Rural and Economic Development

Many impoverished communities around the world are ripe with natural resources, but lack the knowledge or opportunity necessary to form a market and delivery system to distribute and gain profit from their goods.

Working at both the grassroots and global trading levels, World Hope International helps to lay the groundwork for business in developing countries and empowers communities to succeed. For example, Adelphe and the Village Partnerships program promote entrepreneurship at the community level, which aims to create sustainable food and income security, while FIRST STEP connects businesses investing in Sierra Leone with international trading opportunities. Finally, WHI’s Mobile Power and Integrated Energy Center program encourage entrepreneurship.

To learn more about WHI’s current Village Partnerships & Rural Development efforts, read the 2016 Rural & Economic Development Annual Report.


FIRST STEP is an Economic Opportunity Zone (EOZ) on 50-acres of government-sponsored land just outside of Sierra Leone’s primary seaport, Freetown. Here, foreign investors find a unique opportunity to build scalable factory facilities and establish export processing activity, while receiving tax and trade benefits. In turn, these companies enrich lives in Sierra Leone through creating job opportunity and providing community training. A subsidiary of World Hope International and utilizing the organization’s extensive in-country experience, FIRST STEP introduces opportunities for direct, foreign investment in Sierra Leone, aiding in the revitalization of an entire country. Learn more.

Sisters (Adelphé)

Sisters (Adelphé) is a unique economic development program that is advancing entire Cambodian communities through the empowerment of women. By providing women with economic development opportunities, education and health care, entire families and communities are inspired to seek the dignity and hope of a life free from extreme poverty. 

In 2016, WHI worked directly with 139 women in five villages on agriculture and water projects, drilled 12 water wells, and mobilized 5,040 small loans and 2,847 savings accounts. Additionally, WHI provided dental care to Cambodian residents, many whom have never previously received any form of dental care. Learn More.

Mobile Power

In Sierra Leone, 94 percent of the population does not have access to electricity due to poor infrastructure and unaffordability. Without clean, affordable and reliable electricity, areas like education, health, and communications are negatively impacted.

To address this issue, WHI and Mobile Power Ltd., a small UK start-up, partnered in 2016 to provide clean & affordable energy to the beyond-the-grid population in Sierra Leone. As part of our program, we provide portable battery systems that are powered by solar energy to deliver clean energy at an affordable price. The smart-battery rental system, designed by Mobile Power, is available at local shops and provides users with sufficient clean energy to charge mobile phones and power bright LED lights.

The goal of the project is to strengthen a small, sustainable business that will eventually survive independent of any donor funding. From a business perspective, the program provides a low-cost, highly scalable business model with a healthy return on investment for shop owners.

In 2016, WHI and Mobile Power launched the first Mobile Power Sierra Leone site in Pate Bana, a village heavily impacted by the recent Ebola outbreak. The pilot was the first chance to test pricing and customer demand and to make sure the technology and business model would thrive in Sierra Leone.

Learn more.We plan to expand to more sites in 2017 and look forward to updating you on our efforts.

The Integrated Energy Center

Three out every four Haitians live without electricity. Even Haitians who do have access to electricity spend a great deal of time in the dark due to frequent power outages, which in turn hinders access to other basic needs like quality health care, education, sanitation, and security.

In partnership with TMD Solar Outreach, a subsidiary of the Transformative Materials and Devices laboratory at Yale University, WHI is excited to announce the launch of its first project to design and develop a sustainable Integrated Energy Center (IEC) to serve communities that lack access to modern and clean energy in Haiti! Through continuous research, monitoring and evaluation of the IEC, WHI will be able to improve designs and project reach to better serve those in Haiti who are lacking access to energy and electricity. Through the IEC pilot program, WHI’s goal is to install a solar power system to a local school and build an integrated energy center that will provide basic energy needs lacking in the surrounding community.

Village Partnerships

World Hope International’s Village Partnerships program connects US-based churches, schools or organizations with specific African villages to address multiple needs and act as a comprehensive response to the cycle of poverty.

Village Partnerships train and empower community leaders, focusing on supporting sustainable activities that result in economic stability and enhanced livelihoods. Spiritual growth, food security, education, agribusiness and community health are addressed in a coordinated way to bring lasting improvement. 

In 2016, WHI worked with six villages to construct three churches and undertake a number of economic development and health activities. For example, a full 840 bushels of groundnuts and rice seed were distributed to 430 farmers and the increasing yields from quality seeds boosted income for families and enabled them to pay school fees for their children and to address other economic problems. Additionally, 75 farmers were trained in modern agricultural practices and villages were provided with 14 latrines, which are important for preventing the spread of disease. In 2017, WHI plans to conduct additional hygiene training for all Village Partnership communities, construct a community center in one village, and procure rice seed for seed bank restocking. Learn more

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