Rural Empowerment Initiative (REI) is a Christian values-based U.S. organization that works to deliver life sustaining sustenance to the developing world without creating dependency, via small and medium business development of rural agricultural projects and programs and support of small-scale businesses throughout West Africa.
REI builds relationships with like-minded non-profits, supporters, donors and volunteers to collaborate and form synergy, advocates for the developing world farmer, raises awareness of the urgent need to sustain life in West Africa and develops donations for projects in the field.
What We Do
Working in West Africa, REI's projects reduce poverty while raising living standards by identifying opportunities for economic growth among small to medium-scale businesses and small acreage farmers. REI's goals are to restore dignity and lift the impoverished and hungry out of poverty by creating opportunity for lasting economic sustainability.
REI researches and identifiies agricultural markets, assists in expansion of agricultural trading and broadens access to microfinance. In the fields of West Africa we train villagers in the basics of irrigated horticulture, high value crops, reforestation, agro-processing, natural and organic products and clean potable water. REI also delivers basic and essential technology where otherwise not available and technical training where needed, to further the capabilities and independence of those in need.
The following principles guide REIs approach:
Dependence on God with prayer and living llife according to biblical teachings
Implementing a private sector approach when teaching business principles
Addressing constraints and capitalizing on opportunities
Providing agri-business and financial training
Creating achievable projects and measurable results via accountability and transparency to investors, supporters, donors, volunteers and to the people and communities we support
About the Founder
After fourteen years of being a small-business owner in Wisconsin, Rick Slager sold his company to follow his true passion, serving God in rural Africa.Working in Africa since 2001, Rick's work has included partnership development with organizations in Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rick grew up on a farm in rural Wisconsin, and has been an avid gardener for much of his life, and is currently running a one acre vegetable farm in Wisconsin called Produce with Purpose. Rick also launched and is managing REI's latest U.S.-based community fundraising program called Harvest Shares, from which all proceeds from his farm go to assist West African farmers and businesses, while encouraging others in the U.S. to do the same.