigator And Names New E. African Leader

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SOURCE Village Enterprise

SAN CARLOS, Calif., Aug. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As nonprofit Village Enterprise serves a record 600,000 people in poverty-stricken E. Africa, the organization appoints new African leadership and receives a coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

A pioneer in the microenterprise development field, Village Enterprise has started more than 30,000 businesses, trained and mentored more than 130,000 business owners, and helped lift more than 600,000 people out of extreme poverty in some of the most remote regions of rural Uganda and Kenya. 

Championed by Silicon Valley leaders for more than 25 years, Village Enterprise has just received Charity Navigator's coveted 4-star rating. Charity Navigator is America's largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities.

Charity Navigator grants this "exceptional" designation for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency to only one in four, top-performing nonprofits out of more than 5,000 rated charities.  

"Charity Navigator's 4-star is extended only to nonprofits that 'exceed industry standards and outperform most charities in their cause.'  We are especially proud of this recognition of our excellence in easing poverty and seeding small businesses in E. Africa., where many struggle to survive day to day on only $1.25," Village Enterprise CEO Dianne Calvi said. 

The Charity Navigator distinction comes just as Village Enterprise also names African development expert Astrid Haas as its new East Africa Regional Director.

A former Program Manager, East Africa Expansion/Uganda at Evidence Action/Innovations for Poverty Action, Haas has lived and worked in Uganda.  "I have a Ugandan mother, love the E. African region, and am excited to return," Haas said.   

"We are delighted to welcome Astrid to our staff to oversee our Kenyan and Ugandan operations. She's a highly respected, international development professional with experience working in government and non-governmental organizations," Calvi said. "The fact that she has Ugandan roots is even more exciting."

Haas' specializations in policy analysis, monitoring and evaluation, and program management are especially pivotal as Village Enterprise continues scaling SMART, a Rockefeller Foundation-recognized, mobile agriculture tool. SMART helps poor farmers make smarter business decisions to boost their crop yields and incomes after decades of  extreme poverty. SMART will eventually reach 15,000 farmers by 2015.

"I am excited to join this innovative organization unleashing the potential of social entrepreneurs in Africa. Village Enterprise's work is exciting not only for the tens of thousands it reaches in E. Africa, but for the entire continent," Haas said. "What I find particularly exciting is that Village Enterprise relies on rigorous, evidence-based innovation to provide direct evidence of which interventions work and which don't work, positioning them to be thought leaders in the field of microenterprise development for the ultra-poor."

Village Enterprise's poverty alleviation program includes a yearlong business, financial literacy, and conservation training program, $150 grants, ongoing business mentoring and evaluation, and Business Savings groups. Small business owners range from farmers to tailors to food vendors.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Lucy Valentine Wurtz at 650-303-4126

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