2020 Annual Report

A Year of Resilience and Recovery

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, many of us were overwhelmed with concerns about our health, our financial systems, and our future.

But for too many, those feelings are the normal state of mind.

For people living in poverty, every day can be a struggle to make ends meet. Last year, as a result of the pandemic, roughly 124 million people worldwide fell into extreme poverty. Decades of progress had been reversed in just a few months. 

The pandemic caused TechnoServe to accelerate and adapt its programming to help small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs around the world adapt to this new shock. Using lessons learned during previous economic and public health crises, we applied many of TechnoServe’s time-tested approaches to reducing poverty.

We used digital platforms to help small businesses pivot their approaches in rapidly changing markets. We made training videos and held calls with smallholder farmers, whose hopes for economic survival lay in the quality of their crops. We analyzed market sectors to identify and promote ways for people living in poverty to capture a greater share of the value.

Through it all, we listened to our clients, surveying them regularly to track what worked — and what didn’t — in helping them emerge from one of the greatest economic challenges of our lifetimes. You can read more about our findings and recommendations in TechnoServe’s COVID-19 Impact Report: Rebuilding Global Livelihoods.

As a result, in a year when incomes dropped around the globe, TechnoServe’s nearly 300,000 clients and their families recorded a collective income increase of $188 million (the amount directly attributable to our work).

In a year marked by increasing food insecurity, TechnoServe helped expand access to nutrient-fortified staple foods to tens of millions of people in Africa.

We worked with smallholder farmers in India to gain access to markets and supplies amid one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. 

And we helped small-scale entrepreneurs — 53% of them women — achieve their greatest income increases in TechnoServe’s history.

This impact belongs to the resilient women and men around the world who regularly experience crises — and work tirelessly every day to build a better future.

TechnoServe’s clients are the best ones to speak for this impact, and we feature their observations throughout this report. We close here with one from Juliana Mário, a shopkeeper in Mozambique:

“If I had not accepted the invitation to attend the TechnoServe training and had not had the support and patience of my trainer, my business would have been closed[.] I am very excited about the coming year, as I have a lot of strength and many ideas for my businesses.”

  • William Warshauer
    President and CEO
  • Michael Bush
    Managing Member, BIV Investments
  • Rachel Hines
    Former Managing Director, J.P. Morgan
Show More

Our Impact in 2020

Financial Benefits
$188 million
in increased revenue and wages generated as a result of TechnoServe’s work
people and businesses who saw increased financial benefits as a result of our work
% Women
of beneficiaries were women or women-owned businesses
Finance Mobilized
$27 million
in loans and equity provided to farmers and businesses by financial institutions

1.3 million lives improved

(based on average household size per country)

Impact by Region

Latin America and Caribbean
Latin America and Caribbean
Financial Benefits
Percent Women
Finance Mobilized
East Africa
East Africa
Financial Benefits
Percent Women
Finance Mobilized
West Africa
West Africa
Financial Benefits
Percent Women
Finance Mobilized
Southern Africa
Southern Africa
Financial Benefits
Percent Women
Finance Mobilized
Financial Benefits
Percent Women
Finance Mobilized

“We thought that the pandemic was going to affect us a lot. We never imagined that we were going to be the ones to generate work and stability for the community.”
-Eloy Castañón, smallholder farmer, Mexico

Impact by Country

Click or tap a country to see its 2020 impact data.

+ -
For every $1 invested in our programs, TechnoServe’s beneficiaries gain an average of $3.64 more income.

“I was excited to see TechnoServe messages on my phone, with my name, in my language. It is my only good memory of the lockdown.”
-Naboth Arinaitwe, coffee farmer, Uganda

Impact by Sector

Click or tap below to see sub-sector impact.

Financial Benefits
Finance Mobilized
Total $89,928,865 234,593 35% $23,407,933
Other High-Value Agriculture
Other Agriculture
Show More
Financial Benefits
Finance Mobilized
Total $97,963,188 63,855 54% $3,982,279
Micro/Small/Growing Businesses
Food Processing
Other Enterprise Development
Show More

Sector Spotlight: Food Processing

As TechnoServe worked to reduce poverty over the years, we encountered a common problem: many smallholder farmers did not have reliable, profitable markets for their crops.

One of the most promising solutions? Work with local food processors.

These companies can buy large amounts of farmers’ commodities and turn them into higher-value products like flour, cooking oil, or dairy products. In doing so, the food processors not only support farmer livelihoods, but create jobs and promote economic activity across the value chain, while also improving year-round consumer access to safe, nutritious foods.

However, many local food processors lack the capacity or technical knowledge to operate at their full potential. So in 2010, TechnoServe began working with food processors in Africa, soon partnering with a nonprofit consortium of global food companies, Partners in Food Solutions, to help these processing businesses expand and improve their operations.

Like much of TechnoServe’s work, our technical support for food processors helps address fundamental market gaps that prevent people in poverty from attaining higher, self-sustaining incomes. As such, the direct impact can often be challenging to measure — extending across multiple links in a value chain and through the record books of private businesses.

As with all our programs, TechnoServe is always seeking ways to better capture the extent of the impact of this food processing work. But over nine years, we have clear indications of the “halo effect” that makes work in this sector so important for broader local development.

Working with Partners in Food Solutions, TechnoServe has provided training to 1,650 African food processors and customized technical assistance to 374 processors, improving their capacity to purchase from smallholder farmers, create jobs, and produce safer and nutritious food for consumers.

