The project titled, Enhanced Livelihoods Investment Initiative (ELII), is a partnership between Unilever, Acumen and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership.
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ELII seeks to improve the livelihoods of around 300,000 smallholder farmers and their communities in Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The three-year initiative will focus on economic growth and decreasing poverty amongst low-income communities in the developing world.
“This partnership has the potential to dramatically increase the scale of what we can do to support smallholder farmers, empower women across our supply chains and in turn help build sustainable, viable businesses that alleviate poverty. Ultimately, we see this as a new model for creating a vibrant ecosystem of enterprises across supply chains,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.
Globally, there are 2.5 billion people working in smallholder agriculture. An estimated 500 million small farms produce 80 per cent of the food consumed in emerging markets, from Southern Asia to sub-Saharan Africa, this is according to the International Fund on Agricultural Development.
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These farmers face many challenges of creating agricultural innovations that can help pull them out of poverty.
“It is my hope that this partnership will set a new standard for how social enterprises and corporations must work together if we are to achieve a shared vision of creating more inclusive economies that bring dignity and positive change to those traditionally left behind by traditional aid and capital markets,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, Acumen’s CEO and Founder.