Impact Project

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Impact Project: Empowering Rural Communities In The Fight Against Hunger and Extreme Poverty

Farafenni, GambiaFarafenni, Gambia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The Impact Project will empower smallholder farmers and give them the opportunity to play a leading role in the fight against hunger and extreme poverty in their own communities.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if smallholder farmers in developing countries could be empowered in a new way to enable them lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

A look at the Global Hunger Index reveals that majority of the world's hungry people are on the continent of Africa and according to the World Food Programme (WFP), 1 in 4 people in Sub-Saharan Africa is malnourished. This problem of hunger and malnutrition is what my project seeks to address. The project will encourage local efforts in tackling hunger by working with and supporting rural communities in agriculture to increase food security.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Impact Project seeks to implement what we called ' Enhanced Village Banking' (EVB) in rural communities in the 5 region of The Gambia, West Africa. The Project will provide interest and collateral free loan to help 150 smallholder farmers both men and women to set up 'EVBs' in their communities. They will work individually to raise the loan payment but will repay the Impact Project as a community not individually .In every regions, we will bring together 30 smallholder farmers from a select community. They will be given the loans and encouraged to invest in agriculture to help put them on track towards becoming food self-sufficient. One of our goals is to impact more than 20,000 smallholder farmers in the next 3 years .


(1) Recipient of the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship, (2) Named a 2015 PURSUER by the African Youth Excellence Inc. (3) Nominated for the African Youth Excellence Award in Public Service. (4) Awarded the SOLUR Undergraduate Award
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The Village Banking is a tried and tested model that was developed by the award-winning Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus .We are customizing it the rural African village setting that is the reason we renamed it as the "Enhanced Village Banking System" . Since most rural communities are primarily involved in farming, they will be trained on basic financial literacy and business management and encourage to invest the loans in agric business.There are several benefits that our system has, besides empowering farmers, the Enhanced Village Banking System will also help in building stronger communal ties which will help to ensure peace and stability of the communities and the country.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We have been working with communities and have seen how the lives of many individuals have been transformed by our projects. In summer 2015, our organization provided 135 local farmers with millet seeds for planting during the rainy season, the presentation was attended the by the Chief of the district and the member of Parliament for the region. In the same year, we also provided 75 women vegetable gardeners with vegetable seeds for a community garden that is operated by women in Wassu, The Gambia. Less than a year after the organization was founded, our projects have directly impacted over 200 households and more 1600 individuals over the summer of 2015. Our future project - Impact Project, has the potential to benefit more than 2,500 households throughout the Gambia, some 20,000 people in the next three years alone.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In terms of growth, our long term goal is for the Enhanced Village Banking System to reach even the most remote village in The Gambia , and every country in Africa. We are working to ensure that our project's impact will have a rippling effect, to empower people, so that they can also empower other people. In the next decade we plan to have locations in other countries to serve poor rural communities. In moving the Impact Project, we know that we will have to create partnerships not just in The Gambia but also in other parts of the world to make it easy to reach the most deserving people.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We understand that sustainability is key if we are to ensure that the impact of our project is lasting.This is how we plan to sustain the project: in addition to funding from foundations and other sources, we will use the money from loan payments from farmers to build a small guest house in Farafenni Town and part of the income from the guest house will be used to maintain the house and the other part will be given back to farmers as loans.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In The Gambia there is no Village Banking Scheme, our only competitors or people that are doing similar things are the Microfinance Institutions and Credit Unions that give loans to people to start businesses. With these institutions, the borrowers usually don't have a voice as to how the Microfinance or Credit Union operate but with the Impact Project, the banking system is for the communities and the decision as to how it operates lies with the community, the main role of the Impact Project is to help them get started and manage the system to ensure that it's operating effectively.

Founding Story

Rural Impact and the Impact Project were both founded and started by Balanding Manneh out of a strong need to provide local solutions to the issues of hunger and extreme poverty in The Gambia where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line. He was motivated by his childhood experience growing up in a rural village, and how his father struggled to feed his huge extended family. There was no one to support his father during his struggle as a rural farmer and that is why Balanding sees the need to empower poor rural farmers so that they can be able to increase crop yield, better feed their families to combat malnutrition and increase their standard of living.


Balanding Manneh: Founder & CEO Saiga Sowe: Finance Director Hon. Demba BT. Sambou: National Coordinator Sainey Kanteh: PRO & Community Organizer Tatjana Polke: Fundraising & Communication Sira Kebbeh: Logistics Manager. The team is capable and profoundly committed to the work we do, and as the project grows, we will not only plan to bring more female team members to occupy leading roles, we will also ensure that team members acquire the necessary relevant skills that a large project would require through refresher courses that are related to their roles within the organization, courses that can even be done online for free or for a very small fee to make sure they effectively and efficiently perform their duties to ensure accelerated growth of the project.