The Charity CEO Podcast


Dianne Calvi

President & CEO, Village Enterprise:

Full bellies and big dreams!

It really is possible to eradicate poverty. There has been so much progress, I think people don't realise how much progress has been made…but we must keep persevering.

To quote Nelson Mandela - “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, its an act of justice.

Dianne Calvi has been working to end extreme poverty in rural Africa as Village Enterprise’s President and CEO since 2010.

Since joining Village Enterprise, Dianne has increased the breadth and depth of the organization’s impact by focusing on strategic partnerships, innovation and technology, rigorous monitoring and evaluation, and building a highly qualified African team. To date, Village Enterprise has trained over 274k people, started over 80k businesses, and lifted over 1.65 million people out of extreme poverty. With Dianne at the helm, Village Enterprise has completed an independent randomized control trial (RCT) and launched the first Development Impact Bond in poverty alleviation.

Prior to joining Village Enterprise, Dianne served as the President of Bring Me A Book Foundation, a literacy nonprofit that she scaled through partnerships in both domestic and international locations. Previously, she worked in the private sector for Microsoft, Xerox, and Montedison in Milan, Italy. She has served on several nonprofit boards and was recently appointed to the InterAction board of directors. Dianne received a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from Bocconi University (Milan, IT) on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.

Ep 49. Dianne Calvi, President & CEO Village Enterprise:

Full bellies and big dreams!

With an audacious goal to lift 20m people in Africa out of extreme poverty by 2030, Dianne Calvi, President and CEO of Village Enterprise, joins us to share how they plan to make this happen. 

Centred around their core value of ‘Ubuntu’, a South African term, which means ‘humanity’ or ‘I am because we are’, Village Enterprise seeks to transform lives through entrepreneurship, innovation and collective action. By partnering with other nonprofits, governments, agencies, and private sector companies, Village Enterprise equips first-time entrepreneurs in Africa with the resources and skills to start climate-smart businesses and savings groups.

We talk about their Poverty Graduation Model and building up their evidence base, using Randomised Control Trials, which has helped catalyse funding for their exciting new programme: working with USAID, the French and the Rwandan governments to end extreme poverty in Rwanda for good. Dianne also shares her personal family story, revealing what really drives her to do this work, which, as one of their entrepreneurs says, is all about enabling full bellies and big dreams.  

Recorded March 2024. 

Note: The title of this episode is a direct quote from an entrepreneur that Village Enterprise supports in Africa, describing the impact of their work. 

Copyright © 2020 TheCharityCEO.Com

Follow me on:

We use cookies to allow us to better understand how this site is used. By continuing to use our site, you consent to this policy. Check our Privacy Policy.