Resilience and Recovery: Highlights From TechnoServe’s 2020 Annual Report

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. Our 2020 annual report takes a closer look at the impact our clients achieved last year despite tremendous obstacles and shares stories of their resilience.


Read the 2020 Annual Report

In 2020, as a result of the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, roughly 124 million people worldwide fell into extreme poverty. The pandemic has reversed years of progress in the fight against poverty in a matter of months, and it has hit hardest those who were already struggling to make ends meet. 

Since 1968, TechnoServe has partnered with industrious people around the world to create self-sustaining business solutions to poverty. This past year was one of the most challenging years in recent memory. But through it all, TechnoServe has remained committed to delivering impact to our clients. 

Teal quote graphic reads: “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

In 2020, TechnoServe worked with 298,000 people and businesses — 39% of them women, or women-owned — and helped them earn $188 million in increased revenue and wages. In addition, our clients were able to access $27 million in loans and equity provided by financial institutions.

Graphic illustrating TechnoServe's impact in 2020.

This year’s report highlights how TechnoServe adapted and accelerated its programming to meet the needs of small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs in the developing world, improving 1.3 million lives (based on average household size per country).

Orange quote graphic reads: “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.”

When COVID-19 hit in March of last year, TechnoServe immediately got to work — using digital platforms to help small businesses pivot their approaches in rapidly changing markets. To continue delivering essential information and support when in-person visits were not possible, we made training videos and held regular calls with smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs. 

For fruit farmers like Eloy Castañón, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic brought immense uncertainty and new challenges. For many years, Eloy supported his wife and three children by growing melon on their small farm in northern Mexico. 

But when the pandemic hit, small-scale farmers struggled to find markets for their produce amid shutdowns and shifts in consumer behavior. Many customers abandoned once-bustling street markets and bought their produce at large grocery stores. Farmers like Eloy, with no connections to these formal markets, were left with few options. 

Purple quote graphic reads: "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

TechnoServe advisors in Mexico stepped in to help over 1,000 farmers find new markets for their crops. Through informative videos and coaching calls, they guided farmers in meeting the produce standards of larger grocery stores—helping the farmers make deals with five formal buyers.

The farmers were therefore able to sell their crops for 60% more than the local market price. For Eloy and his family, having a reliable income source during the pandemic has been essential for their peace of mind. “I am married and have three children,” Eloy explains. “My income is to support them.”

Read more stories like Eloy’s in our 2020 annual report