In study after study the conclusion is clear: the developing world is on the front lines of climate change, and things are only going to get worse. In East Africa, deadly flash floods are set to increase; in India, stronger cyclones. In Afghanistan, one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change, droughts trade places with floods with alarming frequency.
It’s up to us to help our members fight and adapt.
Our training emphasises sound ecological principles – in business and at home. In many countries, we provide training modules in waste management, water efficiency and energy efficiency. We also teach environmental resilience as a risk mitigation strategy, with modules in agricultural diversification, irrigation and rainwater harvesting to reduce the impact of crop failure, drought and climatic shocks.
But our most important contribution is through the development of green jobs. In particular, we encourage our entrepreneurs to develop businesses around upcycling and renewable energy.
Agatare, Rwanda, is hardly renowned as a centre of renewable energy. But in this dusty Eastern Province village some two hours from Kigali, Maida Mushimiyimana is running a booming business charging mobile phones and laptops with energy pulled from a solar panel affixed to her corrugated tin roof.
In Machakos, Kenya, Martha Kimuyu is at the forefront of a different kind of renewable energy – one pioneered in the slums of Nairobi – producing briquettes used to cook food out of spent charcoal, dirt, paper and water. Because the charcoal has already been burned, CO2 emissions from the briquettes are drastically reduced. Better still, fewer trees are cut down to produce new coal, helping curb deforestation – a major problem in Kenya.
In Tamil Nadu, India, Rajeswari and Bhuvanewswari discovered a local manufacturer of industrial abrasives – materials used to grind and sharpen workpieces before they reach market – was having problems stocking its rejected products. After meeting with their Hand in Hand trainer, the pair developed a waste management model converting the stock to sandpaper.
Meanwhile in nearby Tala, Benedetta Kalondu is turning trash into treasure weaving baskets out of discarded foil paper. The venture has been so successful that Benedetta has taken on two employees. The benefits have been both environmental and intensely personal. Thanks to her improved income, she says, “My eldest son will finally complete school this year.”
Understanding members’ needs
From designing new projects to evaluating old ones, Hand in Hand puts our members at the centre of everything we do. That’s why we asked 60 Decibels – sector leaders in measuring impact through a “customer feedback lens” – to find out what they’re saying about our work.
For two weeks in November, the team at 60 Decibels interviewed more than 170 members in Kenya who’d completed our training, all within the last two years.
Here’s what they had to say.
Hand in Hand’s training is useful
95 percent of respondents said they were still using it in their business
Our training improves people’s lives
95 percent saw improvements in their quality of life. Bigger incomes were the main reason why
Hand in Hand goes where others don’t
92 percent of respondents said there was no alternative to Hand in Hand where they lived
They prefer Hand in Hand
Among respondents who had an alternative, 85 percent preferred our programmes
Asked for suggested improvements, respondents cited a range of issues. Increased financing was far and away the most common, at 34 percent. More frequent communication and more convenient access combined to for 29 percent. And expanded content rounded out their top concerns at 11 percent.
With controlled numbers of servicing hard-to-reach areas, frequency of communication and ease of access are structural issues that won’t be easily overcome. But teams in Kenya are already trialling expanded financial solutions including collateral-free loans and longer repayment periods. At the same time, expanded content in the shape of our accelerator project is set to launch in 2020-’21.
By teaching our members the skills they need to run their own micro-enterprises, Hand in Hand necessarily puts sustainability at the core of our work. What good is a livelihood if it doesn’t long outlast our training?
Earlier this year, we published a report after checking up on members from a project in Kenya nine months after their training had concluded. Were they still saving? Were their enterprises still going strong? Had Hand in Hand made good on our promise to help them sustainable businesses?
Here’s what we found.
92 percent of members were still saving (86 percent regularly)
80 percent of enterprises were still operational – and expecting to grow (identical to the new business survival rate in the US)
87 percent of jobs still existed
Members had increased their incomes, on average, by more than 100 percent
The report also made a number of recommendations, including carrying out more research, improving data collection and analysis methods, and strengthening mechanisms for feedback from members. In the time since, we’ve _______.
- Hand in Hand teams up with IKEA Foundation on planet-positive agriculture
- The Hand in Hand online auction is here!
- Hand in Hand named ACT Charity of the Year for third year running
Keeping costs low
Hand in Hand International is committed to keeping our overheads low. In 2019-’20, 90 cents of every dollar we raised was spent on programmes – considerably more than the average of 80 cents per dollar spent by the biggest development NGOs.
For the second year running, Hand in Hand was named Charity of the Year by the UK-based Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT), a global professional treasury body with 6,500 members and students in 90 countries. The ACT’s Annual Gala in autumn saw Hand in Hand raise US $70,000 – enough to fund the creation of 350 microbusinesses and 450 jobs – and featured a pre-recorded speech from Prince Charles and appearances six-time Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy and Hand in Hand CEO Dorothea Arndt.
For the fourth time in as many years, Applied Value hosted the Let’s Give Back Gala in Stockholm, Sweden for the benefit of Hand in Hand. The event raised more than US $330,000 for our programmes in Kenya, in line with Applied Value’s mission to maximise its charity partners’ social impact.
BREWERY, HOUSE OF LORDS
As a result of complications stemming from coronavirus, Hand in Hand’s audited accounts will not be available until mid-December. Please visit again later to view our accounts.