Irene and Halima standing in front of their shop.

Our work in Kenya

Headquartered in Nairobi, with programmes in roughly half of the country’s 47 counties, our operation in Kenya is among the network’s most pioneering, not least for its work with youth. “Success is almost guaranteed” to mums aged 13 to 30 who take part in our Young Mothers Programme, according to independent researchers, while Hand in Hand Entrepreneurship Clubs for students aged 10 to 16 continue to spread throughout the country.

At the same time, we’re helping tens of thousands of smallholder farmers thrive as eco-entrepreneurs, adopting farming techniques such as crop diversification that can stand up to climate change, or launching other green businesses such as beekeeping or waste recycling. In Kenya and across our network, droughts are become more frequent and severe – and sustainability, increasingly central to our work. That’s one reason why we’re exceeding our eco-enterprise target in Kenya by nearly 100 percent.

Hand in Hand recently undertook a major audit of our operation in Kenya to establish our return on investment (ROI): the amount our members earn per year for every dollar donated. The review was conducted across one of our biggest completed projects to date, funded by the government of Sweden.

Total project expenditure was US S2.3 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. Or, to pick a more ambitious comparison, that Berkshire Hathaway’s average annual stock price gain under Warren Buffet, the world’s most successful investor, is circa 20 percent.

All that at lower cost than comparable programmes, which spend 15 percent more per member, according to the World Bank.


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 support?

Recently, we returned to one of our projects in Kenya nine months after it concluded to check up on our members. Were they still saving? Were their enterprises still going strong? Here’s what we found.

  • 100 percent of Self-Help Groups were still meeting regularly
  • 92 percent of members were still saving (86 percent regularly)
  • 80 percent of enterprises were still operational – and expecting to grow (by way of comparison, 80 percent of new US businesses survive their first year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • 87 percent of jobs still existed
  • Members had increased their incomes, on average, by more than 100 percent.

By the numbers

Members trained: 299,714

Our Self-Help Group members save together, train together and start businesses together

Businesses started: 297,015

Hand in Hand entrepreneurs prepare food, rear cattle, weave carpets and more

Jobs created: 401,308

“Development happens through jobs,” says the World Bank. Our entrepreneurs make their own success, breaking the cycle of dependency

Lives improved: 1,425,908

Every business we help create in Kenya benefits an average of four family members – young, old and everywhere in between

Independent results

Hand in Hand strives to be as transparent as possible. Download our latest independent evaluation from Kenya below.

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168 Members Trained
244 Business Supported
186 Jobs Created
61 Lives Changed

Why Kenya

Kenya typifies the countries we target for intervention. Unemployment is high, but rates of literacy and financial inclusion are even higher, paving the way for an entrepreneur’s revolution.

Source: UNICEF, 2014

46% of Kenyans live below the poverty line

Source: International Food Policy Research Institute, 2014

46% of children aged 18 to 23 months suffer from malnutrition

Source: World Bank, 2012

Only 62% of women are in paid work

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, 2012

84% of women are literate

Expansion map

Hand in Hand Eastern Africa works in 23 of Kenya’s 47 counties. We plan to expand into one more.


Meet Hand in Hand Eastern Africa CEO Albert Wambagu

Albert joined Hand in Hand Eastern Africa in 2012, having spent 13 years in senior roles at CIC Group, one Kenya’s fastest-growing insurance companies.

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