Photo credit: Mercy Corps

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Enterprise and Livelihoods

28 Sep 2022

Nuru International – Burkino Faso

Violent Extremists Organisations (VEOs) are winning in West Africa. Burkina Faso alone has seen a 1,200% increase in people being forcibly displaced due to VEOs. Decade of progress and development are being lost as VEOs continue to spread throughout the fragile states of the Sahel. Poverty is not only increasing, but intensifying with forced displacement and escalating conflict.  Increase poverty compounds state fragility, which further reinforces conflict.

Nuru International (NI) provides vulnerable communities with the right combination of tools and capabilities to support economic development in fragile environments, thereby building resilience against violent extremism and adapting to climate change.

  • NI identifies communities most in need of rehabilitation and recruits strong local leaders to manage a growing local non-profit organisation.
  • The local NGO works with farming communities to train them in best agronomic practices, organise them into farmer co-operatives and supports the growth and capacity development of these co-operatives.
  • The primary cooperatives are the lasting local entity that is used to shift farmers from subsistence to farming as a business as well as the vehicle through which people are organized into groups to reduce transaction costs.
  • In addition, the cooperatives serve to improve social cohesion by bringing diverse community stakeholders together for the good of all. The trust created by working together is in turn an additional means of improving community resilience to violent extremist threats.
  • The Nuru Model embraces the complexity of extreme poverty and has clear advantages as it focuses on resilience and permanent change. Long-term sustainability is achieved through building local leaders and businesses. By restoring agency, fostering resilience, and unlocking prosperity among vulnerable marginalized communities through sustainable livelihoods and increased social cohesion, NI’s work aims to deprive extremists of their local support.


Vitol Foundation has supported NI since 2017, initial funding their entry into north-eastern Nigeria, and our current grant is facilitating the launch of NI’s multi-year intervention in Burkina Faso, where they will target farmers in semi-arid agricultural communities and herder populations that interface with these communities, providing them locally demanded and innovative rural livelihoods and agribusiness opportunities within specific agricultural value chains.

These livelihood and agribusiness opportunities, or locally designed development activities, will integrate key systems like conflict, trauma, nutrition, climate change, trade and others in the local design process. Women will play a prominent role in the sequencing of activities, to ensure their active participation in the programme. The intent is to serve over 6,500 farmer households to increase their crop yields by up to 32% by the end of 2024.

Over the past ten years, NI has demonstrated success in developing resilient, locally-led organizations in rural areas of Kenya, Ethiopia, and north-eastern Nigeria. NI plans to scale throughout the Sahel, a region in a conflict fuelled by violent extremism and state fragility. Through co-creating solutions with local leaders and stakeholders, NI International helps build community resilience against violent extremism and help communities to adapt to climate change and other shocks.