390 million people (and growing) live in extreme poverty in rural sub-Saharan Africa. We believe this results from a deprivation of empowerment -- the inability of people to choose lives they value.
People living in extreme poverty excel at identifying local development solutions that are technically feasible, and politically and culturally achievable. Although some existing organizations have employed community-driven development models, none has done so in a way that's scales to the size of the extreme povery problem. Yet, a confluence of recent trends has presented an opportunity to support community-driven development at scale: (1) strong donor demand for direct giving experiences; (2) myriad digital channels to move money within and across borders; and (3) proliferating telecommunications within rural Africa. Now is the time for technology-fueled poverty disruption.
Deploy financing and retrieve data from all the extreme poverty villages in a country or region within sub-Saharan Africa. This would cost approximately $10-$20 million per year in Malawi, depending on the types of projects chosen by villages.
Share field data to inform and coordinate the work of other development actors committed to disrupting extreme poverty. Improve the effectiveness of governmental programming and development assistance (the latter is $1 billion per year in Malawi).
Want to join the party? All are welcome. We're a small but growth-minded nonprofit looking for friends, collaborators, and evangelists.
We have four teams: (1) a lean, US-based team deploying and improving our direct giving and reporting technology, (2) a Malawi-based team interfacing daily with partner villages, (3) an international team of volunteers; and (4) a small but dedicated board, ripe for expansion.
Interested in a partnership, board seat, or volunteer opportunity? Let's chat.
Mike Buckler is the CEO and General Counsel of Village X.
After returning from Peace Corps Malawi in late 2008, Mike began searching for ways to improve development work in sub-Saharan Africa. In his spare time, he served as a board member and grants coordinator for Friends of Malawi (FOM), a non-profit formed by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Village X arose from grantmaking experimentation at FOM -- in particular, issuing grants to grassroots organizations and using Facebook pages to track outcomes.
Before serving as an education volunteer in Malawi, Mike received a JD from Duke and BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell. He recently received a MPP from Princeton.
Mike enjoys writing books and articles inspired by his international experiences and bicycling on dusty roads in Africa.
Jeff DePree supervises the development of the Village X website, database, and associated backend processes.
When not working on Village X, he builds websites and apps for growing communities and sharing resources. Whilst in Peace Corps Sierra Leone, he put together rpcvs.com to connect returned Peace Corps volunteers around the world.
Jeff is a vocal advocate for outdoor adventure, travel, and carpooling, and founded Adventure Anywhere to make it easier to identify opportunities for getting outdoors.
Myson Jambo is from the Zomba District of Malawi. He holds an advanced degree in public health, for which he wrote his research paper on the impact of urbanization on human health in peri-urban areas. He has several years of experience working with NGOs in the area of programming at the community level, including vetting and facilitating projects, youth engagement programming, peer mentoring, monitoring and evaluation, meeting with government officials and other stakeholders, managing and administering finances, and responding to community concerns/offering assistance where needed. He also volunteered to approve proposals from other organizations and collected projects records for one year with Friends of Malawi. He spent another year conducting health and hygiene trainings and small loans management with the Association for Rural Community Development. He believes that communities having the power to decide on projects is the key to successes in development efforts. When he is not working, Myson enjoys traveling and watching football with his favorite team, Manchester United.
Alfred is a primary school teacher and takes classes at Catholic University in pursuit of a degree in geography and social work.
Based in the Mulanje District in Southern Malawi, his specialties are civic education, organising task forces to run projects, monitoring and evaluation, and promoting community service. His passion is changemaking in village.
In his free time, he likes watching soccer, chatting with friends and traveling to new places
Wedson is the second born son from a family of five. He is from Rumphi District in Northern Malawi. Wedson is a government teacher by profession and has completed a diploma in community development. He's also a poultry and pig farmer.
Wedson likes to volunteer. He has volutneered in various primary schools as a teacher and at Nkhota-kota Community Organization. He and a friends also provide school fee payments for two orphaned children from his poor community.
Wedson Kondowe believes that taking part in developmental activities is one way of reducing poverty in communities. In his free time, Wedson likes traveling around his community, reading books, and listening to country music.
Mmacford is from the Mangochi District of Malawi. He holds an advanced certificate in tropical agriculture and a certificate in primary school teaching.
He has attended courses in spraying services, grain storage, and grading management. Mmacford has several years of experience working with NGOS, local leaders and stakeholders. In this capacity, he has worked on project programming and implementation, leadership and conflict management, monitoring and evaluation, and report writing.
Katherine Raynor is originally from New York. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Human Services at SUNY New Paltz, she worked for Family Services, a local non-profit organization in New York, for seven years. She started as Youth Prevention and Education Coordinator in their domestic violence program, before being promoted to Volunteer Coordinator, and ultimately to Program Coordinator. During her work there, she received her Masters in Social Work from Adelphi University, which also enabled her to work with Family Services' Crime Victim and Rape Crisis Center, as well as their Nurturing Parent Program. After joining the Peace Corps in 2015, she served in El Salvador as a Youth Development Volunteer. Due to increasing gang violence in the country, Katherine's service was interrupted after ten months when all Volunteers country-wide were removed. While saddened by the circumstances surrounding the interruption of her service, Katherine is excited that it has given her the opportunity to come to Malawi as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer.