The Nuru Model

Our holistic, sustainable, and scalable development model consists of the following components:

Exit Strategy

We begin each project with an exit strategy and clearly defined exit criteria. Our goal is to go in, equip the community to create effective solutions that create sustainable, scalable impact, and then leave.


Nuru equips local leaders with tools and knowledge to lead their communities out of extreme poverty by integrating impact programs that address the most prevalent and fundamental challenges of extreme poverty around four areas of need:

  • Hunger
  • Inability to Cope with Financial Shocks
  • Preventable Disease and Death
  • Lack of Access to Quality Education for Children

Rather than give handouts, we design training-based poverty solutions that promote self-reliance and service-mindedness to enable local leaders to continue scaling impact long after Nuru International staff has exited the project. To learn how local leaders address these needs in Nuru Kenya, see below:

By addressing all four needs in an integrated way, an individual is not only able to choose to improve his or her own well-being and to climb out of the poverty trap, but also avoids falling back into poverty.


Our work is sustainable by design. Our Leadership Program focuses on restoring agency in local leaders and on building the opportunity structure necessary to sustain and scale programs. To accomplish this, we’ve developed a process of co-creation that encourages critical thinking, feedback, and debate that equips local staff to fully operate all programs without dependency on any expat staff. For a complete overview of our leadership philosophy, methodology, process, curriculum, monitoring and evaluation, download the Nuru Leadership Program Manual.

Nuru Social Enterprises (NSE) exists to fund sustainable poverty eradication. NSE invests in local entrepreneurs and incubates a diverse portfolio of profitable businesses in the developing world. Profits from these businesses are distributed to shareholders and reinvested into the local community development organization.

Monitoring & Evaluation

Our dedicated in-house Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) team monitors progress toward impact of all of Nuru programs and conducts poverty evaluations using the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). The NI M&E team trains and equips a counterpart local M&E team to carry on these critical functions after international staff exit.

The Leadership Program, NSE, M&E, and the four impact programs work together to end extreme poverty in remote, rural areas.

“Holistic development remains the elusive holy grail of the social sector. We’ve looked long and hard for a way to have promising models for health, livelihoods, and education play out in the same place at the same time: we think that Nuru has one of the most promising approaches we’ve seen.”

Kevin Starr, MD Mulago Foundation

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