87% of Hand in Hand’s women entrepreneurs now have the power to make their own decisions
New data from Hand in Hand shows, after taking part in the charity’s entrepreneurship training, 87% of women participants in Kenya, Tanzania and Afghanistan said they were able to have a say about decisions that affect them, such as household purchases, family visits and healthcare. On average, just 40.3% of women in these countries reported that they were able to participate in household decision making (World Bank).
Hand in Hand provides women entrepreneurs with the skills and confidence to create businesses that lift themselves and their communities out of poverty.
Results from a sample of 9,000 most recent Hand in Hand programme graduates (from Tanzania) also showed that, on average, women entrepreneurs more than tripled their monthly profit (+322%)
The charity operates in some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities – where food insecurity is widespread. This income boost enables programme members to provide regular, nutritious meals for their families, pay for their children’s education and afford vital healthcare. In the last five years Hand in Hand International has supported the creation of 285,000 enterprises, transforming the lives of over a million people.
The data also showed that, despite an initial dip in earnings at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, (particularly in Kenya, which saw more frequent and prolonged periods of lockdown) taking part in Hand in Hand programmes enabled participants to weather the Covid-19 crisis, reporting no significant reduction in income, even as the pandemic devastated economies across the world.
Crucially, the programmes also enabled women to become more financially resilient – with 40% of participants across all programmes saying that they would be able to get through a financial shock, such as a bad harvest or unexpected medical bill, without having to sell an asset or get into debt.
Businesses were sustainable, with 88% of all micro enterprises still operational one year after launch.
Hand in Hand CEO, Dorothea Arndt, said: “In the communities we operate within, women face enormous barriers to equality – constrained by unwritten rules that restrict what they spend their time doing, and who they can see and talk to.
“Our programmes don’t just give women the skills to start their own businesses, the money they earn and the confidence they gain helps them to speak up and make decisions in the home, too.
“Increasingly, we are seeing women entrepreneurs taking up leadership roles within their communities – something that had previously been unheard of. We’re also developing a new strand of our programming to engage with men to shift their perceptions around what a woman’s role ‘should’ be.”
87% of women with the power to make their own decisions
285,000 small businesses launched
Average 322% percent increases in monthly income
Boeing launches new project to fight poverty and tackle the stereotypes that hold women back
Boeing and Hand in Hand are launching a new project in Arusha Region, Tanzania to support women to beat the odds and succeed as entrepreneurs, lifting 600 families above the poverty line. The project will work closely with women, men and with the wider community to challenge traditional attitudes towards women’s roles that prevent women from earning and controlling their own incomes, and from having a say at home or in their communities.
Arusha Region has some of the highest levels of poverty in the country. Record droughts in the country have resulted in increased food insecurity, which is particularly acute in rural areas like Arusha where most people depend on what they can grow to feed their families. Tanzanian women earn, on average, a third of what men do. They are also expected to be solely responsible for domestic work and childcare, leaving little time to earn an income.
This project will give women the skills and confidence to start their own businesses, as well as working with their husbands, fathers, brothers and male community leaders to shift cultural expectations around what a woman’s role should be.
The project is just a part of Boeing’s commitment to transforming the lives of women and young people in rural Tanzania. Working with Hand in Hand, they expect to create 4,000 jobs for women and young people by 2025, lifting 10,000 people out of poverty.
Jane Sabuni, CEO at Hand in Hand Tanzania, said: “Women can play a crucial role in helping households escape poverty but many are constrained from earning an income by longstanding cultural norms. By working with men, we show them that when women are able to work outside the home they can contribute to the family finances and everyone benefits.”
Kuljit Ghata-Aura, President of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META), said: “We know when women are given the skills and confidence they need to become leaders, whole communities benefit. Boeing’s partnership with Hand in Hand is just one of the ways we are working to tackle gender inequality and help women reach their full potential.”
Hand in Hand CEO, Dorothea Arndt, said: “By investing in women’s skills and potential, Boeing is transforming the lives of thousands of Tanzanian families, and we are enormously grateful for their ongoing support.”
