2014 marks the 25th anniversary of FXB Village, an innovative international NGO with a holistic approach to poverty reduction.
FXB Village provides sustained assistance to 80 to 100 families in impoverished locales for a three-year period. During this period, FXB Village provides families with training in a diverse range of fields, from healthcare to business. FXB’s goal is for families to be self-sufficient after the three years; according to FXB Village founder Albina du Boisrouvray, the NGO boasts an 86 percent rate in meeting this goal.
The case of Nite, a Ugandan widow, illustrates just how effective the FXB Village approach can be on the ground. According to du Boisrouvray, Nite was first enrolled in the program in 1994; FXB Village provided her with a cow, and school supplies for her 11 children.
FXB Village’s relatively small material investment went a long way in pulling Nite’s family out of poverty and into self-sufficiency. “After 10 years she had three cows, two pigs and some chickens, as well as land on which she was growing pineapples and coffee and a plot that she used to build a house for her eldest son. This had provided enough income to put all her children through school, two of whom went on to university, and one who got a job abroad,” said du Boisrouvray. Nite is just one of the 75,000 people that Du Boisrouvray says FXB Village has pulled out of poverty since its founding in 1989.
Du Boisrouvray, a French countess, founded FXB Village after her son Francois-Xavier Bagnoud- a search and rescue helicopter pilot- died in a helicopter accident in Mali. “When François died in 1986, I wanted to continue doing what he was passionate about: helping others,” she said. Du Boisrouvray sold off her jewels, artwork and real estate to fund the village-based program, which she believes can be a teaching tool for other NGO’s.
Said du Boisrouvray, “We help families in a way that they understand that participation is the key to eradicate poverty; they have to bring their will. It’s not just a one-way thing, it’s a participating activity hand in hand.” Du Boisrouvray has announced that she will release details of the FXB Village initiative in 2015, so that other NGO’s can draw information and inspiration from the FXB approach.
– Parker Carroll