Coronavirus: information & updates

Coronavirus isn’t just a global health crisis – it’s a global economic crisis, too. That’s why Hand in Hand is doing everything we can to help our members stay safe, healthy and financially strong in increasingly uncertain times.

Find out how below.


Coronavirus has claimed thousands of lives and pushed Afghanistan’s health system to the brink and beyond. But ask our members what worries them most and the answer isn’t sickness. “The worries of poor people like us are more of hunger than of coronavirus,” says Sharifa, a 24-year-old Hand in Hand member, poultry farmer and mother of four.

Widespread unemployment, Taliban violence and coronavirus are fuelling a crisis worse than the sum of their parts, with the result that 11 million Afghans – more than a third of the country – are now classified as acutely food insecure. According to Hand in Hand’s research, most households in the areas we support have used up their savings and are now selling key assets such as livestock to keep from going hungry.

That’s why Hand in Hand is refocusing on what we do best, livelihoods, after pivoting to distribute soap, sanitiser, face masks and virus prevention training to 65,000 poor and vulnerable Afghans – many living in camps for families fleeing conflict – at the outbreak of the virus. With your help, we aim to train thousands more women as poultry farmers, producing and selling eggs.

Requiring little space and operational from home, poultry farming is ideal during lockdown. And because most chickens are imported from outside Afghanistan, poultry is one of the few value chains in the country whose worth has actually increased since March. For Sharifa and others like her, however, their true virtue lies elsewhere: the nutrition they provide in precarious times.


Hand in Hand recently polled 800 members in Kenya, 80 percent of them women, to find out how Covid-19 and its attendant lockdown measures were impacting their businesses. The results were, in a word, alarming. Incomes had dropped by 67 percent. Savings were down 69 percent. A full quarter of businesses had closed. And the proportion of people living below the poverty line of US $1.90 a day had nearly doubled, from 44 percent to 83 percent.

Never mind a post-Covid-19 world – livelihoods programmes are essential right now. That’s why our teams in Kenya resumed training two months after trading Self-Help Groups for SMS’, motorbikes for mobile phones, and reaching out to nearly 75,000 members during lockdown to deliver handwashing guidelines and other health messages, signpost to vital health services, and provide advice on how to pivot their businesses to produce in-demand items such as facemasks and soap.

Self-Help Group meetings don’t look like they used to: groups have been cut in half to 10 participants, separated by two to three steps, and now exclusively meet outside. Soap, sanitiser and facemasks are provided at every meeting. And a new emphasis on financial literacy and concessional lending – by far our members’ number one request – is emerging.

To find out more about how our programmes in Kenya are changing and how you can help, please get in touch. Or you can donate today.


Programmes in Tanzania have also resumed. Like in Kenya, health and safety measures include smaller group sizes, distancing between members, outdoor meetings, compulsory personal protective equipment and more.

Hand in Hand staff in Tanzania spent the first months of lockdown reaching out to 13,000 members via phone and SMS, cascading health messages to every corner of our membership and beyond via Self-Help Group leaders. They also provided advice to help members pivot to soap and facemask production, and helped agricultural members source all the inputs they needed to keep their communities food-secure.

More news

Coronavirus appeal

For families across the developing world, sickness is only one danger associated with coronavirus. Widespread joblessness, dwindling savings and, in some countries, acute food insecurity are also consequences of Covid-19.

To help them, we urgently need your support.




Get in touch

To find out more about we're responding to Covid-19 - or to talk about making a donation - please get in touch with one of our London-based staff.

Private donors

Joe Dyson Philanthropy Manager

Joe’s career in charity began at Barnardo’s, where he worked with philanthropists to support the UK’s most vulnerable children. He joined Hand in Hand after developing a keen interest in international development.
Tel: +44 (0)7415 339214

Institutions & foundations

Amalia Johnsson Head of Programmes

Amalia heads up our programme development team. Before joining Hand in Hand she was Programme Manager at Plan International UK, spent several years at the OECD and worked in finance.
Tel: +44 (0)7508 075 601