Giving women the confidence to lead: Boeing project transforms lives in rural Tanzania
A two-year project in Arusha Region, Tanzania that gives women the skills and confidence they need to launch their own enterprises has lifted more than 1,600 people out of poverty, as well as giving 542 women vital leadership skills.
The scheme was delivered by Hand in Hand East Africa and funded by Boeing.
In rural Arusha, the majority of the women we work with live below the poverty line. Because of the training, women participants’ average monthly wage increased from USD 1.53 to USD 45.20.
One of the most important parts of the programme is the leadership skills component, which gives women the confidence to speak up and make their voices heard. After the training, 86 percent of the women we asked said they are now able to make decisions for themselves both at home and within their businesses, an increase of almost 30 percent. Many of these women are now also stepping up to take on leadership roles within their communities.
The project is just a part of Boeing’s commitment to transforming the lives of women and young people in rural Tanzania. Working with Hand in Hand, they expect to train more than 4,000 women and young people by 2025 creating 4,000 jobs and lifting 10,000 people out of poverty.
Jane Sabuni, Tanzania Country Manager for Hand in Hand Eastern Africa, said: “As literacy in the area is low, our trainers use oral storytelling techniques to teach leadership skills. These skills don’t just help women succeed in business, they give them the confidence to make have their say when it comes to household spending, their children’s education, and the issues in the community that matter to them.”
Hand in Hand CEO, Dorothea Arndt, said: “When women earn and control their own incomes we see a reduction in household poverty and vulnerability to financial shocks. By investing in women’s skills and potential Boeing is transforming the lives of thousands of Tanzanian families, and we are enormously grateful for their ongoing support.”
Kuljit Ghata-Aura, President of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META), said: “At Boeing, we are committed to building better communities worldwide through focused investment that help break poverty cycles. Empowering women can bring paradigm shifts towards economic growth. We’re proud of our five year old partnership with Hand in Hand.”
Hand in Hand Afghanistan appoints new Executive Director
After 10 years as Executive Director of Hand in Hand Afghanistan, Abdul Rahim Nasry will be stepping down from the role, with Dr. Kamran Hekmati being appointed as his successor.
Dr Kamran Hekmati has served as Programme Manager, Program Director and, since January, as Deputy Executive Director of Hand in Hand Afghanistan. Abdul Rahim Nasry will continue to work closely with Hand in Hand Afghanistan in an advisory role.
Abdul Rahim Nasry said: “It’s been an enormous privilege to serve as Executive Director at Hand in Hand Afghanistan and play my part in supporting so many people to lift themselves and their families above the poverty line through entrepreneurship and hard work.
“I’d like to thank my colleagues at Hand in Hand and our generous donors and funders – together we have transformed thousands of lives for the better. I am delighted that our own Dr Kamran Hekmati has been appointed to lead Hand in Hand Afghanistan as Executive Director and am confident that under his leadership the organisation will continue to go from strength-to-strength.”
Dr Kamran Hekmati said: “Since its inception Hand in Hand Afghanistan has supported over 50,000 people to set up sustainable, profitable microenterprises – changing 390,000 lives in the process. I’m excited to lead Hand in Hand Afghanistan in this next stage of its journey, and, working with our donors and stakeholders, look forward to reaching more communities, creating more jobs and helping to build better futures for even more families.”
Dorothea Arndt, Hand in Hand International CEO, said: “Hand in Hand Afghanistan’s success is testament to Nasry’s skillful leadership and his commitment to helping people beat the odds and find their own route out of poverty. We wish him all the best for the future. I’d also like to congratulate Dr Kamran Hekmati on his new role – to which he will bring many years of expertise.”
Increasing resilience in the face of skyrocketing costs
In the last few years Kenya has seen a 70 percent drop in crop production, with an estimated 3.1m people in acute hunger, now in need of aid. As a result of the conflict in Ukraine, the situation has worsened, with disruption to global supply chains causing the price of grains, oil, gas, and fertiliser to skyrocket.
