BOMA is rising to the challenge

Our mission to deliver economic inclusion to the most marginalized and vulnerable individuals, foster empowerment, hope, and resilience to multiple crises, and promote prosperity has blossomed on a global scale. Discover all the milestones reached in our newly published 2023 Annual Report

The U.S. and Kenya Based Non-Profit will use green enterprise to empower 13,000 people to exit extreme poverty while restoring forests and drylands in Ethiopia

BOMA, a non-profit organization working at the nexus of climate change and extreme poverty in Africa’s drylands, will expand its climate-adapted approach known as “Green REAP” to Ethiopia with new funding from Trafigura foundation. The $1.3 million project, with $750,000 funded by Trafigura Foundation, will support the enrollment of 2,100 new entrepreneurs in Yabelo, Teltele, and Arero kebeles surrounding the Yabelo Wildlife Sanctuary and Borena National Park in Borena Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia.

“BOMA is rapidly scaling our work in Ethiopia,” said BOMA CEO John Stephens. “This funding from Trafigura is a critical investment in a region severely impacted by climate change, and we’re grateful for their support.”

These entrepreneurs will participate in BOMA’s two-year program known as the Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP), which will support participants in developing “green” enterprises that provide pathways out of extreme poverty for themselves and their dependents. Throughout the program, an emphasis will be placed on natural resource management and regenerative livelihoods such as tree nurseries, apiaries, and more.

With this funding from Trafigura Foundation, BOMA intends to graduate 13,000 people and support the restoration of degraded forests and pasture in drylands southern Ethiopia.

“The people and environments of Africa’s drylands are facing unfathomable challenges as a result of a warming climate,” Stephens continued. “BOMA is responding to an urgent to need to support sustainable livelihoods that deliver lasting impacts for the most vulnerable.”

BOMA’s expansion in Ethiopia is a significant step towards the organization’s goal to expand its work and impact to nine countries and 3 million people in Africa’s drylands by 2027. Ethiopia is the second most populous nation in Africa and boast a rapidly growing economy, but important socio-economic indicators including per-capita income, gender equality, and food security remain among the lowest in the world.

In the Borena Zone specifically, increasingly severe droughts have made traditional livestock-based livelihoods nearly impossible. In place of pastoralist livelihoods, local communities have been forced to rely on destructive incomes including charcoal harvesting and clearing forest land for fuel, construction, and more.

Furthermore, women and girls in Borena have traditionally been constrained by rigid gender roles and have had no agency in communal or household decision-making.

BOMA’s program has been tested and refined over more than 15 years, and emphasizes the role of vulnerable populations including women, youth, and refugees in lifting families out of starvation-level poverty. Recently, the organization has adapted its approach to emphasize resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Following a two-year pilot of this climate-adapted approach in Northern Kenya, 60 percent of participants had shifted away from destructive livelihoods such as charcoal harvesting and into sustainable enterprises like tree nurseries. Furthermore, 60 percent of participants have joined local community conservation groups and more than 30,000 tree seedlings have been planted.

To date, BOMA has lifted more than 450,000 people out of extreme poverty. Upon exiting BOMA’s program, 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.

Our Mission to #EndExtremePoverty in Africa's Drylands

More than 490 million people are living in starvation-level poverty in Africa alone. At BOMA, we believe this is an urgent problem — but one that can be solved. In response, we’ve refined a holistic approach that has transformed the lives of more than 450,000 women, youth, and refugees to date.