Hand in Hand Eastern Africa launched in 2010 and quickly set about creating jobs in Kenya, ranked 145 out of 187 on the UNDP Human Development Index. In the years since, our team in the country has pioneered several unique programmes, most notably our partnership with the Government of Kenya’s Agricultural Sector Development Programme, training groups of farmers and linking them to larger markets.
Read on to discover how we’re “making an undisputed contribution” in the country.Visit the Hand in Hand Eastern Africa website
Every Hand in Hand entrepreneur starts as Self-Help Group member. Organized by Hand in Hand staff in Kenya and numbering about 20 members each, Self-Help Groups learn together, save together and, almost as frequently, launch enterprises together. A recent independent review of our groups in Kenya found 91 percent members were “actively saving” – no mean feat in a country where the average saving rate is half that of other low-income countries.
Businesses are an important metric for Hand in Hand. In keeping with the Kenyan government’s plans to build a commercially competitive agricultural sector, most enterprises nurtured by Hand in Hand are in agri-processing.
Jobs are at the core of Hand in Hand’s work. Besides farming, Hand in Hand entrepreneurs in Kenya run DVD rental shops or, having learned to monetise their hobbies, weave baskets and make jewellery. Others sell ‘green fuel’ and provide safe water to their communities. Whatever they do, our trainers in Kenya work hard to make sure Hand in Hand members’ jobs are sustainable
US $6.75 million in loans
In a country where only 42 percent of adults have bank accounts accessing credit can be next to impossible – particularly for the country’s 15 million rural poor. In the vast majority of cases fledgling Hand in Hand entrepreneurs borrow from Self-Help Group savings funds. But when funds are too small, or entrepreneurs’ plans are too big, it’s up to Hand in Hand Eastern Africa to step in. Enter the Enterprise Incubation Fund (EIF), Hand in Hand Eastern Africa’s own microfinance operation, which provides members with loans when other institutions won’t. Repayment rates to the fund are 100 percent.
Hand in Hand recently audited one of our biggest completed projects to date, funded by the government of Sweden, to establish our return on investment (ROI): the amount our members earn per year for every dollar donated. Total project expenditure was US $2.3 million. And the total annual income generated by our members’ enterprises in the first year alone? US $2.78 million, for an ROI of 21 percent. To put those figures in context, consider that the S&P 500 has generated annualised returns of 9.7 percent, including dividends, since 1965.
Hand in Hand Eastern Africa works in 23 of Kenya’s 47 counties. We plan to expand into one more.
Hand in Hand strives to be as transparent as possible. Download our latest independent evaluation below.
Hand in Hand Eastern Africa is making “an undisputed contribution in accessing appropriate financial services to poor rural people”.
“The impact achieved with overall funding of approximately US $2 million certainly compares favorably with multi-million dollar injections of capital that some funders have provided to microfinance institutions.”