Hand in Hand Eastern Africa CEO, Albert Wambugu, explains how the country’s poorest are bearing the brunt of the crisis – and how Hand in Hand is supporting its members on the ground.
Poor yields and food insecurity
“There are a number of reasons why crop production is falling overall in Kenya,” Albert explains. “Growing conditions here are extremely variable. You might have pockets where the land is fertile – and then areas where the soil quality is degraded, and rainfall is low.”
Maize is the country’s staple crop – but soil degradation and drought is affecting the ‘breadbasket’ regions where it is grown. Some of the commercial fertilisers used here are extremely acidic, and have damaged the soil. Albert says: “When the crops fail, people become reliant on food aid. Some families survive on as little as 2kg of maize a week,” Albert says.
Ukraine war causes price rises for staple goods
Because of the crisis in Ukraine, Kenyans are seeing price rises across the board. “The increasing price of fuel is very noticeable,” says Albert. “There’s been a 30% increase in less than one year.”
People in poverty spend a greater percentage of their income on food. For the very poorest, food price increases will result in adults skipping meals, or subsisting only on staples. “Cooking oil has doubled in price. When costs go up like this, the only thing people can focus on is putting food on the table. You would not be able to afford a balanced diet,” says Albert. “Protein from fish, for example, would be inconceivable.”
Cost of living increases can impact members’ enterprises too. Albert explains it’s almost impossible for people to prioritize saving when times are tough, or to spare the funds to invest money back into their businesses.
To combat the hunger crisis, Albert’s team provide training on a range of sustainable farming techniques that improve soil quality as well as increasing yields.
“We tell our members there will always be things outside your sphere of influence, like supply chain volatility and weather changes. But there are things you can do to offset these – like crop diversification, or by using fertiliser that improves the soil instead of harming it. When you don’t know when the next rainfall will be, even something as simple as a water storage butt makes a difference. We teach people to adapt to their environment. Root crops like arrowroot contain more starch than maize and are easier to grow, so it might be a question of changing your dietary habits.”
They also focus on improving members’ financial resilience.
“We train people to set aside some of their income where possible, because savings are an important way of mitigating the impact of financial shocks. As we’ve seen during the pandemic, and now with the Ukraine crisis, this is vital. More recently, we have introduced our members to insurance. Only 3% of Kenyans have insurance,” Albert explains. “So we are working with providers to create new financial products that meet our members’ specific needs”
The team also encourage people to save in self-help groups. “When self-help groups are strong they can lend when things aren’t going well and, unlike some banks, don’t charge exorbitant rates of interest.”
Despite the challenging circumstances, Albert believes that the team at Hand in Hand Eastern Africa will continue to make a difference to the women they work with – and alleviate food insecurity.
“By giving women the tools they need to lift themselves and their families out of extreme poverty, we are able to strengthen their resilience so they can weather this global crisis.”
“The farmers we train will also have an important role to play in safeguarding food security within their communities, as well as restoring the soil so it remains productive for future generations.”
Boeing to transform the lives of 1,620 entrepreneurs in Tanzania with Hand in Hand International
Boeing and Hand in Hand have been teaming up since 2018 to help communities in Tanzania work their way out of poverty and start businesses – transforming thousands of lives in the process.
By 2023, Boeing and Hand in Hand will have trained more than 3,400 women and young entrepreneurs, creating more than 3,000 jobs and delivering long term economic impact for families and communities.
Launched in January 2021, the latest Boeing – Hand in Hand project trains farmers in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania as agri-entrepreneurs, raising incomes and protecting the local environment in the fight against climate change. By extending the project for an additional 12-months, Boeing will support the training of a further 720 community members, reaching 1,620 entrepreneurs in total – 90 percent of them women.
Members of the project will become specialists in regenerative agriculture, an approach to farming that takes carbon out of the air and puts it back into the soil, improving both yields and the local environment.
