frPropose a project

In Rwanda, a training program based on the graduation approach to establish a pathway out of poverty

Progress stage
Jun 2024 to Dec 2026
  • Rwanda
  • Employment
  • Jun 2024 to Dec 2026

This project, led by US-based NGO Village Enterprise, aims to expand the “Graduation Approach” on a national scale, a training program which helps people living below the poverty line or in extreme poverty to become entrepreneurs and create sustainable self-employment that leads to long-term economic and psychological benefits.

Project deployed by:

Scène de rue RwandaScène de rue Rwanda


According to the World Bank, the number of people living in extreme poverty was estimated at 685 million in 2022. In Rwanda, 6.2 million people, or 52% of the population, are currently living below the international poverty line (World Bank Report, UNDP Report). There are a number of barriers preventing the country from eradicating poverty. First and foremost, Rwanda is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with 70% of the working population and 50% of its export revenue dependent on agriculture. The impacts of climate change represent an obstacle to reducing poverty and may cause the country’s GDP to drop by 5 to 7% (Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey). Secondly, experts at the NGO Village Enterprise predict that with current levels of development aid and economic growth, eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 is not feasible.

Against this backdrop, Village Enterprise has been working with the Rwandan government to roll-out its graduation approach since 2019. The results from two impact assessments have demonstrated the program’s positive and sustainable impact on consumption and the savings of targeted individuals over the long term (Village Enterprise). The government has pledged to reduce extreme poverty to less than 1% by 2024, and to completely eradicate poverty by 2030 (Village Enterprise). In November 2022, Rwandan President Paul Kagame launched the National Strategy for Sustainable Graduation (NSSG), which made the poverty graduation model a national priority.


Graduation approaches are programs that aim to create sustainable self-employment and improve the well-being of people living in extreme poverty. Village Enterprise has developed its own version of the program, tailored to the situation in Rwanda, and plans to scale up its graduation approach in four districts in northern Rwanda, while transferring the capacities developed to the government for roll-out nationwide. The program will provide support over a one-year period for groups of three individuals to launch businesses.

The program is based on five key elements:

  • Targeting households living in extreme poverty through poverty mapping by household in the communities concerned.
  • Establishing financial associations between entrepreneurs to create financial and social capital for new start-ups.
  • Providing entrepreneurship training.
  • Granting start-up financing to each business group.
  • Offering mentoring and regular coaching sessions.

Expected results

The expectation is that, with the scale-up of the graduation program, the project’s impact will be consolidated on a national scale, with a view to:

  1. Promoting entrepreneurship and increasing resilience among people living in poverty to improve their economic and psychological well-being.
  2. Eliminating extreme poverty in Rwanda for the long term, provided that the graduation model is integrated into social protection programs, donors are coordinated, and the program is decentralized on a broad scale.
Scène de rue Rwanda
Village Enterprise

Village Enterprise

Village Enterprise is a US-based NGO founded in 1987 which is working to eradicate extreme poverty in Africa. The NGO has developed and implemented its own graduation approach in Africa, which has impacted over 1.5 million beneficiaries in 264,000 households over the past 30 years.


    Projects funded by FID

    Discover all the projects