WASHINGTON, D.C. — Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has donated $10 million to The BOMA Project, a Kenya and U.S. based nonprofit that empowers women to establish sustainable livelihoods, build resilient families, graduate from extreme poverty, and catalyze change in their rural communities. BOMA is one of 286 high-impact organizations chosen for Scott’s recent round of giving.
“Because community-centered service is such a powerful catalyst and multiplier, we spent the first quarter of 2021 identifying and evaluating equity-oriented non-profit teams working in areas that have been neglected,” she wrote in Medium. “The result was $2,739,000,000 in gifts to 286 high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked.”
Since 2009, BOMA has lifted more than 226,000 women and children out of extreme poverty — defined as living on less than $1.90 per day. This gift will allow BOMA to accelerate and expand its work across Africa to reach millions of women and families.
“This transformational gift is instrumental in helping BOMA to scale our work and expand our reach,” said BOMA CEO John Stephens. “The pandemic has pushed millions worldwide into extreme poverty, and there is an urgent need for sustainable solutions. We’re proud that MacKenzie Scott has affirmed and invested in BOMA’s powerful impact in that arena.”
The drylands of Africa, BOMA’s target area, are home to more than 420 million people, and are also the epicenter of some of the highest poverty rates, chronic hunger and gender inequality in the world. The region has been heavily impacted by climate change in recent decades, with increasingly volatile cycles of drought and flooding.
BOMA’s proven model for lifting families out of poverty — known as the Rural Entrepreneur Access Program, or REAP — provides women with access to capital (and later markets and financial services), helps them to establish sustainable businesses and build savings, and mentors them in financial and life skills. Despite the economic disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, 99 percent of BOMA entrepreneurs grew income and profits in 2020.
After REAP, BOMA’s women entrepreneurs experience:
• A 29.64 percent increase in household income
• A 1,960.61 percent increase in savings
• 92.55 percent of participants have access to at least two sources of income
• 99.21 percent of participants belong to a registered savings group and have access to credit
• 99.34 percent of participants reported that household members had two meals per day in the past week
• 81 percent of BOMA entrepreneurs are still in business 3-5 years after graduation
“Over 700 million people globally still live in extreme poverty,” Scott wrote in her release. “To find solutions, we all benefit from on-the-ground insights and diverse engagement, so we prioritized organizations with local teams, leaders of color, and a specific focus on empowering women and girls.”
BOMA is an international non-profit organization seeking to end extreme poverty in Africa by unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of women and youth. Through education and business financing solutions, BOMA empowers women and youth in the drylands of Africa to establish sustainable livelihoods, build resilient families, graduate from extreme poverty, and catalyze change in their rural communities.