By the time their training in areas such as composting, crop diversification and livestock management is complete, project members are expected to see an average 25 percent boost in income – money that will help fund education, healthcare and improved nutrition for more than 4,500 women, men and children.
Kuljit Ghata-Aura, President of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META), said: “We feel privileged and committed to continue our partnership with Hand in Hand in Tanzania. Boeing’s sustained involvement and long-term investment in local communities represents one of the many steps we take together to connect the world and make it a better place for future generations.”
Jane Sabuni, Tanzania Country Manager for Hand in Hand Eastern Africa, said: “With Boeing’s help, farmers’ plots are transitioning from surviving to thriving. The regenerative agriculture techniques they adopt are increasing women’s incomes and the productivity of their farms. As a result, we are seeing greener lands, improved food security and brighter futures for their families.”
Dorothea Arndt, Hand in Hand International CEO, said: “Something special is happening in rural Tanzania: a revolution that will help some of the world’s poorest women climb their way out of poverty as agri-entrepreneurs, even while they fight back against climate change. Our sincere thanks to Boeing for making it possible.”
1,620 community members trained
1,134 small businesses launched
Average 25 percent increases in net enterprise income
The World Bank 2019 Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment reports that 26.4 percent of people in Tanzania live in poverty, whereas eight percent live in extreme poverty. The situation today is worse, as communities globally were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
With so many people living in poverty, 79 percent of poor Tanzanians depend on agriculture. The majority of households rely on subsistence farming – which is rain-fed – for survival, growing a limited number of crops. Climate change aggravates the situation, threatening livelihoods and food security. It is estimated that approximately 60 percent of Tanzania is semi-arid or arid. Often, long dry spells occur during the growing season to the extent that crop and pasture production becomes poor.
Many practices viewed as mitigating climate change can actually harm local ecosystems, creating further problems. For example, sustainable intensification of agriculture – where farmers seek to maximise production in a condensed area – can involve an intense use of chemicals and synthetic fertilisers. This produces unequal yields and risks damaging community water sources. Monoculture approaches – that focus on the cultivation of a single crop at a time in a plot and emphasise the heavy use of fertilisers through short-term subsidies – similarly deplete land through the reuse of soil.
Based in the communities they serve, Hand in Hand trainers continue to recruit and train project members in subjects ranging from business to regenerative agriculture. Access to credit from external, pro-poor lenders and links to larger markets so members can sustainably sell their produce soon follow.
After project members complete their 12-month training – a timeframe which, for the first cohort of members, began in March 2021 – members will move from fortnightly sessions to monthly check-ins with trainers. These visits keep enterprises on track for sustainable growth and ensure external credit is being repaid. Members will also be encouraged to form larger producers’ groups to benefit from economies of scale and better market access.
The Hand in Hand online auction is here!
That’s right, folks.
Starting today, you, your friends, your family, your friends’ families and your families’ friends – and your enemies – can bid on a huge range of super-cool items, from wine and original art to designer bags and wine to holidays, e-bikes and wine.
“Interesting,” you say. “But can I enter a raffle to win a stunning Orbit No. 1 diamond necklace from Swiss jewellers Montluc?”
And that’s not all. Every time you bid or buy a raffle ticket, you’ll be helping women in some of the most challenging places on Earth beat the odds and succeed as entrepreneurs, which is literally impossible to argue with.
So go ahead.
Finish Start your Christmas shopping or treat yourself to a presumably well-earned gift. Then forward our auction site to every single person in your address book, twice.
Happy bidding!Let’s do this
Why women and girls are vulnerable to coronavirus
Although the risk of serious illness and death from Covid-19 is greater among men and the elderly, women in the developing world face unique challenges that shouldn’t be ignored. In this article, Hand in Hand Programme Development Manager Isabel Creixell explains how women are being affected – and what Hand in Hand is doing to help them.
