The problem: Multidimensional poverty in last mile communities

RTV partners with subsistence farming households in last-mile villages in Sub-Saharan Africa who earn <$1/day and struggle with multifaceted poverty. In these communities, households face scarcity barriers around food, healthcare, and access to water, making it difficult for them to utilize their limited income and earnings on activities outside of immediate basic needs. With little access to income, savings, and credit, entrepreneurship is often out of reach. Such vulnerabilities beget additional vulnerabilities, and millions of households living in often excluded last-mile communities struggle with the effects of ultra-poverty for generations, often deemed “too difficult” or “too expensive” to reach through traditional development programs. While each project RTV runs reflects the unique challenges of a community, common challenges shared by community members include:

  • High levels of food insecurity and poor dietary diversity
  • High instances of illness and long distances to health services
  • Long distances to clean water sources
  • Lack of startup capital for entrepreneurial activities and limited levels of financial literacy within the community
  • Poor agricultural yields due to soil exhaustion, erosion, and limited access to improved agricultural inputs
  • Poor access to markets due to a lack of roads and infrastructure

The solution: a data-informed livelihoods model

RTV’s poverty graduation model is low-cost, holistic, and data-informed, enabling last-mile subsistence farming communities to break the cycle of ultra-poverty. Through carefully sequenced activities that prioritize the most vulnerable, RTV focuses on increasing Household Income and Production from <$1/day to over $2/day by increasing agricultural income, diversifying income and productive assets, and alleviating barriers to community participation in economic activities. Throughout the process, RTV relies on continuous and real-time data analytics to address key barriers to well-being, inform decision-making, optimize interventions, and maximize impact.

RTV engages with partner communities through a consultative process that synthesizes community input with a data-informed model to co-design program activities, support community buy-in, and encourage sustainability of impact. With a focus on increasing household incomes, RTV enables households to secure basic needs and build capacity so they can increase participation and productivity in livelihoods. This includes improving food security by providing access to vegetable seedlings, clean water sources, facilitating health, hygiene, and sanitation awareness outreaches, and providing healthy household training sessions that focus on gender equity.

How RTV works

To enhance household incomes and production through agriculture, RTV provides households with improved inputs and training on climate-smart farming practices to create a cost-effective and sustainable ecosystem that transitions farmers from subsistence to income generation. To diversify income, RTV provides access to financial literacy training, establishes Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), and promotes income-generating activities to support community-driven initiatives and ensure sustainable pathways for income generation. To support these activities, RTV establishes and builds upon local community structures with a focus on inclusive leadership. This includes identifying community leaders, specifically women and youth representation, to serve as Community Champions and Committee leaders that support peer-to-peer education across best practices in Agriculture, WASH, Livestock, and VSLAs.

Throughout this program, RTV transforms how data is integrated and analyzed in program design, implementation, and monitoring to maximize impact and minimize costs. The team utilizes custom technologies to collect data and conduct advanced data analytics in real-time, so data can be used to support community-led decision-making and enable on-the-ground teams to use real-time insights for targeted support. These tools guide an effective means of allocating resources and ensure that trends align with long-term sustainability targets. Through household-level check-ins, RTV provides individualized and ongoing coaching and support across key training and addresses external challenges to strengthen communities’ skills to maintain, repair, and expand livelihoods following graduation. Through more formal evaluation activities, such as Standard Evaluations and Annual Household Surveys, RTV monitors household progress, analyzes key drivers of change, and adjusts program activities as needed to provide communities with hands-on customizable capacity-building support. Together, this enables RTV to focus efforts on the most vulnerable, such as women-headed households, youth, and the lowest income earners, so entire communities continue to sustainably grow their income after program graduation.