Strategic Plan 2013-2017

A Catalyst and Partner

TechnoServe’s vision is to be the most effective catalyst and partner for transformative, on-the-ground, market-based solutions to poverty. Our strategic plan shows how we will achieve this vision and double our impact by 2017.

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The strategic plan is also available for download.

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In 2010, more than 100 coffee farmers in southwestern Ethiopia banded together to form a cooperative. These farmers wanted to increase their incomes and change the area’s reputation for low-quality coffee. They called their cooperative Duromina – “prosperity,” in the local language.

TechnoServe began working with the cooperative’s members to develop their business and farming practices. With our support, Duromina acquired a wet mill, which enabled the cooperative to produce high-quality beans. TechnoServe helped connect Duromina to several international roasters that paid a premium price for the coffee.

With their new income, Duromina’s members built a bridge for their remote community, allowing easier access to markets and a health clinic. Farmers have invested in their homes, improved their families’ nutrition and expanded the local primary school through grade eight. Families now can afford to send their children to a nearby secondary school, and even beyond to university.

TechnoServe sparks this kind of transformation in places that face the greatest need. An estimated 842 million people across the world are chronically hungry, and the countries in which we work are home to more than 1.8 billion poor people. Our work helps poor people not only to increase their incomes, but to recover from setbacks using their new skills and knowledge.

TechnoServe aims to double our impact by 2017. We have set five-year targets to increase our reach and economic impact:


Reach: One million enterprising people will directly benefit from our work in a single year by 2017. These 1 million people – at least 35 percent of whom will be women – include farmers, entrepreneurs and people with newly created jobs.


Economic impact: The farms, businesses and industries we work with will generate $500 million dollars in cumulative financial benefits between 2013 and 2017. The benefits, which include incremental revenues for farmers and businesses and new wages, will be directly attributable to our work.

This strategic plan outlines how we will achieve our goals. Just as Duromina’s farmers are improving lives in their community, we aim to create change that lasts long after our work ends.


Who We Are

TechnoServe works with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries.

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What We Do

TechnoServe works with individuals and businesses to address market failures in the developing world.

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Our Journey to Date

TechnoServe is at an exciting stage of our development. After a period of rapid growth and expansion, we are applying the lessons we’ve learned in this expanded footprint and creating even greater impact.

In the past decade, we have demonstrated how our programs can transform lives at a large scale. Thanks to generous support from strategic partners, we expanded our coffee, dairy and cotton programs to reach hundreds of thousands of men and women. We have broadened the range of sectors in which we work. We also have strengthened our programs that span multiple sectors, particularly our work to develop promising small businesses and the organizations and services they need to thrive.

As a result, farmers are selling to new markets and running their farms as businesses. Businesspeople are growing their enterprises and creating jobs. Entire industries are scaling and attracting new market players. The people with whom we work are able not only to increase their incomes, but to recover from setbacks using their new skills and knowledge. TechnoServe’s impact is rippling through families and communities, creating a better future for people facing poverty.

In the process, we have learned some important lessons. We have learned that in order to change lives at scale, we need to develop country-specific strategies and leverage our practical and proven approaches to strengthening high-potential sectors. We have seized new opportunities to partner with corporations and local governments. And we have responded to the challenges we face in evaluating our impact, helping move us toward realizing the full potential of our work.

Today, the environment in which TechnoServe operates presents an evolving set of opportunities and challenges. Six key factors will have profound implications for our work:

The accelerating growth of African economies

During the past decade, six of the top 10 fastest-growing economies in the world were in sub-Saharan Africa.

Demographic shifts and the evolving face of poverty

By 2025, a large proportion of the world’s poor are expected to be living in fragile states, largely in Africa, and in middle-income countries marked by high income inequality. Slow growth in rural areas will prompt continuing migration to urban areas.

Persistent global food insecurity

The global population is expected to reach 9 billion in the next four decades. More than 800 million people today are chronically undernourished, and research suggests that increased incomes alone will not solve this problem.

A shifting donor paradigm

Corporations are devoting more resources to tackling poverty and other social issues, while emerging market countries are beginning to play a larger role in investing in their own development. 

Transformative technology

Mobile phones and other technologies are offering new ways of providing information, market access and financial services in poor communities.

The growing importance of environmental sustainability in the face of climate change

The agriculture sector is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Climate change also will contribute to increasing competition, and potentially conflict, over scarce natural resources.


Maasai Women Dairy

TechnoServe is helping thousands of Maasai women transform their lives by improving their business skills and practicing effective dairy farming techniques.

On The Ground

In the coming five years, TechnoServe aims to deepen our impact in existing and emerging country programs. This focus will help us achieve greater impact with fewer resources.

Our work will target several priorities in particular in the next five years:

  • Our experience has shown that there is no such thing as “gender-neutral” development work – and we are likely to achieve greater impact if we can effectively engage and benefit women. We are developing approaches to ensure that all of our programs include an explicit focus on women.
  • In Africa, the median age is now 18 and there are 70 million more children under age 14 than there were a decade ago. We will develop our ability to target young people, given the exploding youth demographic in the places where we work.
  • We will promote job creation and labor market development in both rural and urban areas. It is critical that we generate more economic opportunities to respond to the challenges of unemployed youth, urban migration and growing uncertainty around resource-based livelihoods. 
  • We will pursue emerging opportunities such as information and communication technologies, climate-smart agriculture and natural resource management. These areas have the potential to accelerate our impact and improve our ability to adapt to emerging realities.
  • All of this work will be underpinned by a focus on strategic partnerships that enable us to increase the scale, sustainability and cost-effectiveness of our work. These opportunities seem particularly likely with corporations and local country governments.