Women are traditional caregivers: when a family member gets sick, it’s their job to step in. First and foremost, this puts them at greater risk of infection. But even in cases when they don’t fall ill, the burden of household work can increase exponentially, particularly at a time when children are home from school. Parents all over the world have been struggling with a version of this, and in many cases feeling completely overwhelmed. Now imagine if you also had to walk miles every day to fetch water, plus do the chores and shopping yourself, all while tending to the smallholding that’s keeping your family from starving and, in many cases, trying to run a small business on the side. Something’s got to give, and when a family member or members fall ill that thing is almost always the business – and in many cases the farm.
Women working as unpaid nurses don’t have time to be unpaid farmers. In households where men don’t share the burden (most of them, in rural settings) and virtually 100 percent of female-headed households, health crises can turn to hunger crises, quick.
Across our operating countries – right now – there are women who don’t have the time to grow food because of coronavirus and don’t have the savings to buy it. Those who do have savings will be running out soon. At the same time, women are more likely than men to work in the informal economy, meaning they lack social protections like insurance or sick paid leave. Their capacity to absorb shocks, in other words, can be effectively non-existent.
Finally, and maybe most starkly, when economic pressures and food shortages visit rural households, tradition often dictates that women and girls eat least and last.
Increases in gender-based violence during lockdown have rightly caught our attention here in the developed world. The developing world, where rates of violence against women are significantly higher, deserves our attention too.
Let’s not forget that things could get worse, not better, as the lockdown lifts and the true extent of our economic crisis begins to dawn. If isolation is one cause of gender-based violence, stress and financial difficulties are two more. At a time when every spare penny will have gone to buying food, escaping violent relationships will be more difficult than ever.
Health services can be universally lacking in the countries where we work. But even when they’re available women face unique challenges in accessing them. In some communities, restrictive norms keep women from travelling alone. In others’, doctors won’t see them unless their husband – who could well be ill with Covid-19 – is present at the appointment.
How Hand in Hand is helping
Long-term plans to help women weather the coming economic storm are being developed by our programmes teams now.
In the more immediate term, we’ve already taken measures to protect our women members. These include:
- Reaching women that official health guidance hasn’t, typically via their Self-Help Group leaders, to spread information about social distancing, handwashing and other virus prevention measures.
- Providing opportunities to talk about domestic abuse. Although they’re stuck in their homes, some women find that simply having a space to talk about their situation can benefit their mental health. When the lockdown is over, we can more actively direct them to support services.
- Providing information about keeping their businesses running, from how to produce items such as soap and masks to boosting food security by pointing rural members to alternative sources of seedlings and crops.
- Working with men, who make up roughly 20 percent of our members, to share information about the benefits of sharing household tasks.
- Reaching men with targeted messages about coping mechanisms, and providing someone to talk to, in order to reduce the incidence of domestic abuse.
A message from Hand in Hand International Chair Bruce Grant
In times of crisis, the vulnerable suffer most.
For now, it is the physically vulnerable who need our care and attention. But let’s not forget that one day in the not-too-distant future, it will be the economically vulnerable whose voices cry out loudest. Just as fighting the spread of Covid-19 requires every one of us to do our part today, so too will helping the world’s poorest people bounce back from the collapse of global markets require total, concerted resolve tomorrow.
As Chair of Hand in Hand International, let me be unequivocal: our global network will be ready to lead the fight. Even as programmes in some parts of the network have been forced to press pause, others are being modified to spread crucial virus prevention guidelines to some of the hardest-to-reach corners of the world. Behind the scenes, work on digitising our fieldwork and building new programmes that raise incomes even higher continues apace.
As Executive Chairman of the Applied Value Group and someone with decades of business experience, I would add that, even now, the philanthropic community must remember our incredible privilege and duty to pay it forward. Now is an exceptionally difficult time for everyone, but it’s also a time to reflect on the things that truly matter to us: family, friends and helping the most vulnerable. Let’s use this opportunity to make the world a better place – something Applied Value is doing by committing to increase our CSR pledges this year despite a forecasted drop in profitability.