The firms receiving technical assistance have:

  • Purchased commodities from an estimated 1.1 million smallholder farmers, securing and expanding these farmers’ market access.
  • Created 1,263 new food processing jobs, bolstering local employment and incomes.
  • Produced an additional 4.2 million metric tons of newly fortified food, providing tens of millions of people with access to essential micronutrients and a chance for a healthier and more productive life.

Food processors and other agri-food businesses are increasingly recognized as the linchpins of resilient food systems. Expanded investment in, and support to, these enterprises across emerging markets could have a transformative effect on the agricultural sector. 

The Names and Numbers Behind Crisis Resilience

As TechnoServe worked to support small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs through a year of crisis, we also conducted regular surveys about how the pandemic was affecting them and their livelihoods. This data provided rare, on-the-ground insight into how best to support these men and women as they grappled with rapidly evolving challenges.

Below, we share some of the many stories of success against these challenges, along with some of our data that illuminates the larger picture of a year of both crisis and resilience.

Click to view Story
Juliana Mário
Click to view Story
Eloy Castañón
Click to view Story
Herbert Katangole
Click to view Story
Juliana Solís Barón
Click to view Story
Improving Fortification and Nutrition

“On the bright side, we have a WhatsApp group where I get daily updates on prices, issues in the market, and safety in these coronavirus pandemic times. I am thankful to TechnoServe for creating the group; we are able to network and share ideas on how to cope during this difficult period.”

-Phillip Nderitu, micro-retail shopkeeper, Kenya

Highlights of 2020

The National Coffee Association named TechnoServe the “Origin Charity of the Year” for its work supporting smallholder coffee farmers worldwide.
TechnoServe released two reports on how to help small businesses respond to the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.
TechnoServe marked the end of a landmark youth enterprise development project that helped nearly 70,000 young people in East Africa raise their incomes by an average of 84%.
TechnoServe continued sharing emerging lessons on how to preserve livelihoods during the pandemic, releasing three reports focusing on the agriculture, food processing, and small business sectors.
Nespresso released a new coffee from farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, leveraging work with TechnoServe through the Strengthening Value Chains program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development.
TechnoServe announced two new projects that will support the development of the cashew sector in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria, to benefit thousands of farmers and others employed in the sector.

“I have never felt alone…the most important thing, I feel, [that TechnoServe did] is to support me in continuing to fight against this pandemic situation, innovating. I feel that now I have a personal and social commitment to supporting new enterprises of young people, giving the knowledge and experience I have gained during this time.”

-Juliana Solís Barón, entrepreneur, Peru 


TechnoServe strives for maximum accountability, transparency, and efficiency. See our consolidated financial report at TechnoServe.org/Financials.*


End of Year Assets: $15,029,709

2020 Funding Sources
23% Foundations
21% Corporations
31% U.S. Government
13% Other Government
7% Private Fundraising
4% Multilateral Organizations
2% Other
2020 Efficiency
81% Program Services
51% Africa
24% Latin America/Caribbean
4% India
2% Global
15% Management
3% Fundraising
* Audited financial information for 2020 was not available at the time of publication—the numbers presented here are unaudited. Official, audited figures will be published at technoserve.org/financials when they become available.


TechnoServe’s success is made possible by partnerships with leading foundations, corporations, public-sector agencies, and multilateral organizations. Below is a sampling of some of our partners during 2019. To see more, click here.

2020 Board of Directors

Michael J. Bush
Managing Member
BIV investments
Rachel Hines
Former Managing Director
J.P. Morgan
Vice Chairman
Peter A. Flaherty
Managing Director
Arcon Partners, LLC
Jennifer Bullard Broggini
Senior Advisor
Lago Holding Sagl
Robert Manly
Former Executive Vice President and Chief Synergy Officer
Smithfield Foods, inc.
Chairman Emeritus
Paul E. Tierney, Jr.
Development Capital Partners, LLC
Monica Andractas
Head of Venture Capital Funds
CPP Investment Board
Kanika Bahl
Evidence Action
Scott Baker
Reed Smith, LLP
Gerald (Jerry) Baldwin
Director and Former Chairman & CEO
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
Thomas Barry
President and Chief Executive Officer
Zephyr Management LP
Bob Bechek
Bain & Company
Anthony Bloom
Cineworld PLC
Titus Brenninkmeijer
Solgenix LLC
Laura Corb
McKinsey & Company
Jean-Marc DuVoisin
Senior Vice President, Strategic Business Partnerships, Joint Ventures and Brand Licensing
Russell Faucett
Managing Director
Gyrafalcon Advisers
Mia Funt
President & Co-Founder
Aedhmar Hynes
Former CEO
Text100 Global Communications
Timothy M. Kingston
Country Head
Goldman Sachs Chile
Debbie McCoy
Managing Director
Charles Moore
Rock Center for Corporate Governance
Michelle Peluso
Executive VP & Chief Customer Officer
CVS Health
Kurt C. Peterson
Partner & Executive Committee Member
Reed Smith LLP
Michael Spies
Senior Managing Director
Tishman Speyer
William Warshauer
President & CEO
TechnoServe Inc.

“I never thought about starting my own business until the TechnoServe staff trained me on entrepreneurship skills…The support that I and my family received has helped us cope with the pandemic and the unforeseen challenges that came with it.”
-Gomti Devi, smallholder farmer and micro-retailer, India

Back to Top