Livelihood Development & Quality of Life: CLASSY Awards Top 5

Livelihood Development programs work to educate developing countries about the importance of sanitation, sexual education and hygiene. Quality of Life programs work to provide economically disadvantaged populations with clothes and toys to improve their overall quality of life. View the key indicators of this subcategory here.

Coffee Initiative
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Coffee is Ethiopia’s leading export and provides a livelihood for 1 in 10 Ethiopians. Coffee farmers are held back by poor yields, low prices, and a fragmented market system. As many families still struggle to survive at subsistence levels, the potential to increase coffee income represents food, health care, a child’s education and improved living conditions. There are currently 840,000 coffee farmers living in poverty in Ethiopia.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Coffee Initiative
Program Name


Start date

Paul Stewart
Program Director


TechnoServe establishes farmer-owned coffee processing businesses across Ethiopia by first training farmers in best practices and then partnering wtih leading coffee companies to improve transparency, stewardship and working conditions across their supply chains. Through hands-on trainings, the program educates smallholder coffee farmers on sustainable farming practices that increase coffee yields. Farmer cooperatives establish low-cost, rural coffee processing stations to improve coffee quality, and provide them with business support. TechnoServe strengthens connections in the market system to enhance the global competitiveness of farmers’ specialty coffee. There are now 150,658 farmers in Ethiopia supported by this program, with 65,677 trained in agronomy. Farmers in Ethiopia have sold their coffee for 25% more, and $11,582,353 in financing has been available to program participants. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”George Howell, Founder, George Howell Coffee” class=”top5″]The achievements of the Ethiopian farmer communities with the assistance of TechnoServe seem monumental to me. From producers of run-of-mill commercial coffee of little worth they have catapulted to being the highest quality producers in Ethiopia, in our opinion. [/su_quote]

Securing Agrarian Land Rights in Burma
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING For 2/3 of the Burmese population land is their greatest asset: the source of food, water, and livelihood. A 2012 law requires all farmers to register their lands. But most farmers don’t know about the law, and the procedures for registration are poorly designed. This creates a dangerous opportunity for land-grabbing and exploitation in a country that has a long history of both.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Securing Agrarian Land Rights in Burma
Program Name

150 Village Tracts Across 5 States, Myanmar

Start date

Laura Goodwin
Program Director


Namati has deployed community paralegals, or grassroots legal advocates, to help farmers in Burma to understand the land policy, register their lands, and object if others try to register their lands. Collecting data on each case, they plan to use that information to advocate for systemic improvements. Right now the process goes as such: Paralegals conduct legal literacy sessions and assist people to register their lands. The Civil and Political Rights Campaign Group (CPRCG) and Namati provide paralegals with ongoing support and supervision. Namati staff analyze data from cases to identify how policy is working and how it can be improved. CPRCG, Namati, and paralegals use data to advocate with government for system-wide reforms. In less than a year, Namati trained 30 paralegals, developed the paralegal methodology and defined the data collection system. This small group of paralegals have already assisted 2,000 clients and resolved more than 100 cases. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Laura Goodwin, Program Director” class=”top5″] Demand for assistance from thousands of farmers shows the value they place on paralegal assistance. The incredible commitment of our partners and paralegals will underpin the transformation of this experience into change for all those seeking land rights in Burma. [/su_quote]

Cradle to Career
Ubuntu Education Fund
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING A disproportionate number of the country’s 4.1 million live in Port Elizabeth’s townships. There, poverty is pervasive and, despite South Africa’s average 3.2% GDP, inequality cripples the nation’s economic development. The bottom 40% earns less than 8% of the income share, while the top 10% holds over half. Unemployment in the Eastern Cape hovers at 30%, with youth unemployment at 50%.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Cradle to Career
Program Name