To Hand in Hand’s donors and partners, we say thank you for continued support. Our team will have already reached out to you individually, and you’ll be hearing much more from us in the coming days and weeks. To our field staff in Afghanistan, East Africa and India we say thank you for working so hard through such incredible adversity. And to our members in every corner of our network, we say this: no matter where you are, no matter what it takes, we promise to help get you back on your feet – and after that, up the ladder.
Yesterday, as coronavirus deaths in my home country the United States surpassed 100, lawmakers announced $1 trillion in spending to help see Americans through. Imagine a world where we could find instant bilateral support for spending the same on micro-entrepreneurship, drilling for clean water and fighting malaria in the developing world.
Wishing you and yours health, safety and calm,
Chair, Hand in Hand International
Executive Chairman, Applied Value Group
This page is no longer being updated. For the latest on Hand in Hand’s coronavirus response, click here.
Covid-19 has arrived in Hand in Hand’s countries of operation. Here, we provide updates on how we’re responding.
For information about how you can reduce your risk of infection, visit the World Health Organization website.
And to read a message from Hand in Hand International Chair Bruce Grant, click here.
Teams in Afghanistan join fight against virus
Teams in Kenya join emergency response
Staff in Tanzania relay health information to members via mobile phone
Hand in Hand is delivering soap, chlorine solution and crucial virus prevention training to 26,000 Afghans as part of the country’s official response to Covid-19 – with plans to reach 70,000 more.
The new project comes after a government lockdown in late-March banned gatherings of all kinds. In response, our usual business and skills training was suspended until 30 April – a date we’re keeping under constant review.
Afghanistan recorded its first confirmed case of Covid-19 on 24 February. Within weeks, Hand in Hand trainers were instructing members – many living in remote areas that public health messages don’t always reach – on virus prevention measures including handwashing, social distancing and more. Business and skills training continued during this time, with group meetings replaced by smaller home visits wherever possible. (For more on our initial response to Covid-19, click here.)
There are 1,092 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 36 deaths in Afghanistan according to WHO figures, though the true number is expected to be many times higher. It’s also expected to keep rising as thousands of displaced Afghans cross the border every day from Iran, one of the hardest-hit countries in the world.
In co-ordination with county governments, Hand in Hand is connecting with 86,000 members countrywide, providing support in two key areas: slowing/halting the spread of Covid-19 and ensuring food security for our members and their families.
With the country on lockdown, teams are trading Self-Help Groups for SMS’, motorbikes for mobile phones, reaching out to thousands of members individually to deliver key health messages (e.g. handwashing guidelines), signpost to vital health services, and counter fake news. At the same time, with food security a growing concern country- and indeed region-wide, they’re pointing agribusiness members towards alternative supply sources, signposting to Covid-19 relief opportunities such as soap-making and mask-making, and feeding back to government teams to identify communities in particular need. All this while restructuring repayment plans for members who’ve taken loans.
Behind the scenes, we’re ramping up efforts across several key projects, with work ongoing to: fully digitise our data from collection to analysis, allowing trainers to learn and adapt in real-time; develop the next generation Hand in Hand programmes, targeting alumni from previous projects for a second phase of higher income growth; and instruct staff on Hand in Hand Eastern Africa’s new training manuals, deepening our emphasis on women’s entrepreneurship.
Kenya recorded its first confirmed case of Covid-19 on 13 March. Two days later, local officials requested a pause on Hand in Hand group meetings as strict social distancing measures came into effect countrywide. Accordingly, and to play our part in halting the spread of the virus, Hand in Hand Eastern Africa temporarily suspended field activities until 1 July – a date we’re keeping under constant review.
There are 296 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 14 deaths in Kenya, according to WHO figures.
Like in Kenya, staff in Tanzania are relaying virus prevention guidelines to rural, hard-to-reach members via mobile phone.
The country recorded its first confirmed case of Covid-19 on 16 March. Two days later, officials closed schools and suspended social gatherings. Accordingly, and to play our part in halting the spread of the virus, Hand in Hand’s team in Tanzania temporarily suspended field until 1 July – a date we’re keeping under constant review.
There are 255 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 10 deaths in Tanzania, according to WHO figures.