Two entrepreneurs in Rwanda get to work.

Our approach

Hand in Hand’s job creation model

Group savings and skills training aren’t rare. Nor, for that matter, is microfinance. But where other organizations focus on one or two of these elements, Hand in Hand combines all three – then adds a fourth by connecting entrepreneurs to larger markets. Our model is efficient and cost-effective. Network-wide, we nurture the creation of more than 1,000 jobs a day, seven days a week. That’s more than 350,000 jobs a year. In India, where our job creation model was first tried and tested, jobs cost as little as US $34 each to produce. In Afghanistan – our most challenging context, hampered by security concerns and difficult geography – that figure is approximately US $240. According to the Institute for the Study of Labor, other programs spend US $21 to US $400 per person on training alone. We work in four key stages.


Group leader Padmavathi reading out minutes to her fellow members | Self-Help Group | Kanchipuram, India

Group leader Padmavathi and her fellow members | Self-Help Group | Kanchipuram, India

Setting up groups

First we create Self-Help Groups, typically made up of women, who support each other, save together and learn together. Contributions to group savings funds are required from all 20 or so members at every weekly meeting.
Naomi Masilo and her business trainer in conversation |Shop owner |Gauteng province , South Africa

Naomi Masilo and her business trainer | Shop owner | Gauteng province , South Africa

Business training

Once a group is stable, with its savings fund firmly in place, we train members to discover and develop small businesses with modules in basic bookkeeping, business development, marketing and more. Illiterate and innumerate members are trained using pictures, parables and songs.
Peter Maina |Treasurer for Self-Help Group counting money |Thika, Kenya

Peter Maina | Treasurer for Self-Help Group | Thika, Kenya

Access to credit

Group savings funds help finance most new Hand in Hand businesses. But when members need more than they can borrow internally, we train them in credit management and provide access to microloans, typically worth about US $100, funded by us or a partner. The average repayment rate network-wide is comfortably above 99 percent.
Zacharie Itegekaharmde in fron t of his motorbike | Mobile phone agent | Kayonza District, Rwanda

Zacharie Itegekaharmde | Mobile phone agent | Kayonza District, Rwanda

Links to larger markets

Finally, we help established Hand in Hand entrepreneurs compete – and thrive – by finding larger markets, sourcing cheaper supplies and improving their branding, packaging and more. Scaling up helps entrepreneurs provide for their families and benefits their communities.

Download our strategic plan

Find out where we’re headed, and how we plan to get there. Our strategic plan covers the period from 2013 to 2015.

Download now

Our partners

We’re working with partners to create 3.5 million jobs in a growing list of countries. Find out who, and where.

Find out more

Independent reviews

Our donors rightly demand results, backed by hard evidence. Click below to read independent, third-party reviews of our work in Kenya and India.

Find out more

Talk to us about our approach


Graham Stegmann Senior Advisor

Graham joined Hand in Hand after a career spent principally at DFID, where from 2000 to 2004 he was Director in charge of all DFID bilateral development programs and policy in Africa. He was appointed a CBE in 2006.

Institutions & foundations

Agnes Svensson Program Manager

Agnes is part of our program development and fundraising team. Before joining Hand in Hand she worked at the United Nations Development Program in New York and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Tel: +46 7373 44133