Eastern Cape, South Africa

Start date

Jana Zindell
Program Director


The Ubuntu Model revolutionizes traditional development models by redefining the theory of “going to scale.” Ubuntu provides comprehensive household stability, health, and education services to 2,000 vulnerable children and their families living in the townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The program addresses all obstacles that children face and individualized programs encompass medical care in the art clinic, academic support from early childhood development to university scholarships, and household stabilization services. Household stability interventions include routine home assessments, psychosocial support, and food security assistance. Health programs range from the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission initiative to HIV and TB testing, treatment, and support to medical assessments, and educational services provide cradle to career academic support from ECD classes to university scholarships. An independent McKinsey & Company study found that every $1 that Ubuntu invests in its children will result in lifetime earnings of $8.70. Upon graduating from Ubuntu, scholars will each contribute approximately $195,000 to society over the course of their lifetimes, while non-Ubuntu clients will cost society an average of $9,000. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Jacob Lief, Founder and CEO” class=”top5″] Rather than expand geographically, we have found that deepening the level of our services—focusing on the depth rather than the breadth of our impact—has yielded [greater] success. [/su_quote]


WaterAid Nigeria
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to adequate sanitation. This problem is severe in sub-Saharan Africa, where 215 million people continue to engage in open defecation. Nigeria, with the largest population in Africa, is no exception: 103 million people lack access to sanitation. As a result, Nigeria is unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goal for sanitation by 2015.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]WaterAid Nigeria
Program Name

Benue, Ekiti, Enugu, Plateau, Jigawa, and Bauchi states, Nigeria

Start date

Michael Ojo
Program Director


In 2010, WaterAid Nigeria set out a new 5-year country strategy that established targets to reach 1.6 million people with their network and an additional 5 million people with water and sanitation. Since the strategy’s launch, they have succeeded in providing direct access to safe, clean water to more than 450,000 Nigerians and provided access to adequate sanitation to 480,000. In addition, WaterAid has also recently introduced a commitment to monitor a sampling of past projects at intervals of 1, 3, 5 and 10 years after implementation, with a special focus on equity and inclusion, and sustainability to ensure work both targets the poorest and continues to endure after WaterAid phases out direct support. In 2013, 209,093 people in Nigeria now have access to functional, sustainable and safe sanitation facilities and are practicing improved hygiene behavior. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Michael Ojo, Program Director” class=”top5″] WaterAid Nigeria has done some really excellent work. However, the need is still massive. I look forward every day to the challenge of taking the Nigeria Country Program to the next level, contributing to the significant change sweeping the country, and directly impacting the lives of the many Nigerians who still don’t have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities [/su_quote]

"At WaterAid, learning is central to our work. We continually review, refine and adapt our methods and our thinking to make sure that our work is sustainable, innovative, relevant and effective."
“At WaterAid, learning is central to our work. We continually review, refine and adapt our methods and our thinking to make sure that our work is sustainable, innovative, relevant and effective.”


Land Restoration and Sustainable Agriculture
Plant With Purpose
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING 42% of children under age 5 in Tanzania suffer from under-nutrition. Poverty & hunger are directly related to the environment. Out of desperation to feed their families, farmers often cut trees to sell as firewood or to clear land for cultivation. Deforestation leads to erosion, soil depletion, & an inability to retain water. These circumstances create harsher farming conditions and less crop production.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Land Restoration and Sustainable Agriculture
Program Name

Kilimanjaro region, United Republic of Tanzania

Start date

Richard Mhina
Program Director


PWP equips farmers to manage their land through tree planting and sustainable agriculture techniques, soil restoration and reforestation. As farmers reforest barren land, they restore the land’s ability to produce healthy crops. Farmers then participate in the Farmer Field Schools, a training method that facilitates learning through guided practical experience, shared knowledge, and collaborative experimentation. The school focuses on biointensive gardens, which have proven to increase yields substantially. With greater production, families enjoy better nutrition, and household incomes increase through the sale of surplus produce. In 2013, there were 4,406 partnering farming families that saw a 64% increase in crop yield due to training received. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Richard Mhina, Program Director” class=”top5″] Through the increased participation in organic vegetable production, we are opening new markets for our farmers to sell their crops. We have witnessed transformation as our beneficiaries have greater food security. [/su_quote]

The Hunger & Poverty Experts

The Leadership Council is an honorary board comprised of a diverse group of experts that will collectively determine the winners of the CLASSY Awards in this cause sector. Their unique perspective and valuable insight establishes this recognition as one of the highest honors in the social sector.

Photo credit: TechnoServe

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