India Enterprise Development

TechnoServe helped train Mala Giridhar (left) in critical skills that have allowed her crafts business to thrive and provide local economic opportunity.

Strategic Priorities

Achieving our ambitious goal of doubling our impact in the next five years will challenge TechnoServe to reach new heights in how we function as an organization. Our ability to create lasting change for millions of people around the world will be directly linked to our success at focusing on four critical strategic priorities.

We will ensure excellence in our programs.

What will we achieve by 2017?

We will improve our ability to design and implement business solutions to poverty. Our efforts will address the need to consistently and cost-effectively deliver our main activities: developing capacity, promoting market connections and improving the business environment. Building on our rigorous impact measurement system, we will expand our ability to capture and learn from our own data and knowledge. At the same time, we will develop improved transparency around our work, our impact and our lessons learned in order to guide our staff and others in our field to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

How will we achieve this?

  • Strengthen our foundation: We will develop new programs based on robust country strategies; identify and prioritize “focus” sectors, such as coffee, cashew and cocoa, where we can drive impact at scale; and improve our financial and administrative functions.
  • Invest in execution and learning: We will devote resources to improving each aspect of our program cycle: design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and course correction based on accurate measurement and lessons learned.
  • Promote innovation and exchange: We will lead innovations across a broad range of programmatic and technical areas while improving our ability to share knowledge both within TechnoServe and with partners and stakeholders.

How will we measure success?

  • Program effectiveness
  • Program efficiency

We will become the leading facilitator of corporate and public-private partnerships that advance our mission. 

What will we achieve by 2017?

Corporations are increasingly investing in models that tackle poverty and deliver positive business outcomes. TechnoServe is drawing on this interest to create long-term benefits for poor communities. Corporate partners offer resources, expertise and market access that allow us to advance our mission and increase our impact. And complementary partnerships with governments and other donors can help ensure these programs create the broadest possible benefits for the public and solve the toughest development challenges. By 2017, we will have secured significant relationships with 10 to 20 corporate partners that allow us to create sustainable impact at scale for people facing poverty.

How will we achieve this?

  • Align our organization to support corporate and public-private partnerships: We will coordinate efforts across the organization to identify new opportunities for impact with corporate partners.
  • Build a core team of specialists: We will launch a dedicated team to help secure and develop these partnerships through proactive outreach, strategy development and implementation.
  • Strengthen existing relationships and cultivate new partners: We will deepen our engagement with current corporate partners and reach out to potential new partners based on their public commitments to impact, their alignment with our mission and their ability to commit resources.

How will we measure success?

  • Incremental revenue for high-impact programs in partnership with corporations
  • Incremental revenue from public funds to accelerate impact in associated public-private partnerships

We will ensure that TechnoServe is a great place to work for talented professionals. 

What will we achieve by 2017?

TechnoServe is a service organization, and our staff is at the heart of our ability to create lasting impact. We aim to ensure that employees and volunteers feel they are part of exciting, innovative teams and have opportunities to hone and apply their skills. We aspire to cultivate leaders who are passionate about our mission, exemplify our values and show commitment to achieving our vision. By 2017, we will improve our ability to hire, develop and retain a world-class staff that will deliver on our future goals.

How will we achieve this?

  • Cultivate our future leaders: We will identify and develop 30 to 40 staff members with the potential to fill positions of critical strategic importance, allowing us to retain key talent within the organization.
  • Solicit feedback on organizational change: We will offer our staff across the world more opportunities to share their opinions and make suggestions to improve TechnoServe’s organizational culture.
  • Build strong functional capacity and infrastructure: We will build the expertise of our headquarters- and field-based human resources teams while developing a revamped talent management infrastructure.

How will we measure success?

  • Staff development
  • Staff satisfaction/engagement
  • Staff hire and retention rates

We will improve our capital base. 

What will we achieve by 2017?

Our focused program funding has increased substantially in the past five years. It is critical that we maintain adequate capital reserves as we grow. We will improve our net asset position by improving our private fundraising, reducing our costs and ensuring the overall recovery of our total project costs. A strong capital base will provide TechnoServe with the ability to support our mission, invest in priorities and achieve long-term goals.

How will we achieve this?

  • Develop a capital reserve policy: We will determine a minimum desired capital balance to ensure that our reserves are appropriate to our needs.
  • Enhance our private fundraising efforts: We will focus on private donors in order to increase the amount of unrestricted funding we bring in each year.
  • Reduce and improve recovery of our costs: We will reduce our total project costs while increasing the overall recovery of our project expenditures from donors.

How will we measure success?

  • Net asset position to improve annually through 2017



Sparking Transformation


Together with our partners, TechnoServe is helping to grow strong markets that create opportunities for enterprising people in the developing world.

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Hardworking men and women in even the poorest places can generate income, jobs and wealth for their families and communities. Read their stories.

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