The IKEA Foundation awards BOMA $10.1 million to empower vulnerable communities impacted by climate change


Founded 15 years ago to eliminate extreme poverty among pastoralist women in Kenya, BOMA has since transformed the lives of more than 450,000 participants in multiple countries and is on a growth trajectory to lift 3 million people out of extreme poverty by 2027. BOMA’s mission is to provide the people and governments of Africa’s drylands with economic inclusion programs that increase resilience to multiple crises. BOMA is a registered 501(c)(3) in the United States and a Kenyan NGO. Learn more.

Meet Pauline

What does it mean to escape the vicious cycle of extreme poverty? For many of us, it is difficult to understand the realities of daily life in the places most impacted by climate change — but Pauline Nakali, a BOMA participant in Turkana county, Kenya, has lived it.

“I used to be treated as a nobody, an outcast, and I carried so much shame,” Pauline said. “BOMA changed my life, and I am so thankful. Now, I feel respected and valued by my community. I feel I have a voice.”

Through the IKEA Foundation partnership, BOMA will build on its established, sustainable and cost-effective approach to lift families out of extreme poverty through green enterprises

December 12, 2022 NAIROBI — IKEA Foundation has awarded BOMA, a Kenya and U.S. based non-profit, a grant of $10.1 million to support the organization’s innovative approach to alleviating poverty in regions severely impacted by climate change.

“We know that there’s an inextricable link between climate change and extreme poverty, especially in the arid regions of Africa,” said BOMA’s CEO John Stephens. “At BOMA, we’re optimizing our approach to not only lift people out of poverty — but to do it in ways that are sustainable and even restorative.”
“This partnership with the IKEA Foundation is a transformative step forward in that mission,” said Stephens. “We’re grateful for the funding and support.”
“We are excited to be partnering with BOMA to establish green enterprises in Kenya,” said Per Heggenes, CEO of IKEA Foundation. “By working together with BOMA to scale their innovative approach to helping vulnerable communities withstand climate change and build their own resilience, we can lift more people out of poverty and also protect our planet.”

BOMA’s new initiative, Livelihoods and Inclusion for Transformation in Kenya (LIFT), funded by this grant will catalyze opportunities for 15,600 people living in extreme poverty. It will focus particularly on women, youth, refugees, and displaced people, supporting them to launch and build 3,650 environmentally friendly enterprises in Samburu and Turkana counties. The program will be implemented in partnership with Smart Regional Consultants Danish Church Aid, Kenya, and respective county governments and local community organizations. It is ultimately expected to benefit more than 93,000 people in Northern Kenya over two years. Throughout the three-year initiative, BOMA and the IKEA Foundation will partner with researchers from Innovations for Poverty Action. The researchers will conduct an independent randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of BOMA’s climate-focused approach for future expansion. LIFT Kenya will build upon an initial pilot of BOMA’s climate-adapted approach, known as Green REAP. This was conducted with support from Whole Planet Foundation and the Climate Justice Resilience Fund in Samburu County, Kenya from 2019 to 2021. The successful Green REAP pilot demonstrated that, after two years of implementation, 60 percent of participants had shifted away from destructive livelihoods such as charcoal harvesting and into sustainable enterprises. These included tree nurseries, beekeeping, and soil-restoring aloe farms. Furthermore, 60 percent of participants joined local community conservation groups and more than 30,000 tree seedlings have been planted that help restore and create healthy ecosystems and tackle climate change. BOMA’s poverty graduation approach — the Rural Entrepreneur Access Project, REAP — has been proven to have a lasting impact on participants. It empowers women, youth, and refugees by providing the resources, tools, knowledge, and connections to develop reliable incomes that help families to invest in the future — from saving for a rainy day to paying for their daughter’s school fees. Upon graduating from REAP, participants report marked increases in wellbeing, resilience to shocks, and quality of life including a 509% increase in savings and a 32% increase in household income, on average. Learn more about the impact of BOMA’s program here. Media Contacts: BOMA: Elodie Sampere, IKEA Foundation: Lotika Mehta,

The IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation is a strategic philanthropy that focuses its grant making efforts on tackling the two biggest threats to children’s futures: poverty and climate change. It currently grants more than €200 million per year to help improve family incomes and quality of life while protecting the planet from climate change. Since 2009, the IKEA Foundation has granted more than €1.5 billion to create a better future for children and their families. In 2021 the Foundation decided to make an additional €1 billion available over the next five years to accelerate the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions. Learn more.

Media Room

Dig deeper into the details of this partnership and it’s intended impact. Here, you’ll find photos for media use, a summary of available sources, and more.