Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide
Economic Fairness

Expanding Livelihood Opportunities for Poor Households

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The goal of this work is to reduce poverty for rural and urban low-income households.

The Challenge

Seventy-five percent of the world's extreme poor—more than 883 million people surviving on less than $1.25 per day—live in rural areas. In the United States, some 7.5 million rural people are poor.

Many of these households earn their living from the entrepreneurial use of natural resources or by participating in the nonfarm economy. However, rural households face two critical challenges—many income-generating activities are characterized by low productivity and rural markets often do not work well for poor and low-income households. Addressing these issues is critical to improving the livelihoods of rural households and helping them move out of poverty.

What We're Doing

Our work focuses primarily on finding innovative ways to improve the livelihoods of rural residents. In West Africa, particularly Nigeria, our efforts also concentrate on improving livelihood opportunities for poor urban households. In all of the countries where we work, we focus on:

  • Encouraging research and development to test new products, delivery systems along with ways to improve access to markets for producers
  • Strengthening the infrastructure of organizations that are focused on improving rural and urban livelihoods
  • Supporting policy analysis and advocacy to improve private and public policies that affect rural livelihoods
  • Building robust global networks to support innovation and effective advocacy

Learn more about how our strategies and approaches shape our grant making.




  • Frank F. DeGiovanni
  • Ivana Fertziger
  • Rafiuddin Palinrungi
  • Ivan Tumuhimbise

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