Chris Mwaniki

Business Trainer | Kenya

Hand in Hand business trainer Chris Mwaniki works in Kawangware, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi. Imagine the entire population of Boston living in a space the size of New York’s Central Park on less than US $1 a day, then add the triple-ills of AIDS, malaria and contaminated water and you’re just about there.

Still, Chris remains undaunted. “Working with the community is the best thing I’ve ever done,” he says.

Like many of his Hand in Hand colleagues Chris studied co-operative management. The former volunteer and Scout leader was keen to keep making a difference. Today, he is responsible for coaching some 400 Hand in Hand Self-Help Group members.

“I meet all kinds of people. Some are rude, some are good, some are kind,” says Chris. “I have some clients who haven’t even been to primary school. At first the only know about waking up and finding food for the day. That’s their life. It can be difficult to get through to them.”

Nonetheless, he says, almost all of his clients eventually learn the importance of saving and fiscal discipline. And many inspire him to continue working.

“I admire how they survive,” says Chris. “They taught that by being a hard worker you can do anything. They don’t have an education, they don’t have a job, yet they are very creative – they have ideas for a business and they believe they can make it.

“It’s all about determination: they know what they want. The moment I feel like giving up I think of them. If they’re trying, who am I to give up? It really motivates me.”

Other team members