Emmanuel Nehemiah

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2005


This profile was prepared when Emmanuel Nehemiah was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Emmanuel Nehemiah pioneers a model of development that puts rural communities in control of their economic success. He partners with existing community organizations such as cooperatives and farmers’ associations to create economic units that can efficiently translate local resources into wealth. These units raise funds from their members and start business endeavors, meeting community needs with no reliance on government or international donors.
Emmanuel helps farmers make the transition from subsistence agriculture to market-oriented farming, maximizing both their yield and their profit. To provide income during the off-season, he trains residents to make and market consumer goods like body creams, soap, and beverages. His trainees form groups, contribute seed money for their new businesses, and share the profits among themselves. Rather than giving his trainees grants or microcredits, Emmanuel helps participants find their own seed money, pushing them to develop the skills they need to continue as independent entrepreneurs.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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