CHOICE Humanitarian has been working to eliminate extreme poverty since 1982  under the direction of James B. Mayfield, Ph.D., an expert in the field of international rural development. We begin with the exit in mind. Our goal is to train community leaders to take ownership of their own development. We work with communities until they are self-sufficient and sustainable, then we exit and they thrive. 

What is Extreme Poverty? 

Extreme poverty is defined by the World Bank as living on an average of US $1.90 a day or less. They estimate that 1.44 billion people live in this condition. But extreme poverty is multidimensional and measured beyond income. Areas beyond inclome include health, education, and a general lack of opportunities. This is measured by the Multidimensional Poverty Index. Based on this index, 1.6 billion people are identified as multidimensionally poor.

Extreme Poverty is Inexcusable and must be Eliminated

Our vision is a world free from the ravages of extreme poverty, where all people are treated with dignity and valued for who they are and the unique contribution they bring. 

"CHOICE exists to promote development, not relief." 
- James B. Mayfield, PhD, Co-Founder, CHOICE Humanitarian

What Makes Us Different?

kenya-house.png--Village Driven Initiatives--

Villages identify and manage their development process. As problems arise, villagers take the initiative to resolve them. 

--Build Leadership and Capacity--

Sustainable change is achieved through leadership.  CHOICE teaches communities the leadership and business skills for them to break the cycle of poverty.

--Simple, Appropriate Technologies--

All technologies introduced can be built and sustained through locally available resources and skills. 

--Measurement and Evaluation--

As villages progress through the phases of the CHOICE model of leadership development, we learn and implement changes that help the local communities grow and develop more sustainably.

--Gender Equity--

Women are the key to creating lasting change.  Research shows when you invest in a woman she will invest in her children’s health and education. Communities and economies are stronger when there is equal and full participation of women and men. Closing the gap between males and females creates a lasting impact that benefits everyone. 

--Native In-Country Staff--

We overcome problematic, top-down foreign leadership by hiring staff native to the areas where we work.  Our highly qualified team understands how to train people in the CHOICE Model of Leadership Development successfully in ways relevant to their cultures.

Two Focuses of The CHOICE Model of Leadership Development

Under the direction of our co-Founder, James B. Mayfield, Ph.D., CHOICE Humanitarian focuses on two levels of self-development as the basis for sustainable transformation out of poverty, the Village Level, and the District Level.

garden.pngAt the Village Level, CHOICE facilitates a community dialog that creates a unified vision for a quality of life that offers opportunities in education, healthcare, economic development, healthy living conditions, while upholding sustainable human habitat. Villagers taking ownership of their own vision, organizing themselves around a plan and finding partners and resources to carry out this vision puts them in control of their own future. The key here isn’t independence but interdependence as they learn to become effective global citizens. Having successful experiences in implementing sustainable change in their village gives them the sense of what is possible when they unite as a village. They learn the importance of working in an effective partnership with local government, NGOs, and private organizations.

The process starts with the local CHOICE team, who are all local to the country in which they work. The team facilitates a dialog where villagers determine the project of most importance to them. It might be building a school, a well, a clinic. Next CHOICE provides the leadership and team training that enables people to successfully come together to produce what they have identified as most needed. Once success is obtained in one area, that experience is transferable to other concerns.

CHOICE helps a village create a community operational platform that clearly defines roles and responsibilities within the community in a way that resources coming into their vision can be properly transformed into sustainable change. The key is that the community itself is directly responsible for the social, financial and environmental sustainability of the initiative, not the outside partner.

Click here to read more about our Village Model of Leadership Development. 

Click here for a matrix on our Self Developing Village Program.

At the District Level, CHOICE focuses on ‘clusters’ of self-developing villages. This approach allows us to leverage opportunities for many villages at a time rather than one at a time. It organizes an entire district around a unified vision for the area and can literally impact populations of hundreds of thousands. Acting with a single voice, these unified villages can strongly encourage local government to respond to their needs with support to the major infrastructure shortfalls such as roadways, electricity, advanced education, and hospitals.

Click here to read more about our District Model of Leadership Development.

"CHOICE Humanitarian is one of the few NGOs working around the world in a constructive, grass-roots way to completely eradicate extreme poverty. Their inclusive model is designed to lift entire communities out of poverty, giving them access to the global economy."

     --Devin Thorpe, Your Mark on the World Center Founder

How One Sees the World of Poverty!

James B. Mayfield, PhD

  1. Most people talk about eliminating poverty in this world, but are waiting for others to do it.
  2. Some people are trying to do something about world poverty, but with limited success.
  3. A few seek to link the world to the poor and in this way help the poor bring themselves out of poverty. 



CHOICE Humanitarian:  A Call to Action

rainbow.pngJames B. Mayfield, PhD 

  1. CHOICE believes every family deserves to have a choice in achieving a better quality of life.  The true quality of life requires the complete elimination of extreme poverty.
  2. In this world, too many people believe they have no choices and are stuck in a world of exclusion, ignorance, exploitation, and vulnerability.
  3. Until people believe they have a choice, there will be very little change. Believing one has a choice leads to hope and hope seeks opportunities that inspire and motivate people. It will be a universal collaboration that generates the sense of mission, the sources of funding, the structures and strategies needed to bring the multitudes of extreme poor into a better quality of life where hope and fairness can thrive.
    C= CHOICE, H=Hope, O=Opportunities, I=Inspiration, C=Collaboration, E=Equity
  4. CHOICE recruits, trains, and organizes rural development facilitators (RDFs) who have the five Cs: the competency, the creativity, the commitment, the character and the compassion to help village leaders and their communities to support and energize the extreme poor to bring themselves out of poverty.
  5. The CHOICE Goal is to help every family feel a sense of pride and dignity, as they achieve a quality of life that brings meaning, purpose, and true happiness.  In the past three years, CHOICE working in Nepal has helped over 1,000 families learn how to bring themselves out of extreme poverty. With your support, CHOICE Humanitarian hopes in the next 5-10 years to replicate this process in ways that will achieve a total elimination of extreme poverty by the year 2030, a goal announced by the UN-sponsored Sustainable Development Goals and signed by over 100 countries.


Please join us in this movement to eliminate the scourge of extreme poverty.

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