Ex-Marine Now On A Very Different Mission

Dec 19, 2014

Jake Harriman is a Preston County farm boy who grew up to become a leader in the fight against one of the world’s biggest problems:  extreme poverty. 

Preston County native Jake Harriman heads an organization attempting to eradicate poverty.
Credit Jean Snedegar

Harriman is one of three leaders in science and business profiled in the public radio documentary Inspiring West Virginians.

In 2008, while studying for an MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business, 40-year-old Harriman launched Nuru International, an organization which takes a bottom-up approach to help people pull themselves out of poverty in remote areas such as rural Africa. 

Harriman calls Nuru’s approach “the world’s first self-sustainable, self-scalable, integrated development model to fight extreme poverty." 

Nuru aims to attack hunger, an inability to cope with economic shock, preventable disease and death, and the lack of quality education for children.  

Harriman, who studied at WVU before graduating from the US Naval Academy, was inspired to fight extreme poverty while he was a Marine Platoon Commander in Iraq.  There he saw desperate poverty and what it drove people to do. 

It led him to believe that extreme poverty was a contributing factor to global terrorism and insurgency.  Then and there Harriman determined he would one day do something about it.