Nuru cultivates lasting meaningful choices in the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in the world. Specifically Nuru targets working in fragile, rural areas with smallholder farmers and their families to help them move from subsistence to farming as a business enterprise. Nuru facilitates the creation of sustainable farmer-owned and farmer-led cooperatives that are able to connect farmers in remote areas to regional, national, and international markets. Nuru's approach helps communities develop locally adapted solutions to addressing hunger, economic shocks, and preventable disease and death. Nuru's forward looking plans are focused on eradicating extreme poverty and unlocking economic potential in highly fragile communities of the Sahel to stop the spread of violent extremism by 2030.
From the very beginning, Nuru’s approach has been to work specifically with smallholder farmers and their families living in extreme poverty in fragile rural areas. These people are the most vulnerable members of society. They lack adequate tools to improve their rain-fed agricultural yields and suffer from chronic hunger and an inability to cope with financial shocks (sickness, crop failure, death of a family member). Mothers and children in particular become sick from preventable disease, and children lack access to quality educational opportunities. Nuru works to address a community's ability to cope with hunger, financial shocks, and preventable disease and death, particularly for mothers and small children. Nuru works to include all members of a household in its intervention, and is among the first organizations to commit to the Minimum Standards for Mainstreaming Gender Equality.
From day one, every Nuru project starts with building local ownership and buy-in. Nuru starts a separate local organization in each country that it operates. Nuru acts as the scaffolding around the local organization. Needs are identified with the community. Programs are co-designed locally. As the local organization matures, Nuru removes layers of scaffolding until the expatriate team eventually leaves after 5-7 years. The local organization continues to make impact, scale and adapt. Nuru has already accomplished this exit with its projects in Kenya (exited June 2015) and Ethiopia (exited June 2018). Nuru’s work in Kenya was also featured in 2020 as part of a three-year USAID funded research study called “Stopping As Success: Planning For Success From Start To Exit” conducted by Search for Common Ground. To date, Nuru has enabled more than 130,000 people to begin lifting themselves out of extreme poverty in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.